No Shortcuts to Developing Gift and Craft

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by Tina Radcliffe

I firmly believe in the philosophy of happily-ever-after, hard work paying off and that eventually everyone who pays their dues will graduate from the school of hard knocks.

I don’t believe there are short cuts to success for authors. Writing is a gift and a craft. Gift is that immeasurable package of God-given talent you were born with. It is unique and individualized with your name only on that gold box with a big gold bow.

Craft is the honing part of the trade we have chosen. We are writers by trade. We are tradesmen working diligently over the years to develop body, mind and spirit of our craft.

Can gift and craft be separated? Certainly. But ideally, they work together.
My personal favorite visual is that of a glass blower. We start out as a raw and fragile pipe of glass that is heated and molded. Occasionally we mess up and it breaks and we start all over again.

The secret is to find that perfect mix of gift, forward motion and painstaking attention to the detail of the craft. Don’t rush your personal development of gift and craft. There is a learning curve and it’s unique for each of us.

Being gifted doesn’t always translate to a finished product.

Additionally, if you rush the craft and miss some learning opportunities you may find yourself with a nice product, but eventually those skipped learning opportunities will catch up with you and you’ll be forced to stop and backtrack, sometimes even start over and you’ll be very frustrated.

There are no shortcuts. Generally, if something seems to be too good to be true in publishing, it is. Overnight success’ have no foundation. They easily break.

Do yourself a favor and don’t compare yourself to anyone else. You’ll always come up short, because there will always be someone whose gift seems grander and whose craft appears to be more developed. bigstock-Multi-Colored-Blown-Glass-Ball-32793284

Instead, focus on your uniqueness. Your color, opaqueness, bubbles, imperfections and whittle marks are how you turned out after you went through that hot fire of development.

While it may seem to be torturously slow, the final product is worth it.

Mending the Doctor's HeartTina Radcliffe writes for Harlequin Love Inspired. She’s refined by fire regularly. Her latest release, Mending the Doctor’s Heart will be available in April 2013. You can find her at or in Seekerville,

Comments 0

  1. Tina, you said: “Instead, focus on your uniqueness. Your color, opaqueness, bubbles, imperfections and whittle marks are how you turned out after you went through that hot fire of development.”

    Oh, AMEN to that!! We are all unique in God’s eyes, so we should embrace that beautiful creativity on His part, no matter how different!!

    GREAT post, my friend!


  2. Beautifully said, Tina! Comparing ourselves to others is useless and only causes frustration and disappointment.

    I also liked your statement, “There are no shortcuts. Generally, if something seems to be too good to be true in publishing, it is.” So right-on!

    Thanks for sharing your wisdom today!

  3. Tina, thank you for your inspiring blogpost! I once had the fascinating opportunity of watching a glassblower at work. Your analogy had special meaning for me because of that experience.

    Yes, each of us is a unique masterpiece in the Potter’s amazing hands. Let us rejoice in that truth. Most of all, let us rejoice in Him Who has made us for Himself and His purposes.

    Thank you again for a great post!


    MaryAnn Diorio, PhD, MFA
    Truth through Fiction ?
    Harbourlight Books, 2012

  4. Tina, what a lovely analogy… I loved the advice to not compare ourselves to others…

    Spot on because that grass just always looks greener down yonder!

    Thanks for sharing these words of wisdom! I will treasure them.


  5. Great insight, Tina. Sometimes we think if we have the gift we shouldn’t have to study the craft. Or if we have to work on the craft of writing, sometimes we question whether we really have the gift. Thanks for explaining how the gift and the craft are both parts of the same whole.

  6. Loved the part that there is a learning curve unique to each of us – but oh that glass blower visual. I’ve watched one – so painstaking. Yes, that is the writing life.

  7. Thanks for the reminder, Tina. I struggle with making comparisons with successful authors, forgetting that our road to publication is as unique as our gifts and talents.

  8. Tina, your post is both practical and inspirational. Shortcuts don’t refine our craft.

    I love the visual of the glass blower! We watched glass blowers at work in Moreno, Italy. They’d been relegated to that tiny island after fires from their ovens destroyed buildings in Venus. Critiques and revisions and edits mold and shape our craft like the glass blower uses heat and air.

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