TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
Subject:Re: Innate Talents, etc. From:Robert Plamondon <robert -at- PLAMONDON -dot- COM> Date:Sat, 6 May 1995 22:58:28 PDT
Gwen Barnes says,
>If, however, one's ideology allows for recognizing and welcoming
>diversity of abilities rather than homogeneity, one is then free to
>encourage people to develop innate aptitudes into exceptional abilities.
At the same time, one is free to stifle people for whom one thinks
that innate abilities are lacking. If you believe, for example, that
all people with "writing potential" have already demonstrated it,
one is free to discourage everyone else left and write.
As a counter-example, take doctors. A large percentage of the people
who attempt to get into med school are trying to do so because of their
families' desire to have their children become respected professionals,
not because of any great demonstrations, during childhood, that they
are destined to become proctologists. Yet many of these people
with no visible aptitude become excellent doctors.
Similarly, many young men with no prior aptitude for killing other
people, or of convincing others to do so, become successful military
You don't hear so much about "natural gifts" in these professions,
since they aren't things children are normally allowed to spend
vast amounts of time with. Only areas that kids ARE allowed to
spend vast amounts of time on -- music, chess, writing, art,
math, computers, sports -- are "gift professions." The Gods deliver
skills on a silver platter to the worthy few in these professions;
all others require actual work and training. That's the folklore,
anyway -- you don't hear about natural plumbers or gifted undertakers
or born pharmacists.
To me, it looks like a straightforward case of confusing effort,
especially childhood effort, with "natural talent."
The same line of arguing was expressed as follows when I was a
child: "Girls can't play baseball, and there's no sense pretending
Robert Plamondon * Writer * robert -at- plamondon -dot- com * (408) 321-8771
4271 North First Street, #106 * San Jose * California * 95134-1215
"Writing is like plumbing -- even people who know how to do it will
pay top dollar to keep their hands clean."