One great avenue that individual’s can use to explore their creativity is that if writing.  Creative writing gives people the opportunity to share ideas and showcase their artistic, unique, and passionate side.

My writing style gets its origins from my youthful desire to be a writer for a big city newspaper. I aspired to be a sports writer, or humor columnist. When I was younger, I would read the works of Hunter S. Thompson, Red Smith, Dave Barry, and the like.

When I would turn in book reports for high school, you can bet they were done in the style of a newspaper legend. My writing back then was not just good, it was great, and my teachers commended me on my use of the pen. Yes pen…we actually wrote free hand “back in the day.”

The look of my work, back then, also had the feel of mid 1900’s newspaper writing in that I would “chunk” my paragraphs. As an avid reader of famous columnists and journalists, I noticed that they got their one big picture across one small paragraph at a time. They would take a thought and put it into a paragraph that was no more than 3 sentences long. Then they would add another idea in a similar sized paragraph, and another, and so on and so forth.

Before long, they would have a 2-page story laid out in several small paragraphs. This made it easier for the reader to read, and it helped build up suspense as the reader stayed interested in the story because he, or she, did not have to deal with the anxiety typically associated with long paragraphs…like this one.

Over the years, I have had opportunities to write for newspapers, and I have to say, I truly love it. There is no better feeling than when you can write a piece of literary work and have the community view it. Even if they do not agree with the topic or viewpoint, I have never had a reader tell me they did not like my writing style. On the contrary, over the years, newspapers and readers have accepted my non-graduate level work as quality work.

Later in life, I entered college and pursued my Bachelors in Psychology. It was here that I was introduced to the APA style of writing, and boy was it different. Short paragraphs would no longer be acceptable. Not only did I have to leave behind the “chunking” style of writing that I had grown accustom to, I also had to start citing everything.

I had to start acknowledging (give credit to) the original author or artist by providing a reference citation, which is a properly formatted line of text that indicates the source for a quote, idea, fact etc. that you use. (Proper Citation, 2013)

Although I was hesitant at first, I quickly learned that citing sources is one of the best tools a researcher has. The last thing I want as a scholarly writer is for my work to be deemed untrustworthy because there is no proof to my research. The best way to maintain quality research that can withstand criticism and remain above reproach is to cite all evidence that is not mine. This helps me to connect my data to already existing research done by my peers.

My problem with APA style writing, and definitely my weakness, is the fact that I typically have too much information to share, and I constantly have to “cull” a great deal of information that I deem good research. It may take me hours to decide what needs to go, and what needs to stay in order to make the paper meet the requirements set forth by the rubric.

Back when I was writing in newspaper style, the story was in my head, and through the chunking process, I was able to start the story, and finish without being too “long winded.”

As much as I love the APA style of writing, and how it helps in my research, I still have a place in my heart for old fashioned newspaper columnist style writing. J.B. Priestly once wrote, “One can say that in the voice of the columnists one can hear, if at times discordantly, the joyful voice of a free people” (Meyer 1990). My writing resembles that remark in that I try to bring joy to those who read my work.

Resources

Meyer, K. (1990, March 18). Newspaper columnist: Literature by the inch – New York Times. Retrieved September 16, 2013, from http://www.nytimes.com/1990/03/18/books/newspaper-columnists-literature-by-the-inch.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm

Proper Citation. (n.d.). English Club. Retrieved September 17, 2013, from http://www.englishclub.com/writing/plagiarism-citation.htm

 

By Mitchell Collin Fairchild

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