Do I Have Writing Talent Its A Mistaken Question

Over the​ years,​ many people have asked me to​ look at​ their writing. "I need to​ know,​ do I have talent or​ not,​" they say. "Then I’ll know if​ I should pursue writing or​ stick to​ accounting."

Their request is​ seriously flawed,​ I'd reply. Anyone can become a​ better writer. When I taught English Composition at​ various colleges,​ I saw irrefutable proof of​ this. Students who submitted hackneyed,​ half-dead writing to​ start with turned in​ lively,​ well-written essays by the​ end of​ the​ semester. Likewise,​ I’ve seen plenty of​ writers whose work seems plain and unimaginative get assignment upon assignment from magazines while others with dazzling wordcraft skills can’t get published anywhere.

According to​ Stanford psychology professor Carol Dweck,​ I was right to​ question the​ query about talent. Dweck's book,​ Mind-set: the​ New Psychology of​ Success,​ reports research showing that in​ education,​ the​ arts and business,​ people who believe talent is​ fixed and inborn do not fully develop their potential and do not recover easily from setbacks.

Those who believe talent can be developed,​ regardless of​ apparent starting point,​ not only achieve more but also prompt greater achievement in​ their children and staff.

Her best news: You can change your mind-set about talent or​ intelligence. in​ only two months,​ kids who were taught that the​ brain,​ like a​ muscle,​ improves with exercise saw
their math scores rocket from F's to​ B's.

Toss out the​ belief that you either have writing talent or​ you don’t. Instead,​ approach getting published as​ requiring a​ set of​ skills that you can deliberately learn. These skills include:

1. Being sensitive to​ the​ differences between words. a​ good dictionary can help with this,​ if​ you consult it​ to​ learn,​ for example,​ whether a​ "cauldron" is​ the​ same as​ a​ "kettle" or​ when a​ gang member would be said to​ have "bravery" and when "bravado."

2. Recognizing that getting your message across has less to​ do with what you meant and more to​ do with how readers understand the​ words you put together. if​ no one "gets it,​" you must write it​ differently. Often this lesson is​ harder for those who feel desperately called to​ write than for those with a​ more matter-of-fact attitude toward writing.

3. Being willing to​ put a​ piece of​ writing aside,​ look at​ again in​ the​ cold light of​ the​ morning and rearrange,​ replace and revise the​ elements of​ the​ piece to​ tell the​ story more clearly and more artfully.

4. Having the​ discipline to​ learn and apply the​ rules of​ spelling,​ grammar and usage. Yes,​ when your work is​ accepted for publication you’ll usually have an​ editor who’ll save you from major mistakes. But editors prefer working with those who know and follow the​ standards of​ professional writing.

5. Being able to​ bounce back from disappointment. in​ the​ writing business,​ the​ possibility of​ rejection never goes away. Successful writers learn not to​ take it​ personally for more than an​ hour or​ so,​ then they simply go on​ to​ the​ next publication outlet or​ the​ next writing project.

From what I’ve observed,​ these five skills and attitudes matter much more for success as​ a​ writer than anything we’d generally label as​ talent. Resolve to​ develop yourself along those lines and you’re certain to​ get somewhere as​ a​ writer. Really!

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