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Do you have enough talent to be writer?

August 30th, 2017 by Margaret Feinberg
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“Do I have enough talent to be a writer?” asked one of the students in the Write Brilliant Academy.

While surfing online she stumbled on an agent’s website that said…

“Most people should not be encouraged to write.”

Those words sent her into a spiral of self-doubt and second-guessing. I offer a response here.

But the question of talent remains.

Maybe you, too, wonder, Do I have talent when it comes to writing?

I will respond to you as I did to my precious Write Brilliant Academy student.

As far as “enough” talent, I have no idea what to quantify as enough. I don’t keep measuring sticks for talent locked away in a drawer or hall closet.

Perhaps because for far too many years people said I had none.

I scored a 410 on my English SAT (that was back in the day when you got a 400 for placing your name on the page).

My English teacher told me I shouldn’t bother entering an essay contest in school, because I never had a chance of winning.

She told me not to bother taking the AP English test because she was an official grader for the test, she knew I would never pass.

What do you do with that? 

What do you do when someone’s words slice your marrow?

You limp. Ache. Change bandages. Pray.

And you wait for the still voice to become a sacred echo that nudges and presses and calls and woos and reminds you that you, friend…

you are not allowed to quit no matter how hard you try.

So do you have enough talent?

I hope not.

Why? Talent comes and effort goes.

After 20 years in publishing I’ve noticed the most talented rarely last. They flash and fade.

Those who work their hineys off and persevere remain.

Everyone I consider a great writer today was pretty terrible 5 to 10 years ago.

They didn’t quit. And. Neither. Should. You.

I’m not great, but I’m committed to improving every day.

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