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Can writing be taught?

edited September 2006 in - WM and WN


  • Can writing be taught? is the new poll. I believe that spelling and grammar can definitely be taught, while overuse of words, especially adverbs and 'he whispered/she observed' can be rectified. But I'm not sure whether everyone has something to say - or that they want to put pen to paper. What does everyone else think?
  • I think you can be taught how to write.  Such as developing your descriptions, how to express your ideas, how to improve on what you have already written. If I hadn't been taught how to grip the reader, or "show don't tell", my writing would be quite boring. I think you just need to want to write in the first place.
  • Again, I think it's a mixture of nature and nuture. It's the same with preaching - I've run classes for potential preachers. But some will never make preachers just as, according to Dorothy, some will never make writers. There's got to be a desire/spark - whatever it's called -there to start with. I've learnt a lot from books on writing and the WN/WM but I've always had a interest in writing and books even though a slow learner at school.
  • I reckon that writing (structure, grammar etc) can be taught but the passion and the drive behind the writing can't. Only with the combination of both the ability and the passion. Nobody can be taught passion, unless, during a person's lifetime, they teach themselves.
  • I agree, as said, elements can be taught, but you need the drive and ambition behind it. A difficult one to say yes or no to.
  • Yes, the nuts and bolts can be learnt.  But things like creativity and imagination are down to the individual, as is the self-discipline.
  • I agree with all of the above. There has to be some natural talent and a desire to succeed, but courses can help to develop the talent. I think it's a bit like learning a musical instrument. Anyone can learn to pick out a tune, but you need real commitment and natural talent to go further.
  • The most important thing in teaching someone to write is teaching someone to read. Preferably as early as possible (thanks dad).
  • Absolutely, Bud, I was having stories read to me at a very young age, and I could read and write long before I started school.

    The desire to write has been with me for as long as I can remember, quite possibly as a direct result of that passion for storytelling.
  • When we were young, our darling Dad was forever making up ridiculous little rhymes to get us out of bed in the mornings and we would just groan and stick our heads further underneath our pillows.(they really were pathetic) It wasn't until after his death a couple of years ago that mum discovered reams of paper hidden in all sorts of hidey-holes, full of his serious poetry on all manner of subjects. He obviously had a great need to write/create/express. How sad we never got the chance to hear him read them to us. So I would suggest to you Curly, that creativity is inherited and that somewhere in your family are hidden (be it by circumstance or choice) talents that you are unaware of.
  • Writing may be able to be taught but submitting replies into the correct category may have to be learned. So sorry, my last bit (above) was supposed to go into another section addressed to Curly. I must be having a blonde moment. Least I hope that's all it is. Perhaps I should try to get some more sleep instead of sitting up typing to Talkback after midnight.
  • Island Girl, don't worry we all have those moments, and at times it's hard to decide which category to put a thread in, so it's a case of guess which one is the nearest.
  • Writing techniques can be taught but only to those who are willing to learn. Becoming a published writer, that's another thing. It needs passion, perserverance and endless patience, oh, and a Great Sense of Humour.
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