Arrested Development

When I was a kid, I had talent and was a promising young author. I won awards. I still have them.
When I was a teenager, I stopped writing. I had too much other shit to do. Becoming a person, for starters, and balancing a life I had jumped into without thinking things through; an alcoholic husband and a cross-country move later, and I was in a whole new world, where everything was shiny and dramatic.
I never completely gave it up. I played in Mushes and Muds, which were the text-based version of video games (and.. I totally dated myself.) I would start stories, get four chapters in, and twirl off to another adventure.
Do you know what happens when you don’t exercise your talent? When you take it for granted that it will always be around? It atrophies.
I had no training, no discipline, and I was writing at a high school senior grade education. (I’ve had college training, but not in English.) I was frustrated. I didn’t want to write anymore. I abandoned my talent to the wolves.
Fortunately, my talent learned how to climb up on the wolves’ backs and ride ‘em. It found a spear and howled and refused to die.
When my life swirled out of my crazy twenties and into my slightly-more-settled thirties, my talent was ready and waiting. When I opened the door to look for it, it bowled me over and took off running. There was no negotiation, no slow integration. Getting back into writing was like being flung into the sea.
I wasn’t prepared for how fast my ability grew, trying to make up for lost time. I am still in no way a polished professional, but I never wanted to be a polished professional. I want to drag people along for the ride, and have everyone enjoy themselves. I’m a writer; I don’t rise above life and watch at a distance. I experience it and share it.
I have a friend who is finding her own voice. She didn’t stop writing for as long as I did, but she’s rediscovering her inner fire, and watching that makes me smile.
I have another friend who is working on his first finished manuscript. He figured if I could do it, he could do it. He could have done it before me, but he didn’t believe it until he saw it.
My point is, it’s never too late. You can’t kill your talent through neglect, although you can atrophy it. Don’t let the fact that you haven’t done it in a while stop you. Talent, the given abilities that we possess, do not possess an expiration date. Talent is a gift, and it is given to us to be used. Talent differentiates us in a positive way. Feed it, nurture it. It is a piece of yourself, and it deserves attention.

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4 thoughts on “Arrested Development

  1. I have a book about dogs that is coming along nicely, I want to make into an ebook with many pictures(like diary of a wimpy kid).

    I’ve taken a writing class where I learned about you. What steps do you recommend to increase my writing skill?

    Thanks,

    Marty

      1. “Writing Your Authentic Voice”, put together and presented by graduate student Ginna Luck on Sundays at Third place Books in Lake Forest Park, Washington.

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