Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw penned “He who can, does. He who cannot, teaches.” Was he right? Are coaches washed up athletes who didn’t make it? Perhaps all the self help gurus have all the knowledge but not enough ambition to achieve their dreams?
But wait a minute. There are the Pat Rileys, and Phil Jacksons, the Warren Buffets, the master mason and the apprentice. Either Shaw was wrong or there must be exceptions to this rule. It may be possible to master a skill and share those same methods and techniques with others. Is writing one of those skills that can be taught?
A quick google search for writing help literally yields millions of results. There are many self proclaimed gurus ready to sell you their “secrets” to success. Of course, these gurus charge a hefty fee. For a new writer the publishing world may seem like Goliath. Spending wads of cash to learn a craft might seem rational. It is not. Writing is indeed a craft. Is it possible for someone who was once unpublished, like yourself, to teach you the craft? The answer is debatable. But writer Julia Cameron offers new comers something special in her book “The Right to Write”.
Julia Cameron does not offer writing advice in the traditional text book format. Instead she gives writers an invitation into the life of writers, published or unpublished. She opens up her own writing life to let readers see that writing isn’t something so mystical or something so far out of reach that it can be done. So many of these self proclaimed gurus would have you believe you need “something” that you can only learn from them. Cameron does nothing of the sort.
In “The Right to Write” Cameron shares an inside look into habits every writer must develop, regardless of professional aspirations. She takes the writing craft off of the gigantic pedestal others have esteemed it to be. Cameron presents it as merely something one just does, write. She uses a conversational style that makes her book an easy read.
Also, Cameron divides each topic into two parts, an invitation, and then an initiation. The invitation introduces readers to a topic, not always directly related to writing but sure to help a writers’ mind. Afterward readers are presented with an initiation tool for practical use. This tool gets the writing muscles working. The book is filled with great writing gems from page one to the end. For instance, Morning Pages are sure to get writers, novice or veteran, moving in the write direction.
Writing is a craft. It is questionable whether the craft is teachable. But without a doubt writing can be experienced. Julia Cameron encourages and invites the writer to just show up on the page. Cameron’s “The Right to Write” leads a direct path to the water. Will you drink?
Cameron has also written “The Artist Way” and “The Vein of Gold”.
By: Byron Griffin