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Transitioning from Academic Writing to Creative Writing

As far as I can remember, I have never taken a creative writing class. Sure, I learnt how to do the basics like… paragraphing… but my background for writing is strictly academic. That doesn’t make me an expert in academic writing. It’s just the form that I’ve been educated in and trained to churn out for assignments and reports. For the most part I enjoy it because I like reading and I like working with words, but academic writing doesn’t excite me the way creative writing does. Unfortunately, creative writing is something that I struggle with so profoundly that I often wonder if I actually enjoy it or I just get a kick out of putting myself through so much anguish.

 

During NaNoWriMo 2016, I started writing a story that I had so much conviction to tell. Once NaNoWriMo ended, I dropped the project and have only gone back to it a handful of times since. If I were writing a report or a research paper on a topic that I’m familiar with of the same length, I would have probably been done before 2016 ended. A few months before NaNoWriMo, I was starting to write a story that I ended up dropping because I just lost interest in the characters that I was creating. Right now, I’m in that weird space where I am trying to work out the story of my NaNoWriMo draft, but my motivation to do it is so low because it’s just not coming out the way I want it to.

 

Creative writing is overwhelming to me in a way that academic writing never was, and I think that it’s because before I start writing a report or a paper I already have an idea of how it’s going to end and what information needs to be presented before the conclusion. I don’t have that luxury with creative writing because I can never get a firm grasp of how I want the story to go. One day I’d plan to do XYZ, and the next I’d plan to do YXT. It doesn’t matter how well I’ve thought it out because I will keep finding something huge that I desperately need to change. Then, for it to be consistent, I have to go back and change everything about the story. In all of my stories so far, I’ve never gotten past 30,000 words.

 

I know that even that is progress, and that at some point (years ago) I wasn’t even able to get past 100 words. It’s just really difficult to continue making progress. Every day, I wonder if trying to be a writer is worth it.

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