Friday, October 8, 2010

Day 34 - Talent, practice and tenacity

A study came out recently which suggested that talent wasn't as important in reaching the upper echelons of your chosen profession as practice was. There is an excellent blog post on it at I Should be Writing here.

I can't help but disagree with the study a little. Talent is important. I could practice every day for as long as I live, but I will never be an Olympic sprinter. Or a top-selling pop singer. My talent is writing - I can't sing for the life of me and I'm not in anyway built for speed.

Of course, talent can only take you so far, which is why I liked the concept of writing practice. It's all about pushing your boundaries, and writing solely to improve your technique without any consideration for whether or not what results will be publishable. It's about giving yourself the leeway to make mistakes and not have it matter to your ego.

Then there's tenacity. You need to be able to pick yourself back up again after every stumble and keep on moving towards your goal. The study suggested that it took 10 years of working hard and practising to get really great at something. And that is really what this challenge is about for me. It's not so much about the word count as the sustained, regular attempts to write every. single. day.

What do you think? Is there such a thing as natural talent? Is it that important?

Word count - 938

1 comment:

  1. Sometimes I think the emphasis on hard work is to make untalented people feel better. Because there's also this stereotype of talented people being lazy, since it's the hardworking ones that actually excel. The cult of the individual does not allow for the caveat "hardworking AND talented." Anyone can work hard, but not everyone has natural talent.