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Interesting Essay [Apr. 8th, 2008|01:49 pm]
Bristol Community College Writers

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Lilith Saintcrow on Skill versus Talent

I'll post my thoughts on it a little later tonight, but it's a good read.
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[User Picture]From: dracsdaughter
2008-04-09 01:14 pm (UTC)
Boy, do I ever know I need more discipline.

~visions of herself chained to the computer~

I really don't know what my problem is, why it always seems like work or a chore if I plan on doing it, thus filling myself with all kinds of dread. I know the more I work on something without showing people the worse I get. "What's the point? No one will see this anyway?" I ask myself, then I slack off for days.

'Course I agree that good stuff is a mixture of talent and perspiration. Talent can be honed, just as good work ethic. Not everyone knows how to tap into themselves, put little soul-sprinklin' into their work. You show some the light, they can learn that, too!

I'm also one of those peeps that thinks reading is important to good writing. Maybe not for everyone, exceptions are everywhere, but for the most part, it helps. I hear studying, like, majoring in writing can really wind you down, but informal self-study via readdddding can you take what you need from it.

The ol' English 83 (that was Creative Writing, right?) helped me with both discipline and analytical skiilz. I had something to work towards, deadlines, and an awaiting, if not forced, audience. I learned from going over their stuff, and the comments on my own, how to look out for various pitfalls. Couldn't have figured that out in such a short time without the guidence and abundance of work.

I'm pretty sure I can write okay, now I just need to figure out how to make myself do it consistantly in the absence of a constant audience.
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From: cherryvalance19
2008-04-12 04:58 am (UTC)

This was, indeed, a good read...

... but to be honest, it kind of bummed me out. Beacuse I took it personally! I'm so undisciplined!

All right, poor excuse, but for me, school has been wretched as of late, and when I'm staring down... lemme count... 6 papers, 2 projects, and 2 more tests before finals, well... see, I cut myself slack on that, but, I have to get it together. Damn.

Anyway. I do agree with Kaija, that talent can be honed. I guess that it's just like anything, or most anything, in that sense. To refer again to ENG 83, I remember reading some things that I, as a reader, just... let's say, ~wasn't feelin'~ and even as the year progressed, I could tell that a more careful hand had been applied to the work. There was clear evolution. On the other hand, I sometimes wonder if, even though talent can be almost cobbled together into a something... if some people don't just have *it* and sometimes I think that they do.

I've kept my papers from the class, the ones that students actually bothered to comment on, with the purpose of reading over them to figure out what I've done right. I don't know.

To quote Kaija again:
Not everyone knows how to tap into themselves, put little soul-sprinklin' into their work.
I think that's an important statement, in the sense that it's important to give of yourself in both the sense of what Saintcrow writes about, and in writing the story. I have trouble with that, I think, but that's because I don't know myself.

To quote from the article, and to get waaaaaay overly personal:
Someone can be immensely talented at writing–and can fritter away that talent by refusing to hone their discipline. Someone can be incredibly disciplined, but feel no heart-in-mouth joy in what they make. Those are two endpoints on a continuum, and it’s near the middle where the writer must balance. You’ve got to cultivate every scrap of talent you possess with discipline; and you must leaven the discipline with the joy and wonder of this marvelous thing you are doing, creating worlds. Juggling lives. Making little marks on a page into a living, breathing story.

When I got to that part, and I think it's because I'm coming off a pain-in-the-ass week with a lot of (academic) writing, and botched abortions of story ideas, and personal things with which I will not bother you, I did kind of well-up. Because I don't write with any joy, because I don't know how and I don't know what I'm doing and every article I read and every moment I put... well, not pen to paper, but fingertips to keyboard, I feel as if I am actively exposing myself as a fraud. I am not for real, and where is the joy in keeping up a lie beyond the initial rush of adrenaline that comes when you've not been immediately exposed?

Once again, with my self-indulgence. Write what you know, they say, and unfortunately, I only have myself. But then again, like I said... ugh, whoever SHE is :/

Oh, and last thing, also from the article:
What other people call “talent” I usually think of as “joy in the making of something.”

Eh, I don't know about that. To an extent I can see it, but... there are always happy, oblivious idiots everywhere. I don't think that being unequivocally excellent at something is synonymous with any joy that may come with it, and I don't know that it's even something that goes hand-in-hand. I'm trying to think of an example, here. I don't know. And talent is subjective in a sense, anyway, sometimes. But I'm off-topic now, so whatever, but thanks for posting the article. It was interesting.
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