"Talent: Who decides?"
The making or breaking of a writer. If you're a writer, I thought you might like to read this parallel story about a violin player from author, Lawrence Block.
A man once wanted to become a famous violinist. He loved the violin. He worried though about whether or not he had talent. He said, "Someday, I will play for Mr. Heifetz, the greatest violinist of all. If he says I have talent, I will pursue a career in music. If not, I'll get a job in a bank."
Time went by and eventually he got his wish, he played for the master. Afterwards, he waited breathlessly for the response. His whole future hinged on the master's reply.
"Tell me," he said anxiously. "Do I have talent? Do I have the makings of a successful violinist?"
The master shook his head. "You don't have the fire," he told him.
The would-be violinist was a broken man. But he had heard it from the master. He would give up his career in music and go into another field of work. He became a very successful businessman, and many years later, after a concert he went backstage to thank Mr. Heifetz for the words that changed his life. As he shook the master's hand, he said, "It was because of you that I gave up violin and went into business."
"What did I tell you?" asked the master, frowning.
"You said I did not have the fire."
"Oh," answered the master, waving the comment away.
"I tell everyone that. Anyone who would come and ask me doesn't have enough belief in himself to succeed."
Man, what a rocking and powerful little story. I thought about these words all afternoon. My passion is writing the next best seller. (Ha Ha) Well, why not? If you're going to dream, don't waste your energy. Dream big. Right?
However, I do think having writing talent is important, but I had to really think about the fire the master was talking about. Do I have the fire in my gut to stay with my novel. To write each day? To make deadlines for myself? To get my ass to my critique group each week? And most of all to finish the damn thing? My conclusion: Yes, I do. I'm not the type of writer or person who needs to shop around for others to tell me how much talent I have. If I need others to inflate my ego, then I most certainly don't have the fire or self-confidence for the long haul of writing.
Lawrence also says: "He cannot tell his students they are not talented, only that their talent is not visible. And that writing can be learned but it cannot be taught."
What's your thoughts on having talent?
Sherry L. White