Creative Writers in Academia

Greetings from Hershey!  Or, more specifically, Lebanon Valley.  I traveled East this weekend for an undergraduate conference—my very first.  The theme of the conference was based on the hit television studio, The Good Place, and posed the presenters with questions such as: What is the good place?  Are we in a good place?  If not, can we get there, and how?  The conference invited students in the liberal arts to present either an academic or creative project, and students ran with the questions to pose interesting discussions surrounding social media, the significance of interfaith, education, and even food.  Between all of the lectures I had the opportunity to see, every student opted to present an academic piece; I seemed to be the only student who chose to present creative writing.

I was troubled by this for a few reasons.  First, I was nervous about being the only one presenting in my genre of writing.  This nervousness led to my second concern, which is the place of creative writing in the academic community.  Based on my own experience with writing and interacting with fellow writers, there seems to be a disregard towards creative writing in comparison to traditional research among scholars.  Yet, there is an irony to this—especially among those who study literature, as they are the ones critiquing and analyzing creative writing.  As I prepared for the conference, I did my own research and reflection that coinciding with my project.  I entered into the discussion of desire with philosophers such as Aristotle, Descartes, and Spinoza in mind—yet, my form of analysis and presentation was unique among the other students (perhaps, even viewed as being less “professional”).  Why was I the only one who engaged in this form of dialogue?

As I continue to work as an intern for the library, I am developing my final research guide: A guide for creative writers in digital publishing.  Even as I gather my research, I see the disparity in information available to academic writing as opposed to creative writing.  Still, creative writers are approaching a plethora of significant questions through equally complex means.  As I’m writing this guide, especially after my conference experience, I am beginning to see more and more the need to view creative writing in a respected and appreciated light.  Of course, this is not a slight towards academic writing, which is extremely important.  This is a call for acknowledgement in the academic community that creative writing, although vastly different, is just as significant.

Hopefully, as time progresses, we can begin to see more of this turn—soon, perhaps, we can find more poets, novelists, playwrights, and story-tellers at conferences sharing their own work!


Quote o’ the Post: “If writers wrote as carelessly as some people talk, then adhasdh asdglaseuyt[bn[ pasdlgkhasdfasdf.” -Lemony Snicket (aka, Daniel Handler)



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