Writing in the June 7, 2012 issue of Writing-World.com editor Moira Allen asks us to think about whether writing is an "art" or a "craft". Which is it? Or is it both? Or neither? Or something else?
Years ago I was on a state "arts in basic curriculum" committee and we were trying to show the academic world in that state that creative (both fiction and nonfiction) writing deserved to be taken seriously. i.e. funded. But the details kept getting bogged down in "is it an art like music and dance?" or "isn't it what we use to communicate? It's just English class!" and on and on. We ended up with a form of arts in basic curriculum but to this day I'm not sure what that particular committee ended up with when it came to creative writing.
Anyway, some "visual artists," according to Moira, can't accept "writing" as an "art" -- as compared with "painting" and "sculpture." Some artists believe that their "art" cannot be on the same -- obviously lower -- level as folks who create "jewelry, quilts," etc. and other "craft." Some non-writers believe that "writing" is merely putting words down on paper. Some declare that "craft" is that commodity one finds the results of for sale at street festivals. Do writers have a "craft?" or a "trade," like learning how to cement a driveway or make belts?
We declare that we have a toolbox!
In this, one of her longer columns, Allen writes that "writers are no different from painters, sculptors, or whatever: They create SOMETHING out of NOTHING." Still, can a real writer write without knowing the "craft"? Are real writers born? Or made? Or learn how?
I believe we have both, maybe all three, or more. But do we do it because we love it and it's just happenstance that we get paid to do it? Or does that make it commercial?
Go to http://www.writing-world.com/ (12:11; June 7, 2012) and read Moira's column "From the Editor's Desk: Is Writing an Art or a Craft?" and let me know how you feel.