“This is a terrible fortune,” I said.
“No, it’s not,” my sister said. “It says you’ll be rewarded.”
“It says suitably rewarded. Commensurate with my talent. What if I have little or no talent?”
“Sometimes having lunch with you is a real downer.”
I kept the fortune anyway. I keep all of them, unless they contain incorrect grammar. Everyone should have a hobby, I guess. This one I had on a magnetic board in my office, even though it didn’t promise health, wealth, or unending happiness. It’s a good reminder of the nature of talent. Is it innate? Or is it developed?
Do I have a talent for writing? Or do I have an interest in writing, developed and honed over time because I enjoy it and practice often? I grew up hearing that I was a good writer, so I did more of it, because who doesn’t like praise? At some point, it became a habit, something I need to do, a way to empty out the stories in my head.
And when I indulge in that habit, when I practice, I can feel my writing improve. I’m nearly to the end of a WIP and I went back to read the first chapter. I can see how to make it better when I finally get to the revision stage. Since I started the book, I have listened to probably 100 various writing podcast episodes, read hundreds of blog posts and articles on writing, and several writing books. Plus, I’ve gotten excellent feedback from my critique partner that was specific to this book. I don’t feel like I’m more talented, but I do think I’m a better writer now than when I started.