Innovation has long been in the avant-garde of progress in society. However, numerous cases exist when innovation is not supported or even suppressed. Writing a class essay provides a perfect example of such a case. Students primarily focus on acquiring knowledge during the learning process and are expected to follow specific rules while working with it. Consequently, the task of writing something unique and creative, complying with conventional rules simultaneously, requires profound “out of the box” thinking.
The main compatibility issue between something “conventional” and something “creative” lies in the source of creativity. According to Giovanni Corazza (TEDx Talks, 00:05:03 – 00:05:24), thinking out of the box requires irrelevant, redundant, or absurd features. Compared to creative writing, which can be polysemic, academic writing does not allow ambiguity and uncertainty (Smith, x). Consequently, to showcase innovation in the framework of academic writing, there is a need to look for gaps in the formality.
If a class assignment requires writing an essay on the topic of concerns about the future, one should first consider all “inside the box” features. Structure parameters, such as format, length, and style, should definitely remain unchanged. Since the primary purpose is to keep an essay acceptable, there is no way around these conventions. The same applies to the formal language and overall sentence and paragraph structure. However, the provided topic does allow some freedom – it asks for personal concerns, which implies only a few limits. The advantage creativity has over formality is that formality typically provides a template to be followed. In the meantime, inside the template can be practically anything that can be reasonably proved or at least adequately supported by evidence. Consequently, an essay concerning the anxiety due to the possibility of a favorite yogurt being eaten by a grandmother, supported by scholarly articles about anxiety disorders and generational differences in value systems, might actually work.
“Creative thinking – how to get out of the box and generate ideas: Giovanni Corazza at TEDxRoma.” YouTube, uploaded by TEDx Talks, 2014. Web.
Smith, Hazel. The writing experiment: strategies for innovative creative writing. Routledge, 2020.