Number of blog article drafts I find unworthy of publishing: 61. That’s pretty high. Some are unfinished, most are just blah or self-centered, and there’s at least another thirty on my netbook. I think back to the days when I used to blog every day, and now I wonder how I did it.
I have a 4,000ish-word essay in an anthology coming out in April. I’d read the 15ish book series before, but I read them all again to write it. The first essay I wrote for it fell flat and boring and blah.
After the blah attempt, I read the whole series a third time, taking 112,500 words of notes and quotes. (The Kindle makes it easy.) There are, I kid you not, 26 files of attempts, drafts, or notes on this essay in my Essays folder.
(When I was little and had to report my practice times to my piano teacher, I gave numbers that were less than what I’d practiced, so she wouldn’t think me untalented.)
Fiction is much easier on me.
But still, I’ve written over twenty-three 35K-76K novels and novellas for Pseudie (I have a habit of losing stuff once completed, so that number could be higher.) and 50-60ish short stories. Three or four series.
I really only like the last series I wrote, but I can never read my work without cringing at something.
I just re-read the series I wrote before that one, and am disappointed to have to demote it from the I-thought-it-was-decently-written category to the I-don’t-know-why-people-like-this-but-I-do-miss-the-characters category. Still, I am relieved to know that I keep making definite, visible progress with each book I write. (Her first books weren’t very good. She progressed. Her story gives me faith.)
I definitely needed the practice, and I’m quite relieved my stuff is out there under a pseudonym.
The point of this embarrassing confession is that if there’s one thing I’ve taken away from having taught music to hundreds and hundreds of students, it’s that talent doesn’t mean much. “Born” talent was always more a predictor of failure than success, and “Talent Education” is not just a Suzuki sales pitch, but a definite, proven, successful process.
Talent can be taught.
Talent Education is NOT about teaching the already-talented; Suzuki principles are about instilling, creating, and developing talent.
The age you start does make a big difference, but even that can be overcome, as can anything else. I had a student with four fingers on one hand who competed on a state-level. Most of my “talented” students did not come that way; they were made. And no one but another teacher would believe me if you heard them play. Some were even remarkably untalented, in the beginning.
The takeaway is that with enough *smart* practice, talent is indistinguishable from hard work. This article on talent is right.
The inspiration is that on any given day, no matter how much you suck or just feel like you suck, if you practice smart and you go for the numbers, you’ll come out ahead.
What think you? What keeps you going, when the going gets rough? When your faith falters?
* Disclaimer: If you do the same thing in the same way you’ll get the same result.