—James Lee Burke
This is essentially true. But as both intrinsic writers and student writers we do learn rules. Lots and lots of rules. Endless rules about characterization, plot, structure, dialogue, thematic undercurrents, and on and on. And yes, there is a basic format to a piece of writing. It has to be organized--this organization takes on many, many, forms, but it still must have a form.
So maybe we can 'learn' things about writing, but it seems like everywhere I look the rules are being broken. Maybe that's why Burke is saying the 'learning process,' in a sense doesn't really exist in writing.
I've heard countless critiques about my characters and their lack of dimensions, yet then I read a published piece in a literary magazine where the characters don't have names, backgrounds, anything. They're shadows who live in a timeless space. Do we learn the rules to ignore them? Or is there a certain recipe to follow regardless?
I think every piece of writing must work in spite of itself. It has to operate in its best capacity as it stands. Any reader can tell when a story, poem, essay has value. It's isolated from every other story, poem, or essay. Maybe once an intrinsic learns all the learns he or she can pick and choose the ones he or she wants to incorporate into the piece.
As a child I learned how to print my letters. Then I learned cursive. Now my handwriting is a unique hybrid of the two. Maybe writing is like that. But then again, I don't really know.