There are some seriously talented writers out there. These talented writers get millions in sales, constant praise, and have great success with each book. What makes them so successful? Some may think these writers are successful because of talent. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Sure, some writers have natural talent, but that’s not what makes them successful.
You may be surprised to hear that most successful writers have almost no talent at all. How did they get to where they are? Three words: practice, practice, and more practice. Writing is a skill. Talented writers who found great success did so by spending hour after hour improving their craft. Talent got them nowhere.
Unfortunately, some seem to think that only talent can propel writers to success. This is a common misconception. In this post, I will give you the secret ingredient to success: skill!
The Myth of Talent
The myth of talent is so powerful that it can ruin your entire career. If you think you have enough talent and don’t need to practice, you’re dead wrong. Let’s take Dave for example.
Dave grew up with constant praise from his parents and teachers.
“Dave is so talented! He will grow up to be a great author someday.”
“Wow Dave, you have some serious talent!”
From age five, Dave’s parents have coddled him with approval. Nobody ever criticized him. Nobody questioned his methods or techniques. Everybody saw Dave as the talented writer. As Dave grew up, he found he could ace all of his papers without any effort at all.
This gave Dave a false sense of how the real world worked. He grew up thinking he could get by without any practice at all. His buddy Steven was a polar opposite of Dave. Steven understood the value of hard work. Steven, too, wanted to become a great author, but nobody believed in him.
“I don’t understand why you spend 4 hours on a single research paper.” Dave would tell Steven.
The truth is, Steven had it all figured out. He knew that talent was a myth and hard work is the only way to truly get good at something.
Despite constant discouragement, Steven continued to hone his craft.
Steven wrote thousands of words every day. Dave, on the other hand, coasted on his success through high school, passing every paper with ease. Dave believed success was a god-given gift. After high school, both Dave and Steven parted ways to start their own writing careers.
Years later, Dave found himself struggling. His writing mediocre, motivation low, and bank account empty. Dave had no idea what happened. Did he lose his talent? Dave wasn’t prepared for failure, so he gave up on writing and decided to pursue a career elsewhere.
Dave never received the opportunity to learn the secret to success. As a result, he failed as a writer. Dave simply couldn’t rely on his talent
Steven, on the other hand, worked harder after high school. He wrote every morning, made business calls, and eventually got published. A year down the line, Steven owned a successful self-publishing business. Two of his books were national best-sellers and he had more money than he could handle. Steven never lost his good work ethic. If he stopped working hard, his writing and career would suffer.
There is one element that separated Steven from Dave. That one element is skill. You get in what you put out. Talent will fail you down the road; skill becomes a part of you.
There’s No Way Around It
Even if you’re talented, you still need to practice. Talent will only give you a small boost. Skill is the fuel source. The more skill you have, the farther you will go. There may be ways to be more productive, but there is not a way around skill. You have to practice; there are no shortcuts.
If you are trying to find shortcuts to success, you are wasting your time. Shortcuts may help you, but they won’t make you a great writer. The only true way to get better is to sit down and just write. You need to write words, lots of them. You need to learn. You need to keep practicing. If you have talent, great, but don’t let it stop you from practicing. After all, everybody has some kind of talent when it comes to writing.
To sum it up: skilled writers are always more successful than talented writers. Any famous author will tell you that. If you feel like you’re stuck in a rut, don’t worry. You’re not stuck because you lack talent, you’re stuck because you need to sit down and write. It doesn’t matter what it’s about, just keep practicing. I sound like a broken record here, but this is important stuff!
Have an opinion on talent? Feel free to share them in the comments below!