Sunday, January 12, 2014

Coffee Shop Chats: Can Writing Be Learned?

Every now and then, on the weekends, I will post Coffee Shop chats: a post that will contain a question for writers, similar to my old Thursday's Thought series. Feel free to give your input in the comment section below. (And if you're sipping on coffee, let me know what kind! I'm currently drinking a soy mocha from Starbucks. Yum. =) )

Today's question is: Can writing be learned?

(1) Many people believe that writing can't be learned. They think it has to be a gift--either you can write, or you can't. (2) Some writers also believe that writing should not be studied. I've heard a few people mention that they refuse to read writing-craft blogs or books, mainly because they don't want their writing to be contrived in a bunch of rules.

My opinion: (1) I don't necessarily agree with this. Yes, I believe that some people are more gifted at writing than others. However, there are some very talented (and even best-selling) authors who had to work hard to develop the writing skills they now possess.

Is one writer any better than the other? Not at all. I believe that--if you have a desire to write--then go for it! It is not impossible to learn the craft of writing, and you don't have to be necessarily gifted at it (as, say, a singer does. If you've ever seen American Idol, then you know what I mean, lol).

(2) I believe that, if you want to become an author, it is very important to study the craft. Sure, writing might come naturally for you. However, there might be some writing rules that you are not aware of--such as showing vs. telling, how often to use dialogue tags, how often to use description, etc. An editor can quickly spot an amateur writer when he/she ignores these rules in their writing. Besides, when one has the desire to pursue something--such as sports, music, or medicine--they spend years learning and growing in their craft. Why should writing be the only exception? (On the other hand, I do believe that writing the story on your heart is more important than following every rule. Details here.)

✎ Your turn: Do you think writing can be learned? Also, do you think it is important for a writer to read writing craft books/blogs?

 photo credit: marfis75 via photopin cc


  1. I agree with you on both questions.
    (1) I believe that some people are naturally more interested in writing, but everybody can be good at writing if they put in the time and effort.
    (2)You can't break the rules if you don't know the value of the rules.

  2. (1) I definitely believe that writing can be learned. Of course some people are naturally better at it, but I try to encourage everyone to write (if they think they might like to) whether they think they're good at it or not. Everyone -naturally talented writers included- improves with practice.
    (2) I can't imagine writing without studying the craft. Writing books are usually written by people who have successfully written and published other books and even they pretty much always mention advice given to them by other authors. If you want to get published, you need to KNOW what gets published. Writing blogs, even those of amateur writers, are great for support and gathering ideas. Studying your craft is very important.

  3. Thanks for your input, Sunny & Ashley! =)

  4. I personally have grown tremendously as a writer by studying writing. The idea that you can magically become the best you can possibly be by relying on your own knowledge is preposterous to me. Now, is everyone born to be a writer? No, of course not. Neither are we all born to be doctors or bakers. I think even people who dislike writing can become better at it. But, at the same time, not everyone has the gift of storytelling. I think studying writing can benefit everyone, because bettering your communication skills is always helpful. So, yes, I think you can learn to write. But not everyone who learns writing can become a great writer. It really depends on how they focus it

  5. I agree on both accounts. I think writing, like most anything, can be learned if you put in the effort. Now, it may take work, more for some people than others, but it can be done. But with anything "artsy" people like to be "Oh I would love to do that but I just don't have the talent..." and half the time they've never even tried. They might could do it if they did research on the craft and took classes and learned.
    I think you definitely should study writing. Even if its just getting some writing books and reading them. You can always improve and learn more.

  6. I absolutely believe that anyone can write. Does that mean everyone should? Not if they don't take it seriously. So I think it's definitely important for those who want to write to study the craft as best as they can. For myself, I have always dreamed of writing, so whenever I have the opportunity, I like to follow writers and read whatever advice they give on their blogs.


Thanks for stopping by my blog!