Creative writing as a passion: A career path chosen by me for me

Category:  Opinions
Thursday, April 14th, 2016 at 7:51 PM
Creative writing as a passion: A career path chosen by me for me by Anna Ashcraft

Becoming who you are as a person is often labeled as the most important aspect of being human. It all begins in elementary school when your teacher asks, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Children come up with the most comical, larger than life answers: astronaut, firefighter or doctor. But no child usually says writer.

Being a writer is an art form. You have to have a creative mind and an artist’s soul to be able to write freely.

Creative writing is my passion.

According to Cristina Archetti’s article “Creative Writing in Journalism Research,” the positivist paradigm “is based on the belief that bias can be eliminated, this is never possible. All research starts not just from anywhere, but from somewhere specific and that is the specific individual researcher.”

It continues, “to suggest that the researcher can be the central figure of the research, responsible for every decision made regarding the study and at the same time argue that those decisions did not bear the researcher’s personal input is schizophrenic.”

Archetti also goes on to explain how academic journalism strips people of their individuality. In creative writing, interviewees are being brought back to life through their voices as people, not just sources of data.

With creative writing, whether it’s fiction or non-fiction, it needs to be fueled by imagination and creativity. Making an article creative instead of the boring old inverted pyramid style can help draw a vast array of readers.

Nevin Akkaya, author of the article “Elementary Teachers Views on the Creative Writing Process,” talks about how the creative writing process needs to be extraordinary without attacking commonly accepted values, offering different ideas by using one’s imagination, being unique, writing for pleasure and thinking beyond clichés.

Akkaya explains that the process of writing creatively develops children’s creativity, feelings, self-confidence, and their ability to express themselves and their imagination.

Reading is just as important as being able to write: reading through other people’s articles, reviews, anything you see. Without reading and knowing what is going on in the world around you, you cannot have the tools to improve.

“Can I be blunt on this subject? If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time [or tools] to write. Simple as that,” Stephen King said in his book, “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft.”

Books are my life, old English books to be exact. Many of my inspirations come from classic novels. The poetry and the aesthetics behind words have no comparison.

According to Psychology Today, 42 percent of college graduates never read a book again after graduating college, and on average, children under 8 spend 90 minutes or more watching television a day.

As a society, we watch a lot of TV. But it is proven that books are better for your mind than TV, and TV can actually harm you and your brain. Psychology Today states one of the problems with watching TV is that it reduces “theory of mind,” which is the ability to attribute mental states, such as beliefs, intents, desires, pretending, knowledge and more to oneself and others to understand that others have beliefs, desires and intentions that are different from one’s own.

It’s also no surprise they found most people enjoy reading fiction. In 2012, only four of the top 20 books were non-fiction.

Psychology Today also notes that reading heightens the left temporal cortex of the brain, the area associated with receptivity for language as well as the primary sensorimotor region of the brain.

You can literally put yourself in someone’s shoes while reading thanks to grounded or embodied cognition. Embodied cognition is the neurons tricking the brain into thinking it’s moving or doing something, which is what happens when reading.

But writing has its dark side, like anything else. It has been said that a man who is a writer cannot be sane. “I am a writer; therefore I am not sane,” Edgar Allan Poe may have once said.

And as Socrates once expressed, “If a man comes to the door of poetry untouched by the madness of the Muses, believing that technique alone will make him a good poet, he and his sane compositions never reach perfection, but are utterly eclipsed by the performances of the inspired madman.”

Throughout history, writers have had a troubled reputation. In the time of Aristotle, Socrates, Homer, Virgil and many other philosophers, their fame did not come until after death. They were seen as having low morals and new-fangled ideas that would supposedly never be relevant or proven.

“The real fame Hemingway was shooting for was perhaps the only fame that should matter to writers — the fame that descends after their deaths. It’s a dishonest novelist or poet who tries to tell you that he doesn’t bother with posterity. Normal people have children — writers write books,” William Giraldi said in his article “Immortal Beloved: Why writers want fans who last forever.”

He continued, “After ‘A Farewell to Arms’ in 1929, most of Hemingway’s best work was already at his back. In his Nobel Prize acceptance speech in 1954, he guiltily conceded that as a writer grows in ‘public stature’ his work ‘deteriorates’ because ‘writing, at its best, is a lonely life.’”

During Shakespearian and Elizabethan times, plays were banned completely for a period and many writers and playwrights were imprisoned.

In modern times, writers, especially for the big media conglomerations, are seen as having a political agenda. Writers get a bad reputation, but really not all writers are alike. Many just write for the love of it.

Reading and writing is not only an occupation, but it is good for you. According to Psychology Today, reading is proven to boost memory function, cognitive development in children and adults, promote brain connectivity and theory of mind.

According to The New York Times, researchers, led by Martin Lotze of the University of Greifswald in Germany, observed a broad network of regions in the brain while people wrote stories. They used FMRI scanners to observe novice and expert writers while comfortable.

First, he observed people copying words; he then had them write it out in their own words. The creative brainstorming caused vision regions in the brain to light up while they did not light up during just copying. In essence, the writer is actually seeing what they are writing.

Another region near the brain that lights up during brainstorming was the area near the front of the brain, which is crucial for holding several pieces of information in the mind at once. But what is more intriguing is they found novice writers visualized more, while brains of expert writers showed more activity in the region on the brain associated with speech.

Essentially, reading and writing are not only fun for some, but they have a real health benefit. They keep your mind sharp and alert. As Richard Rose said in his journal article “Writing a Book is Good for You,” if reading a book “educates students, writing a book can educate teachers. The restricted space of a journal article confines most publications within a narrow and familiar paradigm.” He explains that writing a book leaves more room for explanation and creativity.

People who write tend to be visual, imaginative and also a little mad. But most people today are stifled by television, or things that require no imagination. Encouraging children and even adults to read is essential for them to learn vocabulary, language and also for them to improve cognitive function and memory.

Tags: opinions, voices

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