Can One Learn To Write?
  • There is among writers predominantly, though not exclusively, a rather absurd notion that you’re either a writer or you’re not, and that if you’re not, you’ll never be able to learn how. The notion is not only false: it’s dangerously false.

    Writing is like any other skill, only more so.

    In fact, so-called talent is of very little importance — in most things beyond the brute physical (and even then it’s overrated), but in literature perhaps most especially — precisely because so much of writing must be learned: nobody is born with an innate ability to use language. Which is of course what writing consists exclusively of.

    In the beginning even the most talented writers have an enormous amount to learn. And writing is learned in the same way that everything in life is learned: through volumes of study and countless hours of practice.

    Writing, like any job, must be learned by first grasping the attributes that go into the job, and then by incorporating what you’ve learned and developing that skill through repetition.

    You can, however, be a professional writer before you publish a word, provided that you approach writing as a job to be practiced and mastered.

    Study means reading.

    Practice means writing.

    The reason that all this is so is that writing is the art-form of language, and words are its tools. But words are learned, as is the ability to read and to write.

    Thus, in answer to the question I so often get — can I learn how to write? — it could be no other way: a person can only learn how to write.

About The Author

The sawed-off shotgun of literary pulp.

3 Responses and Counting...

  • susielindau 10.27.2011

    I have often told people that felt they couldn’t draw to take a piece of paper and draw the subject upside down. As soon as they looked at the subject objectively, they were able to draw.
    I am in the opposite position. I was a professional illustrator and writing is brand new for me. Sometimes I feel way behind, but other times I feel like not following strict conventions, (because I don’t know what they are) may give the reader a fresh perspective. I have always been an avid reader so maybe that helps.
    We will see where I go with it!

  • I predict we’ll see you go straight into the stratosphere with it, Ms. Lindau.

  • Wow! Thank you! I’ll see you there~

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