Friday, September 11, 2009

Talent and Hard Work

Like many things related to the world of writing there is much debate over the importance of talent versus hard work. Many a beginning author (myself included) has spent needless hours worrying about whether or not they have the required talent to write at any sort of professional level. Others feel cheated when they hear that the important thing is working hard, not whether you have oodles of talent to begin with.

The dilemma, here, is in the definition. How do we distinguish “talent” from “skill”? Guess what? In the end it doesn’t matter.

Here is the skinny on "talent" versus "hard work". Look at something you wrote today. Now compare it to something you wrote a year ago. Or ten years ago. Have you improved?

"I have," you say.

Great. Now, tell me: did you improve because your natural talent blossomed or because you were busting your butt practicing your craft?

"Well," you say. "I don't know. How can I tell?"

You can't, so stop worrying about it and write.


Sensei Robyn said...

You're right. Though the debate can be interesting, only how hard we work is within our control. If we want to write, working hard and studying our craft and the world around us is all we can do. Why worry about talent when there's nothing we can do about it?

Wayne K said...

I have talent and I work hard, so no debate needed. :D


A.G. Carpenter said...

Robin: Yeah there's not much we can do about talent. And I've met a lot of slackers who don't put in the work because 'Oh, I've got real talent' and in the end you wind up never hearing about them because they never produce anything.

Wayne: Yup. I agree. And I'm not saying there's anything wrong with saying "I've got talent." But it's not something any writer should bank on. It's putting in the effort (either to improve or just get the damn book written) that is what will count in the long run. ;)