Talent is what they say
you have after the novel
is published and favorably
reviewed. Beforehand what
you have is a tedious
delusion, a hobby like knitting.
Work is what you have done
after the play is produced
and the audience claps.
Before that friends keep asking
when you are planning to go
out and get a job.
Genius is what they know you
had after the third volume
of remarkable poems. Earlier
they accuse you of withdrawing,
ask why you don’t have a baby,
call you a bum.
The reason people want M.F.A.’s,
take workshops with fancy names
when all you can really
learn is a few techniques,
typing instructions and some-
body else’s mannerisms
is that every artist lacks
a license to hang on the wall
like your optician, your vet
proving you may be a clumsy sadist
whose fillings fall into the stew
but you’re certified a dentist.
The real writer is one
who really writes. Talent
is an invention like phlogiston
after the fact of fire.
Work is its own cure. You have to
like it better than being loved.
— Marge Piercy, For The Young Who Want To —
To write is such a simple concept, and yet, it can be one of the hardest things to execute. After sharing the news that my first poetry book now has a title and is ready for publication, I decided to revisit one of my favorite poems on being a writer for this week’s Writer’s Quote Wednesday.
Marge Piercy breaks down the pressures of society and how they view the act of writing, beautifully in her poem. So, I pass this on to all the young and budding writers who want to. No one will want to read your work unless you want to write it. Hold on to that desire and that passion, and go make something breathtaking with it.