Teaching Writing

A friend is encouraging me to teach an eight-week workshop in writing science fiction and fantasy. Since I have some modest credentials in that field and could use a little extra money, it’s natural to consider the idea.

I already teach classical cello, to an assortment of youngsters and adults. So I’ve observed how people learn stuff (or fail to). The question I’m asking myself this morning is, would an eight-week class actually do anybody any good?

I mean, I could lecture about cello playing for eight weeks (or more realistically, for about three weeks — I could cover the subject very adequately in six hours, including questions and answers), but it’s real clear the lectures would produce no functioning cellists. Having the information presented to you in a coherent form is one thing; actually learning to apply the information in your own life is an entirely different thing. And I think that principle probably applies with equal force to both writing fiction and playing a musical instrument.

There are already lots of books on how to write fiction — and specifically on how to write science fiction and fantasy. I own a stack of them. People who would like to learn how to write can purchase and read those books. (That’s what I did.) Yet somehow, aspiring writers continue to blunder around, producing bad work and getting discouraged. (I did a lot of that too.)

I think if you’re serious about writing, it takes time and discipline to improve. Regular doses of encouragement are helpful too. Right now I’m thinking maybe an ongoing class, even if I take home less money per hour, would be better for everybody than an eight-week blowout.

This entry was posted in writing and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s