Give Them What You Owe

May 9, 2011

I've been struggling to find the right balance between writing what my teachers seem to want and writing what pleases me. This morning I was reading about Jesus telling people, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's,” and it occurred to me that I can use that principle to find writing balance until school is over.

There are certain expectations about format and structure and characterization and description in my writing classes. I can definitely fulfill those expectations. But content is supposed to be up to me. That being said, I feel the majority of people in my classes aren't interested in the genres I write in and don't know as much as I do about the genre conventions. Not that I'm an expert; many of them know far more than I do about literary conventions, so I'm sure I'm not that helpful a critiquer to many of my classmates, either.

I thought about the Caesar thing today before I started writing. What I finally decided is that I will do the very best I can in the areas I mentioned, but I'm in this master's degree program right now because God gave me a gift that I want to use better. So when it comes to the creative side, what I choose to write about, I'm not going to try to write what I think might get me a better grade or more praise. I'm going to write the stories I'm dying to tell. If I get a lower mark, I'll just suck it up. I'll still pass. I'll still have a degree in six weeks.

And I'll still be happy with what I'm writing. That's worth a lot.

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