Wednesday, March 31, 2010

An Interview and a Question - Is Talent Necessary?

First of all, I wanted to let everyone know that the awesome writing sisters over at Shooting Stars, Bethany Wiggins and Suzette Saxton, are hosting an Authorly Journeys Week. Several writers are hosting these interviews this week, for those who haven't seen them yet :) Today, Suzy and Beth have an interview with me posted. Head on over to their blog and be sure to stay a while! These ladies are two of the most talented writers I know :)

I came across these quotes the other day and they got me thinking. So I wanted to pick your brains about them :)

Quotes for the Day:

Real seriousness in regard to writing is one of two absolute necessities. 
The other, unfortunately, is talent.
~Ernest Hemingway

I see the notion of talent as quite irrelevant. I see instead perseverance, application, industry, assiduity, will, will, will, desire, desire, desire.
~Gordon Lish

Two great authors, two differing opinions. I tend to fall in the middle. I think you can get quite a ways with sheer hard work and stubbornness. I do firmly believe that if you don't have the drive, passion, and work ethic to put in the time it takes, no amount of talent is going to help you. Perhaps if you have really good editors, you can get away with not having any talent, but you still have to put in the work to get those editors. 

I guess, in a nutshell, I think they go hand in hand. You have to have the will and desire along with the talent. Perhaps the more talented among us have an easier time in some areas - maybe they don't have to revise as much or have an easier time coming up with fresh ideas or new ways of saying something. While I don't think that talent is irrelevant, I also think that busting your butt counts for a lot, and may make up for a lack of some talent.

So, what do you think? Can you be successful in this business if you have no talent but complete drive and passion? Can you be successful if you have the talent, but not the work ethic? 

And here's another question for you - can talent be learned, or perhaps replaced with experience and hard work? Or must you have at least a drop of talent in the blood you shed over your manuscripts?

9 comments:

Christine Fonseca said...

First - great interview!
Second...I think it's both talent AND hard work. I mean, you actually need a fair amount of talent to understandd the work your agent/editor is asking you to do, right?!?

Mary Campbell said...

I think there has to be a smidgen of natural talent and the rest can be learned. Hard work after that is the key. I'm referring to myself when I say smidgen of talent. I'm working on the hard part.
I just read your interview over at Suzie's blog - your book sounds like a much needed concept - congrats on your success.

Caledonia Lass said...

Hmm... while I think talent is necessary, there are some books that prove it is not a requirement. If your concept is good, you work hard, learn your craft you can be successful.
Then again, there are some books out there that prove it *should* be a requirement to have some talent. :D
But the hard work aspect of it is most important, at least in my opinion. You can have the talent, the imagination and still write badly. It is with practice and hard work that you improve.

Crystal Cook said...

Great interview by the way :)

And I think that it takes both. But I also feel like most people who want to write have enough talent to make it, if they work hard at it. If they didn't I don't think they would have the desire to write. Of course I could be wrong. This is just my opinion.

Elana Johnson said...

Dude, I don't think either can stand alone. And I think if I had to choose, I'd choose drive and work ethic. Why? Because someone who has drive and work ethic will LEARN the skills they need to be successful. Not only in writing, but in all areas of their life.

So I do think talent can be learned. I may not have the right body type to be a gymnast, and I may have to work fifty times as hard as someone else, but I think everyone can write. Everyone with the proper amount of drive and work ethic, that is. *wink*

Jemi Fraser said...

Like anything else, I think balance is important. Of course we need talent, but effort and not-giving-upness are super important too :)

ModernDayDrifter said...

I think there has to be some talent there before a person can move on and get better. If there is no natural talent, the person usually doesn't even realize it. Like you said, it takes good work ethic to fine tune that talent, otherwise it means nothing.

Angela said...

I believe it takes talent and hard work. Sadly, I don't believe that talent and hard work mean success 100% of the time. In the context of writers and publishing, I fear there are talented authors who have worked hard to get a great book published and it never happens. I hope the statistics for that happening are very low (for my sake!).

Brian Keaney said...

Talent, hard work and luck.