When I’m speaking to new writers, whether they be young or old, I spend time discussing the difference between talent and tenacity.
When you start, you may be discouraged because you see others with greater talent than you, but if you have tenacity, your dedication will develop talent, your resilience will keep you practising, your perseverence at pushing on doors will get you opportunities. The most talented person who just holes up in a burrow will stagnate if they don’t work with what they’ve got. So if you WANT it, you need to be tenacious, and eventually, your tenacity will develop your talent, and you will achieve your goals.
So much success in life relies on simply not giving up.
Caitriona Balfe, the actor who plays Claire Randall in Outlander, said some similar regarding making it as an actor, in a recent interview for The Irish Times,
a lot of it is just having the f***ing balls and grit to stick around and be persistent in the face of a lot of rejection. But I think that also comes from having a belief that if [there is] something you love to do so much, something that feels that it comes naturally, that in some way it has to be what you’re meant to do.
That’s it. As Dory puts it, “Just keep swimming.”