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Can You Learn to Write?

cartoon owl reading a book illustrating an article which asks - can you learn to write?Classes about learning to write are some of the most popular ones you can find.

Yet, some successful writers denigrate these classes and their students.

They say that such students aren’t ‘real writers’ because writing is something sacred, that cannot be learned.

SACRED TALENT

The idea that writers have this sacred talent that enables them to tell stories is one that many writers themselves like to perpetuate.

It may be because it makes them seem special and mysterious and dare I say it – superior.

WHY AREN’T YOU HOME WRITING

John Steinbeck famously asked some students he was teaching, ‘Why are you here? Why aren’t you home writing?’

Much as I love Steinbeck’s books, I would love one of his students to have asked him the same question.

Time has probably taken his words out of context, but taking his questions at face value I would say he was both right and wrong.

Of course writers must write, but writers don’t have to be locked to their laptops.

There is much to learn about the craft and skill of writing and not all of it needs to be learned alone.

HOW BEST TO LEARN?

You first learn to write by reading. A writer should read as much as they can. A writer who doesn’t read is like someone learning to ride a horse on a chair.

beautiful moonlit Galway pier illustrating an article which asks - can you learn to write?If you have read a lot you will already have absorbed much about how to work with words.

You will have learned the sheer beauty of words – how they can transform the most subtle of action and turn it into something with far greater meaning than the sum of those words suggest.

A single word can say more than a group – it’s how you place your words that counts.

INNATE ABILITY

Coming back to this ‘innate’ ability. We all know that it will have taken years of practice for a concert violinist to make their violin sing.

They will have also attended lessons to learn how to hold their instrument correctly and read music. They will also have studied the style and tone of other musicians.

Why would it be different for writers?

So, do not worry that you don’t possess this ‘innate ability.’ Like the violinist, you won’t possess that until you write, and until you write a lot.

SO, CAN YOU LEARN TO WRITE?

Read, write and learn as much about writing as you can, and don’t be put off by what other writers say. Nobody is superior but everybody is different.

You can start to learn more here.

To read more about writing for beginners click here.

To try some creative writing exercises click here.

So write your heart out. Now.

Best wishes

Grace

P.S. If you liked this article let me know in the comments and please do thank me by sharing it with your friends.

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