"Required reading" for today's smart writer.

"Required reading" for today's smart writer.
As featured on: Pro Blogger, Men With Pens, Write to Done, Tiny Buddha, LifeHack, Technorati, Date My Pet, South 85 Literary Journal and other award-winning sites.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

3 Things Every Writer Can Learn From American Idol

Unless you've been living up under a rock lately, you've heard of the popular reality show called American Idol.

I admit that I'm a huge fan. Partly for the entertainment value, and partly because, (if truth be told), I'm a "shoulda been" singer and karaoke queen.
On stage, I do an impressive Shania Twain and a boastful Toni Braxton.:-)


Though this program is primarily a singing competition, there are other benefits to viewers, particularly those that are writers.

Here are a few pointers I've picked up recently.

1. Talent alone will only take you so far. If you want to outshine the competition, you have to display your creative strengths and play to them. When performers present material that does not showcase their talents well, or display their originality, they sometimes lose their fan base and risk being eliminated from the competition. The same holds true for writers.

2. Heed the advice of industry experts.
How creative artists handle rejection will determine how far they'll travel in their careers. Those that don't listen or fail to implement the suggestions offered up by the "judges" do themselves a great disservice, and stunt their potential growth.

3. Confidence should never come before competence. It doesn't even in the dictionary! Never let your ego get in the way of your excellence. Learn to be objective. Nurture your talent. Hone your craft. And always strive to let your "star" shine!

Do you agree or disagree? What lessons if any have you learned from this popular show?


  1. I especially love the third point. Writers (or singers!) with confidence but no talent or skills need a reality check.

  2. Thanks, Cherie. That always baffles my mind each week!:-)

  3. I like this analogy, and I would add that successful singers (and writers) must ignore the naysayers. Think how many former Idol candidates have been bashed by Simon Cowell and gone on to greatness! If they had said to themselves, "well, I guess I'm not as good as I thought," the world wouldn't get to enjoy their musical talents.

  4. Jennifer Brown BanksFebruary 25, 2010 at 7:07 AM

    That's a good point, Susan.
    I think the problem for many is not knowing what to ignore and what to apply.:-)

  5. Thanks for gleening something useful from the show. I'm not a big music person so I don't even check in with it.

  6. Jennifer Brown BanksFebruary 25, 2010 at 3:11 PM

    Thanks, Deirdre.

    I think you'd enjoy it. Even if you watched it just once, you could at least discover what all the "buzz" is about.:-)

    It's music, mayhem, and a mixture of other stuff in between. I don't think you'd find it boring. That's just my 2 cents.:-)

  7. I absolutely agree with those three points.I haven't watched it yet this season; how's Ellen doing?

  8. Jennifer Brown BanksFebruary 27, 2010 at 3:25 AM

    Ellen's okay, but Paula was better, in my opinion.:-)

    Thanks for writing.

  9. Hey Jenn! I have written a guest post I would like to enter for the contest but I can't figure out where/how to send it. Anxious for your reply, here or at amy@parmfarm.com. Thx!!!

  10. okay...scratch that last comment altogether. somehow i missed your email address in all my excitement. :0)

  11. Whew. Good thing--I thought I had made a misprint and would have to come up with some gifts and prizes. :-)

    Thanks for stopping by and writing.

  12. Hi Jen,

    I really do not watch American Idol,however,I do agree with your pointers and analogies. As you know, I always look forward to your great insightful articles in "Being Single" Magazine; now,I'll have to also stop by your Blog more often!

  13. Jennifer Brown BanksMarch 2, 2010 at 1:02 PM

    Thanks, Deb. I appreciate your time and your comments. I hope 2 see you again here at Pen & Prosper in the near future.