Lack of talent has always hung over my head, the idea I’ve got none. Growing up I sometimes felt a spark of clear thinking in the creases inside my cranium, but most of the time, it seemed to me I knew nothin’.
I was under the miscomprehension that if I had no talent–writing for me, but it could be anything a person wants to do–I might as well not bother trying. Even if I had a little talent, I shouldn’t bother because there are geniuses out there who wake up in the morning, sit down at the computer, and spin marvelous tales without effort. After all, every book I picked up at the library seemed to be filled with whole worlds that sucked me into adventure and drama, dissolving my hours into days.
I’m older now, and I hope just a little wiser. I realize even Shakepeare had to work at writing. What I didn’t see back then, couldn’t see, was that there are other components to the whole creativity gig: effort, perserverance, desire, practice. Who knew it was such a complex thing? Not me. Sometimes I look back over the years and wonder just how many times the mummy tape circled my head because that’s how I felt, paralyzed, unable to move forward, my whole body wrapped in thick gauze.
But we grow up and when I finally figured out how doing something over and over again would actually make me better at it, I began to push myself. I never had done that before. Stick to it? Even when I got antsy, worried, tired, bored, frustrated, and disillustioned?
I did things okay without too much exertion and for way too long, I never understood that doing things “okay” isn’t enough. I get it now. To be good at something, really good, I can’t get lazy. I can’t let myself become satisfied with meager effort. I have to push myself, challenge myself, discipline myself. Yes I do.
But in that mix, the other lesson I’ve learned is to remember why I write. The answer is because it’s fun. It’s like finishing a Sunday crossword puzzle, but better. It’s like winning 1st place or getting an acceptance, but better. Sometimes, when characters take over the story and hours melt into days, it’s even better than sex.
Read more at Flash Fiction Chronicles.