Creative Versus Academic Writing

Currently, my year is divided up into which genre of writing time permits me to explore. From September to the end of April, I’m a university student and 90% of my writing time is used doing academic essays. May to the end of August is when I’m able to work on creative writing projects such as novels and plays.

Writing is just something that I do. As I made my way through the past few years, I found that creative and academic writing both have parts that are enjoyable and parts that are not as pleasing. My writing process involves me working the components out in my head prior to starting writing. No matter which genre of writing, I find that organization is also important.

My academic process starts with the specifics of word count, themes, and formatting. Research provides the material I require to substantiate my thoughts and show my grasp of understanding. Playing with words and phrasing is the part of academic writing, the part I enjoy the most. In academic writing there is terminology used in the required textbooks. Such terminology must also be used sparingly as while the essay is for an academic audience, it also needs to be written so most readers can understand the points, and perhaps, the arguments. Various printed drafts permit me editing opportunities for proofing and clarity. This process is more a process of work and feels like it uses the part of my brain that is more rigid and seems to require copious amounts of energy. If academic writing was to be compared to a physical activity, it would resonate as weight lifting, shorter amounts but intense when they are being completed. During the year I am also very aware of the looming deadlines and my process to get the assignments submitted on time.

 My creative process starts with a small idea, concept, message, or story in which I need to flesh out. Much of this process is completed away from my computer. As I brainstorm, some of my best ideas come as I’m living my life and not staring at the glaring screen. For myself, this is like a dance class. I work really hard on smaller pieces, which can be used for a larger piece. Editing is completed onscreen as printing the larger projects would require considerable amounts of paper and ink. While the process to get to the end of the project is long, it is energizing when a character leads where the project will go next or when I find that perfect turn of phrase. The effort that is required is far less and also has less tight deadlines for completion.

While I find that both creative and academic writing permit me an opportunity to work different parts of my writing muscle, they both have activities in which I enjoy and activities in which I love less. That said, if given a choice, creative writing is my favourite.


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