Aspects of APA style are hard for me to swallow. Poetic lyricism is an important part of my writing repertoire, but APA papers have little use for the literary styles I love best.
When I sit down to work on school assignments, I battle an overwhelming impulse to aesthetically embellish every composition. Why not indulge in a little bit of flourish, after all? Metaphors and alliteration have never done much harm in the world, as far as I can tell.
APA style, however, calls for the plainest, most practical expression of every idea. Data and theories, not eloquence, need to take the front seat. While I understand the argument, I struggle to embrace the application.
I expect that I’ll maintain misgivings about APA style throughout my career. In the meantime, I have found a perspective to get me through the mountains of papers that I need to write: I view writing as a puzzle or a game. There are other outlets for my creative voice, but writing in APA style is like cracking a complicated code or solving a brainteaser. It’s a matter of applying the right formula at the right moment to get the right job done.
Sometimes, I find I enjoy slipping into my APA persona. I grow absorbed in hunting down each hint of bias in my tone, eliminating every trace. Besides, since I frequently feel like an intellectual imposter, there’s a certain thrill in writing a solid APA-style paper. It’s like going undercover to crash the endless party the “real” academics are throwing. So far, no one has tried to kick me out. Navigating academia simply requires its own sophisticated maneuvers, making the entire dance of composing in APA style really quite… poetic.
Virtual Writing Center Staff