Terri Guiliano Long wrote a wonderful post that really resonated with me. If you haven't read it yet, I strongly urge you to jump over and read Why Work Matters More Than Talent.
*elevator music plays*
In summary, she asks these questions:
- What is talent, anyway?
- If we can't define talent, how can we possibly know if we have it?
She makes an excellent point that with writing, we control how hard we work. We each have varying levels of talent, and yet it's the hard work that makes the biggest difference. An incredibly talented writer won't get very far if she fails to produce pages or improve her skills. Likewise, a s0-so writer can work hard, learn new things every day, and spring ahead. I find that comforting.
It's fair to say that most of us probably have days when we feel like talentless hacks. (Or is that just me?) Feeling that way on one day doesn't mean we don't have talent. It just means we're having an off day. We have the choice to either quit or keep working, and I know most of us choose to keep working.
Long quotes Stephen King's yardstick for talent--"you wrote something for which someone sent you a check...you cashed the check and it didn't bounce." Even if you've never received money for your writing, have you improved with each piece you've written? Has an online magazine published your work? Has an agent requested a partial or full? Doesn't this prove you have talent?
We can't control what other people think of our words, but thankfully we're blessed with the opportunity to nurture our talent through hard work.
If you read Long's post, were you inspired? And what's your opinion on talent vs. hard work? I'd love to hear your thoughts.
And if you need additional inspiration, be sure to read Tahereh Mafi's post Don't Be Afraid to Write a Bad Book. It's amazing.