Tuesday, January 6, 2009

the talent of the room

People who are young at writing—and this does not necessarily mean they’re young in years—ask me, now and again, if I can tell them something useful about the task. Task is my word, not theirs, and it may seem a harsh and formal word, but before writing is anything else it’s a task. Only gradually do you learn enough for it to become a craft. (As for whether writing becomes your art—that isn’t really up to you. The art can be there in the beginning, before you know a thing, or it may never be there no matter what you learn.)

“The only thing you really need,” I tell these people, “is the talent of the room. Unless you have that, your other talents are worthless.” Writing is something you do alone in a room. Copy that sentence and put it on your wall because there’s no way to exaggerate or overemphasize this fact. It’s the most important thing to remember if you want to be a writer. Writing is something you do alone in a room.

"The Talent of the Room," Michael Ventura

[Chicago Avenue east of Damen Avenue]

About Me

Chicago, Illinois, United States