No Talent for Writing
A reader writes:
I have all these great stories in my head, but no talent
what so ever … when it involves writing it down. Is there any advice you could give me or am I stuck?
Unless the questioner wants to become an oral storyteller and tell these great stories to a live audience, or record them as audiobooks, the answer has to be, “Yes, you’re stuck.”
However, I suspect that the person asking the question has made some attempt to put stories into writing, but is unhappy with the result.
Welcome to the tribe of fiction writers.
We all have great stories in our heads. Getting them out of our heads and onto paper is the hard part.
Talent is nice to have, but plenty of writers earn a living with a minimal amount of it.
Persistence is far more important to a writer than talent. A large proportion of the world’s population is made up of extremely talented writers who have been working on the same book, or thinking about working on a book, for years.
The word talent can mean simply “an inclination or a disposition” for something. Or it can mean “an innate aptitude.”
Anyone who has the inclination to write can do it. Writing is a craft. Like any craft, it can be learned, and it must be practiced.
Not everyone has the aptitude to produce a novel like Pillars of the Earth, War and Peace, or The Time Traveler’s Wife, but anyone who shows up at the computer every day will produce something. It’s in the rewriting that you’ll discover the extent of your talent.
The best advice I can offer to the questioner is, “Start writing.”
Pretend that one of the story ideas in your head is a movie that you’d like to tell a friend about. Pretend you’re writing a letter to that friend and then, start writing.
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