Tag Archives: talent

6 myths about writing

As with any other profession, you will face many opinions from different people when it comes to writing, who may, most of the time, have no idea what they’re talking about. Let’s talk about the 6 most common myths you’ll hear about writing.

1. Talent does everything

You’ll hear this from those people who say “oh you’re amazing, you’re gonna do it” and from the other side, those who say “hmmm, you’re not good enough…”. It doesn’t matter who tells you this: it’s wrong.

What makes a writer isn’t the talent, but the commitment. No one was born a great writer, you need persistence and hard work.

2. You have to be lucky

You might not think of it like that, but people will tell you this just so you can have a good excuse for failure. Don’t listen to them. Luck is good indeed, but what is it exactly? What you really need is to be positive and persistent!

Resist your fears, your insecurities and just keep on writing, your opportunity will come.

3. You need to live for it

Don’t quit your job yet, nor neglect your family! You don’t necessarily need to do that, nor would I recommend it. Your family, your peace of mind, these things are important too and a good safety net for any unfortunate moments helps stave off any worries when it comes to the moments where you should be writing.

Writing is in itself a habit, you must fit it into your routine and do it every day, even if you may only get 5 or 10 minutes to do it. It’s worth it.

4. Description is boring

We spend an entire afternoon writing the perfect description of a scene and someone tells us that it’s not important and it is boring. Let me tell you: it’s not if you did it the right way.

The descriptions are what make us imagine and feel as though we were inside the story, and without them, these stories would seem empty. However, enough is enough, so don’t give your readers big chunks of information all at once. Place your descriptions naturally inside your scenes and let them flow, without lingering on for way too long. You’ll see that this works wonders.

5. You must describe meticulously each and every character when you introduce them

This is something you might feel is true, especially if you’re a beginner, but it couldn’t be farther from it. Actually, the best way to describe a character, while keeping your reader curious and interested in your story, is to do it gradually, letting them get a feel for things and construct their own thoughts and theories, as they are getting to really know it, page by page.

Giving insight into their personality via their actions, instead of writing it down directly, might also be a very interesting way to get your readers to know your character on a deeper level whilst keeping them interested in how the story is unfolding.

6. The beginning

In order to be a writer, you must start! Not tomorrow, today. Right now. Do not wait for your kids to grow, or for you to get to retirement to write that novel you’ve always wanted. Writing is a long and arduous process, so begin right now. And have some fun!

Skill vs. Talent – Which Do You Have?

by Ryan Lanz

  • tal·ent [tal-uhnt] noun: a special natural ability or aptitude.
  • skill [skil] noun: the ability, coming from one’s knowledge, practice, aptitude, etc., to do something well.

What if you don’t have natural talent? Does that mean you may as well give up?

 

It’s not quite the chicken or the egg debate, but it’s up there. I’ve heard people go in circles about which comes first and which is necessary. At what combination of both does one continue the grind and attempt at success? I’d be surprised if you haven’t asked yourself that question. It’s a part of being human.

 

What does each really mean?
This comes from the university of my opinion, but I would describe talent as the natural ability that needs little to no refinement, and skill is the unnatural ability that you have to develop. For those of us who’ve played sports (myself excluded), I’m sure you’ve all encountered someone who strides onto the field and makes it all look so darn effortless.

This person hardly shows up to practice, and you have a fairly good idea that it took hardly any effort to accomplish. Same with the person who aced every test in college with little preparation, leaving you in study hall time after time with a bucket of coffee. You must have missed at least three parties because you had to cram for the Calculus exam, right?

 

Which is better?
Good question. And one not so easily answered. Sure, we would all like natural talent that we don’t have to pour so much effort into, but sometimes that doesn’t quite pan out. Often, we are born with enough talent to have an affinity for a profession, but the rest has to be made up with skill. In writing, there are dozens of abilities that need to be present to make a good novel, such as foreshadowing, prose, description, natural dialogue, pacing, etc.

Let’s say that you have a knack for writing dialogue, but your setting description rambles on and on. The squeaky wheel gets the oil, and you’ll have to practice at writing setting description over time to develop it into a skill, even if it’s not a natural talent. To be fair, natural talent does get you to the goal quicker.


Related: Finishing a Book is a Skill


 

The combination of the two
If Tiger Woods is not the best golf player of all time, then he comes very close. He started golfing on professional courses at the age of two years old and was featured in a golf magazine at the age of five. Tiger spent 545 weeks combined total as the world number one. In my opinion, that is some superb natural talent. Although Tiger has mounds of it, he still had a golfing coach (and probably still does) through most of his career. That’s combining the natural with the refined skill that creates that sweet spot. Think about how you can make a similar combination.

 

Is it so bad if you don’t have natural talent? Should you give up?
The one downside to having natural talent is that you don’t have as much appreciation for the effort. Let’s look at two writers: one who writes his/her first book and quickly becomes published, and the other is a writer who labors for ten years to even become noticed. Both eventually become published and successful, let’s say. I think it’s fair to say that the latter writer has more appreciation for the effort of the craft. There are small nuances of writing that I feel are best represented when someone has to massage and mold their skill over the long-term.

I believe that about anyone can accomplish about anything if they were to dedicate their entire life to it, even if that person doesn’t have a drop of natural talent. Ask yourself what craft you can accomplish if you were to invest 20 years to its perfection. So, no, don’t simply give up on it. You may have been born with talent in a profession you’re not interested in. That’s okay, just work to catch up in a profession that you are.

 

Conclusion
If you sharpen your skill enough, people will believe that you’ve had talent from the very beginning, regardless of how much you actually had to start with.

 

Original post here.

Guest post contributed by Ryan Lanz. Ryan is an avid blogger and author of The Idea Factory: 1,000 Story Ideas and Writing Prompts to Find Your Next Bestseller. You can also find him on TwitterFacebook, and Tumblr