What is creative writing?
In a very general definition, creative writing is any form of writing that is written more from the idea of entertaining the reader rather than informing them. Wikipedia defines creative writing as any form of writing that goes out of the bound of professional, journalistic, academic and technical writing.
In my personal opinion and as someone who loves reading, I think creative writing is anything that helps you put your thoughts and expression on paper. Fiction, non-fiction, poetry, drama, autobiography, memoirs, prose, novels, all this and many more forms of writing take shape as creative writing. You can even be creative at technical writing though it is an entirely different field (technical writing is the writing done solely for the purpose of information gathering, used in technical and occupational fields). Creativity abounds in all spheres of your life, to bring this to paper with a clarity and structure so as to express yourself in a way that others can read it is chiefly what creative writing is about.
As you can see various institutes and websites provide creative writing as a widely popular professional course for many students. One might wonder how creativity can be taught or even go so far as to say that writing a novel or a poem cannot be taught. However, the courses have Poto be helpful for a number of people, what they aim to do is not just to teach writing as a mechanical skill (it’s something that all of us know how to do) but the courses are designed to provide a direction and guidance to this talent. A lot of potential writers feel stuck at the start of their journey as a writer, creative writing skills help them enhance their talent and become better at their craft.
Types of creative writing
Poetry is one of the most popular forms of creative writing. It includes many other forms under it, haiku, sonnets, limericks, micro-poetry.
It is also the chief form used by a lot of writers on social media. You can see the examples of this in Instagram poets.
Songwriting is also a kind of poetry turned into music. It follows more like a melody and rhyme, while poetry, in general, works well without rhyme too.
Fiction is any narration where the events and actions are made out of your imagination. It’s a term that takes under it forms like novels, short stories, novellas, or any prose.
Novels and stories are the most read forms of creative writing. The art of storytelling and the ability to conceive life like characters plays a major part in the writing process. Fiction then can be presented in many genres, such as adventure, fantasy, children books, realism etcetera.
Non-fiction is written as a true and accurate account of something, some examples of this are memoirs, autobiographies, journals, history, travel writings and many other such genres. On the surface it might look like there isn’t much creativity involved in this type of writing. However, to arrange these factual accounts and truths in a way that makes sense and appeals to reader requires a great deal of thinking and imagination.
Script writing is another form of writing done for feature films, television shows or video games. It is often a freelance profession. Script writers or screenwriters are often paid by producers to write scripts for a certain concept or idea, screenwriters also come up with original plots for their scripts and approach producers in the hopes that they will be optioned or sold.
Copywriters help create content for various marketing communications. Copywriting is the art of writing text for advertising and marketing purposes. It helps create billboards, brochures, catalogues, jingles, magazine advertisements, scripts for commercial, social media posts and other marketing communications.
A blog is a website published online to either impart information, share opinions or even write personal stories.Blogging is a popular medium to gather and impart information. It takes on many different genres, it could be about your business or profession or your hobby (handmade crafts, cooking, etc) , blogs are also a platform for discussions on particular topics.
There are a lot of people who share their writings, stories or poems, through blogs. It serves as an easily accessible medium and can be easily promoted through social media.
The skills to master to become a better writer
Technical ability (language command, knowledge of form, literature)
Quite surprising that the term technical ability comes in a list of skills for creative writing, but like any other hobbies, field, activity, anything you want to call it, basic technical knowledge is necessary here as well. Writing comes naturally when you have a command over a language or multiple languages, most writers, however, work with the one chief language that they feel they are most comfortable with (most of the time it’s their mother tongue). As a writer, you have to be good with words and know the rules of a language not just for you to be able to follow them but for the ability to break them and create your own rules.
A knowledge of different forms of literature or creative writing is also a big help for you to experiment and try different forms, to find the one that fits you well. You can even merge and play with these forms.
Information about publishing, web publishing, etcetera, never hurts either.
Technical abilities are the easiest skills to learn, you can easily earn the best of it with hard work and consistency.
Talent and imagination.
Talent cannot be learned. Yes, that might even be true. But we all have talent, it’s something we are born with it. And if you are planning to take on creative writing you must be passionate about it, and what is talent if not passion? So fear not, your talent can be brought out even if you think you don’t have it.
Now why this comes under a skill is that a talent not combined with action never brings much results, so it is necessary to exercise and nurture your talent. A talent for writing does not happen overnight, there are no pixie dust or charms and spells at work here. Good writing skill only comes gradually, it can be improved with time and practice.
Imagination too can be cultivated, while it’s an inborn faculty you still might want to work on it a bit. You might even find it a bit rusty, be imaginative and give form to the ideas you have in your head. Think outside the box and don’t be afraid of it.
Patience, persistence and a lot more patience.
To be patient is to be successful, (I just made that up). Success is not something that comes in an instant, especially not as creative writers. Patience is a skill that will help you in every field in your life. You have to be patience not just for a successful writing career but for the process of it. Do not give up because the first draft didn’t come out perfect, it takes a lot of editing and changes for the end result to happen, the book you have in your hand is a work of many months and infinite hours.
You also have to be persistent in your attempts. Try and keep trying, it always helps in the long run.
Be patient with yourself, you’ll get there. You have to be able to face criticism and to be able to take it constructively rather than be offended, any and all criticism will only help you become a better writer. Think of criticism as feedback and try to adopt whatever you think can help you with your writing skills.
Tips and practices to improve yoru writing skills
- Read. A lot.
Reading is the most fun and entertaining exercise you can do to help you write, it will help you know different styles, genres, ways of expression. It definitely helps vocabulary. It might even help you with ideas, you might come up with an original idea while reading another’s ideas.
Reading is also a way of expression and plays a big role in nurturing your passion for writing.
- Carry a pen and paper. Always.
Carry a diary, notebook, a gadget if you prefer typing. An immediate means to pen down your thoughts can be very helpful in retaining ideas that might come to you as a passing thought. So put them to use whenever you find anything to write about in your head, don’t just rely on your memory always, you’ll find out that words leave it very easily and quickly. You can make rough notes and outline of your ideas and work on them later when you are sitting down to write.
- Practice writing. Write, write and write.
Write. When you have words floating in your head put them to paper. It could be a poem, a paragraph or even just two lines, I know writers who write haikus or short poems as a warm-up exercise before delving into the extensive serious work. As a beginner, it is your best exercise, it makes you patient and open to criticism and obviously improves your writing. Write about anything to everything and do not hesitate thinking that you’re not good enough, don’t be too harsh on yourself from the very beginning.
- Get feedback, share your work with fellow writers.
Constructive feedback and criticism will help you find the weaknesses and strengths of your writing. You can work more efficiently towards improving your writing skills with positive feedback available. So share your work and discuss it with your friends.
- Find your voice.
Try not to copy someone else’s style of writing, experiment with different styles and you will find your own soon enough.
At the end of the day, creative writing is a personal craft and one can always find their own tips and practices to look after it. Like finding your favorite reading and writing nook, or the time where your creativity works at it’s best. You can find your own pace and routine for writing. You might stumble upon a drink that suits well with your writing mood, a type of tea or coffee (my forever escape is coffee). There are a lot many small elements involved in the process of writing. Find the combination that fits your writing persona perfectly and weave your words in it.
Career options in creative writing
Creative writing open door for a lot many career paths and job opportunities, directly or indirectly. Some of them are mentioned here
Jobs directly related to a degree in creative writing :
- Advertising copywriter
- Arts administrator
- Creative director
- Digital copywriter
- Editorial assistant
- Magazine journalist
- Newspaper journalist
- Web content manager
Jobs indirectly related to creative writing :
- Academic librarian
- Film director
- Information officer
- Marketing executive
- Primary school teacher
- Public librarian
- Public relations officer
- Secondary school teacher
- Social media manager