Every time I tell someone that I’m a creative writing major, I usually get a bunch of questions. (Are we exotic or something?) What’s the difference between English and Creative Writing? Do you write Fan Fiction? What do you write? I could never do that. How do you do it? So what do you really do? I know this won't stop all the questions, but it will at least help you understand what we go through every quarter (or semester).
When people ask what the difference between being an English and a Creative Writing major is:
There is a line between the two. One is analyzing writing and the other is actually writing.
When people ask me why I'm a Creative Writing major:
When people say they can do what I do:
Getting someone to see, smell, hear, taste, and feel everything that the protagonist is going through is a lot harder than it looks. Also if you think emotions are hard for you to deal with, imagine having to make others understand them.
Reminding myself that I can make it through workshop this quarter:
Somehow, I always get freaked out when I go into a new workshop. In every workshop there are new people who are going to be reading (A.K.A. judging) your writing.
Finding a friend of yours in the same workshop:
This friend is now responsible for telling things to you like it is when it comes to your writing. And you are also expected to do the same for them. Sometimes it's just better when criticism comes from a friend.
Finding out when your workshop date is:
There are only two options for this. One, the professor passes a paper around the room and you write your name down on the week you want to be critiqued. Obviously the people closest to the side they started on get priority. Benefits: you get to turn in your first draft later. Cons: less time to edit the first draft. Or two, you go in alphabetical order. Which in my case, lands me within the first few weeks. Benefits: More editing time. Cons: have to turn in the first draft really early in the quarter.
Trying to figure out what I am going to write for the class:
This is an accurate representation of me trying to beat an idea out of my head.
Distracting yourself so that you can get a decent idea out of your head a.k.a. procrastinating:
Sometimes doing other things helps get ideas out of our heads. I've been known to start baking in order to help me start writing. Or I shuffle through all types of music just to find something that helps get my brain working.
When I figure out how to write the story that was stuck in my head:
Best. Feeling. Ever.
Realizing that your story is due this week:
Panic sets in and you spend hours the week or the night before your first draft is due writing. Promise that you will proofread and edit before submitting it.
When you come up with other ideas that don't go with your story for your workshop:
For some reason, the best ideas come at the worst time. And there is always enough time to write them down for future reference.
Writing the first draft and turning it in:
After submitting it, you realize that you didn't look over it. Then you read it the day before your workshop and hope that everyone else has sympathy for you or hope that they don't think you're an idiot.
How I feel after getting work-shopped:
Getting work-shopped is never fun. Why would anyone think that willingly sitting in a class with strangers and having them tell you what sucked (or did not suck) in your story, is fun? It's not.
The editing process:
Yeah, having a "perfect" first draft is not a reality. Having several edited revisions of the story is closer to reality.
When you have to read other stories:
Sometimes you get stories that are written well. And sometimes, you don't.
How I stare at my screen when I critique:
Or better known as, "How do I say this without sounding too harsh?" Screw it. Write what you mean and hope that they get it.
The need for coffee gets real when you are editing your own story and critiquing others:
Having multiple cups and various snacks just to make it through the editing process.
Making a breakthrough in the revision:
When this happens, I usually get stuck behind my laptop for a couple hours. By the time I am done with this part of the revision, I feel like I've woken up from one of those naps that leaves my understanding of time confused. Did years or hours go by?
Getting the final draft done:
Making the last edits and final changes is the best. Turning in the final draft is even better.
The quarter/semester being over:
A.K.A the greatest feeling in the world. You feel like a genius and remember why you want to write stories.