Talent or Skill?

…”talent” is what people say you have after you have worked like h— for years to Be A Novelistimprove yourself.”   – Jack Bickham

My fellow Okie, and master storyteller, the late Jack Bickham (The Apple Dumpling Gang) clearly sliced it and diced it with this comment!

As a long-time writing instructor, editor, and writer’s conference speaker, I often heard murmur of voices wondering, ”Do I have the talent to write?”

Wrong Question

Wrong question.  Always and forever – wrong question.

Want to know the right question?  Are you ready for this?

Right Question

“I’m sure I have the basic talent to write.  However, do I have the fortitude, determination, stick-to-itiveness, will power, and sheer unadulterated passion to work hard enough and to apply myself to study and practice to become the best author I can possibly be? And if not — how can I get there?

Now that is a question placed in the correct perspective.

During the nine or so years that I was on staff for an international correspondence writing school, I crossed paths with every type of personality imaginable.  My students were from all walks of life, from all parts of the US, and a few from overseas.

Is Talent the Determining Factor?

I watched with increased bewilderment at how many extremely talented individuals had little or no respect for their gifts and talents in writing.  It was as though they knew they were good, and that gave them a right to be flippant and nonchalant with their talents. They seemed to resent instruction and guidance.

Be A NovelistOn the other hand, there were those humble folk who, at first glance, appeared to have a mere modicum of natural writing talent.  But they hung on to every critique that was given them like a drowning man in a stormy sea clings to a life saver. They worked hard, they studied, they incorporated suggested edits and changes.  The growth in their skills was clearly evident from one lesson assignment to the next.

Sometimes it made me sit back and just shake my head in wonder.

How much weight did the basic natural talent have in these situations?  The talent was simply the starting point; the cornerstone upon which the building was then erected.

If you are overly concerned about whether or not you do indeed have any writing talent,Be A Novelist my suggestion is to stop wasting time looking in that direction. Instead, invest that time to get busy and give your all to enhance the talents you do have and add to your novel-writing skills on a daily basis.

Then you will be a novelist of the highest caliber.


If you enjoyed this motivational and educational blog, you can start enhancing your writing skills right here at the Be A Novelist website. 

One thought on “Talent or Skill?

  1. Pingback: Can Novel Writing be Taught? | Be A Novelist

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