The (Not) Natural


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.

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.

6 thoughts on “The (Not) Natural

  1. Anna

    Not that I was a great teacher or anything, but when I was working with my middle school band students, it wasn’t talent that made any of them great. It was all practice, all the time. Keep going, Pam, and you’ll get there!

    1. Pam Post author

      Thanks, Anna! I’m sure you are a fine teacher. The post is evidence of how great at encouragement you are. Every bit helps.:D

  2. Tina

    I am so totally not a “natural” either. Thank gosh we found each other. Also it seems the people who work hard are the ones that stick with it. So there’s that!

  3. Martin L. Shoemaker

    Naturals are lazy. If it’s not easy, they go find something that is. They never learn to break through barriers. And there are ALWAYS barriers. So they have to learn what you already know: how to persevere because you want it badly enough that you’ll pay the cost.

    (I speak from experience.)

    1. Pam Post author

      It’s true, Martin. I love my brother but he sadly never used many of his talents. There are always barriers, and I don’t think we would appreciate the success as much if we didn’t have to fight for it. Like working out in the gym, we flex those determination muscles enough and we grow so strong nothing can shake us. Thank you so much for commenting and I know with perseverance we both will win. 😀


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