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?

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...

I Am Well if You Are Well

I was a week away from my due date. I was enormous and uncomfortable as I stood barefoot on the deserted beach. I had survived the past year. Barely. Grief and sadness swirled in me like aurora borealis. Birth demands hope. You have to be an optimist to bring new life...

How to Write a Book: A Focus on Conviction

How to Write a Book Part 1: A Focus on ConvictionI have a friend whose ex-husband drove an Uber for a while. As soon as there was a surge, he’d drop everything, and jump into his car to take advantage of the higher fee. It caused chaos in their family life. She...

Writing about Ourselves So That Others Will Read It

  When we write about ourselves, it’s not dissimilar to writing about a fictional or imaginary character. In Hemingway’s iceberg, we see that what we need to know about a character is vast compared to what we show. This depth of knowledge helps us to...

Vision Quest

When I was two, I almost went blind in my right eye. A close friend of my mother`s had noticed that my left eye was not tracking properly. It was turning out so that it appeared misaligned, and so a trip to the eye doctor`s was quickly arranged. I was examined and...

A Man’s Job

There is, however, a fine line between an acceptance of these jobs as ‘natural’ and the slippery slope into boorish gender stereotypes in which I am invariably left unshod with a frilly apron at the kitchen sink. Whilst I can do anything if I wish to, I do believe there are certain tasks I, as a woman, am simply and without further explanation excused from. I don’t want to get into a conversation about it and I don’t want to fight about it.

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.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