This quote comes from writer Haruki Murakami, reminding us that talent is basically irrelevant without the foundation of a good work ethic.
Photo by Karuka (Shutterstock)
In every interview I'm asked what's the most important quality a novelist has to have. It's pretty obvious: talent. Now matter how much enthusiasm and effort you put into writing, if you totally lack literary talent you can forget about being a novelist. This is more of a prerequisite than a necessary quality. If you don't have any fuel, even the best car won't run.
The problem with talent, though, is that in most cases the person involved can't control its amount or quality. You might find the amount isn't enough and you want to increase it, or you might try to be frugal and make it last longer, but in neither case do things work out that easily. Talent has a mind of its own and wells up when it wants to, and once it dries up, that's it. Of course, certain poets and rock singers whose genius went out in a blaze of glory-people like Schubert and Mozart, whose dramatic early deaths turned them into legends-have a certain appeal, but for the vast majority of us this isn't the model we follow.
It's easy to see other people as talented and their work as effortless, but for most work is still work regardless of the quality. Before getting discouraged, it can't hurt to remember that. Most everyone has to work hard regardless of their skill level.
Haruki Murakami: Talent Is Nothing Without Focus and Endurance [The 99 Percent]