This post by Chuck Wendig originally appeared on his terribleminds site on 3/1/15. Note that the full post contains strong language.
(Alternate title: Things I Can Say About That Article Written By That Creative Writing Ex-MFA Teacher Guy Now That I’ve Read It And Gotten So Angry It’s Like My Urethra Is Filled With Bees.)
Okay, fine, go read the article.
I’ll wait here.
Ah, there you are.
I see you’re trembling with barely-concealed rage. Good on you.
I will now whittle down this very bad, very poisonous article — I say “poisonous” because it does a very good job of spreading a lot of mostly bad and provably false information.
Let us begin.
“Writers are born with talent.”
Yep. There I am. Already angry. I’m so angry, I’m actually just peeing bees. If you’re wondering where all these bees came from? I have peed them into the world.
This is one of the worst, most toxic memes that exists when it comes to writers. That somehow, we slide out of the womb with a fountain pen in our mucus-slick hands, a bestseller gleam in our rheumy eyes. We like to believe in talent, as if it’s a definable thing — as if, like with the retconned Jedi, we can just take a blood test and look for literary Midichlorians to chart your authorial potential. Is talent real? Some genetic quirk that makes us good at one thing, bad at another? Don’t know, don’t care.
What I know is this: your desire matters. If you desire something bad enough, if you really want it, you will be driven to reach for it. No promises you’ll find success, but a persistent, almost psychopathic urge forward will allow you to clamber up over those muddy humps of failure and into the eventual fresh green grass of actual accomplishment.