"Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work." Stephen King
My dear friend sends me inspirational thoughts every day. Why? Because that's just how she is. My friend looks at the bright side of every situation, she lives inside a silver lining, and she is quite talented and successful. It has been my great good fortune to have at least three very close friends in my life. These friends are all gifted, talented, and loving people who have helped me when I needed it. More importantly, they have given me the glorious honor of helping them a couple of times too. So when my friend sends me thoughts for the day, I pay attention and try to learn something from them.
This quote from Stephen King stings a little for some of us who hope we have talent. When I read something truly brilliant like Mark Helprin's Soldier of the Great War or Edith Wharton's volumes of work, I realize I am a hack in comparison. Writing is fun, relaxing, and recreational for me while the truly gifted authors have suffered over their word choices. The great writers or painters or architects of the world appear born with the 'talent' for their respective crafts. Yet success eludes them unless they also market their work. It is in the marketing that the artist often falls short. When Mr. King says: "talent is cheaper than table salt," he echoes my own observation that their truly are many, many talented people on this earth. Of that growing population of talented individuals, only a small percentage reaches the desired level of achievement.
Truly, some really talented persons claim only to pursue their craft for their own fulfillment. This claim is unfortunate, for a gift is something to be both selfishly enjoyed and generously shared with others. What good is a talent hidden the walls of a studio or stored in boxes or hard drives?
If one agrees, then, that talent in areas like art, music, and literature should be shared, then how much sharing must also be decided. Is it every artist, singer, or writer's duty to reveal a gift to the world? Yes! Is it their duty to market the work shamelessly? No, not necessarily. But as the man said, to be successful one must work hard. The development of a work of art, creation of a song, or publication of writing is really the fun part for the artist. For the artist to be upset that others do not recognize or 'discover' their gift and all its value is immature at best.
Harsh words perhaps, but maturity lies in the ability to let go of some dearly guarded beliefs about oneself and one's place in the world. If sharing your work, your talent, requires some selling of the ideals behind it, then so be it. Fear of failure, fear of any kind, has no place in the world of the artist. Easy to say, maybe less easy to do, granted.
Those using this Website are taking some risk by putting words out there for the enjoyment and judgement of others. For that risk, you should be applauded. Now, go the next step and challenge others to recognize your abilities as well. Only by continuing to write and work hard and letting others help us make our work better do we grow and become successful. Let's work hard and make our own success!