Monday, February 28, 2011

A Declaration of War

The Naysayer

Recently I had the experience of an unfortunate friend saying to me, "You can't really teach creative writing, it's just something you're born with."

Now, this was not the first time I have been faced with this sort of pessimism from friends, family or strangers. Most writers and artists will, at some stage, have comments like this thrown at them. 

The comment was made even more ridiculous by the fact that, I have learned creative writing. At school I was never particularly good at english, nor did I enjoy it. The rules around language skills were boring, if not disabling and mystifying . It wasn't till many years later when I attended creative writing courses at university that I (re)learnt rules around spelling, grammar and sentence structure that had mutated in my mind over time. 

Now many (if not most) of my bills are paid through freelance writing. I have made several professional sales of poetry. I've published articles on health, alternative medicine, relationships, pets, creative writing and book reviews.

Now, I am not the most famous writer in the world. I am learning new things all the time. There is so much to learn. Libraries are filled with books on writing techniques and craft. The internet is bursting with web sites and communities ripe with knowledge. Bookshops are made possible by writers who did not give up, did not listen, and decided to learn to write. 

I have learned, am learning, and this alone is proof that the societal myth around creative writing simply is that - mythology. 

The Myth

So why is it that so many people assume that writing is an innate, sacred gift, bestowed to the chosen few?

Well, for starters, there are stories of writers who became rich, famous and powerful after publishing their first ever novel. Stephanie Meyer is a good recent example of someone who had never written anything before publishing "Twilight", and hit the big time. 

Try this on for size: 30 famous authors whose works were rejected (repeatedly, and sometimes rudely) by publishers.

This whole experience of talking to my friend has gotten me so fired up, so incensed, so burning-hot-mad, I have decided to officially declare War.  

War on the naysayers.

War on the puny pessimists.

War on the creatively-crippled. 

Writing can be learned. Writing can be developed. Writing can be honed and crafted. 

The Plan

I am planning to post a series of articles and blogs on the process of writing, sharing exercises, tips and wisdom that I come across in the journey.I am going to share my own journey of learning to write (for the journey never, ever ends!) and in doing so, leave a trail of bread crumbs for others to follow. I am not proclaiming to be a guru, or an expert. Just a guy too stubborn to give up, or give in. 

Rather scribbling down an exact and formulated plan of action, this blog is going to be an organic and natural creative process. What needs to be written here come through inspiration, through conversation, through books, through projects I work on, through characters I invent or channel.

If there is a need for the knowledge to be communicated, I trust that it will find a way to come through. 

This blog is only one of many, many sources of information and help for those wanting to learn to write, or improve in their writing. 

Its a long, hard road. 
But nothing worth doing is easy.

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