My brother excels at many things. He’s not just good, but great at almost anything he tries. Skills seemed to come to him in a flash. He wanted to learn about computers in the 80’s so he pulled one apart and rebuilt it. He could do the Rubik’s cube in less than three minutes. He picked up a guitar. Within a few weeks, he had a band and was composing music.
He learned to drive and never had a major accident of any kind. In school, he never studied that I recall. I don’t think he ever brought home a school book after he hit high school, yet still managed very good grades.
There are many words attached to someone like this: genius, talented, wunderkind, but I categorize him as a natural.
I am not.
I read and re-read the instructional book that came with my DOS operated computer until I finally figured out how to make a simple program. I never mastered the Rubik cube. I spent the entirety of junior high learning to play flute by practicing every day and finally in high school took lessons. By my senior year, I was first chair. I was a horrible driver, until I had driven for years. And although I was third in my high school class and got a full ride scholarship, I spent most of my teen years buried in a math or history book, repeating by rote, doing worksheets, taking notes, highlighting, studying.
Writing is the same. The desire to put pen to paper comes with a small dollop of talent but it’s not easy. I am not a natural.
I watch other writing naturals and hear their stories. I got a Kindle in 2011 and decided I wanted to write a book. Three months later it was a ‘boom’ bestseller. I quit my day job.
The tales make my insides turn to molten lava and my head explode. I’ve been writing for enjoyment my entire life. I am a horrible speller, not great a grammar, and struggle with a myriad of other writing devices. I take classes, go to seminars, read books, dedicate half of my time to writing and editing new material every damn day and after more than ten years on a publication path I still am trudging forward. No request. No agent. No publishing deal.
But all those years of watching my brother and fighting my not-naturalness has taught me something.
If I work hard enough. If I am dedicated enough. If I endure for long enough. I will succeed. Natural or not.
Disclaimer: My brother may dispute the above. It is only my observation of the past and it is subjective.