Don’t be afraid of your talent.

I’ve spent the last few days trying to come up with a wonderful, exciting, and non-controversial subject for this blog. Didn’t find one.

The Bible is the best-selling book of the world. It has, between its covers, sex, murder, redemption, betrayal, a woman locked on the street and eaten by dogs, a child born in a stable, long trips, taxes, rich people, poor people, enslaved people, free people, people willing to kill for what they want, people willing to be killed for what they want and the list goes on. There is beauty and loyalty, directions, and history. Yet people do not read it for a chief source of entertainment—because there isn’t much. It reads like a news report because that is what it is.

Shakespeare, it has been said and there is a lot of proof of it, didn’t write an original story.He took other’s work and worked it over. He didn’t even bother to change the titles very much in any attempt to hide the fact he was using other’s stories. Writer’s of his time, whose work he pirated, wanted his hide—preferably tacked to a wall. But, when he took a story and bent it to HIS will, then it sang to the multitude. Writers had to bear the indignity of having their words half quoted with his as people on the street had a game of out quipping each other in quoting hisplays. It truly is a wonder he lived. And yet, when he had enough money to buy a sheep farm, he hung up his quill never to write again. His words, the way he wrote them, live on today three centuries later.

Why the writers chronicling the bible didn’t do more for the stories or why Shakespeare quit while he was at the top of his re-writing skills, we will never know. One thing we do know, talent may not be measurable, but it is detectable. Whether your talent is great or small, you have one.As those who choose to write, you’ve also chosen to use your talent. Then, let it OUT! Don’t be afraid that your writing may not sound as wonderful as someone else’s. Don’t worry that someone else seems to be writing hysterically funny lines where yours seems to droop. Each of us are given different gifts to use in different ways.

Where would some of us be without each of those who wrote the Bible? (There are other Holy written works for other religions. I am not as familiar with them so for the purpose of comparison, I choose this one.) Where would we be without Shakespeare and all the lovely lines many of us say without realizing from whence they came? The line, ‘whither thou goest, I shall go…your people will be my people” is a nice line for a wedding, but comes from the Bible and is spoken between two women. ‘Et tu Brute?’ Is from Shakespeare’s play and probably the most quoted.

When we are beginner writers, we don’t often know all of the grammar rules nor can we reliably tell a metaphor from our great Uncle’s left ear tuft. What we do know is that there is a story. Only we can write that story. For, if it were written by someone else, it would be a different story. Each of us have a talent to turn loose if we aren’t afraid to let it run free. Don’t hamper it by telling it that so-and-sot’s talent does it differently. So-and sot’s talent is supposed to do it differently.

Don’t duplicate the Bible. Don’t duplicate Shakespeare. Don’t worry. Just write.


Becky A said...

Miss Nina, great blog. I'm not sure whether it will be controversial or not, but who cares? Getting people to talk is the point, right?
I can help a little by declaring that I don't like Shakespeare, never have and probably never will. Just my personal opinion and not a criticism. I hadn't realized that he plagerized others' work.

I heard someone say once that a writer could live off of all the plot-lines in the Bible. With the glut of Christian books out today, I think they were right. Good thing that God doesn't care if we use them!
Thanks for another great pep talk.

Joan Vincent said...

Thanks for the encouragement, Nina. We sometimes forget how individual we are while trying to fit into round or square holes. How can we improve our individual story telling style--by writing and (reading). I do like some of Shakespeare's works. The Henry V speech before the battle of Acquincort can still give me chills. Or perhaps that is just Kenneth Branagh.

Pat Davids said...

Great post. You are so right. People shouldn't be afraid of their talent or afraid others won't recognize their talent, or even worried that they don't have talent. The ability to "be special" is in all of us because we are unique creatures.

Elaine Morrison said...

Nina, thanks much for the encouragement. I think that we are each totally unique, as individuals and as writers. You expressed it well.

Reese Mobley said...

Nina, as always, a thought provoking post. Writers should possess extra courage and determination because we certainly need it. Do you have some bottled and ready to sell? (grin)

Penny Rader said...

I loved your post, Nina! You are always so eloquent and I always look forward to what you're going to say/write next.