English vs Creative Writing

English and Creative Writing is a strange degree to take part in.

On the one hand you have your strictly academic English lessons … Which go something like this …

  • You attempt to read the set texts, usually the bulk of which goes completely over your head.
  • You sit through tedious lessons, going through PowerPoints which all start to blend together
  • The lessons are pretty much two hours of awkward silence where no one knows what to say
  • The tutor gets frustrated, you get frustrated
  • Then assignments come out of nowhere
  • You piece together an assignment, that may, by some accident answer the vague as fuck question
  • You sit around waiting for your mark, wondering if you have failed at the assignment, whilst also wondering if you’ve failed at life
  • You get back your mark, if you’ve passed with flying colours you don’t know how you did it, if you barely scrape a decent grade, you don’t know what you’ve done wrong
  • You get some pretty poor feedback, which surprise, surprise you don’t really understand
  • Then you return to the beginning of this list and the cycle continues

Then you have the Creative Writing Lessons … The layout of which is somewhat different …

  • There are no set texts, just examples or prompts to try and help stir the creative cogs into some semblance of life
  • You think about your ideas, throw down some plans about what could work and what wouldn’t
  • The tutors lead you in discussions, trying to reign you in, when you go a little off topic (this happens a lot, once students start talking, we can talk)
  • When assignments come around you have plenty of half finished pieces of creative writing to choose from (the hard part is choosing which ones to use)
  • Before the assignments, you get plenty of time to work shop your work. This is when you give out your work and allow people to give an honest critique of your work (sometimes maybe a bit too honest). This will pick out what’s bad about it or whats good about it before you begin
  • You submit your work, but chances are you don’t need to worry too much about grades, because you knew what sucked, and what was good before you submitted.If you submitted something that did suck, that’s a bad choice Carl
  • You get your grade back, feedback comes back too. You usually knew most the feedback before you submitted it, so no nasty surprises (unless you ignored what people said, another bad choice Johnny)
  • You get some new prompts, and new examples, then you start the Creative Process again

How two parts of the same course can be so vastly different I can never quite understand. But the fun Creative elements manage to alleviate the stressful Academic elements (at least to some extent).

The academic parts are like using LEGO and following the over complicated instruction manuals, with it still managing to go horribly wrong. Whilst the creative parts are like just playing with LEGO, sometimes it works, sometimes it don’t , but it doesn’t matter because you’re still having fun.

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