I’ve spent much of my life jealous of those around me who were naturally talented at things. I’ve always wished I had something resembling talent in visual arts; I have never been able to draw, and it’s a talent I greatly admire. And while I’ve had some minor success as a writer (in that I’ve published a few stories), I don’t believe it comes from natural talent but rather perseverance and repeated trial and error.
I always assumed that success in creative endeavors would come more easily if I had this thing called talent. Only as I grow older and I have met more talented people, I realize it’s not as big a part of the equation as I once thought. The most important thing by far is motivation.
The way I see it, there are three factors in creative pursuit; you’ve got whatever skill you bring to the table, you’ve got your aspirational goals, and you’ve got your motivation. Talent might advance you some on the skill track, and goals and dreams are easy; everybody has them.
Skills can be learned. Talent’s a head start, but it’s not everything. And basically, it’s worthless if you lack the drive and motivation to achieve that goal.
I see it a lot; people who have skill and goals, but they’re always making excuses for why they aren’t advancing on them. Not enough time being the biggest one, but as Jay Lake always said, roughly paraphrasing, if you have time to watch TV, you have time to make something.
It boils down most of the time to the fact that you’re just not motivated enough on the pursuit of your goal. Which isn’t to say that real barriers to success don’t exist; of course they do. But without drive, or ambition, or some motivating need, you’re going to find a reason not to create. I don’t care how talented you are if you can’t be arsed to work.
Let’s face it; not making things is a lot easier than making things. Get your ass motivated and work. Or don’t; the world doesn’t really care one way or another. It’s gotta come from you, in the end, or what’s the point?