Can Creative Writing Be Taught?

During a recent teen zone event for my new book “Summer Love, Pink Snowballs, and a Splash of Hater-aid,” a lot of the teens in attendance asked me if creative writing can be taught. I must admit that I was a little stumped on this question during the Q & A part of my book talk. Can creative writing really be taught? The truth of the matter is I never really thought about it because I’ve been writing since I was seven-years-old.
Ever since I can remember spending hours in my room alone, mostly on rainy days, transforming my feelings and thoughts into a poem, or a short story inside my special notebooks and colorful journals has always come natural for me. As a child, creating a different world than the one I actually lived was a lot of fun; it was like having a delightful secret that I didn’t have to share with anyone. And it made me happy. Being able to transcend feelings on paper by creating characters and scenes was not only entertaining, but therapeutic. (Only I didn’t connect the latter effect to later on in life). So, to answer the question: Can creative writing be taught? I would say “no” because I believe that creativity is an innate gift much like a person who is born with a beautiful voice. Not everyone can sing, and not everyone can sit down and write for hours and hours creating whole new worlds.
However, I do believe that creativity can be tapped into, developed, and nurtured. There are techniques one can learn to improve their creative writing abilities, such as, writing skills, character development, building narrative, plot conflicts and exposition. A lot of the universities, community colleges, and even online sites offer courses in creative writing, and specific courses, too, such as, non-fiction writing, writing memoirs, and even writing for the young adult market.
Still, to be able to write, one must have an idea or a story to begin with. And that I believe comes from deep within. For me personally, as a writer, most of my stories come from a moment in time that I want to capture forever. And what better way to do that then to transform those memories, whether good or bad, into a story. After all, as the creator I can choose to turn what might seem like an ordinary day, or a chance encounter into the extraordinary-and that, my friend, is when the magic comes in-that creative magic from deep within.

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