A craft, or not a craft?

Some pretty famous writers have been quoted as saying "writing cannot be taught." The idea is that one either "has it" or doesn't.

Problem is, that pretty much flies in the face of everything we know about human beings.

Now it's true that not everyone can become an Olympic sprinter. My legs are too short, for example, to compete with top-level sprinters, regardless of how many hours I spend training. That doesn't mean, however, that I can't drastically improve my 100m times with regular training, a good coach, and a lot of dedication.

Writing is similar. There are people who have more natural talent at writing than others. These people have more potential than most, and may turn out to be the next generation's Tolstoy, or Joyce, or Bronte - IF they are properly trained, dedicated, and spend a lifetime honing their craft.

If they don't, they might make a living, but they'll never reach literary icon status.

Likewise, people without that degree of natural talent will never reach literary icon status, even if they do hone their craft - but they may be able to make a living, and entertain a great many people doing so. If that sounds pretty good to you, then forget about whether or not you are "Lord Byron" talented, and simply be the best writer you can be. Let history judge you, but in the meantime...

...tell good stories.

Put your heart into them.

Learn everything you can about your craft.

Then, most importantly: write.

Jeff SpenceComment