Writing talent is either inborn or acquired over time has been a long-time debate. Through the years, many people have requested me to check their work and gauge if they have talent for writing or not, asking my advice if they should still pursue their writing dreams or change course.
I think they are asking me the wrong question because I believe that anyone can develop a writing talent and a good writer. I have been a teacher of English Composition at different colleges and I was able to prove this point. Those students who passed ordinary, unimaginative work at the start of the semester, turned out to be good writers in the end. In the same way, I have seen a lot of writers with generic, inartistic work get hired in magazine publications, while those remarkable wordsmiths unfortunately cannot get assignments elsewhere. These are proof that writing talent may not be something you are born into.
Carol Dweck, psychology professor at Stanford backs me up with my talent theory. In her book, “The New Psychology of Success”, research states that in the arts, business and education, those who accept that talent is fixed and innate don’t develop their capabilities to the potential and don’t bounce back from misfortunes.
On the other hand, those who accept that talent can be fleshed out do not just become more successful but also inspires more their families and staff.
Carol Dweck’s great advice: you can alter your belief on intelligence or talent. Kids who were instructed that the brain, like any muscle is enhanced through exercise, were able to convert their math scores from F’s to B’s in just two months.
So it’s time to debunk doubting yourself if you possess writing talent or not. But rather make your dream of getting published a reality by believing that talent and skills in writing can actually be learned. Let us discuss which skills you actually need to learn to enhance one’s writing talent:
The Skills Needed That Lead to Writing Talent
1. Choose your words carefully. Talent for writing covers sensitivity to the difference between words. You can always consult a dictionary for this. For instance, know when to use “cauldron” instead of “kettle”, or to describe a hero’s “bravery” than “bravado.”
2. Putting out your message out there means thinking if your readers do comprehend your choice of words together, more than focusing on what you mean. If nobody grasps it, then there must be something wrong with the writing. Most of the time this is more difficult for those who write in desperation compared to those who are more confident in writing.
3. Writing talent also involves constraint and patience. Meaning you should know how to put your piece aside and let it sit for a while, and get back to it in the morning. That way with a fresher set of eyes, you can revise, rearrange and re-craft your piece to check if the story or message does make sense.
4. For one to truly have writing talent, he must have the self-discipline to monitor and correct his spelling and grammar. Sure you may have an editor above you to do this, but most editors would definitely like someone better who adheres with professional writing standards.
5. A skilled writer with real writing talent knows how to rise back from failure. In the world of writing, rejection is always possible. But successful writers do not take it personally and easily recover, move on to the next publishing company or to their next task.
Based on my personal experience, it is the right attitude and these five skills that lead a writer to success, and that’s not labeled as talent generally. Remember that writing talent does not come easily, it must be learned, earned and worked hard for.