Today I was watching an interview with Dave Grohl. For those of you who don’t know who Dave Grohl is, he was the drummer for Nirvana and the lead singer of Foo Fighters. If you don’t know who either of those bands are, I can’t help you. Your local DJ might be able to help you. But not me. I don’t have that kind of time. Anyway, he was discussing how he had no training for playing the drums or singing. He said that he believed if you are truly interested in something, you will figure it out. And I couldn’t agree more.
I’ve always said that if you are born to do something, whether it’s paint or sing or play an instrument or write books, then no amount of training is necessary. You don’t need to go to college. You don’t need art school or music lessons. If it’s in you, it’s in you. Sure, you could spend a lot of time and money by taking lessons and classes in order to hone your skill. It won’t hurt. But it isn’t necessary. Most of the great artists in their fields are self-taught. Just as I am.
I didn’t go to college. I had a scholarship and I passed on it to pursue other things. Do I ever wish I would’ve gone? No. Am I doing perfectly fine without a degree? Yes. So how did I learn about writing? I learn through the magic of observation and trial and error. And of course I Google the crap of anything I need to know. Who needs college when you have the Internet?
My point (yes, there was one) is that if it’s in you, then it’s in you. You don’t need no fancy book learnin’. And just as I believe that to be true, I also believe that you can’t be taught the arts. Sure, you can go to college or take classes to learn how to structure a sentence, how to punctuate, and all that jazz. You can learn the mechanics of writing, but if you don’t have it in you to write a good story, then all the training in the world won’t make you a writer. An editor maybe, but not a writer. Writing – as with all the arts – comes from within. You can’t teach inspiration. You simply can’t teach talent. You can only hone it.