Chuck Wendig in Terrible Minds:
Okay, fine, go read the article.
I’ll wait here.
Ah, there you are.
I see you’re trembling with barely-concealed rage. Good on you.
I will now whittle down this very bad, very poisonous article — I say “poisonous” because it does a very good job of spreading a lot of mostly bad and provably false information.
Let us begin.
“Writers are born with talent.”
Yep. There I am. Already angry. I’m so angry, I’m actually just peeing bees. If you’re wondering where all these bees came from? I have peed them into the world.
This is one of the worst, most toxic memes that exists when it comes to writers. That somehow, we slide out of the womb with a fountain pen in our mucus-slick hands, a bestseller gleam in our rheumy eyes. We like to believe in talent, as if it’s a definable thing — as if, like with the retconned Jedi, we can just take a blood test and look for literary Midichlorians to chart your authorial potential. Is talent real? Some genetic quirk that makes us good at one thing, bad at another? Don’t know, don’t care.
What I know is this: your desire matters. If you desire something bad enough, if you really want it, you will be driven to reach for it. No promises you’ll find success, but a persistent, almost psychopathic urge forward will allow you to clamber up over those muddy humps of failure and into the eventual fresh green grass of actual accomplishment.
Writers are not born. They are made. Made through willpower and work. Made by iteration, ideation, reiteration. Made through learning — learning that comes from practicing, reading, and through teachers who help shepherd you through those things in order to give your efforts context.