Talent Does Not Exist

“It’s none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way.”  Ernest Hemingway

Hemingway famously rewrote the ending to A Farewell To Arms 47 times. Yes, folks, he did not write brilliant first drafts.

No one ever did. No one ever will.

Talent, as an innate ability, does not exist.

Everybody who ever changed the world or created the kind of beauty that we still admire, did so by working hard.

Novels don’t write themselves into existence, you know?

We like to believe that it’s the time the boxer spends in the ring that counts.

No, that’s the easy part.

The hard part is waking up every day at four in the morning to run on an empty stomach. To work out. To practice the same punches thousands and thousands of time.

“If people knew how hard I had to work to gain my mastery, it would not seem so wonderful at all.”Michelangelo Buonarroti

Talent is a word that gets used a lot by people who are too lazy to accept where they are and take the responsibility to take themselves to a higher level.

Talent is the excuse not to break yourself in half working.

I’m not talented. I wasn’t born talented. I worked for the little talent I have.

First story I ever let someone read, they said I was a retard.

The first novel I ever self-published was so bad that I only sold 4 copies in four months.

If talent existed, then no one would ever fail. Or have to work hard.

41 thoughts on “Talent Does Not Exist

  1. I like to remind myself that it’s the process that’s a fun, fulfilling, and gratifying adventure. I try to keep my eye simultaneously on and off the “prize”. Prizes are super wonderful, and so is the opportunity to live and work and play.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Life also makes us better. I think I’m a much better writer now at 62 then when I was 21. Back then I had nothing but a belly full of opinions and judgements that didn’t amount to a hill of beans.
    Today, having been beat up by life, having had my heart broken a time of two, faced fears and death, and done things I’m both proud of and ashamed of, I can take that and write about it. I guess you might say I’ve actually got something worth saying these days.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Lovely article. I really appreciate your stuff, Christian! I tend to think talent in inherent in a person, but skill definitely is not. It is the latter which requires dedication and work. The force which drives the hard work has, I think, its source in talent.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I loved reading this today. You have nailed it, Christian. To say that someone is talented is an excuse for on’s own failure in whatever we do. I am a visual artist and author – and I am blind. I know how long and hard I work at everything I do and I hate it when people around me remark how talented I am. It is really insulting. Thanks for writing this – I know it is meaningful to all of us who labor in the fields.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think we should congratulate artists on how much they worked on something. You notice the brilliance of their art, and you just tell them how impressed you are by how hard they had to work to get there. That’s it.


  5. I enjoy reading your articles very much. You have a keen sense of “insight.”
    Yes, our stories, essays, art works and other creative products don’t just happen magically.
    they happen because we spend our lives thinking about working and then actually working on them. Thinking is hard work and it takes a great deal of time.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Always a good reminder. I suspect writing and becoming a really good writer is a little like learning to walk. It takes time, you’re unsteady a lot of times, and you fall on your butt a lot. the important past is to get up and keep trying.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I needed this today. I especially appreciated your closing.

    We get labeled in seconds, those labels last years… If we let them.

    Thank you for writing this reminder, on this morning:

    You got this.

    That’s what I read. It helped me today, and I think you should know. People are quick to tell us when we have hurt someone’s feelings.

    Rarely, it seems, do others tell us when they appreciate us. I hope you know this morning, you’re appreciated for what you do. Thank you

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Writing should actually be called editing because that is where all the time and hard work is invested. When one rereads what he/she wrote two weeks ago and it seems the quality of the work exceeds what you have always believed your talent to be, to the point where it is nearly unrecognizable as being your own work, then it’s a good piece of writing.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I disagree about talent not existing. I think some people have more aptitude towards things than others. However, they still have to put in the hard work to improve, develop and hone their talent. A talented person who does nothing has zero advantage over a person who may have less natural ability but who works hard.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree and think that is true for many things, not just writing, but music, art, etc. The fact that there are prodigies shows that there are some amazing natural talents, but even they have to work if they want to really use their gifts and share them.

      Liked by 1 person

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