X is for X Factor



When we hear the words X Factor, the singing show comes to mind. But the show isn’t just looking to see if the contestants can sing, it’s looking for that something special. What makes one singer stand out above other great singers? The spark, the uniqueness, the specialness that makes a person shine. Basically, the music moguls are looking to see who will appeal to an audience more than others and consequently earn the most money.

It’s the same when we send off our manuscripts to an agent or a publisher. They will only accept something if it shines out above the rest of the slush pile. If it has a specialness that they are certain will rake in the cash.

So how do we make our writing stand out above the other high quality writing that will appeal to a larger audience?

As a teacher, I used to help students to recognise their own specialness and teach them how to hone those qualities as well as strengthen the skills they were less confident in. We are all individuals and all have the X Factor. The key is to tap into our own specialness in order to shine. Here is a recipe I shared with students:

The X Factor Recipe

Identify your own strengths and weaknesses
Work hard to enhance those strengths and weaknesses
Never say ‘I can’t do it’
Believe in yourself
Become more self-reliant
Accept support when offered
Listen to constructive criticism
Remain authentic
Take control of your own dreams and ambitions
Never stop learning
Be patient
Smile a lot!

How would you sum up the X Factor in one word? What would you add something to this old recipe?

Comments

  1. i for one has never understood what x is in x-factor, sad but true

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    1. That little 'X'tra something special :)

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  2. Thank you for sharing this recipe. I love how teachers can positively affect a child's life.. :)
    Seena
    My recent post #AtoZChallenge - X is for Xanax

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  3. What a lovely recipe! I particularly like believe in yourself and listen to constructive criticism xx

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    1. So many people aren't able to listen or hear constructive criticism and get all defensive. It's important to at least listen so that we can improve. Thanks for popping over, Teresa.

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  4. Good list. I read somewhere recently that if you replace 'can't' with won't ("I won't get up any earlier"), it can be very revealing.

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    1. Exactly. I've tried that. Generall it isn't that we 'can't' do something, it's that we don't wanna do it :) Thanks for popping by Julia.

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  5. I love that as a teacher you tried to help students find this in themselves. It's so important that all children understand they do have this X-factor, a uniqueness that is all their own, and to play to their strength!

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    1. For me, that's a crucial part of being a teacher. When I was School Director, I used to get so annoyed at teacher's who grumbled that a child couldn't do something. So, I had to share my 'magic' and show them how to make the children shine in their own right. In my mind, there is nothing worse than harping on the negative. Grrrrr. Thanks so much for popping over!

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  6. I'm impressed! GREAT way to use the 'X' of the day. And I just love your X Factor recipe! I'm printing it out to keep in front of me.
    Trisha Faye
    www.writerszenblog.wordpress.com

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  7. The great and mysterious X Factor! It's tough because it's different for everyone, but those are great tips. Hmm, if I had to sum it up in one word: magic!

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  8. I get tired of the X-factor being so important, particularly in all the talent shows. It seems to be all about vocalization, how powerful or loud ones voice is. I think of people like Bob Dylan... just how far would he have gotten on any of those shows? I don't think the X-factor should be all about how loud or colorful you are. There's subtlety too, unfortunately subtlety can get lost in the carnival, over looked.

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    1. Subtlety can shine brightly too :) I do like that word.

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  9. This is great! You've summed up all of the qualities that go into the "X" factor.

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  10. The X Factor in one word? Originality.

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  11. The X-Factor in one word: Essential.

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  12. The X factor is hard to define I think. These are some great qualities. I think it is particularly important to keep learning and keep smiling.

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    1. Learning and smiling - my two favourite things to do :)

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  13. Ugh, no smiling for me, thanks. I'm allergic.

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  14. That's an excellent list. I'm trying to have X-Factor but it will never be for singing. LOL

    Susan Says

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    1. You already have the X Factor Susan. You just need to recognise it :)

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  15. The X-factor in one word : Elusive :)

    Great recipe! Not just for children/students. Plenty grown ups could use those pointers.

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    1. That one takes a lot of practice :)

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  17. The X factor is that hard to define side that beats the It Factor.

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    1. I much prefer to call it the 'individual specialness' or 'the inner spark'. But it was X day :)

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  18. This is a great list! If I were to add anything, it would be to embrace the process. The finished (are we EVER finished?!) product is wonderful, I love "having written," but it really is also about the journey ♥

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  19. I definitely believe in never thinking that I can't Good tips.

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    1. Thanks Joanna! Have a great weekend.

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  20. I like that recipe!
    We are all different, with different strengths/talents, so every person has a unique X-factor.
    Imagine if we were all the same? How boring...
    Writer In Transit

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    1. Very boring indeed, Michelle :) Thanks so much for your encouraging comments over the past month!

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  21. I love your X-Factor and your list is great and I can't think of anything more to add

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