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Friday, April 26, 2013

W: Writing for Professors

Now for my rant :

The one thing I did not like in college was that despite the fact that I was taking "creative writing" courses - my writing really wasn't that 'creative' due to one simple fact -- When you are in college you don't write for yourself or for the world - you write for professors.
Now, just to clear my name very quickly for any professors who might be thinking "now wait a minute!" - no this does not apply to all professors, nor every creative writing course track. But it did apply to several of my professors and possibly might hit home for several of you as well

I quickly discovered that the point of some of my courses was not to see how creative I could be, but rather to see if I could write what the professor wanted to hear. Getting a good grade in the class came easily to those of us who learned what the professor liked to see in an essay or story. So in a way I guess we did learn to be creative - but not in the sense that most people imagine for creative writing. No, we learned to be creative in writing the same thing in many different ways to keep our professors appeased. Once you had it down, life was a breeze.

Side note - or rather tangent -

I didn't study like most people do. I was working full time to put myself through college. So I did learn to be creative in many aspect apart from writing. For example, one of the best things I discovered by book on CD. Yup, I listened to my assigned reading list during my drives to school, work, and home. Also while typing up other essays and even while at work (because I had an amazing employer who would let me do that as long as I was still working while listening). I also learned how to type several different essays on several different topics at the same time, and how to do an assignment for, say, poetry, while in my creative non-fiction class while my teacher thought I was taking notes on his lecture! :)

Back to the point:
So yes, through my creative writing courses I did learn many things: I learned how to creatively make it through college. I learned how to creatively appease the professors for whom I was writing.  I learn how get that coveted degree before putting my work out there for the world to enjoy. But the ability to write and the creativity I need to write has always been part of me. I didn't need to learn how to write creatively -- I needed to learn how to creatively write.


  1. I had a creative writing teacher who let us write what we wanted. And all I wanted was a teacher to give me an assignment so I knew where to start. Can we trade professors?

  2. Amen!

    Though many of my creative writing professors were really good about letting us be, and rewarding us for being, truly creative. One of my profs assigned us to write a poem about something we saw.... so I wrote about the way we'd decorated our dorm room. It was silly, but I didn't make it clear what I was writing about... and the prof LOVED it... but totally didn't get it. It was hilarious. He read it out loud and started dissecting it and trying to figure out the "deeper meaning" behind it, and every student in the class was like, "Uh... she's describing her dorm room... duh..."

    He was a good prof, and laughed at himself with us.


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