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Practice?

4/20/2010

Yes, I did mean what I said about practice not making you any better than you already are. If you have no talent for something, practice will only make you as good as you are bad. If you are talented in something, you will be good even if you don't practice. On average.

I believe this. Lemme give you all a f'rinstance. Stephen King. At some point I read that Stephen King wrote ten pages a day no matter what. Actually, according to wikipedia anyway, he said
"Read and write four to six hours a day. If you cannot find the time for that, you can't expect to become a good writer." He sets out each day with a quota of 2000 words and will not stop writing until it is met.
That's a lot to write and a lot to say. Did he turn out a couple of good books? Sure. Classics? Hell no. How many books has he written? God only knows.

Now consider F Scott Fitzgerald. He wrote four novels. It took him nine years to follow up his best, The Great Gatsby, with Tender is The Night. Both classics, Gatsby is arguably the greatest American novel. For close to Three quarters of his life he was incapable of writing anything. He was loath to re-write and was a raging alcoholic with a mentally ill wife and a spending problem. He did not write two thousand words a day, there are only about 50 thousand words total in the whole novel. If he wrote 2000 words per day, in the three years between the publishing of Beautiful and the Dammed and Gatsby he would have written over 2 million words. He didn't, except maybe in letters to his editor asking for money and changing the title of the book.

Point is, Stephen King can write 2000 words a day, every day for the rest of my life and he will never write The Great Gatsby.

What Stephen King will have is a lot of material. He'll get some of it published. The law of large numbers assures us of this. Some of his stories will be good, some will be lousy. All will be Stephen King books and will make him money. He's a millionaire.

Fitzgerald died broke.

See where I'm going with this?

I'm not super talented, so you might be confused. Then again, who the fuck needs talent, when volume will do.


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