30 More Than One Genre Can Be Creative

Robyn Haydu

It is said when the phrase “creative writing” gets brought up, we envision a man or a woman going up to an attic to sit down and write their hearts out. Maybe they have a cup of tea or coffee near them or maybe there’s a window they sit in front of or maybe an animal sits near them. The embodiment of what a “writer” is supposed to be according to the media or pop culture in general.…it’s a huge stereotype.

An author named Cydney Alexis, who is an assistant professor of English and the writing center director at Kansas State University, brings up that there is a narrative that comes along with the phrase “creative writing”. The idea of there being a narrative behind the phrase is because those who are seen writing poetry and fiction are more creative while those who write emails, essays, research, blog posts, texts, manuals, or even lists, are all considered dull or another term that is used, “non-fiction”. Those who don’t write fiction and poetry start to feel devalued, especially if you ask a bunch of them if they consider themselves writers, the majority of them would say “no”. This brings up the question, if you don’t write fiction and poetry, are you still considered a writer or even seen as creative?…the short answer is yes.

The question gets brought up a lot due to problems that are said to occur when people tie the phrase “create writing” or being creative in general. The main problem with this is the public’s lack of awareness of what academic writers and other workplace writers do. Other problems include certain attitudes that come from the field of “creative writing” itself where it seems predetermined what types of writing are creative, and the certain ways writing study scholars support the problematic ideas about creativity. A big problem included in all of this is that those who write see one sphere of writing that is only considered creative while others become devalued.

Ultimately, what a person writes makes them a writer, and writing in a creative nature doesn’t account for all of it. To improve on the public’s lack of awareness is showing what academic and other workplace writers do, we can improve upon the ideology of our culture first. A way to improve upon this is to use media against them and show how a grocery list can be creative or the way you write an English paper can be structured in a creative manner, or even using creative notions in a research paper. Those who have an attitude towards any other type of writing style that isn’t “creative writing” should just not speak on what they don’t know. We are all writers and what we write can be creative or can be more logical thinking.

It is mentioned by Cydney Alexis, a considerably famous joke that goes  “those who can’t do, teach” which she then brings up pop culture and how this joke basically encompasses what we all predetermine as a “writer”. With this, movies like Good Will Hunting, Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl, Dangerous Minds, Finding Forrester, Freedom Writers, Up the Down Staircase, and even the Dead Poets Society, all end up depicting a teacher who practices what they teach but there’s no talent behind it. Freedom Writers is a good movie but its ideology has become stereotyped by the media. If you’ve never seen Freedom Writers before, it’s about a teacher who is white, Ms.Gruwell, that tries to teach and inspire these students who are more at risk/inner-city kids of color. The idea is to get them to learn but why would they listen to someone who doesn’t know their struggles. Ms.Gruwell instead gives them a journal and tells them to write. Write anything they wanted as long as it meant something to them.

At the end of the day, it is all a stereotype and what we’ve seen or heard from the media or even some authors themselves. We are all writers and deserve to say so without constant backlash about it. Cydney Alexis believes it’s a good idea to banish anything with the usage of “creative writing” titling, tracks, and even departments to put it all together in a neat bow underneath the names like writing studies, writing, or writing arts. Even if in the beginning, we never used the words “creative writing” to describe literature that is creative, stereotypes would still occur because that’s the culture we live in.

Any genre can be considered “creative” and any genre can be seen as “non-fiction”, it’s how you write and how you structure your words that teeter into each. There isn’t some big way to solve the conundrum of each phrase but step by step if you show the media what writing actually looks like in any genre, that’s where we can start our newly defined definitions of each phrase.

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Good Ideas About Writing by Robyn Haydu is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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