I remember the first time I took a creative writing class at college level. I waited patiently as everyone shared their typical, first day of class “about me” skits, each one ending with their major: English, creative writing, or literature. All of a sudden, I felt excluded from a club I didn’t even know existed, a big fat “you don’t belong here” sign above my head as I told everyone that I was not, in fact, any of those, but a Japanese language major instead.
It’s difficult when your major is not linked directly into the writing community, you feel ostracized and different, like your work isn’t as good as others because you’re not majoring in it. It’s a complete lie, but that doesn’t mean you don’t feel it each time your classmates talk about all their writer-ey stuff around you.
When I was younger all I wanted to do was be an author. I would spend countless hours pouring my soul onto cheap paper, roughly collected in a binder. I never thought it would actually amount to anything; I just wrote. I lost my passion for one of my largest hobbies simply just through growing up. Fast-forward to when I was a Junior in college. I took my first creative writing workshop and was terrified. Not only had I somehow managed to jump into a class I hadn’t taken the prerequisite for, but I hadn’t written anything creative in a couple years (let alone let anyone else read anything I’ve ever wrote in the past.) But, I did it. I did it, and it changed my life completely.
This is why workshops are important. For most people, going into a workshop is terrifying, but it’s a necessary step to anyone who has an interest in writing. Whether you get involved in an online workshop community or actually take a workshop course, it’s important to have your work critiqued in an environment where everyone is shown their flaws, English major or not. This “levels out the playing field” in a way where everyone is at the same level and work to help one another. It can be difficult, hearing critiques on work you have spent hours on, but the amount that you will grow as a writer is priceless.
So I ask all of you Non-English, creative writing, or literature majors, if you have any interest in creative writing at all, to push yourself into the next workshop you can and find, once again, your passion.
– Lindsey Strom