Talent vs Hard Work

Spark of the day:

Work takes you further.

This weekend I finished reading Natalie Goldberg's Writing Down the Bones, an older classic on writing that I had missed along the way. It waited for me, until I was ready to read it. Books are great that way. And it was delicious, every little bit of it.

I was struck by many things throughout the book. The way she treats writing as a sort of zen meditation practice. The way she uses writing to develop a relationship with her mind. The similarities between her approach and Julia Cameron's morning pages.

But it was this quote at the end that I ended up noting in my little spiral notebook. It's resonating particularly strongly right now.

"It's pretty nice to be talented. If you are, enjoy, but it won't take you that far. Work takes you a lot further."

Hmmm. This resonates. It smacks of truth. It matches up with my own life experience, too. I always got what I got by working hard for it. I may have had some talent here and there, it's hard to say, but I am convinced it was my hard work that made the difference.

And now, as I wade into the unknown waters of writing and revising a novel, this reminder comes at the perfect time. I may or may not have talent as a writer, and whether I do or not is sort of beside the point. Am I willing to put in the work? If so, good things will happen.

In my life these days, there are so many distractions and so many ways to let the days fly by without touching my writing "work." I've got to find a way to resist those temptations and get to work.

It's doing the work that gets the work done. 


Spark of the Day is a blog series where I document and share the ideas that spark (i.e. resonate with) me. They are usually either ideas I come across during my day, or ideas I have as a result of my work and personal writing. Spark is the "one little word" I have chosen for 2015.

1 comment:

  1. Someone said "talent is 5 %". I also remember a soccer coach saying that it is not the most talented boys who become the best players - it's those who had to work hard at it.
    I, too, am stuggling with distractions, daily. Sometimes I think it would be nice to have a "normal" job where someone else would tell me what to do and I would not have to be my own boss, keeping myself accountable all the time :-)