Stop Being Creative!

Today, the Duck felt like recounting a memory that took place when I was in high school.  Since middle school or even earlier, I had always liked writing stories.  My stories from my ducklinghood were truly abysmal, to be honest, but that didn’t stop me from trying.  And then, sometime in high school, I had the opportunity to take a creative writing class.  Needless to say, I was really excited to finally learn how to become a better writer, but things did not go as expected.

I have since taken another creative writing class in college, proving that I was not wrong in expecting such a class to teach one how to write interesting fictional stories, complete with well-developed characters and a good plot.  In high school, however, my creative writing teacher only allowed us to write essays.  Okay, you might be thinking.  Were we at least allowed to be creative with our essays?


You see, we learned about a good deal of methods for writing essays, but none of them were exactly what one would call creative.  And for each essay type, you had to follow a strict formula, and if you strayed from it at all, the teacher would get rather aggravated and write all kinds of frustrated messages all over my work, reminding me to follow her instructions exactly.

Honestly, I’m a bit surprised I managed to pass that class.  (Honestly, I would have never taken it if I had known we would only be writing essays.)  Though one could say I was being rather stubborn, I kept trying to be creative with every essay I wrote, despite my teacher’s many objections against the idea of actually being creative in a creative writing class.

Almost as baffling was one of the last essays we wrote, which was to be a written tour of our house.  (I know, weird.  How exactly is that an essay?)  And as usual, though I tried as hard as I could to please my teacher, I couldn’t resist a little bit of creative flair that ultimately lowered my grade.  Sheesh, I never knew creative writing was so unforgiving!

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

4 thoughts on “Stop Being Creative!

  1. I hated essay writing in school. It wasn’t until I realized I could choose what I could write as an adult that I understood I didn’t hate the act of essay writing; I hated the restrictions. Every now and then there’d be a subject we’d have to write about that I was SO into and I didn’t want to stop, but so much of school is attempting to force kids into places they don’t fit. I also thought I hated running, but really I just hated being judged for my running. Once I could go at my own pace I enjoyed it greatly. It sucks that formal education can do that to you :\

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    1. That’s certainly a big problem with public schools; they’re so rigid that kids end up hating all sorts of things they might have otherwise enjoyed. When I was younger, I loved reading, but as I grew older and was forced to read more and more textbooks, I ended up hating reading. One school I went to allowed us to read anything we wanted as long as it was of a certain reading level. That was actually fun, at least. Kids would probably get more out of school if they had more freedom over what they wrote and read about.

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      1. Ugh, “In this dissertation I’ll explain what’s wrong with the US education system…” Not that I have the research down on that, and I’d need to interview tons of teachers, but I completely agree as a former public school student. I’m the type of person who hates things I’m forced to do, and as an adult I just won’t do them, but if you just let me do my own thing, I’ll find a way to love it. Like I love writing when it’s on my own terms and I’m not forced to write about something that doesn’t inspire me. With reading I’d wind up reading fiction/fantasy books as opposed to my school work because they were just more fun. I could also write a dissertation about how we don’t teach kids how to thing but WHAT to think or really foster critical thinking skills, which is terrible, too. I know that’s what algebra and geometry is supposed to do, but many don’t realize that. It’s problem solving and figuring out how to work through a problem, but it’s seen as a chore, especially if you don’t get it at first.

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