Are Writers Born or Made?

GalleyCat, Mediabistro’s publishing blog, had a great post today about whether writers are born or made.

Reprinted from their original post:

Geoff Colvin, senior editor-at-large for Fortune magazine. The veteran reporter and author explored his recent book, “Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers From Everybody Else.” He talked about how we overvalue talent in our culture, arguing that writers are shaped by teachers and practice–not innate talent.

I tend to agree. I went to NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts in the Department of Dramatic Writing.  I went to school with loads of talented writers.  Too many to count.  Ten years later, the writers who are still writing from the program are the ones who kept writing and kept going.  Talent is a part of it but ultimately a good writer has to keep writing, rewriting, making mistakes, revising, and working.  I know some people think anybody can be a writer or anybody can write a novel. And yes, anyone can, but the true test is actually writing day in and day out.  With my YA book, Sissy, I wrote it 10 years ago and I’m still revising it.  And who I was as a writer at age 23 is vastly different than 30-year-old me.  So yes, writers are born, but over time, they need to be made.

4 Comments on “Are Writers Born or Made?

  1. Writing is a skill and a craft that like any other is learned. People get all caught up in the creative side but that is only a starting point. Without the work the creativity isn’t going anywhere.
    Thanks for sharing this and your views on it.

    • Cassandra, I couldn’t agree more. I thought it was an interesting point that he had. I hope I’m not discouraging people from writing — writing is one of the best forms of self-expression — I guess I’m responding to people who say “I want to write a screenplay or a novel or a play,” and never do. Just do it. Write every day.

  2. I absolutely agree with all the above. Writers write, whether for themselves or money or whatever, and that matters far more than talent.

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