Tuesday, April 10, 2012

More Advice from a Writer on Writing

Question: What is the role of talent in becoming a writer?

Quote: “Jane, one of my students in a creative-writing course for adults, sits across the desk from me. ‘I really want to write,’ she says, on the edge of tears, ‘but I don’t think I have any talent.’

‘What do you mean by talent?’ I ask.

‘Well,’ she says, considering, ‘I guess I mean that if I really had talent, I would just naturally be able to write well. Writing would come easily to me. I wouldn’t have to work at it.’

Most people would agree with Jane’s definition of talent. So does my dictionary: ‘Talent,’ it says, ‘is the natural ability to do something well.’

Natural talent, then, explains why some  people have trouble hitting a golf ball while others become Ben Hogan or Tiger Woods. Natural talent explains why some people can’t recall a simple tune while others become Mozart or Miles Davis. And natural talent explains why some people can write and others can’t.

There’s only one problem with the talent explanation for accomplishment in any field: It isn’t true.” P. 42.

Quote: “If all this sounds like a lot of work—well, it is, just as becoming a professional athlete or musician is lot of work. But if you love to write—love it as much as Ted Williams loved to hit or Larry Bird loved to play basketball—then practice is a kind of dedicated play, a source of pleasure and fulfillment. And if you are willing to shift your focus from getting published to becoming an excellent writer, then there’s a very good chance that, eventually, your skills will take you to the ‘big leagues’ of the writing world.”  P. 43.

Comment: Shifting your focus from getting published to becoming an excellent writer…. That’s the key. RayS.

Title: “The Talent Myth.” Barbara Baig. The Writer (April 2012), 42-43.

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