Reader Question: Shouldn’t a writer figure out the craft on their own?
Scott Myers
21

Of course, you should read and write as much as possible. You can’t truly be a “writer” if you don’t do those things. Being creative doesn’t mean we can’t use some help in our quest to “figure it out on our own.” The most creative among us get training at some point. Every writer who has said anything on the craft almost always suggests seeking feedback for work, reading other writer’s work, talking to other writers, being active in writer’s groups and workshops. Interaction feeds the creative process and helps us see things in ways we might have missed “figuring it out on our own.”

I once heard someone (not an artist) say “but can you really teach someone how to draw, or write, or make music? Aren’t you just born knowing how to do that?” I was astounded. We may be born particularly adept at learning a creative process, but even Michaelangelo had to learn how to properly mix plaster and paint. And he had apprentices, all the masters did, and I bet he didn’t tell them “figure it out on your own.”

Maybe the question just means we should write more. But writing more isn’t always the answer if you are struggling with a particular issue. You may just end up writing more junk and not understanding why it is junk.

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