Thursday, June 14, 2012

Writing: Talent or a Learned Skill?

And this, our life, exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything.
~William Shakespeare
Well this turned into an interesting discussion in a writer's forum.

Is writing learned or an inherent trait (talent)?

P. said: "I suggest the answer is "yes and no". I don't accept that the skill is innate. It is an art, and like any other form of expression, has to be learned. No one can be a good writer without learning the craft, but one can have the mechanical skills and still not be a good writer. But we have to try."

How many of you agree with this?

I personally don’t feel you can force yourself to learn how to write skillfully. Sure you can learn the skills, you can learn until your face turns blue, but to carefully and skillfully pull off a tale of art? Can you learn that?

R. said: “Writing is an art and, as such, it can be improved. Practice without talent won't work, however, since you have to have a minimum of culture and preparation to write something that makes sense.”

B. wrote: “You have to want to be creative and have a love for the writen word. That's the talent part. The learned part is pracitce, practice - write, write, write, read, read, read and always invite and accept constructive criticism.”

I like B.’s response. A talent innately, but it falls on wood and not paper if you don’t practice writing itself, read a lot of books, and be strong enough (criticism) to be told your work stinks! Just like a musician. He may have the talent to play an instrument, but if he never plays, will his talent heighten or lessen?

This response was almost comical in my eyes from M.: “It would be very difficult to determine, because an infant cannot contribute in words or writing, we must assume it is a learned ability, but by that I would shy away from a person's ability to gain that skill without being prone to do that. Because the experiences in a toddler's life are not related very well, but early impressions may influence a later leaning toward writing.”

This person must not of had kids for he could not witness the intelligence that newborns exhibit! Yeah, it was ‘impressioned’ upon me to be a left-handed person. I mean really? Listen to this; All (three) of the J’s out of six kids are left handed in my family. Each one of us has excellent cursive writing, drawing abilities, and we can write very well, as writers. They didn’t pursue a writing career and only I showed an interest in becoming a writer, but it was not impressed upon me from any form of well-bred functional familial upbringing. I just knew, innately, that writing was within me, and have been writing poetry since I can remember!

I like this woman M.’s response: “Intriguing question and intriguing answers! I lean towards those who say "both," but also believe that without a spark -- elusive and wondrous -- neither talent nor training produces good writing.”

So that sums it up for us, ladies and gentlemen. It is a talent, when nurtured, can become a great tool in your path of pursuing your writing dream.

One final comment from K.: I dreamed of being a writer since the first grade. The desire to write has driven me to aquire the skills needed to achieve my dream. A person can learn new skills, but I believe we're born with the determination and passion that drives us.

Born with the determination that drives us. So all in all… if you’re choosing writing, be determined and the dirt road will become a yellow brick road that you can follow all the way to successville!

1 comment:

M. SUE said...

Of all the answers to the question as to whether writing is a learned or talented trait, I related most favorably to what B wrote; however when I think of that in relation to art which I always wanted to be able to create and definitely have a love for, the talent simply is not there, so desire is not enough. Because my eye does not see as hers does, hours of practice would not move me into the field of what I see come from the hand of my friend as she deftly takes pen to paper to design a scrimshaw style rose.
Taking the same thing that B wrote in regard to writing and it works perfectly for me. I want to be creative and I have a love for the written word. I am willing to write and rewrite to get the exact word in place. I appreciate helpful criticism.
More than all the above, I have a great desire to share the delight that comes from the creatively written word so it is not just for me. Maybe that’s what I learned and inherited.
Still contemplating this one~
Auntie Sue