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All Things Writing & Publishing > Natural born writer

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message 1: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 14876 comments After Tara mentioned euginics on another thread, I thought whether there were natural born writers with maybe some writing genes -:) or there were no such thing.
Are you one of them? What do you think?

Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments Based on stories my mom told me I have to say yes lol. I've always been a writer and always will be. As for skill, that improves the more I write. When someone says that they write because they have to I think that is a sure sign that they are a natural.

message 3: by Zee (new)

Zee Monodee (zee_monodee) | 0 comments I'm with Tara on this, too. There wasn't a time I wasn't writing - my many diaries from my very youngest age attest to that. I can't conceive of not writing.

It may be that an artistic gene is at play in such cases. Like, my dad paints. He was even an art teacher before he went into medicine. He still paints to this day, at 81 years old. He got it with art; I got it with words (though I do draw/paint/sketch and even took those as high school majors)

message 4: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan I'm a natural born writer.

Unfortunately, I'm not a natural born salesman, or grammarian, or graphic designer, or editor, or a lot of things....

message 5: by GR (last edited Oct 09, 2016 11:58PM) (new)

GR Oliver | 479 comments What is a natural born writer? That's a good question. I like the statement: they write because they have to. But, that doesn't mean that person is a natural. Maybe a natural story teller. A natural writer is another question. I used work with a fellow that was a natural, and had a beautiful way of writing, but he was lost for words when it came to story telling. If he had an task to write about something he could write about it in a beautiful illustrative way--everybody loved his writing. But, he couldn't tell a story; he was lost for words. Like some people are a natural salesperson, or a natural musician. We shouldn't fool ourselves and believing we can do anything, that it's just a matter of hard work. It isn't. Any talent, that has any worth, has to be natural, and then nurtured and perfected. But, the desire and need must be there first. a desire that is beyond any other need--more like an addiction.

I used to teach. I saw many students come into my class who thought they had a little talent. But, more than that, they wanted to shine. They realized any art was a craft that had to employ rules to make sense. They thought it was just do it, and everybody would praise them. The addiction wasn't there. The hard work wasn't there. Then they dropped out.

message 6: by Daniel J. (last edited Oct 12, 2016 09:51PM) (new)

Daniel J. Nickolas (danieljnickolas) | 111 comments (Let me preface by saying: practice is essential regardless.)

I agree that some people are natural born writers, and some people are natural born storytellers (and there is a difference).

As far as genetics is concerned to the writer/storyteller (specifically to the storyteller) I would think that storytelling is too ingrained in humans as a species to be traced, or influenced, genetically. Storytelling is the oldest art form. It is an aspect of even the remotest cultures, and it may be the reason some ancient languages developed to the complexity they did. Storytelling might even predate ethnicity.

To give an analogy, it would be like saying someone's dog was likely to have genetic similarities to a wolf; the statement is obvious because dogs began as wolves, just as humans began as storytellers.

message 7: by GR (new)

GR Oliver | 479 comments I think it goes further than genetics. I don't like to go into metaphysical areas, because people will think you are a weirdo, which I am and know it. Most people don't think they're weird, but I do. I feel out of the norm or mainstream of society. I feel like I'm a messenger looking at/or reflecting on society.

Getting back to more than genetics. The reason I think it isn't genetics, genetics has something to do with the body, not the soul. Talent has something to do with the soul. The soul carries on from dimension to dimension. The body only has one purpose: to give the soul a form, a house to make itself known to the existing dimension. The soul is different, it continues. It doesn't stop. It carries on.

When we, as storytellers, must tell a story, it isn't just telling a story, but saying something about life: its hardships, its toils, its ups and downs, its miseries and pleasures--everything about life. A good storyteller doesn't tell his story, he tells the story of mankind.

message 8: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 14876 comments I think it evolves into an interesting discussion. Maybe a distinction can be made between what to tell (plot, content) and how to tell (delivery, writing)?
Wonder whether Stephen the King, for example can be considered Messi, Lebron James or Floyd Mayweather of writing? -:) Or maybe Bobby Fischer or Garry Kasparov?

message 9: by GR (new)

GR Oliver | 479 comments Nik wrote: "I think it evolves into an interesting discussion. Maybe a distinction can be made between what to tell (plot, content) and how to tell (delivery, writing)?
Wonder whether Stephen the King, for exa..."

Maybe in another dimension.

message 10: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 14876 comments GR wrote: "Maybe in another dimension...."

Maybe -:)
Agree that writing comes from the soul. Not sure though that genetics are solely about the body. Don't know whether there is proof that genes influence intellectual activity, cognition and so on, but that's something that is being considered and researched...

message 11: by Denise (new)

Denise Baer | 593 comments Yes, there are people who are born with a writing talent. Of course, they learn and hone in on their gift.

The liberal arts have run in my family. My great-grandfather wrote poetry in Lithuanian. My grandmother was a professional opera singer, and my aunt a professional ballet dancer.

As for me, I'm not a natural born writer. I started late in life and spent years learning the craft before publishing anything. Even so, I do enjoy it.

message 12: by Justin (new)

Justin (justinbienvenue) My mom tells me I used to tell the most in depth stories out of no where when I was little. Teachers also told her the same thing and adding, "If only he could write down the stories he tells.."

I don't really remember any of that but here I am, four published books and thinking hmm..maybe they were right.

message 13: by Michael (new)

Michael Fattorosi | 477 comments Several writers in the family, but more business owners, lawyers and professors.

An American cousin, a professor, wrote this -

Two Italian cousins are writers...

Another Italian cousin is a professor at La Sapienza University in Rome. He's written text books...

So maybe there is something to genetics and writing... lol

message 14: by Matthew (new)

Matthew Williams (houseofwilliams) I don't make any pretenses to being a natural borne writer, and I am not aware of anyone in my family with the "writing gene". However, I love to talk and impart and am a total sucker for people who are willing to indulge me. Writing seems like a natural extension of that. So that's why I do it.

message 15: by Patrick (new)

Patrick Keithahn | 1 comments I think writing can be taught and perfected over time by writing and reading often. However, it certainly comes easier for some, which might be the magic of it. I feel like writing is one of the few things in this life that I do well, but I've also spent the past 30 years nurturing it. Maybe it's half what's inside you, and half recognizing and learning how to improve on such a wonderful gift.

message 16: by Mehreen (new)

Mehreen Ahmed (mehreen2) | 1911 comments Talent is latent. One must hone it.

message 17: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 14876 comments In a broader sense, are you a 'natural born' in anything or acquired skills through monotonous, long-lasting training?

message 18: by Michel (new)

Michel Poulin The one thing that I always had that probably helps me a lot as a writer is imagination. From what I can judge from the discussions on Goodreads, I appear to qualify as a prolific writer (2-3 medium/large size novels per year). Having a fertile imagination must be helping.

message 19: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 10659 comments I have both a creative mind and an analytical mind, and I suppose that is a given. However, in just about everything else in life, I think my successes, such as they are, have come from persistence and effort. Even now, while I can write very quickly, I then spend a lot of time on the monotonous task of revising, and this has its disadvantages because it tends to flatten out the more inspiring bits.

message 20: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 14876 comments Talent or training?

message 21: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 10659 comments Most people ascribe their successes to talent and their failings to lack of training or lack of opportunity :-)

message 22: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 5776 comments Is becoming a successful writer similar to becoming a successful actor -- you need a lucky break?

message 23: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 10659 comments You obviously have to have ability, but I think getting discovered or having a lucky break is important. J K Rowling had a number of rejections, and then when she tried a thriller under a pseudonym, it flaked until word got out who the author really was, (was that the publisher?) then it took off.

message 24: by Nik (last edited Apr 17, 2021 03:24AM) (new)

Nik Krasno | 14876 comments An "initiating event" can make the difference, like say Raegan praising an unknown thitherto Clancy :)
If you, guys, bump into Biden in the hood don't forget to hand him my stuff :)

message 25: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 10659 comments Good luck with that, Nik :-) Unfortunately, these freaky things happen very rarely. To make matters more difficult, some of your American friends will be Republicans, and they won't be much use for that particular request.

message 26: by Adrian (new)

Adrian Deans (adriandeans) | 254 comments This question seems to come up a lot on writers' forums. I don't think any sort of definitive answer is possible so I'm interested less in the notion itself and more in the reason why people want to know.

If you believed you were a NBW would that encourage you? If you believed you were not a NBW would that discourage you, or would it make you determined to succeed in any case.

But if you were (or believed you were) a NBW, what would that do to your self-image if you weren't successful? Especially when you perceive the mega-success of so many you regard as non-NBWs?

My own view is that talent is worthless without lots of (the right kind of) hard work and learning all you can about the craft - which mainly involves reading.

Even then, once your talent is refined until it's burning brightly, you still need either (or both) of money or luck to be successful.

message 27: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 14876 comments Ian wrote: "....some of your American friends will be Republicans, and they won't be much use for that particular request..."

I believe my request is bipartisan. I imagine those who ain't crazy about Joe, may opt for hurling the book instead of "handing". Seeing a book shredded by bodyguard drones won't be pretty, but can still be a worthy sacrifice :)

message 28: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 5776 comments Nik, the joker :-)

message 29: by Philip (new)

Philip (phenweb) | 0 comments Adrian wrote: "This question seems to come up a lot on writers' forums. I don't think any sort of definitive answer is possible so I'm interested less in the notion itself and more in the reason why people want t..."

Perhaps the 10,000 hour rule applies

message 30: by Jim (last edited May 10, 2021 11:29AM) (new)

Jim Vuksic | 121 comments It took me 14 months of writing, rewriting, proofreading, and having others proofread, to produce what I felt was a polished manuscript ready for publication. Solicited input from a copy editor and conceptual editor convinced me that the manuscript was not yet quite polished or ready for publication.

It took another 11 months working with the aforementioned professionals to produce a polished manuscript ready for publication.

So, if there is such a thing as a natural born writer, I am definitely not one.

message 31: by Adrian (new)

Adrian Deans (adriandeans) | 254 comments 25 months?


It took me 15 years before a publisher said yes, and I've always believed I am (kinda) a NBW.

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