Monday, September 19, 2011

How to be a good creative writing student: Guest Post by Kevin Chong

If you’re in a creative writing class, you will likely find yourself in a conversation with someone who insists that “writing cannot be taught.” Don’t argue with that person. Don’t talk about Gertrude Stein tutoring Hemingway in Paris, or name the many writers who come from these programs who don’t fit any set mould.

The best thing to do would be to nod agreeably. This person can’t be helped; they live in another reality. In 2011, “Can creative writing can be taught?” is a question that’s about as relevant as “Is nuclear proliferation the best way to peaceably resolve the Cold War?” or “Should I own a refrigerator?” It would be harder for anyone seeking to publish literary writing to avoid a writing workshop than to attend a class run by a university, college, or arts centre.
With this in mind, the question should be “how can I be the best creative writing student I can be?” Well, it depends. Here is some contradictory advice:

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