Friday, April 27, 2012

x is for x-factor

THE X-FACTOR defined:
  1. a circumstance, quality, or person that exerts a strong but unpredictable influence
  2. a variable in a situation that could have the most significant impact on the outcome
  3. a hard to describe talent or quality

In other words, serendipity on steroids. A mysterious energy that can make it or break it for us. An ineffable quality that brings success to some...defeat to others. You just can't wrap your head around it or put it into words...which is frustrating to a writer. I want to know what makes a story sell. I want to know what it is that launches one person's career and thwarts another's. Where does talent originate? Can it be forged? How? Through hard work? By pure luck?

The X-factor is as capricious as a butterfly, as elusive as smoke, and as fickle as the wind. It can't be captured and it can't be confined. Some of us will search forever just to catch a glimpse of it. Some of us will never try.

For a successful writer it might be an intricate plot, a breathtaking scene, an engaging character.

For an artist it might be the interplay of color and light.

For a composer, a haunting melody or heart-aching lyrics.

Do you possess the X-factor? How will you know?
"When inspired by some great purpose,
some extraordinary project,
all your thoughts break their bounds:
your mind transcends limitations,
your consciousness expands in every direction and
 you find yourself in a new great and wonderful world.
 Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive,
 and you discover yourself to be a greater person
 than you ever dreamed to be."
In tomorrow's post we'll learn why the writing life is like a YO-YO.


  1. I guess I don't have it.

  2. I'm not feeling my "x" today. Maybe tomorrow.

  3. "Serendipity on steroids". I LOVE that description. I dunno if I HAVE the X-factor, but there's certainly been plenty of serendipity on steroids in my life, so maybe I'm just lucky. Or stubborn enough to hang in there until I make my own good luck. (And the harder I work, the "luckier" I get.) Great post.

  4. Note to Dolores and LD: Check out Susan's comment. I think she's nailed it: serendipity and hard work! Period.

  5. X factor is a great way to describe that unnamable something that some people, some work of art just have.