Discussion in 'General Writing' started by dscott25, Jul 12, 2008.
I love writing with a passion but what if no talent exists?????
Everybody can write something. All you need to do is find out what genre, or discipline of writing suits you.
Fiction [historical, fantasy, general, sci-fi, romance, humor, short, crime, thriller, mystery, etc]
Non-fiction [memoirs, biogaphies, etc]
Articles [critiques, discriptive, expositive, analytical, etc]
And many more, you have options explore them.
Did you by chance happen to read Stephen King's On Writing? That may have something to do with why there is so much doubt. King is not kind to the aspiring writer, I'll admit, even though I love every Dark Tower book I've read thus far.
I always find it strange that people should succeed in something they do or otherwise doing something is a waste of time. If you enjoy something, do it. You can write stories for friends and family. You can write stories for your own entertainment. You can write stories and post them in the internet. You can have fun while writing.
Why do something just because you are good at it? You can do it just because you enjoy it.
And who knows how much you'll learn when you do it just because you love doing it.
Thank you both for your advice and suggestions. I'll take a look at Stephen King's book and see what he has to say. Should be interesting! lol. Thank you.
That makes a lot of sense and I do enjoy writing. I just read all of these great writers' work, alot who are on here, and get depressed. lol. That's just me though. Thanks for responding.
Who says talent has to be a part of it?
To be a writer, you must first enjoy writing (obviously), have some ideas on what you want to write about (another good idea), and be able to string sentences together in a coherent, grammatically correct manner. Sure, some (many?) writers are obviously stronger in one genre than another. Some even possess what you're probably thinking of as talent. But talent is not crucial to being a writer.
Think of Dan Brown's "The da Vinci Code" and "Angels & Demons." He took a couple of controversial ideas and ran with them. While I did enjoy both books (yes, I did ... sue me), most people agree that these aren't exactly literary masterpieces. I don't see Brown as a true talent. Intelligent, yes. Wildly successful, of course. But a "talented" writer? Not so much.
I always think of talent as something that's nice to have, but could never replace hard work and dedication.
It depends on what your goal(s) with your writing are. If you love to do it, then by all means, there is nothing stopping you, talent or severely lacking.
If you goal is to get published (there many of levels) it may depend on talent. But there are other factors involved including, vocabulary and skill with words, knowledge of grammar, perseverance and luck--in addition to talent.
Although a little off topic, here is an article of mine that uses a sports analogy to help determine where a writer stands: Short Fiction Writer: What League are You In?. In reference to this thread, it shows that if your talent is not great enough for the 'Major Leagues' there are respectable markets below that.
Don't give up on shining and making use of the talent you do possess. (I suspect it may be more than you at this moment believe).
Thank you cargirl86. for responding. I appreciate it and you've all made me feel a lot better about my writing abilities. Thank you! lol
Thank you Terry, for your kind words and link. I'm going to browse that right now. Thank you very much.
The only way to tell if you have the talent is to develop your skills. If you can develop those skill to the point that you can write a book you are satisfied with, and that you can haqve published if publication is a goal, then you have talent (and determinatioo).
I don't know if there is such a thing as talent or not. It may be that perserverence and a willingness to learn is everything,
If you read King or any other so-called expert on writing,take it with a grain of salt. Don't let anyone talk you out of making the effort!
Then do it until the talent comes anyway. The others have already said it. Talent isn't a requirement, it just helps out a lot. Just remember that what you do a lot becomes easy. When it does become easy for you then you can say that you have talent. Why settle for destiny?
if that's true, then just write for the love of it and don't let it bother you... look at all the painters and other 'hobby' artists who, though their work is far from gallery or museum quality, still gain great pleasure from their 'art'...
same goes for anyone who enjoys doing anything that the 'talented' can do for a living, but they can only do 'privately'... not having the requisite 'talent' doesn't stop them, does it?... nor make them prize their own work any less than do the pulitzer or booker prize winner...
now, as for whether you do, or not... if you really want to find out, send me whatever you think is the very best thing you've ever written and i'll tell you if it looks like you have any...
if it doesn't matter to you, just write your little heart out and go on loving every minute of it!
love and hugs, maia
ps: i've mentored thousands of aspiring writers over the last few years and probably 99% of them had no real 'talent'... but every single one of them loved writing and was able to at least improve the quality of their work... as far as i know, none of them quit, even when/if they had to face the fact that they weren't 'born' to be great [or even good] writers...
I believe there is a level of talent each person possesses in almost every area of endeavor, including writing ability.
No matter how hard an athlete works and how many hours and years he trains, he may not make the gymnastics Olympic team. He may be very good, and be able to impress the locals and win regional competitions, but he will max out and go no further.
Someone may struggle with mathematics. That does not mean that he, after long hours of study and practice, cannot pass Calculus? No. But will he ascend to becoming a mathematics professor secure a top career as an actuary? I suspect not.
Someone may study music and practice and practice at the piano, but most will reach a limit or ceiling of ability/level of play far below that of an international concert pianist. Playing at the local church, or the town orchestra/symphony--etc., by all means.
The thing is, one does not know how far he can go without giving an extended, honest effort. Or that is how I see it. One doesn't know how far his writing abilities will go or take him, unless he puts the time into learning and developing the skills (some would say craft) to the limit his God-given talent takes him.
And as I indicated: Talent is not the only factor in the 'writing equation', but it is one of them, I believe.
I would also add that if one loves writing, talent aside, that individual will be much happier than an author who has the talent and success (being published) but really has come to hate writing.
It depends on what you want to do.
If you love writing just for the idea of being published, for the romanticized view of being a writer, you may have a problem. You'll be miserable at least part of the time for it.
If you love writing because you love crafting stories, because you have a voice and you're determined to get it on paper no matter what, keep writing. If writing is your passion, then you should write, even if you're no good at it. For example, I'm no good at art, but I love to draw. I will continue to draw.
Some people write for years and years and never get much better, just as those who draw for many years never get better, either. However, I firmly believe that if a writer practices every day, strives to improve, and is open to all and any comments that might further his writing, a writer will attain some degree of mastery in his craft. Maybe he won't be publishable. Maybe he'll never be "critcally acclaimed", but he'll have his pride and the knowledge that he worked hard for what he loved.
Talent is such a subjective thing. It's like beauty.
According to the online Merriam-Webster dictionary, talent is "a special often athletic, creative, or artistic aptitude". If you love writing, you already have some aptitude for it (or it never would have drawn you in the first place,) so you therefore have at least some talent. Remember that talent isn't necessarily what makes a great writer. There are a lot of talented slobs out in the world. What matters is what you do with the talent and ability you have available to you. You can use it well or you can use it poorly. Choose.
There comes a time when you're writing when you realize talent doesn't matter so much as drive does.
talent can only take you so far
If you love it deeply enough, you'll be able to find it in yourself to work hard at it until some talent develops. (And as others have been saying, even if talent doesn't develop, that doesn't really matter unless you're trying to get published. I'm not, though I work on improving as much as I can, and I love writing.)
I'm of the mind that much talent is inborn somehow, otherwise EVERYBODY who tries hard at something would succeed. A lot of people don't, so there must, at least in some cases, be something already existing there. But you never know until you try hard to work at it and improve. Maybe the talent is already there but just needs some working on. And there's never any harm in working hard to improve. You can only get better.
Having a strong desire to write is the first and most important step.
dscott, the key is to keep writing whether you and others think you have talent or not. It´s the only way you´ll ever improve. And besides, there´s an old adage that says 'One man´s junk is another man´s treasure'. Not everyone will like everything you write, but what some hate, others will love.
Just as everyone has said, never ever stop writing. I know sometimes it’s hard to write, but maybe that is the best time to push the limits of your mind. I would much rather write comedy, because it isn't painful. Interestingly though, I write sad scenes far better than funny ones.
By the way, having read some of your stuff I would say you have a huge potential talent. Just don't stop writing.
Talent is no inborn. Although genetics is a hot topic these days, and science is continually pointing to genetic components of a persons behavior, it only takes you so far. For me talent is a forumla: work+determination+perseverance+learning=talent. Most people just want the talent to happen and they are not willing to put in the time and work that makes talent seem to come naturally.
Keep it up, the longer you are at it the more talent you will have/gain.
Passion versus talent. Interesting contrast.
My best friend is a world class martial artist. One time, I watched two of his newer students as they learned a new Wing Chun "form". The first student was a young man with great speed and agility. He learned the form quickly and with a minimum of repetition. The other student was a bit older and suffered an obvious lack of athleticism. He spent the entire class practicing one short element of the form, trying to get it down correctly.
Over the next year, the young man progressed through several levels of performance and became a decent mid-level martial artist, receiving recognition for his achievements. The older man, continued to struggle as he progressed slowly and received very few accolades from his peers.
I asked my friend, "Do you think George will ever get a red sash?"
He replied, "George will be the successful one over time."
"How do you know that?" I was a bit surprised. "He hasn't even reached the middle forms yet and it has been a year."
"George is patient. He is learning the art for a lifetime. Rob is learning the art for the moment. Yes, Rod has a lot of natural talent, but he relies on his talent to learn quickly rather than hard work to learn permanently. There are many talented failures in the world but very few hard-working failures."
It has now been fifteen years since my friend and I had that conversation. George is still in training. He is a leader in the school and well respected by the younger members. His level of competence is second only to the school's Sifu, my friend. Rob has long since left the martial arts in search of his next "great adventure". He took with him nothing, as the few martial arts skills "learned" will soon evaporate in his shallow pool of experience.
If you truly have a "passion" for writing, and you continue to study your craft, then writing success is almost assured. Success doesn't mean you'll write the next national best-seller; rather, it means you will become at peace with the quality or your work and your peers will regard you with respect. All the rest is just marketing.
I've spoken with a fair number of experienced people and read several books on writing. Many of them put "talent," as a character trait, at a lower level than "dedication," "interest level" or "persistence."
Steven King's book, On Writing, has a little bit of contradictory stuff. First, he talks about his own efforts at getting published - he wrote every day, and sent in what he wrote, and collected many dozens of rejection slips which he stuck up on a nail on the wall where he could see them. And he kept writing, and eventually a couple of short stories sold, and then he kept writing, and another few stories sold. After several years of this he was selling more-or-less regularly, and working full-time to pay the bills.
He also talks about how he believes that some people are sort of naturally "great" authors and some are "good" and some are "average" and some are "bad." Now, as far as I can tell, he believes that it is quite hard for "good" authors to become "great" and for "bad" to become "average", but he believes that "average" can become "good" if they work hard.
I agree with this up to a point. If you are "bad", you should keep writing - the practice is priceless, and over many months will lead to improvements which will boost you up to "average" and then "good." There are a few people who have written a lot and who are still "bad" - but these are few and far between; in most cases, "bad" authors are inexperienced ones who never found a reason to work on improving their writing, or they are people who give up right away. I do agree with him that "great" writers are hard to come by - and I think some of this is because "good" writers often are satisfied with their work and may not keep striving for improvement.
Science fiction author David Gerrold put it this way: (I'm paraphrasing since I don't have the book in front of me, but it's from Worlds of Wonder: How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy.) "I've met a fair number of people who have so much raw talent with words that it made me burn with envy. You've never heard of any of them. In nine of ten cases, they never finished what they started, so no one else ever read what they wrote - even when it was so well-written it might have put other published authors to shame."
In Dr. Jerry Pournelle's essay on writing, he recommends a goal of a million words. It should take you around that many words to find a writing style that works for you, to practice writing characters and fitting in plots and adding surprises or twists to a story in such a way that the readers enjoy it instead of feeling like the author just cheated.
And what do I know? Well, I have kept a record of my old writing. It was ... well, call it interesting and leave it at that. My first story was about a pack of dogs living in a town under the sewers - and the MC was a wolf/Dalmatian hybrid - and he got framed for biting a girl, and wound up having to run away, and ended up as part of a mildly outlaw/rebellious group of dogs whose job was to forage for food for the town...
Yeah. It was kinda bad.
But I'm writing far higher-quality material now, at least as far as I can tell. I've improved on my ability to write interesting and well-rounded characters, and I've learned to excise the passive voice wherever I can. Hopefully I'll write something that will get published in the near future. (Oh, wait. This may sound ironic, but I actually just remembered that MIT's ezine "Angles" recently accepted a piece I wrote for an expository writing class last semester. Talk about a memory like a sieve ... sheesh.)
So it seems that my work has paid off. I started writing for fun a long time ago, and began saving my work electronically in the fifth grade. I'm now a college student, just finished with her freshman year, and although I haven't written much for several years, the material that I have written seems to have improved immensely when compared to the stuff I was producing even three and four years ago.
I want to thank everyone for their stories and notes of encouragement. You don't know how much that meant to me. Thank you so much and I will think about each and every one of your respondes, suggestions, and advice. I do love writing. I love creating stories but I've always dreamed of being published. But you all are right. For now, I will just enjoy the stories that I create and maybe my skill will improve enough to get published. Writing is practice and practice is the best way to learn!
Thank you all so much!!!!!!!
Well, dscott25, I've asked myself your question before. What if I lack the talent? I've heard a lot of arguements about this. Some people say talent has to be born and can't be picked up along the way. But I don't really believe in that. I don't think anybody who read my work from ten years ago and then read what I write today would recognize it as coming from the same author. That's why I don't believe in the talent-must-come-naturally theory.
So if you're worried about lacking the talent, my solution is to write more and work hard at it every day. Sooner or later, I believe that will improve just about everyone's work. I'm not saying it'll make any of us amazing writers. There's no question that writing flows more easily from some than from others, but I do believe practice makes a huge difference. Bigger maybe than anything we are naturally born with...
Thank you ParanormalWriter. I appreciate it. That's what I'll do then. Write, write, and then write some more! LOL
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