|Posted by goodmysteries on September 27, 2012 at 1:55 PM|
If I had a dollar for every time an aspiring writer said to me "I'm taking a class to learn how to be a writer," I'd be rich. Then they look at me all doe-eyed and hopeful, like they think that's the secret to a successful writing career. I've know several people who have taken class after class, always chasing that writing dream, yet never really sitting their posteriors in the chair and writing something they intend to market.
Now don't get me wrong, I'm not against education. I'm not against writers honing their skills. It is a necessary part of evolving as a writer. Taking classes may teach you how to construct a perfect sentence or paragraph. Classes may teach you about plot development, outlining a story as well as all the other technical aspects. However, there comes a point where you stop going to classes about writing and actually start wriing something you can then submit for publication.
I've always had two opinions about writing. First, writers write. They don't continually go to school to learn how to write. Second, writers (especially fiction writers) are born not made. It is a fire that burns inside your soul from an early age, this overwhelming desire to put stories on paper. They don't teach that in a classroom.
I held a day job for many years and wrote in the evenings and on weekends. I pretty much gave up a social life during those times. Did I mind that? No. Writing was and is what gives my life more meaning. Was it a good balance? Probably not. But I wouldn't change a minute of it. Now that I'm retired, I have lots of time to write, but I often think back to those times when I worked all day then wrote into the night. I look back on the "lost weekends" when I barely left my apartment because I was working on a novel. And when I do recall those times I'm very glad I didn't spend the majority of those hours sitting in some classroom "learning how to be a writer."