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How important is talent in writing?

My biggest pet peeve is when I hear somebody say writing can’t be taught. Of course it can. Maybe it can’t be taught like brain surgery–follow a certain protocol and you’ll have success. But through consistent effort and learning from our mistakes, we can become better writers.

One of my favorite quotes from Terry Gilliam, writer, director, and member of the comedy group Monty Python, reminds me of this fact:

Talent is less important in film-making than patience. If you really want your films to say something that you hope is unique, then patience and stamina, thick skin and a kind of stupidity, a mule-like stupidity, is what you really need.

I love this so much that I’ve rewritten it and posted it in my writing room:

Talent is less important in writing than patience. If you really want your work to say something that you hope is unique, then patience and stamina, thick skin and a kind of stupidity, a mule-like stupidity, is what you really need.

Each day I read this, I remember that my practice of consistent daily writing will eventually lead me to the places I want to go. Patience. Never give up. This, I can do.

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