Why Talent is Overrated in Writing

by | Oct 2, 2017 | Writing Tips

What stops many people from writing is the belief that they have no talent. This is what I think about talent:

Talent isn’t enough: talent guarantees zilch. It’s not a ticket to a publishing deal let alone a bestseller. It’s not even a boarding pass. It may get you to the terminal, but it has nothing to do with take-off, and even less to do with the journey and the arrival at our destination. Getting to where we want to go, is strangely disconnected from talent and has more to do with stamina. People who are blissfully untalented, often succeed where exquisite writers fail, largely because they have muscle in places the ‘talented’ neglect.

Talent often tags along with serious neurosis: those who are brilliantly gifted writers, are often serious nut cases. I say this with great affection. They are blessed with a form of self-consciousness that is at once both their writing strength (it makes their writing glimmer with depth and takes a reader into some of the most hard-to-reach internal spaces), but turned on itself, can be paralysing. They over-analyse and overthink ‘what others will say?’ They become crippled with self-doubt and shattering vulnerability. So they self-sabotage. They don’t write. They don’t finish.

 

The 7 Day Writing Challenge

WINGS: Words Inspire, Nourish and Grow the Spirit

Talent infers a false sense of entitlement: having a natural talent for writing doesn’t make us special. Believing we’ll be discovered with little to no effort, based on one or two off-the-wall success stories of famous writers who became multi-millionaires overnight is a little, well, delusional. No matter how good we are, we are all subject to the same rules of the game: hard work, perseverance and refining our craft. Talent is not a short-cut, although it might give us a head start. Hares are outrun by tortoises who put one foot in front of the other.

If you’re fortunate to have natural talent – mazeltov. For the rest of us, writing is damn hard work. And funnily enough, the more we practice, the more talented we become. As Gary Player famously said of his golfing success, ‘The more I practice, the luckier I get.’

Joanne Fedler

Joanne Fedler

Author, writing mentor, retreat leader. I’m an internationally bestselling author of nine books, inspirational speaker and writing mentor. I’ve had books published in just about every genre- fiction, non-fiction, self-help, memoir – by some of the top publishing houses in the world. My books have sold over 650 000 copies and have been translated in a range of languages. Two of my books have been #1 Amazon bestsellers, and at one point the German edition of Secret Mothers’ Business outsold Harry Potter- crazy, right?

A Harvest of Hindsight: My top 10 insights about publishing for aspiring authors

My being here is actually not about me. It’s about you. My new book is about you – and your story. So I thought what would be the most helpful input I could give you, as an unpublished author at this point in your writing journey. Here are my top 10 insights or lessons that I’ve learned over the past 12 years as a published author. Things I wish I’d known. A harvest of hindsight in the hope that it will help you to get more quickly where you want to go.

How to Teach Boys to Respect Girls

Before my son was born, I didn’t think it was my problem to raise good men. I’d been working with raped and battered women as a women’s rights advocate for many years, and had seen my share of sexist atrocities by men-gone-wrong. My aim was to get justice for women –...

8 Reasons to Write Your Story

As an author and writing mentor, my days are spent writing stories and helping others to write theirs. But every writer I’ve ever worked with (myself included) throws themselves down this emotional garbage chute: why should I write my story? Who will care? What does it matter?

Where Is My Writing Voice?

When I heard the question, “How do I find my writing voice?” I had this vision of searching my house. Looking behind the cushions on the couch, checking amongst the debris long forgotten in the back of my wardrobe, maybe even turning out the rubbish bin in my...

Not Pretty Enough

I was never a pretty girl. Not for want of trying or wishing. But there it was. I longed to be someone other people refer to as ‘adorable’ but there was always too much of me for it not to sound ironic. My father put it straight very early on. ‘You will never be a model, my darling,’ he said as if it truly did not matter.

How to Salvage Your Writing from the Crematorium of Cliche

Aspiring writers sometimes ask me, ‘How can I write like you?’ The answer is, ‘You don’t want to write like me, you want to write like you. You want to find your writing voice, and that will be nothing like mine.’ But I get what people are really asking me. They’re...

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This