Becoming a Writer

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In a Wall Street Journal interview novelist Scott Spencer (“Man in the Woods,” “Endless Love,” “A Ship Made of Paper,” was asked “Is creativity/imagination–whatever you call what it takes to write a novel–something that can be taught, or is it in a person’s DNA?”

“As someone who has taught writing,” he said, “I’ve often asked myself whether I’m teaching students anything that will have of real value to them. I think having close contact with a published writer can be helpful because we can give advice about the importance of patience and rewriting. I once heard Fran Lebowitz say that teaching someone how to be a writer is like teaching someone how to be an adventurer. Maybe that’s so, maybe the desire to create literature is something we’re born with. I think it’s safe to assume that people who come to be taught writing have some real impulse toward the craft. But the love of language, the belief in narrative, the willingness to be alone, the ability to endue–these things probably can’t be taught.”

Read the entire interview here.

Question to the writers among us:   what can one writer teach another? Or, phrased another way, what can one writer learn from another”

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