Can Creative Writing Be Taught

Can Creative Writing Be Taught-74
Every time I attend a conference, or edit a manuscript, or have my own work edited, I learn something new.

Every time I attend a conference, or edit a manuscript, or have my own work edited, I learn something new.

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I didn’t know how I’d learn it, much less how I’d one day teach it; I only knew that I wanted to be in the classroom, and that something about the whole endeavor was electrifying.

I’d spent most of my adult life to that point playing and teaching violin for a living.

Yet, because we can write an essay or a letter, we figure we can also write a short story or even a novel.

I have heard people say, “I’d like to write a novel one day,” in the same tone they’d say, “I’d like to go to Paris one day,” as if writing a novel was a simple matter of picking up a pen and investing in a notebook.

I had some faith that, if I could learn to do that, then I could learn about writing and I could learn to teach it.

Can Creative Writing Be Taught

Musicians and music teachers don’t spend a lot of time questioning whether or not their instruments can be taught.

I’ve always hated the question, in part because of its passive construction, which omits both students and teachers.

It has always seemed to me to imply some abstract learning scenario wherein a generic would-be writer is acted upon by unnamed forces and thereby caused to understand the obscure codes and formulas of creative writing.

Why do some of them have willpower and discipline and others don’t? In order to answer, we have to make the original question active by returning to its true subject and object—student and teacher.

All my students, if they applied themselves, could absolutely improve, but the ones with discipline and talent, the ones who practiced, could go faster and further. Anyone who’s sat in an effective workshop can tell you that.


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