A fellow writer said to me last week ‘she didn’t know if she could do this writing thing yet’. I offered her supportive words but the full impact of her statement didn’t hit me until later.
Society tells us that there are those with natural talent, especially when it comes to creative pursuits but it also affects other areas. Have you ever heard “She’s good with numbers” or “He has a way with words” or “She’s got the knack”. While this might be true, that some people have an affinity towards a specific skill, it is not the end for everyone else.
We all know that a piano player who practises every day will surpass the ability of one that chooses not to develop their ‘natural skill’ further. An affinity for something makes it easier for a person to learn at the start and perhaps even to develop their skill further, but it’s always through perseverance and dedication that their skill amounts to anything. Practise is what makes you better. We all know it, we all accept it, but we don’t always apply it to ourselves. What about art? How many times have you heard–or even said–“I can’t draw” or “I wish I could draw”.
Drawing, music and writing are the same. Draw a flower every day and by the end of the year you’ll end up with one so beautiful you can smell it. Play a short tune every day and by the end of the year your fingers will dance over the notes. Write every day and by the end of the year you’ll not only have a lot of work around you, you’ll also be able to read how far you’ve come. I haven’t met a writer yet that hasn’t said how much their writing style has changed over time, that the story they wrote five years ago (or even last year) is awful compared to what they are writing now. Whether their past story is actually awful or not is irrelevant because what we’re looking at is the improvement.
So when you doubt yourself, don’t. Just practise.