I know, this blog entry on Just Effing Entertain Me is close to old (18th of Feburary), but I found that it lingered in my mind.
Julie Gray writes about Talent.
“Can talent be taught or are you just born with it? Have you got it? How do you know?”
Then she writes a list with things that might tell that you have a natural writing talent and a list with indications that you don’t.
Now, to be frank and bold, I feel I have a writing talent, no matter what Julie Gray may think. But I must admit I got rather pleased when I her criteria for writing talent actually matched me quite well.
“You have been writing from a very early age and have always delighted parents, teachers, friends and relatives with what you wrote. You started to believe them and kept writing. It was a thrill.”
“You obsess over words – you love to define and understand them. You will stop writing something for 20 minutes until you find just the perfect word for that sentence. Then you’ll change it six more times before you’re satisfied.”
“You freak out when other people use or spell words incorrectly.”
“You are never satisfied with your writing; you’re pretty sure you suck.”
This is pretty much me. (Except that when I write I am very satisfied with the result. It is later, when it’s done and I get some distance I’m sure it sucks.)
Gee, I got a Writing Talent!
But then I looked at the list indicating that I don’t have this asset.
“You compare writing to needing to breathe. You make much of this, wear a beret and have a poster of Ernest Hemingway in your bedroom.”
Well. . . I used to. Not a beret and Ernest Hemingway of course because we have Swedish national treasures, but the same spirit.
“You ask other people if they liked your writing. This does not embarrass you.”
“You are convinced that you will rush to the top of the heap once your talent is recognized and think bitterly about the fact that it hasn’t yet happened. This fundamental unfairness bothers you a great deal.”
This was me too. When I was younger.
And it was this that made me think and finally write this blog entry.
These are not lists indicating lack or presence of Writing Talent. They are lists pinpointing the maturity in your writing process.
If Talent is something you are born with, something that Julie Gray believes, then I must have had Talent when I was bitter about that nobody had discovered me and I compared writing to breathing too. I was just in another phase than now.
I was told I had a knack for writing when I was a kid. It took me years to realize that this talent alone would not bring me fortune and glory, but hard work might do the trick. My guess is that many writers go through this process.
Considering this, I think it is most unfair of Julie Gray to claim that someone behaving immature and believing they are Gods in their writing, simply don’t have talent for writing.
The writer may not achieve anything in this state, but if he/she passes through this phase as I did, the writing will probably approve and reach heights unthought-of.
All quotations are taken from the blog entry by Julie Gray