It’s easy to feel you don’t have enough talent to succeed as a writer. Words seem to flow effortlessly from that blogger you admire, while you stare at the screen for hours with only two sentences to show for it.
You second-guess everything: your ideas, your drafts, yourself. On overcast days, when rain smacks the windows and the gloom settles in, you conclude you simply aren’t gifted at writing. You shut your notebook and decide to just leave it to the experts.
My friend, take heart. To succeed, you need more than talent anyway—you must persevere. I’ve seen many talented writers unable to push through Resistance, fear, and self-doubt.
As I’ve said in my post about my five writing strengths, I may not have been born with the greatest writing talent, but I’ve stuck with it. I work to improve and learn from mistakes, forging ahead a little smarter, wiser, and more skillful.
Louise DeSalvo, in her book The Art of Slow Writing, has observed some of the same strengths in writers she’s coached or taught:
In working with writers, I’ve learned it’s not talent that gets books written, it’s hard, slow, steady work.
But it’s not only hard work—almost every student I’ve taught works hard. It’s learning to understand that the process of writing isn’t linear but filled with peaks and valleys; that sometimes we don’t know what we’re doing but we need to work anyway; that we must stay. ..we must have tenacity when we feel like walking away from a project. (115, The Art of Slow Writing)
When you feel like snapping shut your laptop and walking away, stay put. When you aren’t sure where you’re going or what you’re doing, work anyway.
You can forge ahead through the unfamiliar, unknown tasks and processes and emerge smarter, wiser, and more skillful. Be tenacious. Stick with it. Do the hard, slow steady work of writing. And never, never, never give up.
- Writers: Never, Never, Never Give Up
- One Thing Every Writer Needs to Succeed (podcast ep 21)
- How Writers Increase Grit (podcast ep 22)
- Resistance and Self-Loathing (from Steven Pressfield)
- The Art of Slow Writing, by Louise DeSalvo (affiliate link)
Source: DeSalvo, Louise. The Art of Slow Writing: Reflections on Time, Craft, and Creativity. New York: St. Martin’s Griffin, 2014. Print. [p. 115]
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