I have always considered writing as a craft--something that if worked hard enough at, someone would have to eventually succeed...
But I also believe writing is a talent.
To be successful (in the Mommy's-Always-Write-rulebook-of-success (it's only sold one copy (like the parenthesis within a parenthesis within a parenthesis?))) I would estimate a writer should combine about 90 percent hard work at learning the craft and 10 percent talent.
Some people disagree with me. Some people think you can succeed at ANYTHING if you try hard enough--even if you have zero natural talent. I disagree. I simply wasn't built (physically or emotionally) for women's boxing. I simply am too nervous to sing solo in front of people. And let's face it, without some major plastic surgery, I'm never going to walk the runway.
Others think success in something (including writing) is based largely upon your natural talents. In Stephen King's book On Writing, he says that someone can improve themselves from the status of bad writer to mediocre writer by sheer willpower and tenacity but moving one's self from mediocre writer to great writer is impossible without inborn talent. I disagree on this point as well.
I guess what is bringing this post up right now are a couple factors:
1. I know so many of you writer friends who HAVE worked your butts off. You've put in long days, long weeks, and long years behind the keyboard. You've been to writer's conferences. You've learned from the web. You've read and bookmarked many craft books on writing. And you've written. You've written novels, and short stories, and blog posts, and many, many more novels. You've edited. You've critiqued. You've worked and worked and worked....
Yet your successes (in the landing-an-agent/signing-a-book-deal arena) have been small.
2. On the flip side, many of you ARE finding success. And in big ways. It seems that every month or so another writing blogger is publishing her "GOOD NEWS!" post where she signed a contract with an agent or landed a big book deal.
So where do the rest of us fit in in the scheme of things?
Personally, I know my time hasn't come yet because I'm not putting in the hard work. I do feel I have at least 10 percent writing talent. (Yahoo for 10 percent!) I do feel I have worked very hard, but it always comes in short spurts for me. At this point in my writing career I am not putting in the day after day after day strict writing regiment that I was doing when my first novel was published.
And you know what? It kind of sucks. Because working hard for something just isn't fun!
And of course there are all those other factors such as right place/right time. Sheer luck and yada yada yada. But I'm skipping over those for today.
The good news is, I feel I CAN make it. Just not right now.
The bad news is, I feel I CAN make it. Just not right now.
So now I want to hear from you. Where do you stand on the craft vs. talent school of thought? Also, if you have "made it" to what do you attribute your success? And if you haven't "made it" what do you think is holding you back?