Sometimes you have to sit back and ponder questions that have no real answer.
Which came first, the chicken or the egg?
Why did the chicken cross the road?
Why can’t I come up with an example that doesn’t involve a chicken?
And of course what will win out, nature or nurture?
The age old debate of nature vs. nurture is simple enough in concept. What will matter most in how a person turns out, their DNA or how they are raised? For example, a serial killer has baby who is raised by incredibly sweet, kind, giving people. Will the child still be plagued by a murderous nature, or will they be good, just like those who raised them?
The answer isn’t simple, because people aren’t simple. If the serial killer had a genetic condition that effects the mind and can be passed onto the child, maybe the child will have the same outcome. Of course, maybe they will never know what could have been, and spend their life working with charity. A case can be made either way using examples of real people, so the answer may never be determined completely.
I keep thinking about my own personal nature vs. nurture.
No, I am not related to a serial killer. But I do believe in a natural talent.
There are those in this world who are just amazing from the beginning, with no special training. The singers who can belt out a song with perfect pitch and no voice training. The runner who has strong lungs and perfect form from their first day of training. The artist who has perfect lines with no art classes. The storyteller who can weave a tale that will draw you in with nothing more than a simple what if moment.
Everyone has met someone who is just good at what they do. Maybe they have trained, and worked hard, but you know it kind of doesn’t matter. I could do everything Kara Goucher or Shalane Flanagan do, but that doesn’t mean I will be setting any race records. I honestly believe it is because they have something I don’t when it comes to running. I don’t know exactly what it is; maybe it is the drive, the determination, the physical proportions of legs, body fat, muscle, lung capacity and coordination. Whatever it is, they have the ability in their nature.
This brings my greatest fear for my writing. Do I have the talent in my nature? Beyond the story ideas, or the luck to find the right agents, publishers, and audience at just the right time, do I have the natural ability to write?
What if I just don’t have what it takes to write a good story?
Sometimes I think I do; most often I am happy with my first draft of everything I write, and usually only feel the need to make minor corrections. That doesn’t necessarily mean I am good of course. It just might mean I don’t see the mistakes I need to fix.
How can you know if you are naturally talented at something? Can you do anything to change it if you are not? Can you change your nature and change yourself?
Just as they cannot definitively end the nature vs. nurture debate in raising children, I cannot easily put my own fears to rest. The truth is, I honestly believe in natural talent. I know it is there, and everyone has theirs, even if they don’t use it. I know there are people who can write much better than I can, and those who are much worse. I might just be a middle of the pack writer; nothing remarkable, but not burning holes in the minds of readers due to my excessive mistakes in writing. That’s not enough for me though.
I know there are things I might not be able to change, but that doesn’t mean I need to give up.
I’m afraid that I was not born with the talent, but I refuse to let that fear rule me. Instead, I am working to nurture my nature. I have the desire, and I can learn the rest. So I study what I can, read everything, and write everyday. I may never have the natural talent, or I might make a natural talent grow. Either way, I will get where I want to be, because I refuse to stand in my own way.