So, there’s a lot of talk about creative writing, but what exactly is it?
All writing is creative to some extent, no matter how technical or dull your subject. In fact, it can be an art in itself to transform a boring news release or academic article on, say, industrial filters into something engaging and readable.
There are many ways that you can define creative writing but to me it is a form of expression; it isn’t simply functional. It aims to entertain, to move, to inspire, to become art.
Creative writing can encompass fiction, poetry or scripts, basically anything that focuses on narrative, character development or literary themes and aims to elicit an emotional response from the reader.
When you write creatively, you are telling your audience a story, you are asking them to believe in the world and characters that you have created, to invest their time in these imagined lives.
Some people believe that the ability to write is an innate talent that a person is born with. Others would argue that the only way to become a good writer is to work hard, practice and constantly refine your work.
But everyone needs help and everyone, without exception, could be better at their craft. No matter how beautiful your prose, how well plotted your narratives or how realistic your characters are, there is always room for improvement. It’s something that we should always strive for.
There are plenty of places that can provide guidance to an aspiring writer: handbooks, local book or writers’ groups, library workshops, mentoring schemes, regional agencies, online courses or academic degrees.
It can be hard to choose, but the key is to define what you need to support and improve your writing.
Writing can be an isolating career and one of the most valuable aspects of undertaking a writing course can be finding like-minded people to encourage, assist and evaluate your work.
You might also want:
- Feedback on a particular piece of writing
- To allow yourself the time to write and be creative
- A support network
- To learn a new discipline, such as writing screenplays when you’ve previously only written poetry
- To make industry connections
- To improve your editing skills
- To find inspiration
- To approach your work in an academic setting
- Help with the professional side of writing, such as dealing with agents and publishers
Taking a course in creative writing can be the spur that inspires the student to become a fully fledged writer, something they may only have dreamed about previously.
Of course, studying for a degree doesn’t guarantee you publication and the cost will be prohibitive for some. But if you’re struggling to move forward with your writing career, seek out the right group or mentor for support and your creative side will flourish.