Writing is a skill.
It takes practice to perfect it.
Yes, there's also talent involved. But not AS much as you might think. And before you feel insulted by that, let me explain.
Not sure how many of you know this, but once upon a time I was an art major. And my specialty was black and white portraits:
But the funny thing is, when I was first learning to draw, the thing I struggled with the most were faces.
No really. I can prove it. (I can't believe I'm going to post this--it's SO embarrassing)
This is a drawing I did when I was 14.
It's supposed to be my kindergarten class picture, but...well...
I mean, I wasn't the cutest kid on the planet--but I was cuter than THAT!!!
And I have hundreds of equally bad drawings I could show you (but I think that's enough humiliation for now).
So what changed?
I loved portraits. I wanted to be good at them. So when I was 15 I decided I was going to draw nothing but faces until I figured out how to get them right. And since I was 15--and totally, heartbreakingly in love with Gavin Rossdale--I decided practice on him (hey, if you have to stare at a face for hours at a time, why not a gorgeous one?)
At first, I still sucked:
I mean...this is really...REALLY bad.
But I got a little better...
There are quite a few more in this series...*blushes*...but I think I'd rather just skip to the end, when I finally figured out the basic proportions of the face:
Yay! It's not perfect, but at least he looks human!
It still took me a few more years to figure out how to make someone look like "them," and to learn how to shade and add detail and really perfect my style:
But I did it!
I went from making everyone look bug-eyed and scary, to being called a "master of the face" by my Professor (though believe me, I am *hardly* a master.)
So what's my point?
My point is, that art is something everyone thinks of as a talent you either have--or you don't. And yet, I did not naturally have the talent to draw faces. I had to train my hands to do it, and train my eyes to see it and THEN I could do it.
And in many ways, it's the same thing with writing. Sure, we'd all love to sit down and open a Word doc and effortlessly write the next Great American Novel, which will sell millions of copies and win literary awards and turn us into the most famous writer ever. But it doesn't work that way--at least not for 99.999% of us.
Most of us have to practice. We have to write horrible first drafts that make us want to cry over how much they suck. But then we revise them and they suck a little less. We give them to our CPs and they point out some issues and get even better. And pretty soon...they're good. Good enough to get an agent. Then we do one or two more rounds of revision, and finally they're GREAT. And then they sell and we start the whole process all over again with our next book.
So what I'm trying to say is, don't doubt that you have the talent. You HAVE it. You have to just keep practicing on your draft until you finally get it right.
And you will.
So don't give into the fear and give up.
You can do it!
And if you need a cheerleader, let me know. I'll be happy to cheer you on!
*shakes pom poms*