Creative Writing vs Journalism

Over a year ago I had to write a short paper on Journalism v. Creative Writing. I just about died at the thought of writing it. Here we have a paper where I have to write about my two worlds colliding. I loved creative writing ever since elementary school. But the amount of narrative essays we were given to write was few. I had read so many fiction books my mind basically lived in dream land. I was also an average student in writing essays in class until high school when I significantly improved. I’m a natural creative writer who is currently trying to make it into journalism. But for some reason in class I’ve always been taught to keep them separate. Which was always rather difficult. I can’t comprehend why anyone would want to that. My brain simply wants them to sign a peace treaty and end the war teachers have created.

Instead I have teachers treating them as if one is a wizard and the other is a muggle. The atrocity of merging the two was always presented with scepticism. As if one is greater than the other or as if they don’t belong together. They clearly can’t hear that they are singing “We Belong Together” by Taylor Swift. Aren’t they the same in a way? They are both require a different style of writing both expressed differently but the results are more or less the same. They can carry the same purpose though.

Journalism is on one end of the totem pole. It is about hard cold facts. Straightforward. Concrete, much like the essays we are robotically taught to write. We were taught persuasive and expository essays with little room for imagination. We aren’t often given the freedom to express ourselves. Therefore for some of us there is this internal struggle when writing articles. For example, I was never the writer to use scholarly language like most people around me but what made my writing stand out was the meaning and emotions behind every word.

Creative writing gives us an escape. It’s there to take us on a trip to a place far away from our boring, mundane and sometimes rather hard life. It gives us a release and space to relax. Growing up my nose was always in books. I needed a distraction from my life. Creativity provides us such. It’s a blanket that wraps around us like a grandmother’s hug. For those like me who are creative writers it’s a release for us. We provide people with hope, laughter, happiness, tears and understanding.

Why though? What’s the whole reasoning behind keeping creativity away from spicing things up. There is nothing wrong with both of them. There is nothing wrong with them helping each other out. I mean come on Harry Potter is a half-blood and look how well that turned out. Nonetheless I’ve always felt a stigma when it came to saying I was a creative writer and to using my style of voice. I would get looks. Why? Because I speak my mind? Because my voice is interesting? Because I make people laugh and don’t try to use as many sesquipedalian words?  I almost always felt ashamed of my college essays. But soon I realize it’s just how I write. It’s who I am.

People seem to have the notion that creative writing is easy or not as serious. To them anything creative is fun and easy. But it’s not. Do you know the amount of times I’ll edit some of these sentences so they sound more funny? Do you know the amount of edits that go into every simile, metaphor and personification? A lot. But what is wrong with adding a sprinkle of fluff to a journalism piece? I understand the need to be bias when it comes to articles but why make them boring?

Being a writer is difficult in general whether it’s for fun, for a job or for school.  I don’t think one should be at war with other. I don’t think we should keep them segregated. They’re like ying and yang. They need each other. They make each other better. Both are important in the field of literature. They are like peanut butter and jelly or chocolate chip cookies and milk. I’m getting hungry at the mention of food.

Anyway let’s not pit them against each other when together they are magic.

So find your style and work on it. Be you. Make sure we can hear your voice in your writing. Show us what makes your writing you. Don’t let a big brain know it all tell you how to write. Unless it involves grammar because that’s lowkey important.


“I always start writing with a clean piece of paper and a dirty mind.”

—Patrick Dennis

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