Can writing be taught?

Can creativity be only attributed to natural talent? Or can it be learnt later on in life?

When it is something as natural as writing, how much help can one get from doing a writing course?
I need some insight.

For me, writing isn’t something that I’ve suddenly discovered. It was there all along. But much, much before that, there was reading.
Correction – not reading, but listening to stories.

This is how it happened. When I was a child, my Mum had trouble putting me to sleep in the warm, sultry afternoons. So, she used to tell me a story every afternoon, following which, I’d doze off.

Soon, her stock of stories from memory ended. It was time for some story books. There was/still is this short-statured man, who used to go door to door selling story books for children – ghost stories, fairy tales, tales of Kings and Queens from history.

So, my Mum bought a bunch of them and she used to read them to me. Soon, all the stories were over. So she used to re-read them over and over again.

I knew all the stories by heart, even though I hadn’t started reading by then.

So, I used to take one book out, and read out stories to all my little friends – the book open on my lap, all the while, the pages being turned at the right places. This gave an impression that I knew how to read.

I was quite popular among friends.
Soon, there were new books and loads of other stories.

Mum grew very tired of reading to me, and said to me, “If you want to read any more stories, you better learn how to read”.

So, this was how I started to learn to read – not English, but my native tongue, Bangla.
This was much before I started school.

When I look back now, I can put down my reading habits and interest in literature to that old childhood ritual of bedtime stories.

Writing, however was always in my set of skills. I enjoyed writing answers in English literature and Social Studies.

But, then I started writing officially on this blog. The start date was November 26th, 2011.

Till date, that is the best thing that has happened to me. I simply enjoy reading blogs and writing, at any hour, any place, any time.

So, slowly now, I am beginning to think of furthering my interests. I am trying to test my skills a bit more.

I am trying to figure out, if I’m that good enough for a career in writing.

It feels so absolutely thrilling. This is not what I had started out to do. This was never in my career plans. Never.

It’s an uncharted path and I’m excited for myself, and about how I’ll turn out to be, at the end of this.

However, I will be honest with you. I don’t have a lot of experience of reading Classic authors.
I’m majoring in Mathematics right now, so you see, it’s totally a different field I’m opting for.

I haven’t read Shakespeare extensively. I do not know the various genres of writing. I feel very much like starting out at the base of a mountain. I want to reach the summit. Someday.

I am intimated. But I don’t give up easy. To aid the process, I’ve decided to pursue a diploma in creative writing, you know, just to learn about the technicalities of writing.

This brings me to the fundamental question of this post – Can writing be taught? Can creativity be taught? Or is it really a god-gifted talent?

This entry was posted in My take.

19 comments on “Can writing be taught?

  1. Rachna says:

    It’s a nice question which u asked…….there is no doubt that wrting improves with practice. With passage of time one becomes efficient in expressing thoughts. Creativity is something which is Inherent….if one has potential for it then one can achieve success in writing. Whatever you write it is just because you have potential for that but when you take some classes that will further enhance your skill and you will learn some technical points regarding writing professionally. When we write something professionally we write according to demand so there we definitely need those technical things. But if one has no potential it not easy to learn to write. One can always brush up ones skills… have that talent in you….so go for it. My best wishes for you.

  2. In my opinion it differs from one person to another. Some are gifted writers like you and others are inspired and learn from them like me. 🙂

    As simple as that 🙂

    Creativity can be thought provided there is a real source of inspiration.

  3. gita4elamats says:

    Someone taught you how to read and write, similarly, the art of writing can also be taught/learned, I think.

    • Rachna says:

      Yes we learn to read and write but the difference between persons potential is how beautiful one writes …..everyones writing is different…..some practice to make it beautiful and some have that potential inherently or say God Gifted.

      • gita4elamats says:

        For instance, ‘…persons potential is how beautiful one writes …..everyones writing is different…..’ should be: ‘…persons’ potential is how beautifully one writes …everyone’s writing is different…’!
        Sure, it’s grammer and punctuation, etc. but these important for ‘beautiful’ writing.
        In answer to Subh’s question: ‘Can writing be taught?’, like any other skill, I believe that writing can be taught and learned.

      • I think practice also an important value. A very gifted writer may write wonderfully, but he may be stuck in a stuck in some sort of a rut. However, a hardworking but average writer, by dint of his consistency and tenacity may one day, become an accomplished author.

        Kind of like the hare and turtle’s tale, isn’t it?

  4. gita4elamats says:

    Editing is also important, like: ‘…these are important…’! 🙂

  5. Truly said. . . You get to read my edited blogs. My first drafts are terrible 😀 . My blogs that are posted are less than 50% of the first draft! Edit. Edit. Edit.

  6. lgyslaine says:

    writing is learned but basically, it is a gift, an innate skill. 🙂

  7. Beechmount says:

    The mechanics of writing, the techniques are skills that can be aquired (learned). There are different forms of writing, each with its own basic requirements. Writing fiction is not everybody’s game, for, aside from techniques such as sentence construction and word use, which can be learned, there remains the subject of talent and creativity. That’s something one either have or don’t have. To become a good fiction writer, talents alone is not enough. One can write articles and some essays ect, with just that. Having the ability to become a great fiction writer requires not only creativity, but also the ability to express sentiments, feelings, landscapes-ect in a way that brings the subject out artistically–using words to paint with. Some people have a natural talent for this. Yes, sure, writing can be taught, but one cannot teach how to bring out the soul in a fictional work-that inner feeling that tells one what to write and most of all, how to express it. Thats a natural ability. I could comment on this subject for an hour or more, but–you guessed it–it would be tooooooooo boring.

    PS/ Work in your profession after you graduate-and take writing courses in your spare time-then practice fictional writing. Begin with an idea -say a short story-then begin writing it. Editing afterwards-many times-is VERY important.

  8. Jessica says:

    It both can and can’t. Some people have a natural talent which makes writing well easier than it is for others, but I agree that practice makes all the difference in the world. I have always loved to write but have found that writing for an audience makes a huge difference—I too have seen improvements in my writing from working on my blog. But, as I’ve said earlier, even with practice, writing is not always easy. I’ve spent HOURS working on each post about my rock climbing accident. This is why I’m not able to post every day.

    I think reading is HUGE in a writer’s life. I also think your posts are getting better and better all the time, Subh. 🙂

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