Switching from “School” Writing to Freelance Writing

This is a guest post from Ashley Brooks of Christian Colleges. She has some great advice for college grads who will soon hit the job market. Enjoy!

Depending on the university you went to, as a student you are typically made to write about ten papers a semester, increasing every year until graduation. These papers may not always cover what you want to talk about, and are simply assigned topics that you have to research extensively. Coming from a previous high school education where you were told how exactly to write the paragraph, does not truly set the mold for much freelance writing either. The switch to writing about what you want to write about is markedly different and much more liberating.

Writing in college has a much more defined rubric upon which to write about. For example, you have to be much more professional, and cite every type of citation imaginable, in every type of style. If you refuse to cater to this method, you either get points deducted or accused of plagiarism. Additionally, you grow accustomed to an individual style of writing, wherein you have to speak to a particular audience and speak in a certain tone. It takes months of writing to fully rid yourself of this type of enclosure, and even then, hints of it still emerge; it’s like the years of brainwashing throughout elementary that got you to write a decent essay using the five methods of construction: topic, main idea, topic sentence, supporting sentences, and conclusion. It took your college professors four years to rid you of this format, and without proper training it could take a similar amount of time to rid yourself of your college format.

Freelance writing can be much more casual, with no apparent audience; although, depending on the type of writing you may be doing, holding on to some of those college lessons will be beneficial for non-fiction or newsworthy topics. It’s helpful to once in a while just put a pen to a paper and see what happens. So often nowadays, everyone types their writing out, instead of focusing on the traditional pen-and-paper method that is so often overlooked. For hundreds of years, this is the way writers formatted their thoughts into words, and every once in a while, a decent writer should try the same tactic. Breaking away from technology and typing is almost refreshing. When is the last time you wrote by hand more than one hundred words? Or even dabbled back into the cursive writing we were trained in during the beginning years of elementary.

Writing should not be something that is dictated or delegated to, unless you are assigned as such for a particular publication. Writing is something that ebbs and flows naturally, and the best fiction writers can tell you as such. Those first endeavors at writing when you are eight years old are some of the most memorable instances, attempting to describe the way in which the hues of a barrel of hay come alive when the sunset hits perfectly after reflecting off the nearby stream. It is this freedom that we need to rehash once we become adults (post-college). While most of the time in elementary, you were still told what to write, it is this child naivety which writers tend to cherish.

The best method to rediscover yourself as a writer is to go into a secluded countryside and just write; perhaps write on what you see in front of you, or even an experience you have recently have. The best writers are able to write with passion, and this becomes truly noticeable to the reader, drawing them into the story as well. Once you fully rid yourself of a previous writing rubric, you will be able to fully appreciate the art that is writing and the many different ways in which you can experience it to the fullest.

This post was contributed by Ashley Brooks, who writes about the top Christian universities. She welcomes your feedback at AshleyBrooks234 (a)t gmail (dot) com

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