Friday, July 29, 2011

Talents Are Weaknesses

In my previous post, said that writers with a natural ability to tell good stories will be equal to writers who had to learn and practice how to tell good stories once they have acquired and internalized those skills. That's not entirely true.

The person with natural talent may have the same ability, but does not have the same knowledge. The person who learned how to tell a good story knows what makes a story compelling, interesting, attractive, and also knows specifically how to do those things.

Talents are weaknesses. They may appear to be strengths, and they certainly make life easier to a degree, but it's kind of like cheating. To have ability that you didn't have to struggle or fight for, it's almost like you didn't earn it. You don't know what it's like to not have it. And because of that, you don't understand to the same degree what its worth, value, and total capabilities are.

I consider myself to be a talented writer. I easily come up with story ideas. I easily tell compelling stories. I have a very good vocabulary and can use it quite effectively. However, I was very limited because of that. When I started out, I thought I was already at the top. That was very wrong. I had (and still have) so very much to learn. I had to get that realization beaten into me. And once I finally realized that, I then had to figure out all the same lessons as everybody else. I had to learn what good writing was, why it was effective, how to make it work. But on top of that, I also had to learn what bad, ineffective writing was, and how to avoid it.

In terms of writing, I consider myself talented, but educated. I have spent a great deal of time studying my craft, as well as practicing and honing it. Although ideas come to me, good sentences come to me, proper grammar comes to me, I can also explain where those ideas come from, why those sentences are good, and why a grammar rule is what it is.

If there is something you naturally excel at, enjoy it for what it is. If you naturally excel at something, and you want to make it be a career or serious pursuit, then you better study and study hard, because relying on your talent will get you killed.

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