1. Rafiki
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    Rafiki Active Member

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    I Thought I'd Share

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Rafiki, Jun 11, 2013.

    When I first started studying science I viewed it as my calling, proclaiming my passion from the rooftops; but, as time passed, I found that no amount of verbal assurance could manifest an interest I didn’t actually possess. As my attention waned, I expressed my commitment to my self-‘identity’ in ever increasing displays of passion. It was as if, by turning from this course and changing myself, I would lose what made me “me”. In fear I surrounded myself with icons from my desired identity, little idols I paid homage to. One particular golden-calf was Carl Sagan, a man for whom I still have a great deal of respect, but who taught me that all it took to be a scientist was a profound respect for nature and a careful rational mind; sufficiently vague qualities that I could convince myself that I possessed them. As the reality became apparent, that being a scientist took a massive amount of work, I began throwing myself into this illusion with increasing gusto- even to the point of watching Cosmos instead of doing homework.

    I preferred the illusion to reality, and when it came time to put up or shut up, I ran.

    I mention this because I’ve noticed a disturbing trend among some of the writing communities I’ve been a part of; that is the referring to writing as their ‘craft’. The word ‘craft’ implies some kind of higher calling, as if the artist was commissioned, by god, to create this work, and it is them and only them who can put pen to paper to create such universal turns of phrase that they shine light on our collective human experience. Their sole purpose in life is the creation of their ‘art’, all else is secondary, as it should be for an artisan working on his ‘craft’.

    The lady doth protest too much, methinks.

    The word creates distance between the writer and his subject, and, though I’m aware of the danger of sweeping generalities, I’ve found writing to be about closeness. All the great writers I’ve read had interesting experiences, led unique lives, and their publications were merely a take on the world around them. They were immersed in their subject, and they never sat down to write the next great American novel. They were just some guy (or girl), who had a story to tell.

    Well, except for Mark Twain- but he’s an asshole, so let’s not talk about him.
     
  2. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Did you drop out of intro physics or somethin?
     
  3. Rafiki
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    Rafiki Active Member

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    No, my Grandfather passed away after I finished organic chemistry. It made me realize I was in the field because I wanted to cure his Parkinsons, and because I was enamored with the idea of being a scientist. There was no real love for the work, I could do it, and do it well, but spending my life chasing some superficial ideal when the nuts and bolts of the reality were far from it, meant that I wasn't making myself happy.

    I've noticed similar behaviour in some of my colleagues. I just want to get people to start thinking.

    I spent two and a half years doing something I didn't enjoy because it was what I thought I wanted, I want to save others the same fate.
     
  4. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    This reminds of Ernesto Sabato, a Latin American writer who did his PhD in physics before devoting his life to writing because his career as a scientist left him feeling "empty." He had a very successful career as a writer and won lots of prestigious awards (Miguel de Cervantes Prize, Legion of Honour). Sometimes it takes a person a long time to discover what he or she is really passionate about.
     
  5. DefinitelyMaybe
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    DefinitelyMaybe Contributing Member Contributor

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    I must admit that I fail to see an emphasis on 'craft' as a disturbing trend. When I read stories put up for critique, it's often the case that the ideas and intentions are there, and it's the execution that most needs improvement.

    I'm not so familiar with examples of this from the writing world, but consider the case of The Beatles. Few people will claim that they weren't very good songwriters. But because of their fame, an awful lot is known about their early songwriting attempts. And they were pretty bad. Even when they had their recording contract, the songwriting wasn't really there, and they only really cracked it when their producer George Martin told them to come up with a single or they'd have to record other people's songs as singles. There are many examples of how they worked on their craft, e.g. they mentioned that if someone across town knew a guitar chord that they didn't, they'd get on the bus, go across town, and that person would show them the chord. (Pre-internet :) )

    Return to the OP in this thread, I'm a bit concerned about the fact that the poster tried to become something that wasn't for her, and also the 'disturbing' trend of putting effort into 'craft' have seemingly been equated. I'd agree if the comment was that ONLY having craft wasn't enough, and I'm pretty sure that everyone would. But I'm not sure that someone having to work at the craft side of things is an indication that writing isn't right for that person.

    Returning to The Beatles analogy, in the 1970s John Lennon was interviewed and said that he didn't know where the songs came from, they just appeared. This sort of 'magical' interpretation of songwriting (I think he mentioned 'astral plane' or something) doesn't match the well known struggles The Beatles had to learn to write good songs, the clear development over time in their songwriting abilities, etc. I'm concerned that the OP might be suggesting that if someone's a writer, they're born a fully-fledged writer.

    Perhaps the person who works in education doth protest too much!
     
  6. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Merriam-Webster defines craft as "skill in planning, making, or executing; an occupation or trade requiring manual dexterity or artistic skill <the carpenter's craft> <the craft of writing plays> <crafts such as pottery, carpentry, and sewing>" http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/craft

    Why calling writing a craft should be 'disturbing' perplexes me. Anyone can write, certainly, but only those who work at learning the craft can become good or excellent writers. It's not just learning the rules of grammar and spelling and then tossing some words together. It's not just telling a story. It's learning how to manipulate those rules and story elements into something that people not only want to read, but may actually pay to read. And the better one becomes at the craft of writing, the more people will want to read one's work, and then they will want to read more of one's work.

    As to closeness - if you've ever talked to a skilled woodworker, one who has honed the craft for years/decades, you'll discover that the wood is a living breathing creature in their eyes. Don't know how much close one can get than that, and I see no difference in the writers who take pride in their craft. If anything, considering writing a craft makes it much more personal. It's not just something they do.
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    if you don't want to call writing a 'craft' or an 'art' what do you call it?

    what would you call painting, or sculpting, or writing poetry, if not an 'art form'?
     
  8. sierraromeobravo
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    sierraromeobravo Member

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    For me, my writing is who I am. It is part of me in some way even if it takes place in another world, in space or underwater. For me my writing is not a craft, or at least not as I would describe it. I believe that the definition of craft could be an accurate description but in reality I feel that writing is more than just something I do and work to be better at. I don't know why and I don't think that anyone else will care what I write but I feel strongly that I need to write; even if just for me. Craft or otherwise I just love to do it.
     
  9. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I agree that writing is a 'craft.' The idea that the use of the word 'craft' implies some higher calling by god to the exclusion of all else in life seems erroneous to me. I'm not sure why the OP sees that as a necessary part of the definition of 'craft,' or even as implied by use of the word.
     
  10. Rafiki
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    Rafiki Active Member

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    Perhaps I need to rephrase this.

    My problem with the word craft, is that it places writing on a pedestal. When we create distance between our subject and ourselves, we step in our own way.

    A musician doesn't say that he is going to 'hone his craft', he says he is going to practice.
    A carpenter doesn't refer to his project as his calling, he calls it work.
    A priest doesn't say he is communing with god when he listens to an adolescent's troubles, he calls it talking.

    Claiming writing is our craft is preachy and pretentious; we need to say what we need to say, and say it simply, without all the flair and pompous fluff that a strong vocabulary affords us.

    'I'm going to practice writing' vs. 'I'm going to hone my craft'.

    It might seem like I'm picking on one word, but it's really the general attitude that it represents. The attitude paints us in a superior light, when every artist I've had the pleasure of dealing with, has possessed an unspoken humility. Speak on level with people, not down- never down.

    Embody the humility, maintain perspective.
     
  11. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't think it paints us in a superior light. I think it puts us in a unique position, much like others who learn a craft. Not everyone can do it, and it takes work and practice to be come proficient. That's what learning a craft means. Not everyone can become a good woodworker; not everyone can become a good musician; not everyone can become a good writer. There's nothing pompous or superior in acknowledging that.
     
  12. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    That's like the brilliant child who flubs his or her math tests out of fear of not fitting in with classmates who struggle to keep up with the curriculum.

    Writing is a skill, and you'll have to work hard to make it. Don't wrap yourself in false modesty. Part of that success is that you need plenty of empathy to develop well-rounded characters. So don't worry about the damned pedestal.

    Read Vonnegut's Harrison Bergeron. There's no benefit in artificially jamming everyone into the same flat stratum.
     
  13. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    The sentiments made in your initial posts, OP, seem rather young. Anything can be fascinating at first- that's why we have the term "honey moon phase"- but as you progress, even if you're talented, even if you're curious, at some point, you're going to wonder "why?" Or you're going to think, "damn, this is hard." Maybe even, "I hate this!" Weariness comes with the pursuit of mastery, and to think otherwise is as pompous and as fluffy as you can get.

    Often its those who want to give messages who need them the most, and I'm speaking from experience when I say that, taking an organic chemistry class or doing homework is not what being a scientist is about, just like asking questions on a writing forum or reading how to books is not what being a writer is about. You can switch majors all you want, pick and choose passions, but you're not going to see any babies until you're ready to deal with the blood, mood swings, and unsightly weight gain that precede them.

    PS: My condolences.
     
  14. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    To me, humility is inherent in the word "craft." My mother was heavily into handcrafts (not "handicrafts," please), including weaving and quilting. My sister makes her living knitting and selling knitting patterns, and calls knitting a "craft." The word "craft" was used regularly in our house, and it did not mean art. It meant making something that was useful - making it beautiful, if possibly, but useful first and foremost. There was nothing about "higher calling" or "communing with god" about the word craft in our house. It was about making something people could use, and hopefully, would like.

    I've known carpenters (well, furniture makers) who call their work a craft. They take pride in doing it well. Anyone would take pride in using skills they've gained over years to do a job well. That's what I think of when I hear the word "craft." It is NOT preachy and pretentious. It's about doing a job well.

    I knew a couple of members of a local punk-rock band who'd been playing their instruments for less than a year, and they sounded like crap. They were proud of this. They told me that technical skill on an instrument is a sign of elitism, and skilled musicians, especially those highfalutin classical virtuosos, were all nose-in-the-air elitist shitbags who wouldn't know real art if it fell on their heads. Real art comes from the heart, they said. I took that to mean that they figured real art came from no-talent incompetents who didn't have the desire nor the discipline to learn what the f*** they were doing. People like them, as it turned out. I don't know any punk guys anymore.

    I have no respect for a musician who takes pride in playing badly. I have no respect for anyone who takes pride in doing whatever they do badly. I do respect people who are striving to improve their skills at whatever they do. They are trying to improve their "craft." They respect the craft. They are humbled every day by the craft. The craft teaches them humility.

    I've seen a lot of characters in movies who are phenomenally egotistical about their "art." You know the ones - the ones who consider themselves geniuses. I can't remember ever actually meeting anybody like that. I've met many people who are really good at their jobs, including some enormously-skilled professional musicians, and all of them are humble. All of them are still trying to improve (at least, they were when I knew them).

    Look at it this way: A musician may go out and play a brilliant concert, and all the reviews in the papers the next day say what a genius he is. But he's not reading the reviews; he's practicing. He is practicing music he cannot play yet. That's how he learns - he tries to play things he cannot yet play well. Everybody thinks he's great, but for hours every day, he is confronting himself with his own limitations. How can he think he's great when he can't do what he spends hours a day trying to do? The craft makes him humble.

    Writing is the same way. We may do a good job on a story of ours, but then we read something by someone better than we are, and we are lost in admiration for that writer's skill. We wish we were that good. So we strive to improve our craft, because we are humbled by the craft. We're not communing with god; we are simply trying to be worthy of a reader's attention.
     
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  15. T.Trian
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    T.Trian Overly Pompous Bastard Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I understand Lennon's comment differently. If asked, I couldn't say where my stories or songs come from. I get some idea/vision/whatever about a story or just hear a melody/riff/chord progression in my head, I've no idea where that stuff comes from. Of course my personal experiences and preferences color these ideas, but I swear it feels like I don't come up with the stuff as much as I'm just a medium or a filter through which this stuff emerges into this world. I know it sounds pompous and silly, but that's how it feels to me.
    And I don't see a contradiction between that and hard work/learning your "craft." It's like... I hear a great solo in my head, but if my lack of skill doesn't allow me to play it, I need to practice, woodshed for hours every day until I get my technique to the level where my physical/psychological limitations don't get in the way of the material that's being filtered through me. I see practice as a necessity, a process that never ends, but its purpose is not to make me the greatest writer/guitarist ever, but to allow the ideas that I get to flow out freely without the hindrance of, say, poor technique (be it in writing or music). Not saying this is what Lennon meant or anything (I never saw that quote before), but this is just how I see the process of creating art.


    I couldn't disagree more. Let me clarify: talent and skill are two different things (the way I see it). Talent is something a person is born with, an innate capacity to learn the basics of skill X a little easier than the next guy/gal, a little easier than the basics of skill Y (taken that you have talent for skill X but not for skill Y).
    However, talent only takes you so far. If you rely only on talent, very soon you'll be left behind by the untalented who rely on skill. Skill is the product of diligent, hard work. If you have both hands intact/no physical problems that would prevent it and you have at least average mental capacities for learning, if you practice hard enough, you'll become a world class guitar player. There are so many examples of this and it applies in most skills/crafts: arts, sports, whatever. Those who work the hardest, become the best. Sure, in the beginning learning skill X can be an uphill struggle if you don't have the talent, but work on it long and hard enough, and you'll achieve greatness.

    When we look at those who are truly great at what they do, those who had talent, but also practiced hard and compare them to the untalented, but who also practiced hard, the differences can't really be seen/heard; it becomes a matter of taste (the taste of the person reading the book or listening to the music): person A likes the talented person's work whereas person B prefers the untalented person's work. The lines aren't there anymore when their skill levels are equal since at such a high level, talent has no notable influence on the end product.

    ETA: I don't want to name names, but I know plenty of people from the music circles (some of whom I've known since we were kids) who had zero talent when they started out, but are now virtuosos (a few are even world-famous). That's why I firmly believe anybody can become great at anything if they are just willing to pay the price.
     
  16. Rafiki
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    Rafiki Active Member

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    I think we're all in agreement that writing is a skill that needs work to be improved.

    @ Minstrel, I share a lot of your sentiment. There's nothing wrong with the usage of the word 'craft' as you've described- in fact I'd agree that, in your experience, it's usage is highly appropriate. You have memories that make the word special.

    This rant, and my subsequent hatred of the word, is about an attitude.

    This attitude, to be specific. The theory that a writer is somehow in a unique position based upon their god given gifts. It was this kind of attitude that allowed me to concoct some hyped up fantasy that I was special in my ability to practice science.

    How could I fail at being a scientist? This was what I was meant to do. The idea of being average was so terrifying that it encompassed my being. I was doing something I didn't enjoy, but I kept telling myself that I enjoyed it, because if I ever stopped then that would mean I would lose what made me special.

    I don't want to see others go through the same cycles of depression I did. Even as I passed my classes, I was still unhappy- guilt tripping myself for being unhappy. This was something I was supposed to enjoy. Why wasn't I enjoying it?

    That's why I dislike the word 'craft'. It's a way of declaring to the world that "I'm a writer", "I'm a scientist", "I'm special".

    @ Cogito: It's not about flubbing a math test. I'm not going to tank a text message to my boss, simply because he can't grasp the difference between a period and an exclamation mark. It's about acknowledging that he has experiences that lend him his own perspective on the world, and that maybe I can use his experience to shed a little light on my own- despite, or perhaps because of, his lack of technical skill.
     
  17. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Rafiki - I think we understand what you're saying here, I just think some of us don't agree with your characterization of the word "craft." I simply don't associate the attitude you present with that particular word. I think the word serves just fine, and is an accurate descriptor to boot :)
     
  18. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    and T.Trian also:

    I never said anything about it being based on "god-given gifts". I said it's practice and learning. There is some measure of talent needed, yes. But the craft comes in when one decides to do something with that talent. But no, I don't care how much practicing a person does - if they can't hold a note in a bucket they will never be a good singer. If they're inherently clumsy, they will not become a good woodworker. Some people are good at some things; others are good at other things. There's no elitism or superiority in recognizing that. It seems rather obvious to me.
     
  19. maskedhero
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    maskedhero Active Member

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    Writing is one of the few skills which allows you to share your mind with someone else. Carl Sagan says it well:

    “A book is made from a tree. It is an assemblage of flat, flexible parts (still called "leaves") imprinted with dark pigmented squiggles. One glance at it and you hear the voice of another person, perhaps someone dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, the author is speaking, clearly and silently, inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people, citizens of distant epochs, who never knew one another. Books break the shackles of time ― proof that humans can work magic.”
    ― Carl Sagan

    While we don't want to distance ourselves from others, I don't think using a word like craft really does that. There was a horrid movie called The Craft, which brought the word down to earth quite a long time ago.
     
  20. GoldenGhost
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    Personally, it sounds like the only one who has put the word "craft" on a pedestal is you.. Anytime I have ever mentioned any craft in conversation, or referred to anything I believe to be a craft in conversation, to what I consider your average person, their eyes didn't light up in reverence, or awe, or whatever. They simply took it in stride because most things that are referred to as a "Craft" are things of skill, and mostly meticulous, but always something involving a process of creation, regardless of whether it's art, or not.
     
  21. T.Trian
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    T.Trian Overly Pompous Bastard Staff Supporter Contributor

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    My dad has been a guitar teacher for over 30 years and naturally I've gotten to know some of his students and hung out with them a lot when I was a kid / learning to play myself. We even had concerts where we'd play solo pieces as well as duo and trio stuff, both, classical and popular music. Now, I can tell with ease whether a person has talent for guitar playing or not. After the decades I've spent in these circles, I can spot those who will breeze through the first few years and those who will struggle more than your average joes and janes.
    I assure you, some of the best guitarists I've heard have been utter and complete no-talents, hopeless cases who look like they're handicapped while they try their pathetic best to twist and turn their fingers into chord positions. In the beginning their fingers were carved out of wood. They couldn't handle even the simplest chords, they had zero time, no ear for melody or harmony, no great memory, basically they had absolutely no redeeming qualities when it came to playing the guitar. One guy even had problems with his fine-motor functions and had been rejected by another teacher as hopeless until my dad took him, but, well, guess where he is today? At the moment he's probably Finland's fastest and most technical guitar virtuoso and a member of one of the most successful rock bands the country has produced.

    Guess you should've told him he'll never become good, huh? :D He's not even the only example, btw. Anyway, I don't believe guitar playing to be somehow different from every other skill in the world. That leads me to believe that anyone can become great at anything, and those who would like to learn a skill but don't, are just, well, weak. Doesn't matter if it's a craft, an art, a sport, whatever. Usually that type of people are great at one thing: making excuses why they don't practice. It's the type of people who go "yeah, I've always wanted to do thing X, but haven't gotten around to it because of thing Y," Y being yet another excuse not to put in hard work and effort. Nothing is as easy as sighing and going "yeah, he's so talented isn't he? I would've wanted to do that too, but alas, I haven't any talent for it." And then sit and eat a bag of doritos.
    That's why every time someone says "oh, s/he's so talented," I wish they'd choke on it. Well, 99,999999% of the time because I grant that some people are talented at what they do. They just represent the vast minority, the rest of us are "only" skilled.
     
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  22. GoldenGhost
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    ^ This.. And it seems the OP wasn't too happy about me also stating the obvious...
     
  23. Mckk
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    While I think that's great your dad didn't give up on that guitarist like everyone else did, and it's obvious that your dad has talent in teaching, I do think you're simplifying things a little. It depends on to what level one would like to learn - if a tone-deaf person simply wish to learn to sing in tune, with enough practice there's a chance he could do it. Is this person really gonna become the next Charlotte Church, Josh Groban, Queen, Rolling Stones? No, probably not, even if the person gave their life over to it. Have you seen talent shows in the US and UK? They show some unedited auditions, and anyone can audition, and it's clear that some of these people should just give it up and go get a proper job because yes, while they could improve, there's no way they'd ever become a professional singer. Esp when it comes to singing, it's not just a matter of practice and techniques - if your voice quality is bad, you'll always sound bad. Have you heard Pierce Brosnan sing in Mamma Mia? He certainly sings in tune, and sings well enough that people employed him to sing in that film, but even I can tell his voice simply does not sound good, and he's just not a good singer. Better than a lot of people, to be sure, but that doesn't make him good enough to be a pro.

    As for writing, I feel it's similar. You can improve, but how much you can improve has a limit. I can sing pretty well myself, and my voice's been improving since I'd paid more attention to how I sing, but I'd be kidding myself if I thought I could ever go pro (nor do I want to, in any case).

    Person A who has no talent, compared with Person B who has talent, will never be on the same level.

    If Person A works their socks off, and Person B never lifts a finger, I agree that there's a chance, even a good chance, that Person A will at least be as good as person B, or maybe even surpass Person B.

    But if Person A and Person B both work equally hard, I can assure you, no matter how hard Person A tries, they will not equal Person B, let alone surpass them.

    The successes you see out there, be it writing, singing, sports or whatever, are almost always people with talent AND have worked ridiculously hard. Talent doesn't mean you don't have to work hard, but you do need talent to begin with.

    I just believe you should be realistic about what you're really good at. Pursue the things you're not great at, by all means, but there's no point believing you could be the next rising star if you possess no talent in the area. I can dream all I like to be as good at maths as Stephen Hawking - it's just not going to happen. That, however, does not mean I should stop dreaming, nor that I should stop trying my hardest to be the best that I can be. Just work hard in everything, be the best that you can be in that area, and if your best happens to be good enough for you to go pro and that is your wish, then why not.

    Btw, regarding your examples, I'd be inclined to believe that they had talent, just hidden beneath the layers. They needed more patience, more nurturing than others - even amongst the talented, everyone is not equal. Is Britney Spears not talented? She certainly is. But is she as good as Katherine Jenkins or Charlotte Church? Nope, not by miles.
     
  24. Mithrandir
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    The problem lies in the identification of what "you're really good at." I enjoy writing and storytelling in general; it feels right. But I have absolutely no idea if I have "the right stuff".

    Now, because I enjoy writing, I don't mind investing time in something I may never make money from. But not all have that luxury. Some have limited time and money.
     
  25. T.Trian
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    T.Trian Overly Pompous Bastard Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I still disagree. Here's why: the "hopeless guy" truly is among the world's best metal guitarists nowadays. He had no innate talent, but man did he practice. I know for a fact that for several years, he practiced 4-8 hours a day. Add to that the fact that he worked his ass off to find good teachers (my dad's specialty is classical guitar, so he suggested for the guy to find more specialized teachers to learn technical rock guitar stuff similar to what Steve Vai, Children of Bodom, Dream Theater etc. play), so is it a wonder he became such a great player?

    If we talk about "normal" people with normal learning capacities, anybody can become a world class artist/athlete if they practice every day for hours upon hours. Oh, and they need to practice properly, because practice doesn't make perfect, but perfect practice makes perfect, i.e. you need to know what and how to practice. But if you do and complement it with daily practice sessions that last several hours, you are bound to become great.

    Some people have bad singing voices and should just give it up, right? Here's a prime example. His voice is fugly and he should never have opened his mouth for all the terrible sounds that come out. He should've known not to sing because of his "bad" voice.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m5TwT69i1lU

    How about her? She sounds like a psychotic crow, should've known not to sing, right?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=56tsL_HJwaM

    To me, it's you who's simplifying the situation. And as for all those talent shows on TV... well, those who suck, suck because they didn't put in the hours. Naturally most claim they did because, hey, who would ever admit to being a slacker on national TV? If you become truly skilled, it doesn't matter what kind of a croak your voice is, people will appreciate it. Lack of skill, on the other hand, makes even a golden voice sound like crap.

    As for Brosnan's voice, I have no idea how he sounds or how good he is, but if he's truly great, many people would listen to him sing. Fact is, just because you find someone's voice ugly, doesn't mean everyone thinks the same. A lot of people love Janis Joplin's voice, but I can't stand it despite her undeniable skill in wielding it. Regardless, I appreciate the hard work she put in to become as great as she was instead of simply calling her talented, thinking she was born the singer she became.


    I disagree completely. I think that kind of a mindset is just an excuse not to work hard: "I'm not talented so I will never be as good no matter what I do, so I might as well sit back and go watch some TV."

    I've just been around so many "hopeless" cases who have eventually become great that I just don't buy the talent excuse anymore. And I've seen many talented people fall behind because they didn't practice or train enough. I've also seen talented folks who have practiced a lot, but when we talk about truly great artists / athletes, there's no notable difference between the talented and skilled. The differences are more marked on the lower levels of proficiency.

    And as for my examples, well, that's just my point, isn't it? Anybody will appear talented if they receive training that fits them because everybody has the potential to be great inside them. You just need to coax it out, but that's not what I see as talent. I see that as skill. To me talent is an obviously better (than that of an average human's) capacity to learn a given task. Skill is the product of ambundant, diligent, and proper training/practice.
     

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