You may begin by asking yourself: what is creative writing? The answer is simple. Creative writing is a form of writing which allows the communication of feelings and emotions through the use of imagination and narrative. Because art encompasses self-expression, many believe creative writing to be another art form. To others, creative writing is, at its core, simply a form of fabrication. While this may be a harsh critique on creative writing, it is not entirely untrue.
Creative Writing: You Have It or You Don’t
Creative narratives can be very good or quite appalling. There is a fine line between a an engaging narrative and a bore. This fine line is delineated by unwritten rules – rules every writer should know, lest they risk losing their audience.
Creative writing serves to communicate the thoughts of the writer. A good piece of creative writing connects with its readers. The narrative should captivate and capture the imagination of its audience. However, some writers’ skills are not yet honed enough to master self-expression. For this reason, some writers are universally enjoyed while others continue to struggle.
Unwritten Rules of Creative Writing
There is an argument that creative writing is not something you can teach but instead a born talent. To some degree, this theory is correct. You can sharpen an inherent ability; it’s not unusual that a writer predisposed to talent may become successful author.
Alternatively, an “untalented” writer (that is, someone not predisposed to writing) may find creative writing extremely difficult. Hanif Kureishi believes it’s a waste of time and resources to train such a person; he or she should instead learn another trade or choose another form of writing. You may feel creative writing demands talent, or you may believe like any skill, it can be taught. However, one truth remains; writers must actively work to improve their abilities. Remember, everyone is different, and the majority of people will gain rather than lose from creative writing education.
To be candid, a good writer doesn’t just need inspiration for great content. Writers need a unique kind of finesse, an innate ability to combine their observatory skills and emotions to uniquely describe everyday details. Inspiration is just the beginning of a great piece.
Learn to Take Criticism
Another unwritten rule concerns criticism. Despite your best efforts, you’ll never impress everyone. Even the greatest story will have its fair share of faultfinders, but it is how you take criticism as a writer that matters. Check the credibility of your critic before you act. If it comes from a trusted peer, listen. Constructive criticism as a writer builds you and betters you. Do not shut out all criticism; it could improve your work on the whole.
Use Simple Language
For many students of writing, good vocabulary is paramount. But just because you are writing a story doesn’t mean you have to adopt a new vocabulary. Strive to use ordinary language rather than a variety of four dollar words. You’ll rarely see a modern book with a sentence such as, “He absquatulated with her because her father objected to the union.” Use realistic words your reader will easily understand. Intellectual jargon and technical terms may complicate your sentences and drive away curious readers.
Make Writing a Habit
Write every day. If you form a habit of writing every day, you will find it is much easier to complete your tasks quickly and efficiently. Writing on a daily basis is a simple way to home in on your writing skills.
When a writer can’t write because they lack the inspiration, do they throw in the towel (pen)? The answer is simple, when the writer can’t speak, the writer listens for inspiration. Being a good listener is critical to becoming a good creative writer. Reading another author’s work, having a basic conversation, or taking a brief walk can help get your creative juices flowing again.
Develop Yourself as a Well-Rounded Writer
When it’s all said and done, you need to be a bloody good writer. Your work can’t be riddled with silly grammatical errors, misspellings, or poor punctuation. Nothing hurts a writer more than overlooking easy fixes. Like any good writer, you need to be near perfect with your grammar, practice proper punctuation, and ensure that your vocabulary is right where it needs to be. There’s nothing wrong with revisiting the basics – I’m sure Lionel Messi still does passing drills while training, and Lebron James works on his dribbling skills even though they are the best at what they do.
It’s a Learning Process
Although these guidelines don’t sum up the entire world of writing, they do help scratch the surface of creative writing. Being a talented creative writer takes practice – and we all know the saying “practice makes (close to) perfect.”
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