I taught a class in Writing For Children the other day, filling in for a friend of mine who was on holiday. I was trying to talk to the group about structure, something in which they seemed genuinely interested, all except for one woman who announced that she wasn't concerned about 'the mechanics' of writing. As she said the word mechanics she did that thing with her fingers that people do to suggest they are putting the word in quotation marks. I'm not sure exactly why but I suspect it was a polite way of sneering. She was only interested in 'the creative bit', she went on.
What I wanted to say to her was, 'Madam, you are a complete ass!' But I bit my tongue. It was my friend's class, after all. Instead I gently suggested that every aspect of fiction writing was creative, that there was nothing to be gained by concentrating on what you were already good at and that the secret might be to learn to love the bits you didn't naturally like. I could see she wasn't impressed but you can only try.
This idea that some parts of the writing process are intrinsically more creative and therefore superior to other parts has its roots in our educational system. I frequently come across teachers in primary schools encouraging pupils to write sentences with lots of adjectives in them, as if adjectives were somehow good in themselves and, therefore, the more of them you use, the better your writing; whereas what actually matters is how well the writing serves the purpose of the story.
The woman in the writing class reminded me of someone I knew at university. Let's call him Sam. Sam believed he could play the guitar. He would sit in the corner and repeat the same pathetic scraps of lead guitar work, night after night, grimacing soulfully all the time. These little riffs, as he called them, were incompetently rendered, devoid of any notion of time, and utterly meaningless without a bass guitar, rhythm guitar and drum kit behind them. But Sam thought he was great and that was all that mattered to him.