Looking back, this has been evident since I was about 10 years old. But the first time I truly believed in this gift was when I was 22 and started working as a trainee copywriter at an ad agency in London, England.
After a few weeks working there the Creative Director told me I was truly gifted as a writer. Soon after that, I received a big pay rise to dissuade me from moving to another agency.
I was lucky. I really was. Many people have a gift, but never have it validated in the way I did. As a result, they are never quite sure, and never fully believe in the gift they have.
Which brings me to the conference I attended this week, the AWAI Web Intensive.
There were about 100 people there. I’m not sure of the exact number. Out of all those attending I got to speak individually to about 30. And of those, I know three well enough to have noticed they are truly gifted as writers.
Because I know how important it is to have one’s talents validated, I told each of these people they had a gift.
One, I’m pretty sure, didn’t believe me at all.
Another was happy to hear me say it, but felt I was over-stating her talent. Which I wasn’t.
The third would probably have believed me a few years ago, before spending time with an employer who constantly belittled her writing talent.
It’s one thing to have a gift, but it seems to be quite another to believe in it, and in oneself.
Are we doomed if we can’t find someone to validate our gift? It might seem so. But, in fact, that isn’t the case. If you are stubborn enough, you can do this for yourself.
To illustrate how this can happen, let me tell you a story.
A teenager named Paulo wanted to become a writer. Writing was his passion, and his gift. His parents, however, felt he would do better pursuing a career in law, and suggested to him that he do his writing in his spare time.
Whatever his parents said, Paulo stuck to his guns, insisting that he would devote his life to writing. To help him change his mind, his mother and father had him committed to a mental institution, where he was submitted to electroshock treatment to “cure” him of his dream.
In total, he was committed three times, and underwent electroshock treatment repeatedly.
Was he cured of his desire to write? It seems not. Paulo Coelho is the best-selling Portuguese-language author of all time. His books have sold tens of millions of copies and have been translated into over 60 languages.
Certainly, his case is exceptional.
But if you doubt your gift, or if those around you fail to support your ambition to write, you could do worse than ask yourself, “What would Paulo Coelho do?”
About the author: Nick Usborne is an online writer, copywriter, author and coach. Read more…