Have you ever thought about writing a book? Have you written a book?

If the answer to the first question is Yes, but the answer to the second question is No, there might be a few reasons for this. One reason I frequently hear from potential ghostwriting clients is, “Well, I’m just not creative.”

That leads me back to the question in today’s blog headline: Can Creativity Be Taught?

In a word – No.

Now, I’m not trying to stir up controversy here (well, okay, maybe a little), but I firmly believe that creativity can’t be taught. Or, more specifically, you can’t turn a non-creative person into a creative person.

This begs a similar question: Can you turn a non-technical person into a technical person?

Again – No.

However – and this is a big however – you can take a non-technical person and train them to be pretty decent at a technical skill. Case in point, of course, is me. I am not at all technical, but I’ve learned to adapt in an increasingly computerized world. That doesn’t make me a technical person. I’m just not as bad as I used to be.

But Can’t It Be Taught A Little?

Here’s the thing about creativity as a way of life: unlike what we think of as technology, creativity as a way of life can be taught, but not really learned.

What do I mean by that? Well, I can teach some basic strategies to a non-creative person, but they’re not likely to work well for them. Even if they try over and over again to let go, be a channel, and so on, they’re never in a million years going to come up with something as good as what I could knock out in a couple hours.

Why? I can’t really answer that, other than to say I’ll never be a technical person, and they’ll never be a creative person. True creativity – the kind that makes something from nothing, like a novel, a poem, a painting – remains pretty mysterious. Artificial intelligence will never create something as brilliant as Beethoven’s Ninth or The Last Judgment because it can’t.

So yeah, creativity can be taught, sort of…but what good is something that one person can teach but the “right” student can’t learn? A creative student can learn from a good teacher, but a non-creative…ain’t gonna happen.

And that’s why people who say, “I’m going to write a book someday” don’t do it. They can’t. They need help from a professional in this area. Thankfully, there are people like me who can do it for them, with their input, so it feels like their baby…even though I’m the one who wrote it.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments section below.

technophobia

Technophobia: A Writer’s Confession

To today's computer-savvy readers, "technophobia" might sound like a quaint leftover from the 20th century. You remember, right? Back in the 1980s, guys like me wrote poems of dismay about the invasion of technology into the arts. I still remember the words I penned...
software

How Hard Is Software Supposed to Be?

So last week I took the Memorial Day holiday off from everything: no blog, no book project...nothing. Just me and my wife enjoying the day off from work. We don't get that many of those together, so it was nice to just hang out, sleep late, and watch mindless TV shows...
relax

Five Ways to Relax During Quarantine

​I thought a good blog post this week would be on how to unwind—not just during our current era of quarantine and “social distancing,” but on any day off. What my wife calls a holiday. That could be any time, right? I’ve been running so hard lately, I've barely had...
morning

5 Things to Do Before You Begin Your Writing Day

What should you do before you start your writing day? I've read plenty of advice on topics like this over the years, and I have to say upfront: I don't think there's a right way or a wrong way. You have to do what works for you. However, I've also tried to do things...
newsletter

Got Those Old Indie Author Newsletter Blues

It’s Monday again, and that means it’s time for my weekly blog post. Today I’m going to talk a bit about newsletters—more specifically, the kind of newsletter an indie author like myself sends to his readers. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the concept, an...
repetition

Insanity: Writing the Same Thing Over and Over?

Sometimes I feel like I’m standing at the bottom of those steps. I’ve been really lucky: I’ve had the good fortune to publish and sell four of my novels, and I run a freelance writing and editing business as well. I have great clients who love what I do and send me...
self-marketers

Authors As Self-Marketers

A couple years back, in an article about self-publishing, I wrote the following: If you’re an author with a traditional publishing contract, you don’t really have to be an entrepreneur as such; the publishing company does the marketing and PR for you, though you have...

A Vacation Blog Post and a Manross Library Appearance

The following post has been pre-scheduled. I've never tried to pre-schedule a blog post before, so I had to look up how to do it. If you know me well, you won't be surprised by that. Hey, I'm on vacation while you read this. Modern technology! I find it interesting to...
black friday

From Thanksgiving Day to Cyber Monday: A Reflection

​Not so long ago, it was easy to think of the week of Thanksgiving as “Gratitude Week.” In fact, I actually did that: back in 2016, Facebook reminds me, I posted an entire week’s worth of “Things I’m Grateful For” to my timeline. It was fun, and certainly provided...
next book

Whizzers: The Next Novel

Recently I sent out a subscriber-only newsletter about my next book launch. My fourth novel, Whizzers, is my current Work-In-Progress, and I plan to launch it in 2019. I was pleased to get some email responses to my newsletter, as I am looking to build the largest...