Nobody ever said that writing was easy, and if they do then they’ve never been challenged as a writer and creator. We are all trained in academic writing from a very young age, a practice which doesn’t seem to have made it any easier for the average student. Outside of English majors and bloggers, it seems like no one really wants to write anymore. I must confess that a solid 99% of my writings for two decades were for school and academic purposes. Not that the writing doesn’t have any worth, I consider my academic writings to be some of my best work; thoughtful, well-argued, and with a distinct personal flair. However I didn’t embark on creative writing until late high school, and didn’t write more than a poem or two in my spare time until college.
I took a creative writing class in college because I thought it would challenge me and expand my writing capabilities. Boy was I right. Although I had no trouble grasping the content of the class, focusing creative energy into a storyline, or meaningful poem is incredibly difficult if you’ve never done it before, which I really hadn’t. I produced a collection of ten poems for that class, forcing me to be creative and stretch my writing muscles in ways I never had before.
The poems are a symbolic achievement for me. Proof that I have creative writing talent, proof that I can self-express in my writing and explore emotion in a new way. As a writer, student, and teacher I think that self-expression through writing is one of the greatest tools for self-learning, self-growth, and opening the mind to new opinions and ideas. Learning how to express yourself through writing teaches you how to understand and express yourself in your relationships and the everyday. Self-understanding leads to greater self-confidence and a more sure-footed approach to the pitfalls and perils of life.
Writing creatively introduces you to yourself. It can be scary and challenging, but the writing you produce will make an impact. We are all drawn to raw emotion, real moments that we can connect and relate to in writing. Good books, poems, even essays, and everything else in between reflect the inner workings of its authors mind and the questions they crave to answer.
And that’s what good literature, and good writing, really is: self-expression, a desire to share your perspective with another, a little (or a lot) of creativity and imagination, and just the right words to fill up the page.