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Sunday, May 3, 2009

Recommended Reading

A little snack for thought on a Sunday morning: NY Times columnist David Brooks offers some interesting insights on the question of nature vs. nurture, specifically as it applies to writing.
The latest research suggests a more prosaic, democratic, even puritanical view of the world. The key factor separating geniuses from the merely accomplished is not a divine spark. It’s not I.Q., a generally bad predictor of success, even in realms like chess. Instead, it’s deliberate practice. Top performers spend more hours (many more hours) rigorously practicing their craft.

If you wanted to picture how a typical genius might develop, you’d take a girl who possessed a slightly above average verbal ability. It wouldn’t have to be a big talent, just enough so that she might gain some sense of distinction. Then you would want her to—

...read the rest of the column...
Since the original inception of The Friday Challenge's predecessor site four years ago, we've debated the twin questions of whether writing is an art or a craft and whether it's better to have talent or skill. The conclusion we keep coming back to is that artistic talent is nice to have, but absent good craft skills and a single-minded determination to park your butt and write, no one will ever know or care how much talent you may have had.
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