Learning Your Craft

And if you don’t have the honor and discipline to learn your craft, then quite frankly … you don’t deserve to be here.

Dr. Lee, Drumline

Deep intrinsic natural talent is a wonderful and very enjoyable thing to possess. Your subconscious, intellect and emotions come together effortlessly to create an idea, and you are able to bring it into the world with little trouble. Your work flows as easily as a strong river to the ocean, and you create a thing of beauty.

However, there is a dark hidden secret to natural talent: we rarely study the field in which we are talented. Why bother? We’re already brilliant. I don’t have to work hard to write something beautiful and meaningful. It comes to me like a symphony playing in my head for my own pleasure. I’ve never bothered to study literature or grammar or poetry or story structure. Why should I? I have a god-given gift, so elegant in its grandeur that it requires no molding or contrivance. My talent is complete in its divinity.

But now, at the ripe age of 50, I realize how very wrong I am. I have spent my life trying to create longer pieces of work that are coherent, substantial and poetic. I have tried to create a piece of written art that will deeply connect with people and create a bridge of shared understanding and metaphor between me and my readers.

I have never succeeded. Not once.

In my arrogance and ignorance, I threw my talent away, and in so doing, I also threw away a large and important part of myself. My writing has remained malnourished and stunted throughout my life because I didn’t think I needed education.

The only hope I have is that I have realized this before my life is over. I still have half of my life left. I will spend it well, studying literature and grammar and poetry and story structure. I’ll nurture my natural talent, so my writing can finally blossom into its full potential… so I can realize my gift.

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