What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn’t happen much, though.
J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye (via observando)
#that’s what’s so great about fan fic though#because you can go into their ask boxes and go WHO TOLD YOU THIS WAS OK and proceed to sob while they laugh at you#and sometimes they’ll share their headcanons as an extension of that universe#and really there’s nothing more delightful than that (via xactodreams)
Most writers were the kids who easily, almost automatically, got A’s in English class. (There are exceptions, but they often also seem to be exceptions to the general writerly habit of putting off writing as long as possible.) At an early age, when grammar school teachers were struggling to inculcate the lesson that effort was the main key to success in school, these future scribblers gave the obvious lie to this assertion. Where others read haltingly, they were plowing two grades ahead in the reading workbooks. These are the kids who turned in a completed YA novel for their fifth-grade project. It isn’t that they never failed, but at a very early age, they didn’t have to fail much; their natural talents kept them at the head of the class.
This teaches a very bad, very false lesson: that success in work mostly depends on natural talent. Unfortunately, when you are a professional writer, you are competing with all the other kids who were at the top of their English classes. Your stuff may not—indeed, probably won’t—be the best anymore.
If you’ve spent most of your life cruising ahead on natural ability, doing what came easily and quickly, every word you write becomes a test of just how much ability you have, every article a referendum on how good a writer you are. As long as you have not written that article, that speech, that novel, it could still be good. Before you take to the keys, you are Proust and Oscar Wilde and George Orwell all rolled up into one delicious package. By the time you’re finished, you’re more like one of those 1940’s pulp hacks who strung hundred-page paragraphs together with semicolons because it was too much effort to figure out where the sentence should end.
The Why Writing Is So Hard field of psychology is very interesting to me.
gpoy. fuck “natural talent” in its eyeball.
I had natural talent. And I am the worst procrastinator. Fortunately, there are Deadlines.
I think I’d read this before, but this part just grabbed me:
“The kids who race ahead in the readers without much supervision get praised for being smart,” says Dweck. “What are they learning? They’re learning that being smart is not about overcoming tough challenges. It’s about finding work easy. When they get to college or graduate school and it starts being hard, they don’t necessarily know how to deal with that.”
That was me, through and through, and I’m not even a millenial.
“The kids who race ahead in the readers without much supervision get praised for being smart,” says Dweck. “What are they learning? They’re learning that being smart is not about overcoming tough challenges. It’s about finding work easy.”
::sighs in recognition::
Talent is not enough. You have to put in the work, too.
ALL OF THIS TRUE, AND NOT JUST APPLICABLE TO WRITING FOR A LIVING. Though of course, I do write for a living, if not fiction. Well, not officially.