As I stared at the long list of high school electives attached to my course selection sheet, one elective’s class description stood out among the rest: Creative Writing. With my desire to hone writing skills and techniques to transform an idea to a full-length story, this course seemed perfect for someone like me whose thoughts are constantly filled with new characters, plots and ideas. When I marked it as my number one elective, more important than even Newspaper, I had no idea how amazing the class would be. From learning how to write different types of poetry to writing a full-length ‘choose-your-own adventure’ story to getting three of my pieces published, the semester-long creative writing elective course broadened my horizons and gave me confidence to share my work with the world.
After taking Creative Writing, I couldn’t wait to take Creative Writing 2 next semester and contacted my counselor to sign me up. She replied with bombshell: despite focusing on creativity, imagination and ingenuity, the creative writing course is not considered a fine arts credit.
This news derailed my plans; I need a fine arts credit to graduate, and though I am only a freshman, my schedule in the coming years is packed. Due to doubling-up science courses, I solely have room for one elective in the upcoming years, Newspaper. Talking to my counselor about my options, I learned that Playwriting was an option, but it required a prerequisite in Drama. Even though Playwriting and Creative Writing use similar, if not the same, skills (after all, playwriting is a part of creative writing), only one is considered a fine arts credit.
Eventually, my counselor came back to me with the best elective I could hope for given the circumstances: Film as Literature. The course revolves around movies and writing; we watch a movie, then write an essay analyzing some aspect about it. While I enjoyed the class and highly recommend it, it is arguably less creative and more analytical than Creative Writing, since Film and Literature requires students to write specific, topical essays instead of letting their imagination run wild. Film as Literature is considered fine arts, while Creative Writing, which gives students freedom to write about whatever they want, whether it be in poetry, prose or even song form, is labeled as an English course.
Ms. Diana Adams, who teaches Creative Writing, considers fine arts to be “any of the creative disciplines: drawing, painting, sculpting, literature, music, dance, theatre and even architecture.” She continued, “The main lesson I want my students to learn is to write, experiment and be proud of it… my students use their creativity every day, and they create beautiful, inspiring pieces that I consider art.”
At its heart, fine arts is supposed to help students unleash their creativity, and what better way to do that than by taking a course with “creative” in its name? Creative Writing is not really a traditional English course—unlike English class, students don’t analyze literature or study grammar—instead, it is a fine arts course, helping budding writers discover their creative potential. While it is too late for me to take Creative Writing 2, it’s time for administration to recognize Creative Writing as the fine arts course it truly is.