Courtesy parishiltonjustme @Flickr
I say, forget your doubts about writing talent and go for it!
I value desire and hard work over talent any day?
The question is not Do you and I have enough talent? But How much do we want to be good at writing, really good?
And, do we want it enough to work and keep on working until we get there?
From the field of psychology
We are all born with a certain degree of intelligence. Sounds limiting, doesn’t it?
But so many times people have shown that they can beat the odds and draw on strength and aptitudes they never really knew they had.
We’re all learners.
A human being is a learning “machine” of sorts. But We’re made to learn.
Have you seen a young child learning to walk?
It takes time. It’s not easy. She learns how it feels to walk on the soles of her feet, how walking feels in muscles of her legs, even how that sensation of balance feels in her head.
Inside we have an incredibly complex nervous system, sort of like an inverted tree. Your hands learn the way it feels when lob a basketball that goes through the hoop. You can learn how to sing like an opera star (though you might not sound as good 🙂 !).
An almost infinite capacity
Bottom line: we humans have an almost infinite capacity for learning, for improving skill–and while I’m at it, for happiness too.
Have you known people that seemed to have a lot of “talent,” like drawing, dancing, writing but never seem to do much with that ability?
I knew a guy at work, years back, who could draw beautifully and easily, much more easily than me. Through the years I noticed, though, that he never did much with that natural ability.
Some things we’re born with
Now I don’t doubt that, like intelligence, people differ a lot in aptitude. I’m good at abstract thinking, but I have to work at noticing details. When I paint, I’m good at coming up with dramatic ideas and color, but I have to work at drawing well.
“You win in your own universe…the bad news is “It’s all up to you.” But the good news is “It’s all up to you.” –Eric Michaels, artist and teacher, from his newsletter the Plein Air Zone, 4/1/2008.
This talent thing
Talent is known after the fact when it shows up in its results, anyway.
Margie watched Jane perform a perfect pirouete. “She’s so talented,” Marjorie said, her eyes shiny with tears, “I wish I were talented like that. I would dance my life away!”
Okay. But is it a good idea to worry over whether or not you have talent or not? How are you going to know for sure? By comparing yourself to others? Not! And, anyway, how much talent is enough?
I’ll bet you’ve got what it takes.
Hey, if you’re reading these words and understanding them, you’ve got enough innate intelligence anyway.
“Talent is what your mother talks about. Work is how you get around the bases and score!” David Lyle Millard, More Joy of Watercolor.
So how do you become an excellent writer, maybe even a great writer?
Three little words, work at it! But that word “work” entails a lot.
Nine ways to improve your writing:
- Read a lot, and include different kinds of material.
- Read books on how-to-write.
- Use your remarkable mind to figure out how to learn more efficiently.
- Do exercises suggested by other writers.
- Invent your own exercises and do them.
- Stretch your craft by taking on challenges, take on the task that scares you a little (if it scares you too much, take on an easier challenge first).
- Get feedback from friends, relatives. Hire an editor. Learn from both.
- Take courses if you like, and especially if they motivate you to learn and try new things.
- And, of course, write every day—at least 99% of them!
“If people knew how hard I worked to achieve my mastery, it wouldn’t seem so wonderful after all.” –Michelangelo
Oh yes, two more words–don’t quit! Quitters don’t score.
“…if you go all out for excellence and don’t worry about that bad writing that comes with it, before long you will be able to produce some writing that people will really want to read—even to buy.” –Peter Elbow, Writing with Power, Techniques for Mastering the Writing Process.
So to answer my own question in the title above, Yes, I think you do have enough talent.
Your turn: How do you battle your writing talent doubts?