I stumbled across a link to an article on Metafilter written by a former MFA writing teacher, called Things I Can Say About MFA Writing Programs Now That I No Longer Teach in One. What I took as basically a pretty generic list of common-sense points turned out to be a pretty polarizing and offensive attack to others, which made me reconsider my initial take. Things like It’s not important that people think you’re smart, or If you complain about not having time to write, please do us both a favor and drop out sound pretty harsh, but I think there’s an element of truth there.
Writers are born with talent is one that I go back and forth on, but I generally agree with. In my college experience, I met a bunch of people who could do incredible things with oils, pencil, and color the first day of their freshman year. True, some of them had come from magnet or specialized art high schools, where they were exposed to this stuff a lot earlier than I was, but I knew people who were just good at everything. I could do one thing: I could draw. It took a lot of practice, and it annoyed the shit out of my grade-school teachers because I was always drawing in class. I started with some natural ability, but it was constant practice and pursuit of my craft that got me into art school, and later into multiple careers.