The Truth About Natural-Born Talent

The science of skill acquisition has been the focus of a number of recent studies and books. As it turns out, we are born with very few, if any, natural talents and skills. Excellence is borne not of any particular innate ability, but of practice. In other words, you can be good at whatever you want.

The Truth Behind Natural Born Talent

Whatever you want—therein lies the rub.

In high school, I picked up playing the guitar. My dad taught me, so it was a natural progression from father to son, and after learning tablature (an easier way to read and play music for guitarists), I started learning songs I’d always wanted to play. After six years of practice, I was pretty good. But I also hit a plateau of talent, one I knew I couldn’t exceed.

My abilities extended to being able to play all the major chords, barre chords, and a few simple licks. That was about it. No soloing, improvising, or anything too advanced. And frankly, I was comfortable with that level of talent. Why did I need to get any better? For six years, I stayed at about the same level of proficiency—until I started touring.

Hitting the road

The year after college, I traveled with a band for a year, playing at least one, if not a few, shows per day. In what little spare time we had, I practiced playing guitar. And as a result of being onstage every day for the greater part of a year, I got better. Not just a little better. I was a different guitarist. By the end of the year, I could do things on the guitar I never imagined were possible.

Thinking my talent had a limit, that I was born to only achieve a certain level of skill, I had grown comfortable with what seemed a reasonable amount of talent. I thought I couldn’t get much better, that there was no way I could be as good as any of my guitar-playing heroes or more talented friends. And I was wrong.

By the age of twenty-three, I was now the best I had ever been at guitar and finally believed I could be as good at it as I wanted. There was just one problem:

I no longer wanted it.

Why there aren’t more stars

In all my reading and research, I’ve never found anyone to answer this question: If it’s possible for anyone to acquire any skill, why don’t more people do it? Why don’t they improve or get good at things they’ve always wanted to do, like cooking or sports or playing the piano?

The first answer, of course, is that it’s difficult, much harder than people realize, and requires an incredible amount of discipline. It just takes time and effort, which most people don’t have or aren’t willing to give.

But the second answer, the one I don’t hear researchers or psychologists address nearly enough, is one of motivation. That’s the other side of the issue. If I can do anything, what makes me choose one pursuit over another? It has to come down to desire, to passion, to what truly motivates you.

For me, I realized playing guitar wasn’t something that I wanted to fully dedicate myself to. It was a hobby. To treat it as anything other was to misplace my passion and disregard what my life was trying to tell me.

As I looked back on my story, on two decades dedicated to words and the craft of writing, I realized my true calling was to be a writer. And in some ways, music was an early shadow of that writing career to come.

Bringing it home

Recently, I spoke with a group of high school seniors and shared with them some of my thoughts about what it takes to succeed in the world and how to find that thing you were meant to do. But in a nutshell, what I told them was this:

  1. Find something you love.
  2. Do it until you can become good, hopefully even great, at it. And don’t worry if you’re not that good yet. This is what practice is for.
  3. Share your gift in a way that helps other people. If you do this, you actually can get paid to do what you love. Otherwise, it will only ever be a hobby.

But all that begins with discarding this unhelpful idea that “some people are born with it.” It’s just not true. Certainly, there may be some amount of natural talent for some abilities. But as Geoff Colvin pointed out in his book Talent Is Overrated, if talent does exist, it doesn’t really matter. In an article for Fortune, he wrote:

Talent has little or nothing to do with greatness. You can make yourself into any number of things, and you can even make yourself great.

Because the truth is just about anyone can get better at just about anything. So the real question is if you spend thousands of hours and something like a decade practicing your craft, will it be worth it?

Yes, you can be good at nearly anything. Which should cause us to be careful with where we focus our attention and our practice. That last thing you want in life, to paraphrase Thomas Merton, is to climb a ladder only to realize it was leaning against the wrong wall.

To learn more about finding the work you were meant to do, check out my best-selling book, The Art of Work.

What skills are you working on? What is holding you back from getting better? Share in the comments.

64 thoughts on “The Truth About Natural-Born Talent

  1. Great piece Jeff, thank you. Yes, you’re correct that it requires discipline to nurture talent. Notable psychologists, including Anders Ericsson and Mihaly Csíkszentmihályi observed that talent is not enough to succeed. Deliberate practice is crucial when combined with talent and there lies the dilemma. Angela Duckworth has written an insightful book on this topic titled, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance in which she examines what is required to succeed. Accordingly, it can take 10,000 hours or 10 years to become world class, yet young people fall victim to the YouTube phenomenon. That is, become famous at all costs without developing or honing a skill or craft. I’m working on developing my writing as an author, having crossed over several years ago from a non-related profession. I reflect on my writing style two years ago and contemplate how far I’ve come. Improvements are incremental if we apply the daily discipline and focus on deliberate practice.

  2. Great article, Jeff! I can relate to you in a smaller way (probably because I never toured!) But I did try to play guitar several times over the past years, always putting it back down and never pursuing it. Because it is just what you described: a hobby. I’m not a guitarist – I’m a writer. I’ve only attempted it because I’m a songwriter, but I can’t make myself master it.
    I think it all comes down to finding what you were meant to do. Yes, God made us humans to be perfectly capable of almost anything, if we put our minds to it. But then He gave us each a hidden ‘gift’, one we would discover later in life. Not something we were capable of doing, but something we were meant to do. I discovered that I was meant to write. That’s what He made me for, so that is what I will succeed in.

  3. You’re right that motivation is fundamentally important. In the right conditions, passion for the craft or performance drives motivation and makes acquiring discipline easier but for most people this is a hard process of trial and error. Thanks for sharing your perspective on this.

  4. I think native talent and passion and practice/perseverance all play a role; we can certainly pick out people who have native talent far above the common good-but-getting-better folks — the five year old musician who has more skill than adults who have actively pursued the instrument for more hours than he’s been alive, for instance. Talent is no substitute for practice, but it’s like being on a people-mover instead of walking on the floor — the same effort gets you a lot further if you’ve got more of it. Without a passion for developing the talent you have, though, it won’t get you anywhere at all. I think the tricky part is to gain focus on where you want your passion and diligence to take you, and avoid comparing yourself to others who seem to rocket past you in a similar field.

  5. What a great article, Jeff! I think this will encourage many people who have falsely adopted the societal belief that greatness is natural for some and not for others. It’s so true that we have to have both grit and grace to become exemplary rather than mediocre.

    Writing is the one skill I have honed consistently since I first learned to write. At one point in my life, I was a pencil sketch artist, a pianist, and a counselor. All required patience and perseverance, which are lost virtues in our modern world. Writing, however, was that “closet dream” that I kept hidden, yet still practiced, on a daily basis. Now I am a published author of two books (working on two more), and my childhood dream has come true.

    Thanks for all you do to help the thinkers, dreamers, artists, and writers out there, Jeff!

  6. By default, human beings believe if something is hard it’s not meant for them. We want it easy. Thank you for dispelling that myth and proposing a clear alternate. I’ll share this with my kids.

  7. Hugh Prather in his book “Notes to Myself”, wrote: “If the desire to write is not accompanied by writing, then the desire is not to write”. I’ve often paraphrased that to anything else: “If the desire to sing is not accompanied by singing, then the desire is not to sing”. In short, the desire to do something is manifest in the doing; the practice.

    I submit there is no such thing as “natural talent”, despite my being “a natural teacher”; there is a natural inclination or gifting. My “talent” as a teacher comes from my continued practice and efforts to improve. My “talent” as a writer is almost none existent because I don’t write as often or as much as I should.

  8. I think our tendency to refer to someone as having “natural born talent” can undermine the time and effort it takes to get noticed for doing something extremely well. One thing that I would always emphasize to the volleyball players I coached was that they could not just believe that “practice makes perfect” and then they would be perfect. I wanted them to understand that practice really makes habits, so you should focus in on “perfect” practice to get the results you want. Don’t just waste your time going through the motions. Be intentional with what habits you want perfected, and you will see that talent shine one day. Thanks for this post, Jeff!

  9. Hmmm yes – but I fundamentally disagree. Yes, you need to have passion, and put in the 10,000 hours to be great. But we are (or aren’t) born with certain aptitudes/potential that can translate into certain areas. If you don’t have the right makeup and then put in the hours you may well be good at what you choose to do, and even very successful. But not great. But even if you were born with great potential, even IF you put in those hours, sadly there’s no guarantee of success…

    1. Yes but it is uncanny that these guys had the passion, and put in the hours and plus the factors I mention such as ambition and drive etc, and achieved success. I agree, it’s a template that may not fit all. In my case I’m looking to be good and feel confident about that but I’m not looking to be great, and if I achieve a modicum of success then that would be ‘great’. Forgot to mention Jeff, a thought provoking post. Thanks.

  10. All this is also backed up by tons of psychological science. You should check out Carol Dweck’s ‘Growth Mindset’ and more recently (as mentioned tfahkry) Angela Duckworth’s just released book “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance”. Angela’s TED talk really nails it.

  11. Hi Jeff.

    I enjoy your articles. Great flow, structure, and most of all – thought-provoking and insightful points.

    In relation to the above piece, I agree that combining one’s passion with hard work / practice are essential for excellence. However I think both your line “excellence is borne not of any particular innate ability, but of practice” and the general message of this article is missing out on key ingredients when it comes to achieving excellence in a craft.

    Both from years of research and direct personal experience, I’ve learned that when it comes to truly excelling in any area, a massive part of the equation is leveraging one’s strengths.

    We all have natural, inborn strengths. And in my opinion, it’s when we combine our core strengths with our passion / area of interest AND with long term dedication to our craft that we are most empowered to excel.

    Strengths/talent + Passion + Hard Work = Excellence.

    I published a video on the very subject of playing to one’s strengths just last week if you or anyone reading this would like to check it out:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-mFI5LltQA

    Regards,

    Conor

    p.s. I see you as an example of a person who is likely applying the formula I just laid out! I might be wrong of course but that’s the impression I get.

  12. Thank you for this article. I agree with you and I have sometimes tried to persuade people that it takes more practice and discipline and less talent, but.. it’s funny, but they usually think I am just trying to be kind to them. You see, they have been persuaded by the experts… Motive, I think, is the key word.

  13. Great article Jeff writing was never my skill growing up even when I work at it I couldn’t write like you say I have to practicing my craft

  14. Anyone read the book by Malcolm Gladwell titled Outliers? The book examines why certain people are successful. Might have a little to do with talent but more to do with the fact that Celebrities/Millionaires/Billionaires/Artists/Writers all have something in common: they have done a minimum of 10,000 hours in terms of the amount of time they have devoted. You could say that ‘talent’ is a combination of drive, ambition, hard work, focus and a positive attitude.

    1. I have read Outliers, and while I agree in the benefits of practice, I also noted that a lot of the success stories cited in the book were cases of someone being in the right place at the right time. For example, IIRC, Bill Gates got his 10,000 hours of coding practice by playing around in a college computer lab while he was still in middle school. I grew up in a town that didn’t have a college. Hey, the middle school didn’t even have a computer.
      Having said that, I like Jeff’s point about motivation. Seth Godin has a post on a similar subject, but he didn’t really make the point about motivation. When all is said and done, we can’t be experts at everything – we have to pick our #1 priority, then focus on that.

      1. Of course, we can’t be experts at everything and we can’t be great at everything but Outliers made me realise that if I focus on something, such as writing, and do, say, something close to 10,000 hrs, I can be good and possibly successful . When I was a teen I had to go to tap lessons. I was given a flat wooden board to practice on the kitchen floor, and so I did, everyday for 2 hrs until exam time. I passed.I also put in a number of hours, daily, in my piano practice. But today, I’m not a dancer nor a pianist and it was never my intention to be either of those, but what I feel good about it is that it proved to me if I put in the work, I can achieve. And if I tell myself that I can’t, then I know that I’m lying to myself.

        I think what makes Outliers unique (and probably why the book was such a success) is it removes the notion of talent being a requisite for success but with hard-work, anything is attainable. Today I received an email from Goins titled ‘The Seven Stages of Finding your Calling’ and he makes references to Outliers. Another book I dip into from time to time is The Artist’s Way. by Julia Cameron. Again, another extraordinary book, full of inspiration, wisdom and great ideas. But also letting you know that it’s all possible.

  15. Thanks Jeff for your article.

    It’s a drop of inspiration for all those who want to pursue their passion, invest hours of deliberate practice and finally find their calling.

    I notice that we very easily use the word ‘genius’ for people who are accomplished, successful and remarkable. I see it though as a very sly way to abnegate our own responsibilities and rest on our mediocrity. What makes me sad (and angry) is that most often we rank ourselves low. We believe that people who change the world are the ones who are predestined to do so. I think that this way of thinking is fundamentally flawed.

    Marjorie Garber, a Harvard Professor, in her article ‘Our Genius Problem’, says that “genius is an assessment or an accolade often retrospectively applied to an individual or an idea – not an identifiable essence.” I find there is a big truth within this statement, one that we totally forget or ignore. So, how do we know that we are not potentially geniuses?
    Your book ‘The Art of Work’ provides a great insight in this direction.

    Please, write more articles on the topic, help us break our limiting beliefs, and motivate us to realize our full potential.

    Cheers,
    Pan

  16. Jeff,

    I think you make excellent points
    about motivation and passion. I couldn’t agree more that the majority of
    our society is unwilling to do the work it takes to figure out what
    makes them tick. When they do and combine that with thousands of hours
    of practice, things fall into place.

    But I would argue that
    as passionate and motivated as some people may be to pursue a
    particular gift or area, some people just aren’t made for what they
    might love. In particular, I double a 5 foot basketball player would
    thrive in the NBA.

    There are physical, mental and
    emotional limitations to what we can achieve, but by and large, we
    should ignore these excuses to pursue greatness.

    1. I was getting excited but this is the true reality of things. I’ve wanted to be a ballerina for a while now and I’ve been working on it for over a year now with near zero progress. But that’s because my body wasn’t built for this: I’m probably the most stiff person you’d ever meet and I’m too tall and too heavy.

    2. With you on this Kaytie. I’ve worked in a digital agency for 3 years and seen some people with loads of passion and motivation attempt to code complex projects which they simply can’t manage. There is some degree of natural ability which can not be excluded from the “do what you want” equation.

      I guess the happy medium would be find something you are naturally good at, then practice and learn, practice and learn. Overcome limitations where you can and accept where you can not.

  17. I’ve shifted my focus to sharing what I know about writing with people at the start of their writing journey – too many people say that writing isn’t something that can be taught, lifting it to the status of some kind of art that only the privileged few can do. I disagree. It’s a craft, and it’s only by doing, learning and listening to others that you’ll ever improve. If I can shorten someone’s learning curve so they can enjoy the work sooner, then I’m happy.

    That said, I agree with the commenters who say that sometimes you just have to accept that no amount of motivation or practice is going to help in certain areas. Sometimes there are just limitations, particularly where physical attributes are concerned.

  18. Thanks for the article, Jeff. I’m starting my own freelance writing business, and have hit a discouraging slump. I know I can do it, but sometimes it’s so easy to become daunted by the work involved. Thanks for the encouragement.

    1. Hello Grace. I also just started my own freelance writing business and I definitely understand how discouraging it can get sometimes. If you’re on Twitter, let’s connect so we can share helpful material 🙂

      Here’s the link to my account: https://twitter.com/DavidIAdeleke

      1. David, as a long term book coach who has helped over 90 clients write and publish their books, I can recommend Carol Tice. she’s gives goo inspiration and also gives all the nuts and bolts of being a top freelancer. she’s a gem you should know.Google her and win.

  19. This is something I speak about all the time, Jeff, so I love that you’re doing so! In fact, I just gave the keynote speech at a Literary Conference, and this very topic was a big part of it.
    The thing is, I actually never know which writer is going to “get it.”
    Do you need a thimbleful of talent? Yes. But that’s about it. I’ve worked with writers who had boatloads of it, but weren’t willing to dive into the blood, sweat, and tears to get very good, and never published.
    Conversely, I’ve worked with writers with that speck of talent, who did dive in, dig down to the bones, work hard, and went on to publish and publish really well.
    Writing well is about skill level, and skills can be learned. I see it happen literally every day.

  20. Wow. Love the way you worded this, “So the real question is if you spend thousands of hours and something like a decade practicing your craft, will it be worth it?” Great article. I often think about all of us who just pick nothing. When we can truly be talented at ANYTHING. So many young people I come in contact with don’t yet have a passion. We need to encourage them to get out and discover so they don’t miss it. and then help them believe that they can attain it. Great read. thank you for sharing.

  21. Im so grateful to have finally found a mind and a soul tht speaks like i do. Such wonderful pieces jeff has written. Like talking to an old friend. Only to meet this pal a decade later. Thank u for writing this.

  22. I honestly thought this would be another article about how practice is important – which it is! But I love that you also bring up whether or not practice would be worth it in terms of ones own passions. Thanks for this!

  23. At the moment, I’m working to improve my creative writing skills. I’m happy with the progress I made so far. Also, I want to thank you for the 500 words a day challenge that you run on your blog; it helped me overcome the fear of writing every day. Now I am more consistent with my writing.

    One other thing. I made a list of eight websites that can help people become excellent writers and your website was one of them. I would appreciate if you check out the article and leave me a comment. Thanks Jeff. Here is the link: https://medium.com/@DavidIAdeleke/these-8-websites-will-make-you-a-better-writer-ebed4f05c09a

    I’d also love comments from my fellow Goinswriter readers 🙂

  24. I believe there are some of us who are born with natural talent. BUT… even so… any talent must be exercised at all times and it does take discipline without a doubt. I have always loved telling stories. I’ve been telling stories my whole life to family members and anyone who I’d ever crossed paths with throughout my life. I say… if you have a passion, you should exercise that passion to its fullest, regardless of any outcome. If you are looking for riches in regards to wealth, you had better prop yourself up for disappointments and persevere onward and upward, because no one out there is going to do it for you. Be strong. Be kind. Be thoughtful. Beware. And… give a smile, get a smile, keep a smile.

  25. I apologize, but I have to disagree. I’m one of those people who believe that if you don’t have it, you simply don’t have it. My thing is this: I once had a professor that said, “Talent is five percent. The rest is the ninety-five percent work you put into it,” and I most definitely agree with her. I don’t agree with the thought that anyone could be whatever they want to be. Everyone’s born with a five percent, and we have to figure out what that five percent is–in order to dedicate the ninety-five percent to. Sure we have to venture out into different things in life in order to figure out where that five percent lies. But once we find where that five percent lies, that’s where we have to dedicate the rest of our nintety-five percent to in the form of passion, desire, hard work–all that. But first we must find that thing it is we do effortlessly–that others struggle to do. (One quick example: I’ve seen people with no coordination on a basketball court, who can’t dribble a lick, no matter how long they’ve been playing basketball, but could throw a football well over a hundred yards without even trying. Sounds like the making of a quarteback to me. It doesn’t matter how bad this person might want to be a basketball player. If he or she focuses their attention on basketball instead of developing their talent at being a quarteback–then he or she is wasting their ninety-five percent and climbing the wrong ladder).

    1. Interesting points here, I can certainly see where you’re coming from with that perspective. But I also believe that’s where practice comes in, maybe the quarterback will never be a great basketball player, but he can become a better one.

        1. Jose, I agree with you. It is really an issue of priorities. Time is limited, so we need to focus on those areas where we have the most passion, motivation and acquired skill. I think Jeff is just saying that we can become better at anything we want if we put in the practice. That doesn’t mean we have to do everything. As he tells the high school kids, find something you love. That is the priority focus that drives them to quarterback instead of basketball., from your example.

            1. Nope. I disagree. I’ve decided I’m going to become the world’s best sprinter. I’ll just train all the time now. Look for me next Summer Olympics. If I’m not there, then I’ll reconsider my thoughts on the matter. But I find that unlikely.

              1. I’m confident that by now you know you were wrong. To be an Olympian you MUST have an incredible amount of natural talent and work very hard at developing that talent. Hard work alone can NEVER get you there.

                1. Au contraire! Look for me in the upcoming Olympics. But, in the meantime, also, please, if you get a chance, do a little research into sarcasm.

                2. Better work on those sarcasm skills…..
                  Don’t worry! With enough practice you can be the best in the world!

                3. Yeah, difficult to know who’s at fault. Perhaps if you work your way up to the 50th percentile for catching sarcasm and I work my way up to the 50th percentile for conveying it, we’d make a solid team.

    2. really go to you tube and look up the worlds worst nabs who butcher music and you’ll see what i saw cat’s getting paid for sucking so bad you want to delete the horrid sounds . fact they have million’s and millions of plays . where i come across masterpieces that i cant believe aren’t over 500 or less … its a shame bad music sells better

  26. I would like to be good, even great at a lot of things! I think the key thing here is to discover where my true passion lies and give it the time it deserves. That of course, doesn’t mean that I don’t hone a few other skills I enjoy. Focusing the majority of my energy toward who I want to be or what I really want, though, will give me much greater satisfaction in my life. Thanks, Jeff!

  27. Yes, I have the talent. And yes, I’m researching and getting mentored on all the ways to uplevel my book coaching business of 30years. (why? partner’s illness) Now I’m back and actually writing all the copy for my new ideal audience–authors who are top entrepreneurs and business leaders. Will be selling an eCourse soon as well as a book coaching package-system. I absolutely love my work–my calling.

  28. I’m having trouble starting because I feel like the topics I want to cover are too broad…

  29. My mom, kept telling me I won’t become a great talented writer or film maker.

  30. When I was a kid I wanted to be a musician, and I learned to play a few instruments, but eventually I realized that I wasn’t going to be good at it. So I moved on to become a DJ and that led me into other areas of the music biz. I’ve been a music publicist for two decades and I am really good, it took a lot of hard work and dedication for me to learn my craft.

    Now I want to be a writer and I know that in order for me to succeed, I will have to learn all I can about writing and the book business and write everyday. I’m going for it and I will make it.

  31. Some people never become stars for the same reason that some people never become millionaires – they are just not ruthless enough. This doesn’t mean that they are not good musicians or don’t practise enough; it’s just that their ego doesn’t allow them to disregard the feelings of others or subject themselves to the whims of the people who profit from others’ talent.

  32. Interesting read … I’ve been at music most of my life . You win some and ya lose some . Its the human factor . i make the better part of my living from street busking . find that its the most rewarding too in terms of whooing the crowd so to speak . for me its not about being the best musician . its about entertaining my audience .. the way i go about this is . making them feel involved . making them smile . being the best posable me i can be . some days are better then others has much to do with energy . Some days ya just don’t feel up to it . no matter hat when you perform you that person who knows how to put on your stage face . close out the things of your life that can sabotage your show … this is not an easy thing to do by any means I’ve seen many fall back to the 9 to 5 er cause they just cant jump to the occasion . In the things you’ve touched on here practice & discipline are the words that jump off the page the most . then comes exposer this is the biggest key to making anything in music if no one knows your there you fall into the cracks , the basements , no ones is coming to your door because of your being the best of the best if no one knows your there . to many guys and gals are out there waiting to be discovered .. today you don’t have to wait you have to take action this is true for everything we do . By action i mean a well thought out plan to success the same kind of pain you’d have if you were like say a contractor and you wanted new clients .. its all about the advertisement . and the selling of your self . you are the product .. if people don’t like you then why would they bother to listen to your music or hire you for anything you’ve chosen to do .. for my self i work to make my self as happy as i can for me in the product i create .. i don’t care off others like its more important that i like it .. cause e if i like it inherently someone else will too … and in closing know this if you have haters you are on the right track . cause if you have them there will be pole who like you for the fact that someone else doesn’t … its a crazy world … go live it .. and be awesome to yourself at what ever you choose . cause you are the one thing they cant take away from you . : > )) #sevasdogntheway

  33. Great article. I am working on writing. God has placed the seed in my heart to write about my experience with trials of faith as a mother and having a child go through major surgeries and spreading the word of God as my saving grace. My own fears about the project as well as screwing it up basically are the things holding me back. I know where those inhibitions come from and I’m ready to conquer it.

  34. Thanks Jeff for this. With focus, dedication, passion, you can be great at anything as you mentioned. Just like the other great ones who dedicated their life to something.
    –Matt Kohn

  35. I have always wanted to learn and become a proficient dancer, but I was told growing up that since my sisters hated it, so would I and that I would never be good at it. I’ve started going to some classes around town, but I haven’t gotten serious about it yet. I guess I still am holding on the false beliefs that given my body type, it will never happen for me. I am working on changing the story I tell myself.

    Thank you Jeff for this article, it’s so true. It makes me think of the Steve Jobs quote: “Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use.” Everyone is essentially on the same playing field in the beginning, some just put in the hustle, time, and energy to move forward toward their goals and dreams. I am working on becoming one of those people!

    ~Arie
    https://herfreespirit.net

  36. As a long time participant in your “dance”, I have learned much, but have given back little.
    Like so many others I always thought that just maybe I could be a writer. As I approached retirement in 2008 I made the decision to pursue writing. Over the past 8 years my pursuit has been driven by two life changing observations.
    The first was recognizing that almost anyone can learn to write, but knowing how to write does not make one a writer. As you correctly point out, the process of becoming a writer requires that one have that fire in the belly. Yes, today I call myself a writer with many works ghost written for and published by others. I have my own publishing label with several of my own works available. I am a good writer always striving to be better.
    It is my second observation that keeps that passion alive. It is a quote from Ernest Hemingway that serves as a reminder of how one becomes a writer, “It’s none of their business that you have to learn how to write. Let them think you were born that way.”
    For me, the passion for writing burns bright because no matter how good I may become, I can always be better.

  37. A very refreshing and enjoyable read. We call can improve on our talents with some blood, sweat and tears.

    I wish to evolve as a copywriter so after an English degree in creative writing I took a travel writing course with The London School of Journalism, and then moved on to copywriting; which created a whole new world of learning based around story archetypes.

    Fully agree that anyone can get better at anything they want if they read blogs such as this and disrupt a normal learning curve to expand their talents.

    Keep these posts coming they are great!

  38. This article is WAY off the mark! There’s no question people are born naturally gifted in some areas. I’m a good example. As a freshman in high school I ran my first-ever 2.5 mile race and won by nearly a minute – beating even seniors who’d been running four years. I went on to become a world-class runner, but NOTHING in my childhood prepared me for my initial success. High level success is a combination of natural talent AND hard work. If you only have one of the other you’ll go only so far, but when you have both you can be world-class.

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