I have always been relatively successful when writing essays, yet I must admit that I very much dislike conforming to the one size fits all essay outline we have injected into our skulls at early ages. At some point in high school I decided to garnish an essay concerning what I am sure was an extremely important topic, with some creative writing and inserted observations of a philosophic nature. The results where astounding. Well the factual portion of the essay was rather weak and the whole thing was quite fluffy, my teacher awarded me top marks. Being a young and lazy writer I immediately adapted the Michael Bay approach to writing. WIth enough explosions, special effects and possibly some models who can’t act, I decided I could take a terrible piece of work and pass it off as A level work. Some where along the way I forgot that writing in this way was a gimmick, and it slowly became my go to style. During my fist year of college I read a lot of writing from fellow freshman who had picked up the same technique. It makes me sad to say that up until my second year, writing in this way earned me top marks. Only rarely did a Professor chide me on my weakened and fatty writing. Eventually I fell in love with writing and my perspective on my work changed dramatically. My aim with a paper was no longer to just get a good great, but to improve as well as do the best work I could. Unfortunately I had picked up a filthy habit. It wasn’t until I had a lengthy discusion with a professor in which we discussed the possible value of taking the academic format outside to get it some sun and fresh air, that he said something to me that has since transformed my writing. He said to me something close to this, “So you love creative writing? Me to! But this isn’t creative writing. Maybe to some people adding a splash of color to the correct style is nice but when it comes to academic essays it will ALWAYS be graffiti. So, write creatively, but think of your self as two writers. There is Kyle the creative writer and there is Kyle the academic writer. DO NOT LET THEM HANG OUT!” When Kyle the academic writer is writing for me you need to lock Kyle the creative writer in a closet.”
It has taken some time, yet I have come to truly appreciate this advice and try my best to no longer water down, or try and disguise a scrawny paper with a fancy clothing. I think that this idea is something that I would have benefited from greatly in the earlier days of my college experince.
A lot of writers look at themselves as one person, one guy or girl with a toolbox full of tools. As they work on different things they acquire new tools, and because they keep all these tools in one box sometimes they pull out the wrong one for the job. If we instead separate ourselves into the different writers that we are, each with a toolbox full of only those tools related to that type of writing, then it becomes much easier to specialize and improve in each type of writing we do.