Why Uncreative Writing Is Pretty Cool
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Why Uncreative Writing Is Pretty Cool

Call it stealing or call it art. You pick.

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Why Uncreative Writing Is Pretty Cool
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I’m currently taking a DIY Publishing class, and while I’ve learned much about the publishing world and the “roadblocks” of it, I’ve come to be fond of a specific topic we have covered: uncreative writing. This concept sounds absurd because you might think, “Isn’t all writing creative except for nonfiction?” If you want to get to the bottom of it, writers take inspiration from everything around them. For instance, I’m writing about uncreative writing because I’m in a class that talks about it. Then there’s the novels, poems, and writings that we devour and adore, but they all stemmed from something whether it be from a cool line in “Harry Potter” to a random fact on Wikipedia. Writers are inspired by anything and everything, but uncreative writers take their inspiration a bit more directly.

Uncreative Writing is a term coined by Kenneth Goldsmith, and he actually teaches a course about it. It’s when a writer takes statements, words, and everything verbatim from another source. Basically, it’s plagiarism, but I, and many others, see it as creative plagiarism. With all of these words in front of you, you can morph it into anything you wish. The possibilities are endless.

In my class, we were assigned to produce some sort of uncreative writing for fun. So I took the musical “Les Miserables” and created a poem from it. What I chose to do was to read through the entire script, choose words and phrases that interested me, and wrote them down on the side. Once I had my list (which was over three pages long because I love that musical), I began picking out certain lines that worked well together. For example, I took a line from “Master of the House” and put it next to one from “In My Life / A Heart Full of Love”. The key to uncreative writing, or at least the type I’m fond of, is rearranging. When you find the perfect spot for a sentence, it’s so rewarding, but the troubling part is all the time beforehand spent on trying to find that sentence.

Another week later, I tried the process again. This time I took lines from “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald, “The Mysterious Stranger” by Mark Twain, and “Of Mice and Men” by John Steinbeck. I made a pattern out of it as well, alternating between the texts at certain points. The end result was a poem, and it became like a reminiscing narrative of friendship and the events surrounding the speaker’s life. It was, in short, awesome.

Many people are against this process, calling it stealing and plagiarism, but I feel that it helps when in need of inspiration, when stuck in writer’s block, or for fun. You can make a completely new idea just by using lines from an already established story, play, or anything. You birth your own art with the help of someone else’s. The process and outcome is truly surprising, especially if you had my reaction to what was created.

So I advise trying some uncreative writing one day. Take out a book. Look up a random article. Look up a definition in the Urban Dictionary. Find some sort of text and write everything down without changing ANYTHING. Then rearrange, or leave it the way it is. Maybe you'll enjoy it in its normal form. Maybe not. Either way, the challenge is an intriguing tool and activity. If you feel like you’re breaking the rules, who cares? Feel like a rebel for a moment. Feel the thrill of uncreative writing.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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