Home > writing > Is Talent Really Necessary to be a Successful Writer?

Is Talent Really Necessary to be a Successful Writer?

I received a newsletter recently in which the writer quoted Stephen King. In essence, King states that a writer must have talent in order to succeed. Do you agree with him? After giving it careful thought and comparing his statements to my own experience, I have concluded that desire trumps talent in most cases. However, I do think that a measure of talent is a positive component to the fulfillment of a desire to write. In other words, I think that if a person has a strong enough desire to succeed at writing and can adequately define his idea of that success, whether he has talent or not, he can learn to write well enough to succeed according to his definition of it.

There are many not-so-talented people who have succeeded immeasurably not because they developed a latent talent but because they showed extraordinary skill at things like networking or marketing or both.

If you read op-ed pieces, as I do, you will soon discover the lack of writing ‘expertise’ or talent in some of them. Grammar mistakes, syntax problems, misspellings and typos are no strangers to op-eds by celebrities, political pundits and public figures alike.

I have hopes of one day becoming a technical writer. Specifically, I would like to write user manuals because I am very mechanically oriented. I read user manuals all the time because of my desire to write them and I can posit the same things about writers of user manuals as I did above. Talent may play a part but far and away desire plays a much more important one. Desire plus proper education and study combined with diligent application is sure to carry a person to their goals with their sanity intact.

I’m anxious to know what you think. Post a comment or email me at: JerryWatson@JerryWatsonCommunications.com or JerryL_Watson@hotmail.com

  1. February 6, 2010 at 11:46 pm

    My wife always says there is no such thing as talent. I guess that comes from years of hanging out with me. I’ve had moderate success in medicine, music, and as a writer. I think it all came from persistence, ’cause I’m sure I don’t have much talent.

    I believe hard work has it’s rewards, but true greatness is because one was destined for that role. Oh well, I never claimed to be Hemingway, so I’m unconcerned.

    Dr. B


    • February 7, 2010 at 12:46 am

      Wow! No talent?! Medicine, music and success as a writer! If that isn’t talent then you must really be a persistent man. You seem to be a true Renaissance man. In all seriousness, it sounds to me like you had a true desire to succeed in these areas and economics, opportunity, drive and desire all met in the same place at the same time and you did just what you planned to do. I congratulate you. Thanks for reading and commenting. I greatly appreciate your input.
      I see you play Bluegrass. I do too, on occasion. Along with a fondness for classic country. Listening to Jerry Reed while I type this. Again, thanks, Dr. Bibey. It’s a genuine pleasure to meet you. Hope to see you at a Bluegrass concert some day.

  2. drtombibey
    February 7, 2010 at 1:57 am

    Brother if I was as good a picker as Jerry Reed Harvey County mighta been out one pretty fair country doctor. He was a player, and a pal of Chet Atkins, which says a lot.

    Look for my book, ‘The Mandolin Case.’ I’ve been at work on it a long time and hope to have it out in six months or so.

    Dr. B

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