For the last few years I have been studying journalism, as well as this and other communications subjects, I have also been studying creative writing classes. The two kind of cancel each other out (or compliment each other depending on what your definition of journalism is!) and all I remember from all of my classes is knowing your audience, know who you are writing for, write the words they relate to, write the words they want to hear. The first time I heard these words I was furious, how can we write purely for someone else? Why should my words only be for someone else?
I reflected on this idea for the longest time. I remember my news writing class and the lecturer telling us that when you write a news story about a car crash for instance, you should always go for an angle, so if it is a family car crash the headline would have to be about children dying in a car crash because the everyday person will find this appealing, I remember raising my hand and saying “But if anyone dies, isn’t that a tragedy as it’s a loss of any human life?” She looked at me, turned her head to the side as if to examine me, laughed and walked away.
Needless to say I didn’t get very good marks in her class, but I did well enough to pass and get as far as away from that as I could. I dove into reviews, because it is easy to look at someone else’s work and give the yes or no opinion of that and I guess I sort of buried my head in review sand and stayed there for as long as I possibly could.
When it came to my creative writing classes, I clearly excelled and relished every millisecond I had in these amazing lectures that filled me with such inspiration. I clung onto my notes from these classes like they were 100 dollar bills and soaked every scrap of information I could extract from them. I was so in love with these classes I just wanted to live in this universe forever.
As 2013 wore on and on, I found myself writing and not sharing it with anyone. Not sending it to my editor to read over and get feedback, not publishing it on any website or sending it anywhere, just keeping it for me to read over and over again. As I wrote it all down I never once thought “Who am i writing this for?” or “Who is my audience?” Instead I wrote it and used it as my creative outlet and kept it close to my heart.
When I started writing more and more towards the end of the year, I realised that I never wanted to be the kind of person that writes for someone else, I want to write my way, not using anyone else’s style or voice. I don’t care if it never gets published, I don’t care if I never make a single cent off it. Writing is my art and I will treasure it until the day I die and none can take it away from me. It was in this moment that I discovered that not only had I wasted a degree in journalism, I also feel like I have finally found my voice, my passion, and am in a place of being happy with my writing and what my creativity is pouring into the universe.