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Friday, December 11, 2009

Were you born with it?

I find myself having these strange conversations lately with people who get quite heated over the various points of view that are being expressed. Last week it was writing groups, this week it was whether or not a person is born with writing "talent".

Now, this topic is one that I've flip-flopped on over the years. When I was younger, and very much influenced by those around me, I remember being told that good writers are born with talent and no matter what a bad writer does to try to improve, they never will be able to. Why? Well, because they just weren't born with it.

And I believed it then. Which probably helped with giving me a not so healthy dose of self-consciousness and harsh self-criticism when it came to my "talent" as a writer. I have always been my own worst critic.

I do believe that some people are born with the need, drive, instinct to commit word to paper. I do believe that some people are born to be writers in some form or other. We are pestered with this nagging sense of duty to write, write, write. I remember having this urge from the time that I was a young child...in fact, I wrote my first novel when I was six. I still have it. It's called The Fuzzy Wuzzles. It doesn't make a lot of sense, there is a plot, but the spelling is so terrible that I can hardly figure out what I was trying to say. There are some pretty crazy pictures to go with it as well! So I've had the need to write since I was very young.

Do I believe that people are born with talent?

I don't really know. I know that there are some writers who really appeal to me as a reader and some who do not. It is a matter of preference and perspective.

I believe that some people may need to work at it a little harder than others and some people come into their mature voice and "talent" at an earlier age then others. I also believe that practice is essential to improve one's writing ability and that persistance, perserverance and drive are necessary to make it in the publishing world.

What do you all think? Are you born with it or can you work at becoming a "talented" writer?


  1. I had studied opera years ago, but had learned too fast that my voice was by far big enough to fill an auditorium. Sad. My dream shattered. BUT, throughout my musical experience, I watched a couple of friends go from "tone deaf" to singing beautiful, flowing solos. I suspect that it isn't talent alone, because we can have talent for something but not necessarily the drive. It's the drive to Be that makes us good writers, singers--artists.

  2. An inate talent can be honed through practice, and I believe the ability to write creatively is inate. There are writers who work hard but have no sense of rythmn. Then there's drive, some of us have it only intermittently.

  3. I'll say it can go both ways. Seems there are plenty of published writers out there who seemingly had more luck than natural ability.

    On the other hand, I think the best writers have a natural talent right from the start. That's not to say they didn't have to work at improving their craft - they did (and still do).