Writing Freedom

Is individualism fading? Is creativity slowly diminishing, replaced by structure and order? If today’s writing curriculum is any indication, then the answers to both of these questions is yes. Instead of relying on their natural artistic instincts, students are increasingly being forced to adhere to district- mandated forms. While some may see this as an improvement, a good way to place students on equal footing with their peers, I see this change as a steadily approaching threat that, if left unchecked, will not only cripple the creativity of young writers but our society as a whole. First, this kind of spoon-fed writing just isn’t enjoyable.

A quick survey of middle school classrooms reveals that many students are bored by writing opportunities and would love to see some more varied forms of expressing themselves available. Our minds crave innately crave creativity, and the only way to satisfy that craving is to offer a means for it to be expressed. For some students, this means drawing or painting. For others, it means writing, and what better way to waste this creative potential than to stifle it with strict guidelines? Even worse, students frustrated with a teacher’s mandates may give up writing all together, only offering up what’s required of them, and this seems to contradict our country’s idea that schools should be places where talents are nurtured for the next level of schooling. Secondly, we should think about the youngest kids, the ones whose mindsets may easily be shifted. This receding of originality possibly most impacts those younger students, who are easily imprinted with a set of ideas for life.

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Lack of freedom while writing may impose a mindset upon pupils that writing is only done to get a good grade, or get a gold star, or what have you, and that the only way to achieve this is to follow the rules. Rules, though a necessary part of writing, cannot take the place of simple creativity, and should only be used as structure, as a backbone to imagination. Unfortunately, more and more children are learning that following rules is a rule, and that there are few exceptions. This could lead to an adult population whose right brain is sadly underdeveloped, overrun with the mundane and lacking experience with the imagination and creativity that completes us. Finally, practice in more varied forms of writing may increase creativity in the long run. A society where concrete thinking outweighs free-mindedness is not a good place to be.

Continued on to an extreme, we could all be exemplifying a science fiction novel, behaving like robots instead of humans with hopes, dreams and loves. However, if we balance creativity with the factual and the down-to-earth, a lot of good could be brought into the world. Jobs would be had for people whose right or left brain dominates, which would mean society would become more varied, and more open. By simply allowing more imaginative jobs to show up on the market, we could become more close to our possessions, buying them from artists and home-based fashion designers instead of corporate factories. And people everywhere would feel more comfortable in their goals and aspirations, instead of being laughed at for being too “out there” or too different.

Though I feel I’m risking my grade by going off of the given prompt, I chose this topic because it is one that strikes true with me. The unconscious manipulation of our writing imagination is something that has to be stopped, not only for our good, but for the good of our society. I ask you to stand by me with this topic, and hope that my feelings haven’t fallen on deaf ears.