This contribution is sourced from the Writer Unboxed site and is provided by a guest author Bernice L. McFadden. She is the author of nine novels including: Sugar, Loving Donovan, Nowhere Is a Place, The Warmest December, Gathering of Waters. Her thoughts on artistic DNA:
I don’t believe that creative writing can be taught. But I do believe that whether a pound or an ounce, we all have creativity within us. So, my job becomes not to teach my students how to write creatively, but rather to expose them to creative forms that provoke, mine, and activate their own artistic DNA.
McFadden defines herself as a self-taught writer who learned her craft through reading the works of writers she enjoys. Sharing a background as a self-taught writer this gave me a desire to learn more. I like the idea of having artistic DNA. Alongside having such a DNA, you must be able to provoke, mine and activate your artistic DNA. However I believe any skill can be taught and writing is just another skill which may be acquired. Learning simply requires a student who is willing to learn and a skilful teacher willing to teach.
To my mind this activation can occur as a result of teaching. The student has to have a willingness to learn how to acquire or provoke within themselves the skills being taught.
My greatest joy is seeing the flash of light on a student’s face when he/she reads an original piece of their own creation, and receives applause and accolades from their classmates.
How do you provoke, mine and activate your artistic DNA? This is an important question that every writer needs to discover as they both learn and grow. What are your thoughts?