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Julianna Baggott (2008)

The world's leading expert on expertise doesn't believe in talent. He's a professor here at Florida State University and I have my grad students read his abstract on talent. In large part, I agree with him. Although I believe in talent somewhat, I know that talent alone has nothing to do with why people write, or better yet, why some people continue to write, feverishly.

I've thought an awful lot about why I write. And, moreover, why some of my students continue on and some give up. It's a brutal business, first of all, but why do some persist no matter what. And is there a way to see those coming? I've tried and I can't.

I only know that my own desire to write is rooted not just in one area of my life. It's not just for self-expression. It's not just because I want my parents' love. It's not just because of money or God. If any ONE of these were the reason, it would be like trying to build one of those stilt houses at the beach on only one stilt.

I have lots of stilts holding up the house -- some good, some bad. I write because it's how I breathe. I write because I was raised Catholic and believe it's sinful to ignore a gift. I have a family and need the money. I want my parents' love, sure. I have something to prove, and always have. I write harder because I believe that other writers can get away with certain kinds of bad writing and, for some reason, I'm not allowed. I write because I was a scrawny child who always had to prove herself in sports. I write because I need to escape. I write because I should probably be doing something else. I write to find some truth. I write because I've become addicted to the creative process. I write to save my soul. I write because sometimes it's easier than speaking. I write because I want the criticism. I want the brutality. I want to earn the praise. I write because I'm a control freak. I write because it's liberating there.

And on and on and on ...

Originally posted in Dustin's former blog on 8/20/08.


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