I Teach Writers How To Turn Potential Into Action

by @thewritermama on February 22, 2013 · 6 comments

In Seth Godin’s blog today, he says something brilliant today, as usual.

He says that it’s not about having talent; it’s about having good habits.

As a writing coach for the past twelve years, this is something I’ve been saying for a long time.

Writing success is a process, not a God-given ability. I know plenty of able writers who won’t write anything publishable today or even this year for one reason or another.

Fortunately, I know hundreds (maybe thousands) of hard-working writers today who will write something publishable today, simply because they stick with the work at hand and don’t give up.

The most successful writers I work with have two things in common:

  1. They work hard.
  2. They don’t need anyone to tell them how talented they are.

In The Writer’s Workout, I said:

I don’t prefer working with “talented” writers because I find they are more focused on getting strokes than motivated to work hard on to the next piece of writing. Show me an industrious writer who knows how to keep moving for- ward and I’ll show you a writer who is going to get published.

I also said:

Once you make writing a habit, craft will come down from her pedestal and join you in the dance.

In Get Known, I said:

If you are attached to the idea of being talented, getting discovered, and having overnight literary success, you are going to be a dead duck in publishing waters, my friend. Agents can smell a dead duck a mile away (the same way they can sniff out a writer on the brink of success), and they just give it a wide berth.

In Writer Mama, I said:

Beginning writers need to remember that it isn’t talent alone that sets you apart from the crowd. Just as important are appropriateness of your ideas, attention to detail, professionalism, and follow-through. Believe me, there are plenty of writers out there who write well. But there is a shortage of writers who take their writing seriously without taking themselves too seriously.

Stephen King said:

If you wrote something for which someone sent you a check, if you cashed the check and it didn’t bounce, and if you then paid the light bill with the money, I consider you talented.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau said:

However great a [person’s] natural talent may be, the art of writing cannot be learned all at once.

Get it?

Talent doesn’t matter.

In fact, it can really mess with your head.

In the long run, the measure of your success is what you do or do not accomplish today.

So get back to work and get something measurable done today. Okay, writers?

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