Should All Art Students Learn How to Write?November 28, 2018

Should all art student learn how to write? University students must keep in mind that this question isn't a rephrasing of a million-dollar question on the study of arts.

The wide gap between students from working-class background and their affluent coursemates is as old as Father Time. Technology hardly changes the status quo, yet not a few members of the academia would notice that the study of traditional techniques is getting lost in this age of social media and reality TV. In other words, YouTube wouldn't be (and never be) a good substitute. It's the opposite case with writing, but it's seldom, if not rare, than the chances of an online writer becoming a Banjo Paterson. The aim of studying literature is to familiarise with the various genres and the works of different authors, a good start on finding your own literary muse. There's a huge difference, though.

It may take a year or two before you become a good essay writer, but it doesn't mean that your first novel would be a critical success and a bestseller at the same time. The constant exercise on literary criticism might be a springboard on a career in journalism, but good writing demands vulnerability on your part. There's no guarantee that the readers would end up on your side, but it wouldn't be art otherwise. To make a long story short, all students must learn to write. It's a must for professionals particularly new graduates. Authorship is on a higher place, if not an elusive spot that may take a lifetime. It's not different from those who yearn to excel in painting (or drawing for that matter). Let's take a step closer (to that matter).

The coursework can take you to a certain point. (And that is assuming that you're serious about your studies.) Formal education has its upside, which is not different from an art student looking closely at the works of Rembrandt or Rubens. The similarity ends there, as frequent visits to the museums doesn't ensure success. On the other hand, heavy reading can give a B.A. student (or a literature major) a few ideas to start on. This might lead to a writing style that is quite different from the rest. It may be too much for teenage students, most of whom are often not perceptive of their surrounding. No one is forcing them to embrace the uncertainty that differentiates the arts from accounting (or engineering for that matter).

How Can Art Students Make the Most Out of this Opportunity?

You must not hold back. Writing is not for the reserved individuals unless you’re thinking of a literary character who is struggling to get out of his (or her) shell. It could be the Outback, which stretches to the horizon. It may be a confinement to some people, though. (The sea is a sea.) There’s a limit to it, as subtlety defines good writing. Your professors would teach you about it, but it should be up to you to think of a good one. And a unique one as well.

You should never look at the library the same way again. If your flat happens to be near the library, then you have many reasons to go there. It should teach you self discipline, which you may not be able to demonstrate in your own room. If your assigned texts have a hardbound copy (and nothing else), then it would be silly to bring it to your room. Look at the library as your second home, such that you would find your favourite spot. And you can get lost in the pages (for hours). If you learn to love reading, then writing won’t be a chore anymore. And heavy reading could yield more benefits.

You must not take granted of your new network. The university doesn’t run out of supportive figures, who would want nothing but your success in your chosen degree. There’s no reason to think of lame excuses whenever you get overwhelmed at all the reading and writing (and less time for socialising). It doesn’t mean that you would ask the basic questions, some of which doesn’t need responses. (You would know it, but you rather play along.) It also applies to those students who are serious about literature. You know what it takes (to make it), and success favours those who strive for it. You should know the rest, so there’s no need to add more.

No Such Thing as Overnight Success

Many authors would attest that age and experience have helped them become better in their craft. It’s not so different from university students who want to be consistent in their above-average performance in paper writing, but art may (or may not) complicated things. Don’t worry about other students who show concern to their well being. You might be missing the fun, but you’re aware of your priorities. And the long road to success. It’s much more in the arts, which can be compared to a demanding mistress. You’re in good hands, though.

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