Pamela Freeman on whether anyone can be a writer…

PamelaHart-detailIn episode 58 of our popular So you want to be a writer podcast, Valerie Khoo interviewed Pamela Hart – the name behind the book The Soldier’s Wife, released this year. She also goes by the name Pamela Freeman – author of nearly 30 books and director of the creative writing faculty at the Australian Writers’ Centre.

During their chat, Valerie commented that she meets many people who say, “Oh, I don’t have a talent for writing,” or, “I’m not born with it.”

So can creative writing be learnt? This is what Pamela had to say:

“I believe if you have a story that you really want to tell, we can help you tell it. I think that people get scared because they’re not good at essays and they’re not good at the long, complicated sentences that got top marks for English when they were at high school. But, in fact, a lot of what we do is help people ‘unlearn’ – we teach people to not do the sort of writing that they did for English, because that’s not the way you connect with a reader.

“I think everybody has a book in them, but the people who are not real writers only have one, and it’s usually their story, their memoir story, or something about their family, or their background, or something … that is really important to them. And those people who only have one book in them, those people may need a lot of help.

“If people are prepared to be really honest and really brave, and to take criticism and to adjust what they’re doing on the basis of the criticism, yes, I believe that we can help anybody to tell a story, if they want to tell the story badly enough.”

Wise words! You can see the entire transcript of their chat, or listen to the episode of the podcast right here.

Story to tell

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