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Writing in the Subject Areas: Tips For When You’re Not Writing Creatively


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Writing in the Subject Areas: Tips For When You’re Not Writing Creatively

Sam Ladow

Tackling writing can be challenging - especially when you're writing in various areas of study. For example, you wouldn't write an English research paper the same way you'd compose a report for Biology class. MyloWrites has outlined a few tips to help you keep the work on point regardless of the class you're writing for. 

1. Structure

Structure varies across each mode of writing, and in turn expectations for your writing differ between different classes. When writing for a math test or science test/lab report, there’s usually a given formulaic structure—within that structure, you need just explain your work with economic and straightforward writing.

For a history paper or literary analysis, typically you will be arguing a point. While creative writing may have digressions, your history and analytical literary papers should not. There should be clear organization with a thesis, support, and conclusion (really, not much different than a lab report: just exchange the hypothesis for a thesis). So, while there is freedom to meander and experiment in creative writing, make sure not to take that freedom into the wrong domain.

2. The Use of Details

History and Creative Writing classes are not too different—one teaches the connection and significance of different narratives, the other the appreciation of point of view, voice and the craft of writing. Still, a student must be careful to distinguish how he or she includes details while writing for these classes. When writing a creative piece it is important to describe characters and the setting.

For your history essays, the only details that matter are those with historical and contextual significance. For instance, if you are describing the frost Napoleon’s soldiers encountered as they marched through Russia, details should be used with purpose. Bitter frost in white jackets of snow clung to Napoleon’s hollowed soldiers won’t do. Each detail must be suited to progress your essay’s overall focus. The bitter cold encountered by Napoleon’s men severely weakened his army, marking the beginning of his political and social decline. Different types of writing necessitate a different evaluation for how you marshal details.

3. The Flourishes

The atoms moved like symphony notes, each a different element in a composition that resembled life itself.

No. Your science teacher doesn’t want to hear this. Grandiose statements? Save them for later. Enticing similes? Not in this class. In these subject areas, particularly math and science, you can write well without using too much literary flare. For your lab reports and science tests, your teacher will value efficient, spare writing. Keep the fancy lines for your next short story.

4. Think Creatively

Now, there’s also one important similarity: Try to think creatively. Whether it’s math, history, science, or English class, don’t be afraid to think out of the box to solve a problem or pose a new idea. Even if the writing style you use should differ, there are always rewards for those willing to explore new views on subject matters and find original solutions. Creativity is vital not just for successful creative writing, but also for all pursuits.

So what challenges do you see as a professional or student while shifting gears in class when it comes to writing? Chime in by leaving a comment below or contacting us @MyloWrites