Q: Did Dickens, Jane Austen, Shakespeare and all those authors we know, get any help? I think that you don't want to be a writer -- you are one or you aren't.The questioner has a good point -- I don't think it's possible to teach the art of writing, but I do think that there's a lot that can be taught about the craft. I certainly learned a lot from the class I took and from some books I've read. Hints on how to write dialog, beginning with a hook, various methods for plotting, even such nuts and bolts matters as how long a book should be, or what font is preferred by agents and editors are useful to writers in today's over-crowded market.
That said, I also think there's a point of diminishing returns with classes and inspirational books and there comes a time when one must just concentrate on WRITING -- finishing that novel or memoir or collection of poems.
As for the art of writing....
The best advice I can give is to read books written in the kind of language you want to write. Read till the sentence structures and the music of the language comes naturally to you .
Even better than reading , I think, is listening to well-read audio books. When reading, I tend to skim, in hurry to find out what happened. But when listening, I can savor the beauty of a well-turned phrase, a clever transition, an apt description. I love Jane Austen, Neil Gaiman, P.G.Wodehouse, Patrick O'Brian, and Douglas Adams on audio, to name just a few. All of these writers are in love with language and can make words sit up and beg or sentences jump through hoops.
Elizabeth George was quoted somewhere as saying she always spends a half an hour before she begins to write, reading 'up.' That is to say, reading on a higher level than she writes. I think she mentioned Jane Austen. And I'd say that's probably not a bad idea. I know my writing would become very spare and straightforward if I went on a kick of reading Hemingway.
Read the best of what you want to write.