In the Art of Fiction No.139 of The Paris Review, Chinua Achebe is interviewed by Jerome Brooks and the following excerpt was all that was said about creative writing. I wanted to share this as it echoed my sentiments on the topic.
Have you ever taught creative writing?
Well, I don’t know how it’s done. I mean it. I really don’t know. The only thing I can say for it is that it provides work for writers. Don’t laugh! It’s very important. I think it’s very important for writers who need something else to do, especially in these precarious times. Many writers can’t make a living. So to be able to teach how to write is valuable to them. But I don’t really know about its value to the student. I don’t mean it’s useless. But I wouldn’t have wanted anyone to teach me how to write. That’s my own taste. I prefer to stumble on it. I prefer to go on trying all kinds of things, not to be told, This is the way it is done. Incidentally, there’s a story I like about a very distinguished writer today, who shall remain nameless, who had been taught creative writing in his younger days. The old man who taught him was reflecting about him one day: I remember his work was so good that I said to him, Don’t stop writing, never stop writing. I wish I’d never told him that. So I don’t know. I teach literature. That’s easy for me. Take someone else’s work and talk about it.
You can find the full interview here.
Did you study creative writing and how has it helped you as a writer?