Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Writing, It Isn't Easy.

That is the honest to goodness truth. Writing isn’t easy. It’s downright hard. No one ever publishes a book overnight. It takes the idea seeding, lots of pen on paper (or fingers on keyboard), drafting, redrafting, drafting again, queries, heartbreak, more queries, more heart wrenching, deals, nail biting, etc. A book is not written, nor is it published over night.

It takes talent. Loads of talent, to pick up a pen and write a novel. And then it takes a shit load of gumption and courage to put yourself out their, expose your brain child to the scrutinizing eyes of others, to be observed and critiqued by other people. It is human nature to want to please others, and to fear criticism. No one wants to hear someone bashing something they’ve invested pieces of their soul in, something they are emotionally invested in. They want everyone else to love it just as much as they do.

And that isn’t always the case. I think it is a fair bet to say anyone reading this post does understand what I mean, everyone struggles to pull words together and form sentences you’re proud of sentences, ideas, characters, who you want to share with the world. It just isn’t easy.

Now I believe everyone is born with a natural talent. This opinion may not be one you share, I’ve run into plenty of people who don’t agree with me; that is fine. Natural talents can be anything. Anything. From being able to tie cherry stems into knots in your mouth, to figuring out the quadrillionth digit of pi in your head. But regardless of how much natural talent you have, you cannot succeed without practice. I do not care if you are born with the gift to speak parseltounge—if you never once attempt to communicate with a snake you’ll never know you can. Or if you know you can, and choose not to flex that muscle—because if you don’t use it you loose it—then fifteen years after you last communicated with a snake you’ll be at a loss for slippery syllables.

It works the other way too though. You don’t have to have the natural talent to succeed. Am I making any sense? Uh lemme try to clarify. A violinist who is dyslexic struggles to read their music, they are tone def, and have no sense of rhythm. However they found something they love, the violin, and they are not going to let any of those things inhibit them from playing in the orchestra and kicking ass. It isn’t natural talent that gets that violinist the solo, it is their persistence, their refusal to give up and courage to keep going on even when the odds are stacked against them.

What I’m trying to say is that it takes work not just random coincidence that just so happens to get you published. You can be the best wordsmith around but just having the ability to construct a sentence with beautiful prose means nothing if you don’t do something with it. You also could be the most inexperienced, unsuspecting, person who happens to write fifteen drafts of a novel, and works with everything they have to improve it, and ends up taking the publishing world by storm and making history.

Success was not built on natural talent, because having the natural talent means nothing if you don’t use it. Success is built on determination, practice and persistence. Not luck or chance of any of those kinds of things. Success is what you make it, what you mold it to be.

Writing a book is hard. Getting represented is hard. Getting published may indeed be the hardest feat of all. But you can’t let yourself be derailed or discouraged by the idea that you lack natural talent, or allow yourself to become blinded with the natural talent you have and never work on that skill.

Writing is hard.

After all if it was easy, everyone would do it.

2 comments:

emery said...

i think this quote is SO applicable to writing: "hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard."

also: "the harder i work, the luckier i get." ;)

Hayley said...

Perfect Em!