I cannot teach you to write. No one can.
I cannot teach you to sing. I cannot teach you to pause in the moment before dusk and appreciate the sunset. I cannot teach you to love and be kind to your fellow human beings. I cannot teach you to step into your forehand and follow through.
You can learn all of these things. And I, or other teachers, can teach you to be better at them. But in the end, you must want to learn, and you must be willing to fail. Once you fail, I can help you to see why and how you failed, and to be better.
“Ah, he is a good teacher,” you may say. But until you are ready to learn, I cannot teach you anything.
There are things I can show you.
If you write, I can show you why you use too many words. And I can tell you why, and how to think about what you write to fix it.
I can show you that yes, it is spelled “restaurateur,” and when to use a comma after an introductory phrase. These are not deep things, but still, you may find them interesting.
I can share better ways to prepare yourself to write, so that writing itself becomes more fluid.
I cannot tell you what a story is, but I can show you why what you have written is not one, and how to fix it.
I can point out the habits you have — passive voice, jargon, weasel words — that muddy your meaning and confuse your readers.
If you work with others, I can tell you how to collaborate without so much pain.
But really, the best thing for you to do is write and then share what you have written with someone else who writes and thinks about writing — and who is generous enough to share that knowledge.
If you can get past the hit to your ego and pay attention to the criticism, you will learn. You will become better. The more you do this, the better you will get.
No one can teach you to write. But if you write, we can help you learn to be better.