1. mbinks89
    Offline

    mbinks89 Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2012
    Messages:
    551
    Likes Received:
    25
    Location:
    Montreal

    Benefits of Writing Academically in relation to Writing Creatively

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by mbinks89, Oct 12, 2013.

    Ever since coming to university, I've found that I've been swamped with reading essays/books, and writing essays. I was wondering what you guys think in terms of how this will augment or lower the quality of creative writing. I still try to read literature, and still aim for a thousand words of creative writing a day, but it's hard given the sudden lack of free time I now have. Do you think reading and writing essays academically is still flexing writing muscles nonetheless, or do you think that the shift of focus from literature, and its plots, characters, motifs, symbolism, etc. to essays, which concentrate on clarity and proving an argument, will cause the creativity/ability to write dialogue well/develop characters to stagnate?
     
  2. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    It will teach you writing self-discipline. You will also learn proper grammar and punctuation, if you have good, demanding instructors.
     
  3. mbinks89
    Offline

    mbinks89 Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2012
    Messages:
    551
    Likes Received:
    25
    Location:
    Montreal
    Teach me self-discipline because I have to write the essays, or I'll be trying to get those thousand words done?
     
  4. jannert
    Offline

    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2013
    Messages:
    7,819
    Likes Received:
    7,343
    Location:
    Scotland
    I don't know. I came at it from the other direction. After years of writing successful academic papers, I found it hard, at first, to discard expository writing mode. Now that I write fiction, and have finally left that structural rigidity behind, I find that when I write serious non-fiction pieces, they are actually better than what they used to be! I now understand the benefit of making the pieces readable as well as 'correct', which I really didn't before.

    I'll never forget my most embarrassing moment as a writer ...ever. I had a lovely Humanities class at university, and we had to write a long essay on ...forget what, exactly, some classical theme. My instructor gave me an A-plus grade, and stood up in front of the class to say: 'Now here's the kind of paper I was looking for. In fact, I'm going to read it out loud...'

    Oh MY god. He had to keep running out of the room to the drinking fountain. And here's me, all proud as punch at first, watching my classmates dropping off the branch one by one, while my instructor cleared his throat, ran for water, came back, plowed along. It was the LONGEST hour of my life, I can assure you.

    For years after that I was convinced I couldn't write, and that I was the most boring person on the planet. (Jury is still out.)

    So ...your background as a fiction writer will probably HELP not hinder your career as an academic! At least if your instructor volunteers to read a paper of yours in front of a class, you'll be way ahead of the game!
     
  5. thirdwind
    Offline

    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Messages:
    7,352
    Likes Received:
    2,896
    Location:
    Boston
    While essays are more structured than pieces of fiction, I would argue that writing essays can still help your fiction writing to a certain extent. By writing essays, you'll come to discover your own style and voice. That being said, being a better fiction writer means you'll have to write fiction at some point, so you'll definitely have to find some spare time in between writing all those pesky essays.
     
  6. art
    Offline

    art Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2010
    Messages:
    1,159
    Likes Received:
    113
    I don't think (never thought) of academic writing as a wholly dry endeavour. (In the humanities certainly)
    Lots of scope for rhetoric, for flourishes, for humour, for the creative use of imagery and metaphor imo

    I suppose, above all, an essay must be coherent and I suspect the production of coherence in an argument is not absolutely removed from the production of fictional coherence (or whatever you want to call it). Though, admittedly, difficult to think through the exact processes involved here.
     
  7. mbinks89
    Offline

    mbinks89 Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2012
    Messages:
    551
    Likes Received:
    25
    Location:
    Montreal
    Thanks for the input, guys. I've been under the impression that it'll help my technical writing skills, but that creativity best flourishes via its constant usage, so I'll try and squeeze out those thousand words of fiction/poetry unless I'm suffocated by work, in which case essay writing will count ;)
     

Share This Page