It may seem surprising to you, since I’ve made it no secret that I am an avid and passionate creative writer, but I’ve never had the chance to take a writing class other than the one I’m taking now. My high school didn’t offer any specific writing classes, and we only very rarely did creative-writing projects for our regular Literature classes. So, other than having one or two very close friends read the manuscripts of my novels and posting some of my other works online, I’ve not had the chance to get very much formal training or constructive critique from any sort of classroom environment. As a result, the only experience I have to report on is the critique I got for the non-creative writing I did in school, and the critique and community I get from posting my creative writing online.
My high school literature class was amazing. I think I learned more in that class – about literature, logic, clear reasoning, philosophy, myself, etc – than any other during my high school years. My teacher was witty, good-natured and well-respected for both his writing and teaching. My fellow students and I would often say that we believed he could have been a great college professor if he wanted to, but he chose to stay at our little school and teach high-schoolers how to think well. When I look back on my past of writing improvement, he and his class are the first thing I think of. As I mentioned before, his class was always a place where I could learn how to reason clearly, and it is his tutelage that I credit when I get good grades on essays and other kinds of non-creative writing.
Learning how to reason and argue effectively in essays and research papers also taught me another valuable lesson that I could apply to my creative writing: to be thorough. After you’ve been taught the rules of logic and reasoning for 6 consecutive years, it’s no wonder that even in my creative writing, I rarely leave a stone unturned. In my stories, one thing that I always seek to remember and work on is to not leave a question unanswered or a dilemma unsolved. Granted, seeming to do these things can be a powerful tool of story-telling, but I always try to make sure that I don’t accidentally or inadvertantly leave unanswered questions or yet-to-be-explored possibilities without some kind of closure – whether that closure means knowing they exist and choosing to answer or pursue them later, or only answering them partially.
As far as technical skill goes, I’ve learned a lot about my own style and process in the past year or so since beginning to post my creative work online and getting feedback from it. I’ve begun to discover what I do best and why, as well as what I am weak in and need to work on. I certainly very much look forward to taking more writing classes, and I hope to never stop learning more about my craft.
Thank you for reading!