Believe it or not I fail a lot of university courses. It probably sounds rather peculiar to hear considering that my debut novel has just hit bookshelves, but my writing style isn’t necessarily what some tutors or lecturers would deem as palatable. For those who know me well it’s no secret that I struggle in my university studies. I’m currently six months into my seventh attempt at obtaining a degree, and it’s taken all of my intestinal fortitude not to throw in the towel again. It turns out that conventional education isn’t designed for a self-assured writer who refers to himself as a wolf and a world eater. I have a nasty habit of enrolling in a course only to quickly lose interest when the realisation that you just can’t teach creativity dawns upon me and I start cussing at anyone who will listen about just how frivolous university is.
Or at least that’s what I tell myself. The truth is that for a long time I just assumed that I was destined to be the John fucking Lennon of literature and that completing a degree was merely something I would do to kill time before achieving superstardom.
Ah, delusions of grandeur. They’re great aren’t they? Why take your education seriously when you can just coast through, fail, then expect to still become something better than your efforts deserve.
The very concept of my thought pattern sound ludicrous. Do nothing: achieve everything. And yet I’ve whittled away time in courses based upon grammatical construction, contemporary literature, and god knows what else waiting for the moment my name hits the best sellers lists. I’ve done little more than the bare minimum and then blamed everyone except myself when I haven’t achieved the grades I know that I am capable of. Then when I have inevitably failed I’ve done the stupidest thing possible and quit.
But quitting is a fool’s decision. What I need to do is learn how to take care of business. When things get tough, you don’t throw in the towel and walk away. You dig deeper, you fight harder, and you transcend beyond the bullshit roadblocks holding you back.
See, I think university for creative writing is bullshit. I genuinely don’t believe that spending time in a classroom studying or writing pieces that are tailored towards achieving a grade is the best use of any creative mind’s time. You can teach someone the basics of narrative, grammar, and the likes. But you can’t expect to create a passion or an urge to push the boundaries of one’s creative potential simply by clicking through a few lecture slides or by prescribing homework. University has its place within the education system. But teaching something as subjective as creativity is fundamentally flawed and virtually impossible. If I had aspirations of being a journalist or writing copy then maybe I would feel a little differently. But I’m a goddamn wolf tearing at the door of the literary industry. If someone stands in my way and tries to preach how conventional education can improve my creative process, they’re going to be savaged.
Nevertheless it’s this aversion to conventional education I battle with every single time I attempt to study that makes the completion of a degree so important to me. I don’t need help trying to cultivate creativity. I’m fortunate in the fact that I have an extremely overactive imagination and a tongue laced with acid. But the discipline required to apply myself to something other than my creative endeavours will become increasingly important as I continue to grow and develop as a writer. I once met a world renowned author who told me that the bigger his name became, the less time he actually had to write as he was forced to indulge in a plethora of alternative ventures. Therefore university is imperative to me simply because it’s teaching to expand my mind and struggle through adversity rather than simply giving up.
Immerse yourself. Then swim.
I want to become synonymous with literature. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; writing is my dream and the life I’m fighting for. University is a hurdle that I am choosing to face because I believe that I need to learn how to be resilient and challenge myself at every given opportunity. I want to take care of business and become a name of notoriety, but I can’t do that unless I develop the inner strength to stand up to my weaknesses and learn how to overcome them. Rather than rely on my delusions of grandeur and simply whittle away time until success falls into my lap, I’m chasing it down and pinning it to the floor.
I’m a wolf taking care of business. The literary industry should prepare itself for a new kind of violence, because I’m learning just how great I can be when I simply refuse to quit.