Monthly Archives: April 2009

Are Good Writers Born or Taught?

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Writer's Digest Book Shipment
Image by xclockwerkangelx via Flickr

Many believe that through vigilant study they can learn to write.

Good writing is an art. Some have the gift and others don’t! Anyone can become proficient, however.

Well… that depends on what you mean by writing. Those who believe a good writer merely crafts words are off the mark. A really good writer is one who helps the rest of us see the world differently through their words on paper. Yes, through what they write we can actually come to see the world from rarified heights.

That’s the part that can’t be taught.

Good writing requires making choices that require taking risks. Choices like which thought comes first? Which mode of expression is most likely to succeed? Ultimately, which words, in what configuration, best offer the greatest clarity of expression? These choices equate to style or “voice.”

A writing course can teach you that these things are necessary and to look at writing in terms of the ideas you want to express, but a writing course won’t show you how to arrange these thoughts and ideas or how to communicate them effectively. Most people can be taught structure and grammar and how to use these skills.

What that boils down to is useful mechanics that can be used well enough to communicate concisely, intelligently, effectively, and even gracefully.

Know, too, that there are differences in writing for different media. Vast differences, So, understand who you’re attempting to write for and don’t knock useful mechanics. It’s all that writers — even the best — start out with.

 

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