Guest Post: Lee Strauss – Can You Learn to Write?

by Vanna on March 27, 2013

Can You Learn to Write?

by Lee Strauss

Is writing a gift you are born with? Do some people just have a natural way with words and phrases, the ability to spin a yarn, beyond the average person? Or, is writing something that can be learned, like any skill or passion?

My answer is yes.

To both.

Some people are naturally gifted with the extraordinary ability to play with words in a way that make people sit up and notice. This can’t be denied, and hopefully all those gifted people understand the blessing they possess.

Others have a keen interest in the craft that develops into a passion. Their initial efforts are, to be kind, below par, but if they have the tenacity to study and practice, they can become better—even good.

While cleaning out my office one day I came across a file that had an old, old manuscript in it. I started reading: It was scary and fascinating.

Here’s the critique: I flipped flopped between past and present tense like crazy. I didn’t know when to capitalize the word, “mom” or when not to capitalize the “h” or “s” in he/she said. I barely knew how to use a comma or an apostrophe. I couldn’t spell. I rushed the plot and the pacing and I was way too melodramatic.

But it wasn’t boring. I had believable characters and good story premise. There was a nugget of talent there, but it was buried very, very deep.

So what happened to me? I studied the craft. Hard. And I practiced. I wrote lots of stories and screenplays that will never see the light of day.

Was that wasted effort? No. That was school. My very own, self-structured, years long class on creative writing.

I know I’m a better writer today than I was all those years ago when I decided I wanted to write. I learned how.

Have you ever gone back and re-read early manuscripts—like the first ones you ever dared to write? Are you a learner or a natural?

Eternal Life is To Die For

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – YA SciFi / Romance 

Rating – PG13

What doesn’t kill you…

Coming in April 2013

Genre – YA SciFi / Romance 

Rating – PG13

More details about the author & the book

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Susan Wingate March 27, 2013 at 4:38 pm

When talking about writing, I once had an editor tell me that “you either have it or you don’t.” Then he went on to say that only 2% of the human population is gifted enough to write. That editor is no longer publishing books.

I teach writing so that I can encourage people to keep learning the skills they will need to create stories. As with any form of art, writing is one that can be learned and nurture. It’s all in how much effort you want to put forth to be successful, in anything.

Great post. Thank you so much.


Vanna March 28, 2013 at 3:46 pm

Hey, Susan! Thanks for those encouraging words. I agree with you 100%!


elle strauss March 27, 2013 at 8:54 pm

Thanks for the feature!


Vanna March 28, 2013 at 3:45 pm

You’re welcome. Thanks for stopping by!


Shannon Lawrence March 31, 2013 at 11:21 pm

Every piece of writing is practice, as far as I’m concerned. Whether someone is naturally gifted or working to nurture and learn, it can always be improved upon through practice.

Coming by to wish you good luck on the A-to-Z!

Shannon at The Warrior Muse


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