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Monday, August 27, 2012

A Method to the Madness

Things are getting crazy. School started - actually, I'm on the second week. It's so crazy! Gone are the novels and library books, here are the textbooks and classes all day. Summer break, come back to me!

I'm a dual major, pre-vet and creative writing, so I would have gone to school anyway. People simply don't let you perform surgery on their beloved pets unless you've had some instruction. That's just the way it goes. But as for the creative writing bit, do you really need an education to create good stories?

I had never stopped to think about it until my sister asked me. I was going on about how it will take me five years, plus some summer courses, to get through all the credits for both my majors. That's when she asked me why I was even doing creative writing. Is it really necessary? Can't you write without majoring in it in college?

Yes. Absolutely. Although I think it's becoming more common these days for authors to have gone through a creative writing program, there are still plenty of successful authors who don't have an English degree. One of my instructors started out this semester by telling us that creative writing isn't something that can be taught - it's something you have to practice and discover yourself.

So why study it? Because taking classes can help you. It's the old you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink kinda thing. I believe this, and that is why I'm studying creative writing.

So far, these elements have made me enjoy and appreciate my creative writing major:

1. Prompts. Sometimes it's easier to sit down and complete an assignment following a prompt or rubric then it is to just sit down and stare at a blank piece of paper. I've found that many of the short stories I'm really proud of came out of class assignments. Sometimes it takes a little push to get you started.

2. Feedback. It's great to let friends and family read your work, but they can't give you unbiased feedback. Professors can. And professors aren't afraid to hurt your feelings - they just want to help you improve. Having an unbiased and trained eye critique your work can be such an asset.

3. Stories. I absolutely love reading short stories for class. I've been introduced to so many amazing authors and amazing stories that I never would have found on my own. Reading and studying amazing writing can help inspire and improve your own.

Plus, it's always fun to meet other writers. :]

*Photo credit: isn't in pretty? It's mine! I took it on my phone. No copyright infringements for me. :]

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