I know that even with all the 'improving' in the world they possibly could accomplish... when I'm inspired and focused, few people that I know of can match what I do. Is that gifted? Problem is I'm also lazy sort of consequently. Learning how to 'give it your all' is an acquired skill. I think gift is a raw potential one possesses, and then skill is how much of a craft gets developed. And today's world of busyness makes it real easy to stop developing the gifts we've been born with, leaving them to wither in pursuit of a 'real life' or a life of distractions. Kids, spouses, job, bills, cog in the system, domestication, drinking, partying to excess, social networking, wasting away. But just because you write against seemingly higher caliber writers, that doesn't mean you will 'improve' automatically. They show you what's possible, it's still for you to reach those pinnacles. You have an opportunity to learn. But the onus is still on you to use those tools. And just because you have new tools, does that mean you understand how or when to use them? Once again that goes back to gift, something innate. You can copy a style, but you'll only ever be a reflection. For instance when it comes to singers, you have people that "have their own sound" and those that "sound like somebody." Ultimately you either have it in you or you don't, your 'ceiling' does not change...? We just get stuck behind boundaries. But with hard work and effort and real learning, applying knowledge to change your behavior you might one day find the truth. Theres a hidden kingdom that's been shining waiting for you to find it. Now I've been to the source a few times luckily in my life but sadly it never lasts. Thankfully we still have time to figure out that mystery. And Coup yea you are garbage if you say so but you know what they also say, one man's garbage is another man's treasure.