Friday, August 26, 2016

Does pure, true talent really exist?

Talent has been made a big deal out of by many. People have told me I’m talented, and thank you very much, but let’s take a moment to study what it actually is all about.

To me, true, pure talent is so extremely rare. To me, it’s the ability to open your mouth and sing without ever having a lesson. It’s the ability to pick up an instrument and play it without ever seeing one before. It’s the ability to pick up a paint brush or pencil and paint or draw something that could only come from pure talent.

For the rest of us, it’s not talent, it’s practice and dedication to our craft.

How many actors go to acting lessons, how many musicians spend years perfecting their playing, how many singers spend years with vocal coaches, how many painters spend years honing their craft?

It is years of practice, rehearsals, educating ourselves on our profession, or hobby as the case may be for some. It’s only been the last few years that talentless hacks called reality show contestants are getting the jobs that many of us strive for years to get, learning our craft, polishing our act, all to be told that some little pissant is getting the gig because, well, they have more social media followers and will bring in the cash.

You don’t get to write a book overnight, unless it’s a very short one. You don’t get to write the way big authors do unless you’ve had years of practise and education on the ins and outs of writing and all that comes with it.

You don’t get to host the Tonys or Emmys unless you’re known, unless you have proven yourself on stage and screen, writing, producing, hosting, singing, dancing, doing everything because that’s what you spend years learning and honing and educating yourself on.

Talent is nothing but years of hard work and dedication to what we do. It has nothing to do with natural talent, as others may see it; it has to do with us being dedicated to what we love.

What about “child prodigies” who play the piano, violin or some other instrument? That’s purely practise from their mother’s sitting them down and making them rehearse. Asian cultures are more into that than we are. You don’t get to play the piano like that at three unless you’ve already been practising for two years.

And these “child prodigies” who paint? Take a look at the painting. If it’s just paint on a canvas then there’s no prodigy or reincarnation from some famous artist. Simply a kid who put paint to paper and the parents thought they could make a buck by calling it "abstract". I’d love to see a five year old paint the Mona Lisa or Sistine Chapel.

No, very few people have true pure talent. The rest of us are just well practiced, rehearsed and educated on our craft after years of honing our skills.

Having said that, here’s pic of my books below. 

I would not have been able to write these if it wasn’t for years of practise in English class at school, and my teacher critiquing me on them. After I wrote my first, The Road To Vegas, where the original draft was shit, I signed up to writing clubs and read a tonne of books. I googled what I could not find and asked questions, all in the pursuit of knowledge which is far more than what some people bother doing these days. I learned what it took to be a published author. And while I may not be traditionally published, I am still published. And that knowledge led me to writing my own book about self-publishing (middle bottom).

I’m also considering an author name change, more a simplification of what I already use, and will be using the new name on my new series. I’m seeing if they sell more with an initialled name on the front and then I might change the rest.

But as for talent, I have none. What I have is over 30 years of practise behind me. Whether it be in jewellery making or writing.

What do you guys think? Think talent is real or just dedication to the education of our craft?


  1. I think talent is real but the level of that talent can be perfected. While your writing in school might not be the quality of your writing today, you had the talent to be able to write thoughts, ideas, stories etc. down on paper. There are people that are hardly capable of speaking a coherent sentence and certainly aren't capable of writing a logical sentence.

    You are an artistic person. You recognize scale, color, harmony, flow, while others can't conceptualize any of those things. An artistic person has sensibilities that can't be taught.

    I have over the years watched people that can sketch. They might consider it doodling, and often don't consider it a talent at all. Let's assume that they have never had any art classes but still can sketch a person's likeness fairly well. If they took classes maybe their sketches would improve but even in their primitive state, they are better than the general population. Most people can't pick up a pencil and sketch out a picture that is pleasing to the eye. Again, it's their ability to conceptualize scale, color, shadow, light etc. that another person will never understand.

    I could cite a number of other areas that a person could be taught but never have a true talent for. Singing, dancing, athleticism...all of those things can be taught but all the lessons in the world won't help a person that has no natural talent in some form to excel in those areas.

    1. Your paragraph about people picking up a pen and sketching a person's likeness is part of my point. Some people CAN just do that and to me that is true talent. The rest of us practice for years. Everything I do is from practice, reading books, educating myself and remembering what I've read to use for the future.

      The last paragraph is also true. Some people don't have a natural ability to pick things up. others pick it up and run with it, but to me, from personal experience, that's not necessarily talent either. It's hard work and a belief in learning. Some people are, "I suck I just can't do it". If you have a negative or defeatist attitude it may not work. But if you get rid of any issues you have, then who knows what you can achieve through learning and practice.

      Who knows...


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