Gifts are most often physical expressions of love. Especially this time of year. Something to be received, torn open, cooed over and cherished.
But it’s the other use of the word that is such a spot of difficulty for writers.
Every writer loves writing. Cherishes it. The ability just to be able to do it—in whatever capacity you prefer—is a gift.
And it’s wonderful to be able to tell stories. Create characters. Weave a plot that keeps even your own brain guessing.
But then there’s always that bit of doubt in the back of a writer’s mind. Magnified by the subjective nature of the business.
Do you have the gift?
Is your very favorite thing to do something you’re actually good at? Something you’re gifted at? And does it matter?
Here’s how I look at this. It might not be a popular opinion. It might be considered a bit to hippy-dippy to be accurate. But here it is anyway: If you like to write, you’re gifted at writing.
We all have our own strengths and weaknesses, to be sure.
It’s one thing to be gifted at plotting. Agatha Christie? Probably the most gifted plotter of all time.
It’s one thing to be gifted at characterization. Tim Dorsey? His characters leap off the page and threaten to strangle you with their off-the-wall realness.
It’s another thing to be able to create a story and characters so beloved that households across the globe know every intricate bit—J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter, I’m looking at you.
We all have our strengths, even the everyday, non-household name writer.
The ones with book deals but not big names, or with agents but no contracts, or those just tootling around hoping to get an agent or small press interest or, heck, have more than just their own eyes reading the first line?
Those people have the gift, too.
The gift of writing strikes us all differently, but it’s there, whether your work has been praised or ripped apart or—most likely—both.
No matter where you are in the process or where you think you might go with it, repeat the following four words to yourself, especially in those deep moments of doubt: I have a gift.
Now, go write your heart out.