Justine Lee Musk (aka Tribal Writer) on the dirty secret truth about talent. (grokked form Tobias Buckell) She examines the two mindsets of "you're born talented," versus, "you can train talent." I'm a strong believer in the second option. There's also a function she sort of skips over quickly and it's in her first paragraph. To paraphrase her instructor, "people with inborn 'talent' drop out quickly." Especially when it's no longer easy.
Everything becomes hard at some point, if you're doing it right. If you're doing it to get better. Most things are easy up to a certain point. It's in this area the people with "inborn talent" excel. And then they hit the wall. That wall you can think of as the "professional level barrier." That's where things get hard and you need to do actual work (the level of work varies, but it is a big difference in effort).
Most "talented" people hit that wall and bounce. Hard. Those who have been working all along do better, as long as they make the decision to step it up. See, they also hit the wall, but they're already working at it.
In high school, I'm sure you've all know people who were very good at something; guitar playing, golf, sports, math, whatever. How many of those people are still at it? How many of those people who worked their asses off to play second fiddle are still doing those things? In my experience, the guitarists who were "naturals" aren't playing anymore. It's those who worked hard to be less than the stars are the ones still playing.
Now and email newsletter. I haven't checked it out too much yet, but David Farland offers a free newsletter that comes recommend. (grokked from Elizabeth Bear, I believe). Per his website, "Register for David Farland’s free 'Daily Kick In The Pants' and get insights on writing, plus motivational tips and news."