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.