Friday, May 20, 2016

I’m Not Multitalented

I was in my late 20s when I attended a booksigning for a bestselling author. For some reason, nobody had shown up for the event. I planned to leave as soon as the next fan showed up, but nobody did.

So I stayed.

And stayed.

And stayed.

I watched for an indication she wanted me to leave her sitting there alone. She never gave one. So we talked about the writing life. She gave me tips that have stuck with me to this day. One of them was very interesting.

"Writing is all I can do," she said. "I have no other talent. So I put all my effort into writing. Then I can pay other people to do all the other things."



Think about it. If you could make enough writing, you could outsource everything. You wouldn't have to know how to bake or cook...



You could pay someone to clean your house and reorganize your closet.



A writing friend of mine published a few novels, then retired to the beach. She now acts and sings in local productions, makes crafts, and writes novels she publishes herself.



Of course, there are also the many talented children's authors who can illustrate and write. I envy them, too!



I can't even keep a plant alive for more than a month.



Are you multitalented? What are your talents?

I have bookmarks! If you want some for your class, library, or just to hand out to your kids' friends, fill out the form here or comment below and I'll track you down! I'll even sign them.


54 comments:

  1. I'd outsource the yard work.
    I have other things I do besides writing that are creative. The perfectionist in me wishes I could do them perfect, but that's all right. One does pay the bills. Wish that was playing music, but then again, I wouldn't want the lifestyle that comes with being a musician full time.
    And cool about the bookmarks. Wish there was a way all of us could share each others' bookmarks...

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    1. Living in Nashville, I know what you mean about the lifestyle of a musician. It's certainly a different world they live in. Playing music at all hours of the night in bars, sleeping all day. I think it's great that they can do what they love--we're just lucky to be able to write whenever it works for us!

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  2. How nice to get to chat to the author all by yourself. It must have been a quiet day for her, but good for you and you must have gained insight into her writing process.

    I don't see myself as multi-talented. At the very least, I don't even see myself as much of a strong writer and often wince when I read my writing :D Though I must say I'm very good at sitting around the house and relaxing, listening to music and reflecting on the world :D

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    1. It was the first time I realized that even a best-selling author could have a booksigning and have nobody show up. I figured the bookstore didn't promote it well enough, but later I realized, no, people just don't really come out for things like that like you'd think they would.

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  3. What a cool experience to get to talk with an author, in depth, when you were starting on your own career. I'm multitalented by necessity. While I get what the author was saying, I'd have nothing to write about if all I did was write. Of course, anything that has to do with numbers I wouldn't mind outsourcing... and shopping for clothes I could easily pass onto someone else... Hey, maybe I'm not as multitalented as I thought I was! ;-)

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    1. That's great! Yes, you do need to get out of the house and do other things to come up with ideas. Some of my best ideas actually come from conversations with other people.

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  4. I'm definitely not multi-talented, but I admire those that are. Cute bookmarkers.

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    1. I definitely admire people who are equally talented in many different endeavors!

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  5. How sweet of you to stay with the author when no one else showed up. That's a special talent of it's own...showing compassion...and you received a reward, tips for writing you wouldn't forget and you became an excellent writer. I suppose I'm multi-talented more by nature and curiosity than anything. I wanted to learn how to play a piano early and took lessons for 11 years. I wanted to learn how to cook and sew and worked at it. My Mom was an avid gardener and I wanted to learn how to do that as well as ride my horse. I wanted to be a mother and had five children and I encouraged all their talents. I wanted to be an artist and painted for decades in a variety of medius as well as sculpted. It seemed to come natural all my life to want to learn to do something new and creative. Then when I was past 70 I decided I wanted to write to document it all and had a memoir published. I don't consider myself an "expert" at anything except trying hard to accomplish a little of everything that intrigued me along the way.

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    1. I've always wanted to learn how to play the piano! I cook...I wouldn't call myself an expert, though, at all. Restaurant chefs are the experts at that, but I've known many people who aren't professional chefs who are as good as one.

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  6. Thanks for sharing about the best-selling author and the no-shows at a book signing. The only successful one I've been to was for Jane Fonda.
    I do have other creative outlets - I sing and dance in a duo that performs at retirement communities and senior centers. But I could never be a musician full time - not talented enough and wouldn't want the lifestyle. I'd definitely outsource grocery shopping and cooking.

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    1. I was at the bookstore when Kenny Loggins was signing. Accidentally wound up beside his table. The line was stretched around the bookstore (this was the 90s, so a little closer to his famous time). I quickly rushed away, hoping nobody had seen me take a wrong turn. I think most celebrities don't go to bookstores now because their signings attract too many people for small venues. I've seen our local independent bookstore direct people somewhere else when a celeb is in town...but I'm not sure where that is. I know Stephen King has actually done performances here. He sits on stage and talks. I don't think he signs books--just WAY too many people for one person to handle. I guess as an author either you're signing for a few people or you're signing books for thousands. There's little in between!

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  7. What runs through my mind is how do you get grist for the mill if you don't step out of your life as a writer? I do think what we do in a life is more of a calling than we think. I never planned to be a teacher but I think it was my calling. From the response of A to Z, I wonder if I should write more about science.

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    1. I think it's important to differentiate between interests and talents. I once wrote a ghost-hunting series, for instance, so I took a class (and marathon-watched Ghost Hunters!). A love for pottery would be great to work in a book or two but at some point you'll need characters with different interests/talents, so I guess it's good to always be curious--and to be willing to take a class in something odd if it can make for a fun topic for a book!

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  8. I wish I was multi-talented! At something. Anything.

    And I'm pretty sure I killed a plastic plant once....

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    1. LOL, I feel you on that one! My favorite plant is artificial. I got it from Hobby Lobby and people think it's real. It's very realistic looking.

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  9. I'm the spell-checker at work, does that count? More reliable than auto-correct, that's for sure. I am very up and down as to how I view my writing. I often think I'm a better reader. I try to be content, and I am contemplating attempting guitar even though I can't carry a tune.
    Good post and I love those bookmarks. Very nice

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    1. I always was the spell checker when I worked in an office. People would yell over, "How do you spell such-and-such?"

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  10. Hmmm...I don't think I am multitalented! But I can do lots of things if I feel like it...Heeheehee...I guess perhaps I am multitalented!

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    1. I can do them...just not well at ALL!

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  11. I am multi-talented at artistic stuff. I sometimes think I will never feel truly satisfied until I FINISH a book!

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    1. Go for it! Yes, I think that's definitely a bucket list item for many people.

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  12. I envy the illustrators, too!

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    1. Oh, me, too. I can't do anything like that at all!

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  13. I could draw a bit as a kid. I even drew a sort of fashion show once with a bunch of clothes lined up. Then I stopped and as a teen onward I can't draw jack. Plan to take some classes one day to get that mojo back. But for now I'm a writer and proud of it. I can also cook and clean. Yay? I knew from the start someone was going to be hired to do book covers. I watched a few videos on how to do covers yourself went "Absolutely not."

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    1. OMG, Sheena-kay, that's how I feel about ALL graphic design. Why am I going to spend hours in Photoshop trying to figure out how to design a flyer when I can pay someone to do it on Upwork? I've had good luck doing that before (well, in the Elance days, anyway!).

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  14. I'll admit, I have a black thumb, too. The only time I can get any plants to grow is when they aren't supposed to be growing, like weeds, ivy, and other such climbing nuisances!

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    1. I think we could probably learn if we were really dedicated but...why?!

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  15. I only have one talent...being retired. I can do that very well.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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    1. I fear I won't be very good at that, although I'm doing what I love, so I FEEL retired! Except when I have to write about boring topics. :-(

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  16. I don't know if i'm truly multi-talented...but I try. I love to do so many things! And my brain never stops. I love your book marks!

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  17. I'm still to broke to outsource. And I also not multi-talented. So, I just write and stay broke.

    I do envy the retire to the beach and live the dream attitude. That's what I want to do when I grow up, sans acting and crafting. I stink at that stuff.

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    1. wrong to---I am a walking grammar error today!!

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  18. I think I have a few talents, but that might just be personal opinion. :) What I consider talent, others might think are atrocities!

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  19. That's sad nobody showed up. People these days

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  20. I think sometimes talent is due to a person's hard work. Yes, some are better at, say artwork, others at fiction, others at non-fiction, or dancing, or playing the piano. Behind that talent lies determination to achieve a goal and willingness to keep on until there's success. And yes, a special talent for writing beautiful prose or singing like a bird.

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  21. My talent? I am an appreciator.

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  22. I'm sort of creative in a lot of different ways but if I could just stack them together on one thing, maybe I'd have a true vocation. LOL.

    I think you're more talented than you infer.... :-)

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  23. Even if I made enough money on books, I'd still cook because I love doing that. I would definitely hire someone to clean for me. Hate doing that.

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  24. I think we have more than one talent but we either don't see the other talent or it hasn't been shown yet. I would get someone to cook and clean for sure. I would love to do what I want all day and see everything is done

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  25. I wish I could write, that is my dream! I feel I can do a few things "ok" but don't really have a talent.

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  26. Bless you for sharing your gift. What a fun and inspiring story, to learn from a gifted and generous fellow writer. I appreciate you for stopping by my blog. I enjoyed reading this as well as finding your kind comment.

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  27. Yeah, paying someone else to do the things you don't like to do is good for the economy. And what you like to do might be something that someone else hates, and vice versa.

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  28. I've thought about getting a housekeeper.

    I was a talented artist as a youngster but never studied art enough, so that didn't fall through. I have picked up different talents and skills as a teacher.

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  29. Those are awesome bookmarks! I don't think I'm all that talented either. I think I'm an okay writer, definitely not good or great. Also, I can't ever hire someone to clean my house. I am very protective of my space and having a stranger in my house terrifies me:) But I think you are definitely multi-talented, Stephanie.

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  30. I am OK with houseplants (I've even kept orchids alive for a couple of years and a couple rebloomed). I can make brownies. I think I take OK snapshots for my blog. It would be nice to outsource the rest. I would be embarrassed, though, to show my house to a housekeeper.

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  31. That is definitely something I aspire to have - someone to clean my house once a week. I am seriously contemplating doing that come the fall, when my school year starts back. I can handle the housekeeping in the summer when I am off work, but once I go back... Ha! Dust collects and dishes pile up.

    As far as being multitalented, my friends say I am. I don't think of myself that way, though. I am varied interests and therefore I do a lot of dabbling in things - a little bit of this, a little bit of that. I really consider myself more of a jack of all trades and master of none. LOL!

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  32. Aw, you brightened the day for the author! I'm pretty good with house plants but I do wish they'd bark sometimes. I love designing floor plans but can't seem to draw a straight line to save my soul;-)

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  33. What a fun post! I'm glad you stayed, so that poor author didn't have to just be alone. I'm with both of you: I write because it's the one real skill I have.

    @mirymom1 from
    Balancing Act

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  34. I'm definitely not multi-talented - I'm ok at writing (well, I enjoy it at any rate!) and I love baking, but I'd say those are my only real 'talents'. I'm terrible at keeping plants alive, so I'd definitely pay for someone to do my gardening for me! Oh, and I hate the idea of cleaning - once I get into it I'm ok, but if I could afford to have someone to do it for me, I would ;)

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  35. Talents....hmmm, I'm thinking......

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  36. Hmm... I can cook well enough that it comes out edible if not amazing, and I've received a lot of compliments on my baking. I'm not sure if that counts as multi-talented, but writing is the only artistic thing I'm good at. I used to think I could draw... yeah, that was me being delusional. >_<

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  37. I would love to outsource some of the chores I don't like doing (like cooking). I can't keep plants alive either, but don't know that I would hire someone for that job- I just give my plants away. :)

    If you still have bookmarks- I would love to pass some out to my students at my school library! :)

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