Valentine’s Day is coming up and I’ve been thinking about my relationship with writing (hah, I bet you thought I was going to talk about my partner). It’s a bit complicated.
When I was a kid, I really loved stories. I loved reading them and listening to them.
In grade 6, I was assigned my first creative writing assignment. I wrote a lot – almost double the page limit – and it was probably about something super embarrassing. I didn’t get a good mark, but it didn’t matter.
So I started to write (and along the way, read and draw) more; I created characters and worlds. I met people online who shared these interests (I’m still close with one of them).
By grade 9, I stopped writing for fun. This lasted until grade 12. I drew and read a lot, but writing took a back seat to everything.
And looking back now, I’m wondering why. It’s not like I did any homework or studied very much in the first two years of high school. I’m pretty sure I prioritized reading over studying 90% of the time (which was a very bad habit, but I still did well, so no harm, no foul).
Maybe it was because writing became more of a chore; there were too many rules and restrictions in the essays I wrote for school: hamburger format, personal pronouns, paragraph length, thesis statements, formality, etc. But I guess my grade 9 English teacher put it best:
You gotta master all the rules before you break them.
This discouraged me. It’s hard to master anything in writing, but I wanted to break the rules.
In grade 12, I took a creative writing class because I thought it’d be fun, and it was. Just not the way I expected it to be. The classes weren’t lecture based. Instead, they were like workshops and write-ins. It was pretty chill.
In that class, I learned that the “rules” I had been taught are actually guidelines. I didn’t have to adhere to them.
With that being said, the class also taught me that guidelines exist for a reason; it was up to me to figure out whether or not they would help. And they did.
It was a lot easier (and more fun) to write when I knew they weren’t rules, but just suggestions to help me with the writing process.
And maybe, writing is now worthwhile, if not just a teensy-little-bit easier.
But only just a little.
TL;DR I’m stubborn, and a rebel at heart (maybe I’ll get a piercing to commemorate that). Don’t tell me what to do; I want to do as I please, just like the geese that tyrannize the Waterloo region.
Come by drop-ins if you’re stubborn too.