Is writing a skill or a talent?

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This is my weekly installment of “writing about writing,” in which I scan the world to find websites, books and articles to help other writers. Today I discuss a blog post on skills versus talents by Seth Godin…

I’m a big fan of Seth Godin, pictured above. He’s smart and streetwise and impudent. I especially like that the vast majority of his blog posts are exceptionally short. I get the sense that he doesn’t want to waste his readers’ time, which is both refreshing and unusual.

I read a post of his this morning on the subject of skills versus talents. Here is part of what he said:

If you can learn it, it’s a skill.

If it’s important, but innate, it’s a talent.

The thing is, almost everything that matters is a skill. If even one person is able to learn it, if even one person is able to use effort and training to get good at something, it’s a skill.

It’s entirely possible that some skills are easier for talented people to learn. It’s entirely possible you don’t want to expend the energy and dedicate the effort to learn that next skill.

He doesn’t say that this is a post about writing, but I think it is. So many people believe that writing is a talent. Instead, it’s a skill: Yes, it’s easier for talented people to learn how to do it, but anyone who is motivated can learn.

Read his entire post here — and, please, accept the notion that if you really want to learn to write, or to get better at it, you can.