November 28, 2013

No class can make you a writer

Dear M,

There are people who think becoming writers is like becoming engineers or doctors. As far as I know, it isn't. As far as I know, there is no Writing College where you can enroll for a four-year course (and there are also folks who believe it is a one-month or a two-day course) and emerge as Writers, and then churn out book after book, just like that.

No school can make you a writer. No crash course can. No four-year diploma can. No YouTube can. These courses can motivate us, inspire us to write, help us meet other writers, teach us about the techniques of famous authors that we can plagiarise, and provide us with the tools to use. They can drive us only that far, maybe as far as a week later, or a month later. After that, we are on our own. After the enthusiasm has died out, if we aren't writing, then we aren't writers. Nothing can inject passion into us if we don't find it ourselves. If there is no passion or dedication, then that's all what we are going to be - a person who attended a course.

When does a writer realise he/she wants to be a writer? In films, passionate and eager teenagers make the announcement that they are going to be writers. As easy as you please. Mujhe writer banna hai... I lost track of the number of times I have heard that dialog. Their parents object to it, but the youngsters' wish will triumph in the end. Yes, they become writers and they churn out best-sellers after best-sellers, just like that. As though they have just finished a four-year course.

Everyone has a different writing curve. I have seen people begin writing when they are fifty, and then write like crazy, churning out book after - yeah you got it. I have seen little girls writing poems, not knowing that they are already poets. I have seen a writer barely finish one novel, when someone just passing by happened to read what she wrote, unedited and raw, and offered her a three-book deal. I have seen writers who have finished five or seven novels and are still wandering in the dark, hoping someone would notice them, hoping that there would be some platform where they can showcase their work and try to grab the attention of someone big and important.

Of all the things you say, Make me a Writer should be the last of them. Those four little words can totally ruin you.


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  1. The creativity stays in your but to polish your skills, writing schools are important. I talk from personal experience!

    1. Absolutely. As I have said above, they provide the tools and everything you need, but if you don't have the writing spark, then most of it becomes useless. I know *so many* people who have attended creative writing classes, and then done nothing about it.

  2. Very rightly said - everyone has a different learning curve. I am always surprised when I look at mine. However, I also think certain discipline helps - thought I am always impulsive than methodical when it comes to writing.

    1. On some days the impulse works much better than the discipline, does't it!
      Thanks for the comment.

  3. I agree! You can't make writers.
    There are born writers that's all!