I often hear people dismiss writing. Coming from a predominantly math and science high school, it wasn’t really considered important. Like a pestering fly, I’ve witnessed my peers swat the idea of it away with disgust. When I created a writing club during my freshman year of high school, only one person showed up the entire semester. Despite this, I persevered — after all, those fanfictions weren’t going to write themselves. Even as a college student, I’ve heard so many people complain about the dreaded Intermediate Writing Workshop — better known as Writing 102 — that most need to take as a requirement. According to a poll of my peers, a noteworthy complaint was how “old-fashioned” and “formulaic” the course was.
It’s hard to disagree when most classes follow rigid rules that remain disconnected from a fresh demographic of prospective writers — they’re a nuisance for those uninterested in entering this field. There’s little room for creative freedom and even less for personal enjoyment. Unfortunately, the majority of students are introduced to writing in this way, leaving a bitter impression for the remainder of their academic careers. This limited interaction doesn’t do anyone justice. For students, it’s all due dates and grades, leaving us to neglect the things we want to learn or do for fun. We don’t get to learn in that one semester the places writing can take you or what it can do for others. When people are left without a voice to defend themselves, writing and reporting on an issue can make a world of difference. It can sway minds and bring attention to issues affecting real people.
Another genre I feel is often overlooked in academia is creative writing. It’s my personal favorite because I find there’s no limit to the things I can make. Ever since I was little, I’d been fascinated by what my mind could create. I remember conjuring up mystery novels and fantastical kingdoms modeled after my favorite stories. My thoughts never reached a page, but it was the start of my budding interest in all things literary.
Through this memory, I realized that writing has always been more to me than just a class or an extracurricular activity. It’s become my stage, a place where I can express myself without fear of judgment. Growing up, sharing my emotions was always a hard task. Constantly talking about what I felt — good or bad — seemed like a burden to place onto others. Even now, I struggle with deciding what piece of me I should share with loved ones, especially when it’s a more vulnerable part. In my junior year of high school, those feelings were amplified by the tragic loss of my friend. I’d never experienced losing someone so close to me before — for the first time in my life, I was faced with my own ethical questions and mortality.
As my friends and I sat in the school library in preparation for the wake, everyone seemed to know how they wanted to express their love, whether it was through art or music. I was left wondering how I wanted to say goodbye. I realized that the only thing I knew how to do was write. Where my voice fell mute, my hands could piece together my thoughts. For a long time after this, I still found myself unable to speak about their passing. It was easier to channel my grief into various poems, short essays and letters in dedication to them. Slowly, I was able to talk about them aloud, and I could eventually recall the good memories without blurring them with the bad.
Whenever I hear someone say they hate writing, I can’t help but think about all the times I’ve found myself through it. Those nights where I’d pour my emotions into words and make peace with what I was feeling were liberating. I’ve found writing to be both my passion and my therapy. Even now, I’m using my love for writing to soothe the recent loss of my cat.
I understand it may not be for everyone — just how some think math is too difficult, or how playing a sport is challenging for those without an athletic bone in their body. Despite this, the one thing I ask is to try writing on your own terms. As someone who often finds themselves daydreaming while walking to class, writing out scenarios has become a fun hobby of mine. Without the pressure of grades or classes, I’ve come to appreciate the liberating feeling that typing out a story on my laptop has brought me. So if you’re really curious but scared to take that first step, throw everything you have in your brain on a Google Doc or a piece of scrap paper and go crazy.
There’s no guarantee that you’ll create a masterpiece or be even remotely good at it, but there’s something so beautifully personal and intimate about writing. It doesn’t matter what it means to others — only what it means to you. You can write about your wildest dreams, social issues, your interests or, in my case, your emotions. Worlds, empires, even entire galaxies have been forged in the creative fires of an imaginative writer. The only limit is what you decide it to be.
This piece is dedicated to Winx Cassara, a beloved friend and pet. May she rest in peace.