Are Creative Writers Taught or Talented?
What makes a good writer? Is it the way they capture moments so vividly, it’s almost as if we’re transported there? Is it the way they use the perfect word to describe an exact sight? Is it the way they come up with topics so enticing, it’s impossible not to read on? These are all traits of effective writers, but how does one attain these skills?
There are two generic explanations for good writers-They have either been taught to write, or they possess a gift afforded to a select few. Within this article, it will be discussed whether one is more plausible than another, and how to embody one’s gift to reach their full potential.
What is Creative Writing?
Creative writing deviates from academic, professional and journalistic writing, due to it’s less strict and formal tone. It uses techniques such as character and plot development, dialogue and themes to construct both personal and commercial works. Creative writing may be seen in advertising, fiction, poetry, songs, films and more, and takes up a variety of different forms.
Although writing is a ‘hard skill’, one that is typically taught though schools or training, creative writing is classified as a ‘soft skill’, due to the creativity involved. Imagination and innovation cannot be taught, therefore such a writing stream depends on the individual thoughts and interpretations of each person.
Why Write Creatively?
For those who enjoy the practice of creative writing, the answer may be obvious. Who wouldn’t love to write? It’s relaxing, rewarding and keeps the mind active. In truth, however, there are a plethora of reasons why one may not enjoy creative writing and these are unique to each person. For instance, a person may not possess a wide range of vocabulary. They may not be well read, and have trouble thinking of the words to describe a setting or character. They may not have the time to write and loathe spending hours staring at a computer when other tasks could be completed.
Creative writers must enjoy writing, be able to persist with an idea, from start to end and refuse to give up when inspiration is lost. They live for the exhilarating feeling when others delight in their work and love receiving positive reactions. Creative writers love stimulating their minds each day, further enhancing their works of literature. They read the words of others to find ways to better their own. This then begs the question, are creative writers born, or are they developed?
Talent or Taught?
Synonymous with the word potential, talent is defined as a natural ability or skill. Just as most people can read a book, do basic mathematics and write sentences, writing is a skill most educated people learn in primary school. But just because most people are taught how to write, that doesn’t mean everyone is talented at it. Within the word ‘potential’ is the beginning of the word ‘possible’. In this sense, it is only possible that those who can write will be talented at it. Although talents are innate, they do require nurturing and practice to expand them to their full potential.
For example, a person may be born with a natural ability for basketball. They may be of a tall build, be able to shoot hoops with accuracy and be a fast runner. But it’s unlikely that unless they practice for hours on end they’ll ever make it to the NBA level. The same goes for writing. Despite possessing the ability to write, it’s unlikely that unless a person spends countless hours working on a piece, edits the entire length of it and receives letters of rejection, they’ll ever get any work published.
Instead of definitely drawing a line between nature or nurture, it’s more fitting to say that writing ability requires passion. Whether one is talented or not, has a good teacher or not, is educated or not, to be a good creative writer, one must be passionate about their work and be constantly striving to better it. Regardless of whether words come easy to them or they have to think for hours on end, quality creative writing depends upon the desire to reach a publishable standard.
How to be a Passionate Writer
Most passionate writers cannot express where their passion came from, they simply enjoy the writing process. Some writers develop passion as they pursue their skills and persist in the process. Irrelevant of where it comes from, passion is a common denominator in creative writing.
Ways to develop passion include focusing on topics that one enjoys. Those who are athletic could focus on sport. Keen gardeners could describe gardens and sweeping landscapes. One should write about what it is that they enjoy, as this will guide the words. . In addition, writing about characters based on familiar people or even oneself will help to ensure they are believable and realistic. The more a writer is in tune with their characters, the more genuine they will be. Despite this, it is important to maintain some points of difference- Creative writing is not supposed to read like a biography!
Despite writers feeling connected to their work, it’s inevitable that there will be times when they feel immense distraction. Sometimes Facebook feels like a magnet, pulling them away from your words and into a realm of procrastination. This is okay, however, as passionate writers develop a balance between down time and hard work. To fully reap the rewards, one must dedicate themselves to their writing and hone their skills to produce at least a sentence each day. This keeps the brain connected to the task and enables it to keep subconsciously planning the next chapter even when they’re asleep.
Some writers find that writing for thirty minutes a day is all they need. They dedicate that whole amount of time to writing without distractions and in complete silence. If the ideas are still flowing after that time, that’s a bonus. Simply setting goals-Whether that be in terms of a word count or time limit-And meeting them, is key to completing a piece.
Planning is also key to writing passionately. It’s difficult to write quality words without mapping out the direction of where the piece will go. Although it may fall off track, planning is important in guiding your writing and saves lots of time-Writers who plan spend less time staring blankly at the computer screen and more time typing away on the keyboard.
Passionate writers enjoy the writing process. They delight in spending countless hours dabbling in fantasy worlds and making friends with imaginary characters. Creative writers cannot be blank-faced and serious people; they must have a vivid imagination and find delight in sharing it with others. They must dream of their stories at night and recreate them in the morning. Passionate writers have belief in their ideas and follow them until the end.
Passionate writers never give up, even when they experience rejection and or bumps in the road. Some of the worlds best authors including J.K, Rowling, J.R.R. Tolkien, William Golding and John Steinbeck were all sent rejection letters in response to some of the best pieces of literature in the past century. Regardless of whether they had good teachers or possessed an innate talent, these authors persisted and persisted through sheer passion. This is what made them successful.
Am I a Passionate Writer?
This is a question one must ask themselves. The answer differs from person to person as indicators vary. For example, one passionate writer may have loved writing from a young age. They might have won literary awards and have published the first book they wrote. Another person may be a scientist and not work with words in their everyday life, however, may enjoy the process of writing and spend 30 minutes a day writing poetry. A third person may not have gone to school or been formally educated, but writes songs for a living after completing a literacy course. All three examples are those with writing passion, irrelevant from nature or nurture.
Whether a writer has been taught to write, has been mentored, has a small vocabulary, has limited time, is talented or simply enjoys the hobby, creative writers only need one thing in common- Passion. The trick is honing that passion to be the best writer they can possibly be.
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