I substitute teach, but I also teach online writing classes. And at work the other day at the library, I was teaching a couple of people how to save from floppy disks to hard drives and how to submit resumes through emails or browser uploads. I love teaching. When I was a kid, I was a part of Teachers of Tomorrow in 6th grade. But my life went in another direction. I became an Army officer instead, and one of my other duties as assigned was as the headquarters tax officer, so I helped service members fill out their tax forms. I was an accounting major in college. I also did some audting, based on my background, when an officer asked my boss if he could use my services in an office he was having trouble with.
I've always loved helping others, so sharing tips on writing seems a natural extension of being a published author. I also am very much involved in judging contests and critiquing manuscripts. Giving talks on writing, medieval life, and of course on creating my wilde and woolly bear creations that have found homes all over the world, have been featured in magazines and newspapers and have won several awards are other ways to encourage creativity.
But when it comes to writing--a long time ago, I heard that you can not teach someone how to write. Basically, I believe that writers have a talent at writing, that it's something they can't let go of, that we love to create stories as much as we love to read others' tales. It's just part of who we are. I think it has to be that way. That we can't force it if we aren't geared that way. It's just too hard not to write--when you have a writer's soul. Despite all the rejections we get from agents and editors, bad reviews, etc, we persevere. Why? Because writing is in our blood.
Yesterday at the book signing, two men bought my Heart of the Wolf who are aspiring writers. Both loved fantasy, and both are writing their own books. I loved talking to them about the trials of publication, about their story ideas, and I could tell how much they loved what they were doing. Their smiles and animated hands and the enthusiasm with which they spoke proved just how much they loved their stories. They are writers. Whether they continue through all the challenges to finally get published is a toss up. But they are real honest to goodness writers. :)
So can we teach others to write? Yes, the grammar, sentence structure, showing vs telling, pov, the mechanics. But at the heart of the story, the writer's voice? That comes from within. A writer is a combination of all his life has put him through. He is a character every bit as much as the ones he writes about.
Storytellers have been with us through the ages, offering their stories orally before the written word was accessible to the multitudes.
Can we teach others to write? The mechanics, yes. The rest is in the heart of the writer. :)
Heart of the Wolf, Don't Cry Wolf, The Vampire...In My Dreams, Winning the Highlander's Heart