Can you teach someone how to write?

Everyone appreciates talent. The problem with talent is that those with a talent cannot understand why others can't do the same things that they can do. Why can't I walk on my hands? (Probably because I can barely walk on my feet!) Why aren't I a good basketball player? (Probably because I have a total lack of coordination) Why can't you draw? (See previous excuse) So if a talent is something that not everyone is capable of, can we teach people how to write? note to make writers

Many schools have courses or clubs that center around creative writing. I myself have run a club of that nature before and I am currently working with students daily on the same subject. Does that mean that writing is a talent different from other talents? Can the talent of writing be taught? If so, then is there hope for me at basketball, drawing, and maybe even walking on my hands? (I could also use lessons in social skills, but that is a subject for an entirely different post.) To answer that, we need to look at what is taught in creative writing.

I am not certified to teach creative writing. I don't teach a credit course on the subject. What I do try to pass on to those in the club or in spare time at school are a few skills and ideas that can help improve writing. I try to get hopeful writers to spend more time working on their characters and less time working on plot lines and twists in their stories. I show them how to create deeper and more believable characters. I talk with them about how to critique someone's work and how to work with a critique of their own work. All of this is intended to help the perspective writers grow. I do believe that a lot of people reading this can learn how to write. It is a matter of skills, and skills can come from instruction and practice. There are lots of resources. Speak to the people around you. I would bet good money that you know someone who considers themselves an amateur writer. Look around on the internet. There are all kinds of sites that are made to assist writers. It is out there.

So, if I believe that lots of people can be writers, why aren't we inundated with amazing writers all day, every day. Please note my careful wording. I said that a lot of people can be writers. I didn't say that everyone can be an amazing writer. Most people who consider themselves writers do so because they enjoy writing and find pleasure in it. They would love to write a best-selling novel, but whether they do or not, they will continue writing for the joy of it. They have learned some skills and they make use of them. These are the writers I'm talking about. I count myself among them. The amazing writers do have a talent that probably cannot be taught.

OK, even with that distinction, why don't we have a lot more writers. For the same reason I'm not a good basketball player: drive and determination. A writer wants to write. They do it for joy. They do it as their outlet. They do it for their readers, however small the number. Without that drive, you never put pen to paper, just as I never put on tennis shoes and work on my lay-up (which is a moment of epic slapstick comedy). So, to answer the question of whether you can teach someone to write, I say: You can lead someone to the keyboard, but you can't make them type.