While I don’t necessarily like long road trip drives, I do enjoy them so long as I am with someone who’s enjoyable to talk to. My wife is one of these wonderful kinds of driving companions. We truly do find the hours a great time and opportunity to talk and discuss a bevy of topics. Some of course are private (you won’t get access to those) but we do talk about music, writing, and art a lot of the time. We’re creatives and are able to explore are our likes and dislikes pretty easily, encouraging each other along the way on the highway of asphalt and lines.
Something she said during our most recent drive home was that she boasts about me being a writer (a nerd writer to be precise, lol) and that led to her talking about how impressed she is that I can do what I do and she feels nervous writing anything and letting me read it. I do the thing where I tell her she doesn’t need to be nervous and that she’s a good writer herself (she really is) but that led me to think about something I’ve encountered a few times: perception of writing abilities.
Let me be brutally honest and a bit transparent for a few seconds. I really am not a natural talent. If I was, I wouldn’t have two shelved novels that no one is allowed to see. I’m not sure if there’s a misconception out there about writers as a whole or something else. Our ilk is one often labeled with fine descriptions of neuroses, depression, inebriation, etc. You know, those darn clichés. Yes, I like sipping whiskey and I own a pipe but I’ve never used it (not yet and probably not ever).
In my experience and what I’ve been able to glean over the years is that if ever there was a “natural” when it came to writing, the closest specimen might have to be ole Bill Shakes-the-speare. Even then, there are many who believe the persona of WS was fabricated and that his great plays and sonnets were in fact written by another’s hand and mind. Could be, I don’t know.
My point is that writers are just like any other who is or becomes proficient in their craft. They work at it. Practice and exercising the appropriate muscles are a requirement in order to find any semblance of success.
I think where there’s any natural talent is just in the imagination gears of the minds of writers. For me, to be able to create a vast world (fantasy definitely lends to being able to create more and bend some rules) filled with characters, nations, cities, cultures, flora, fauna, magic systems, and all the other little nuances that make the world come alive is purely by imagination. I did all this as a little kid playing with action figures way before I was able to put words to paper.
Where others may be intimidated to show me or other writers their own writing, just realize I would be completely wrecked to try to play drums or bass with a bunch of professional musicians. I would be a knot of nerves so tangled together that it would take way too long to undue.
Everything worth doing well takes time, experience, mistakes and maybe a hundred other things to get it right.
Call to Action: Just to continue with the topic, I would encourage you to keep at whatever you love to do when it comes to your creative outlet. It’s absolutely worth it once you reach a level of proficiency.