Archive for September 4, 2009

Are Good Writers Born…?

That’s why I came to do the job I do, to train and develop potential writers in a “westernized university” in Almaty, Kazakhstan.  Are any of my Kazakh or Kazakhstani students born to write?  I need to discover who they are and encourage them.  I think I have some very good candidates already. I asked my writing students yesterday to grapple with the nature vs. nurture question: “Are good writers born or can he/she develop her skills to become a good writer?”

In one of my groups, they took this question seriously and Abzal was the eloquent note-taker.  Of the five in his group, only one person believed that writing is inborn, the rest believed this is a skill that can be developed through a lifetime.  Sasha believed that writing talent is given by God, his examples were Pushkin, Shakespeare.  He claimed that these kinds of authors and writers are not born every day, and there is not any substitutes for them.

 Then Karlygash argued saying that it always depends on the social environment.  For example, Pushkin’s nanny raised him and developed his writing skills and there are a lot more examples. 

This group continued to discuss about modern authors such as Dan Brown, J.K. Rowling, Stepnegae Myer [?] and others.  They probably developed their skills and writing talent came to them through their lifetime and their environment…Then Zhandos and Azamat added that it could be talent can come from you when born, like the famous philosophers Socrates, Aristotle and Al-Farabi, there were no educating environment, but still they are the best and most knowledgeable authors.

 So, finally we agreed that, it’s so true, there is no answer to this question.


In another group, they had this to write:

Nariman:  I believe that a good writer of words has to have some kind of talent and it has to be developed further.

Aigerim:  I think writers develop his work into a writer with his talent which was given him by God.  He uses his own experience and inspiration.

Nargiz: I think its important to be interested in this writing activity because then he or she can develop his talent and become the best writer.

Igor:  In my opinion, I think that every person who is interested in writing can develop his/her writing skills and become a good writer without any talent.

 Another group was split 50/50, this is what their notes read:  We think that everyone has good skills to write, some develop them, others not.  Golden rule:  The more you read, the better you write!”

 One group wrote unanimously: “Good writers are born.”  E.G. M. Sholohov who wrote “Silent Don” he graduated only from two classes in school but he became a good writer without any development.

 Viktoriya wrote for her group the following:  “Aina thinks that the good writers are born because usually there is a talent and passion to writing.  Ilyas doesn’t agree and states that good writers are not born but are developed.  You can always improve and gain new skills.  Madi agrees with Ilyas.  He says that talent needs to be developed, cause it can fade away easily if it existed before.  Pavel is also for writer development.  There are two types of writers:  the one who is born with talent, the other who develops it.  I, Viktoriya, can agree with the guys. I’ve met a lot of journalists who did not have any skills in writing at school but after gaining some interest and skills became excellent authors.  But I also have some friends who are born talented writers.

 Rustam believes a good writer is born (Pushkin)

Daniyar says they can be developed (Churchill)

Youngsu: good writer is born (Shakespeare)

Ainura: can be developed by reading

Aigerim:  can be developed but writer should have some talent

Conclusion:  good writing can be achieved by working hard, but excellent work is usually done by very talented people.


Our opinions are different.  We have two opposite sides:  One thinks that a person is born a good writer while the others think that a person can become a good writer.  Those who think that a person is born a good writer considers that one person cannot be good at two fields.  Meaning that if he is good a mathematics, he cannot be good at writing.  However, the other group thinks that a person can become a writer developing his skills.

We came to the conclusion that everything depends on the person, we cannot judge everybody in one way.  There are some exceptions as one person could be a good mathematician and a good writer.  Some are born good writers and some become a writer through hard work and time.


Finally, this group had the MOST to write from their discussion group about writing:

Jeon:  I think a good writer is born.  If someone wants to be good at something, t least they have an interest.  

Niyaz: I believe that a good writer is born to be a good writer…actually good writers just do not know about their skills, so in order to be a good writer, they just must develop it.

Galina: I think that a good writer is neither born nor develops his/her skills.  I believe that in order to be a good writer, one has to first be born with a certain talent and then has to work really hard to develop this talent.  There are a lot of “writers” out there but their writing is nothing but some words combined together.  In order to create something really outstanding, one has to involve his/her soul in the process. [YES!!!]

Azamat: I think that everyone can develop into a writer.  Moreover, it should be improved from earlier age, using some games which can improve verbal ability and skills.

Zhuldyz: I absolutely disagree that writers have to be born, because, in our life everything is possible.  If you really want to reach something or to become a better writer, you can do this. You have to think about this, and try to reach this every day.  As Napolean Hill said: “If you will do what you do, you will get what you get.”  You don’t stay in one position.  You are not a tree, if you dislike your position in this life or society, just change and everything will be perfect!!!

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