When you’re good at something, talented, skill doesn’t seem to count for much. It still matters but when something comes naturally to you and you do it well, even a sliver of improvement makes it worlds better. Better, I think, than it would make it for someone who does it badly.
I’m talking about writing because that’s what I’m doing here, whether it’s blogging or storytelling, but I seriously doubt it’s different with many other things. The musician who has an affinity for the sound, for which string to pluck or keys to hit to create a pleasing melody.
Teach him a few tricks and the illusion of perfection seems all the more real.
It’s what I like to think of as “using the Art”, a little turn of phrase inspired by Clive Barkers books of the Art, especially the Great and Secret Show. That was a lovely tale and the magic used by people in it, the way it was used, fits seamlessly into how I look at using your natural talents.
For writing, just the desire to write is enough for a start if you’ve got the knack. The more you do it (and you will do it if you’re good at it and enjoy doing it) the better you’ll get.
Of course the flip side to that is you can trick yourself into thinking skill doesn’t matter at all. You can make the mistake of relying exclusively on your talents , thinking you can ride them to the top. I suppose a genius probably could, someone on Da Vinci’s level, or Einstein, but those people are fairly rare. Chances are, you’re not one of them, and don’t feel badly about that. Neither am I.
Yet here I am, writing my black little heart out and gaining ground by the day. I keep going, and regardless of whatever missteps I make along the way I’m only getting better. I’m not exactly the greatest in the world, but I’m most definitely talented. More importantly though, I’m trying to capitalize and build on that talent. And if you ask me, that’s what makes the difference.
I’d say the good only get better. Excepting, of course, the really stupid ones who try to live their lives according to what they “should” do instead of doing what their hearts tell them to. Talents are great to have, but they’re only as really as good as the skills they propel your toward building.
(Originally written July 30th, 2015)