King states that to be a successful writer, you must be talented.
Talent is a very subjective thing and a quick walk through a bookstore is enough to reinforce that. In the original article, King stated “talent may as well be defined as eventual success – publication and money.” He acknowledges it isn’t the best definition, but when talking in terms of getting published, those who are basically making money from their writing have talent. Maybe not writing talent, but they were talented enough to convince someone to give them money.
That might seem harsh to the thousands of unpaid writers like myself, but it’s true. Getting paid or not getting paid, doesn’t necessarily have an ounce to do with a writer’s ability to write a good story. It has everything to do with if those stories are getting out to the public in someway. I would even go so far as to say we see this happen in the music industry as well (next time you hear a Taylor Swift or Beyonce song, think about the last awesome local band or singer you heard).
Getting the story out and into the hands of other people, is the first true test of talent. The talent to put a story out there that grabs the reader and has the reader looking for and wanting more. King calls it communication and he’s right. If I as a writer, sit here at my desk clicking away at my keyboard, and never share what I write I have no talent as far as the rest of the world knows.
However, if I put the work out there, love it or hate it, I’ve communicated with someone. Hopefully for every one person who hates what I write, there are ten who love it. The more people like my work and follow my work, the greater my chances of becoming “talented” per King’s definition.
Have I mentioned my writing group put together an anthology of scary stories called Wicked Words? The royalties from the book go directly to my writing group to help us host writing events related to NaNoWriMo and cover other group expenses. Validate our talent and pick up a copy. (Apologies for this becoming an infomercial.)