Hand Hobbies: A Guide to Creative Writing

Written by Michele Wheat

Creative writing is a form of artistic expression. It goes beyond the bounds of professional and academic writing, inspiring writers to use their creativity and dig deep into the world of imagination. It allows writers to express themselves through imagery, narrative, and drama, and the results can take many forms, including poems, plays, and conventional prose. With creative writing, the only limit is your imagination.

Ways to Improve Your Creative Writing Skills

No one is born an excellent writer; rather, it's an art that is practiced and improved over time. No matter your writing background, you can always improve your creative writing. One of the most important things to do if you aspire to be a great creative writer is to read. Reading other people's writing exposes you to different writing styles, techniques, perspectives, and vocabulary. As you read, you'll experience how the writer structures their story and ties it together into a cohesive work, which can give you a better sense of structure and plot that can improve your own writing. You may also find inspiration in other people's work that helps you to develop a piece of your own.

Like with all forms of writing, grammar is also a fundamental part of creative writing. Proper grammar improves your clarity and credibility. You can take a bit of artistic license with grammar in a creative work, but it's important to have a solid knowledge of the rules of good grammar before you try to bend them in your writing.

Since creative writing is all about creativity, it's also a good idea to practice writing in ways that can help you to be more creative. For example, you might try using a book of writing prompts to jump-start your imagination. Or you might try writing in a different format than you're used to. If you always write stories, try writing a poem; if you always write free verse, make your next poem have a specific meter and rhyme scheme. Experimenting with different formats challenges you to approach your writing from a different direction, which can help you to be more creative and grow your skills as a writer.

Essential Skills You Need for Creative Writing

One of the most important things you'll need to be a creative writer is a good imagination. Creative writing requires creativity, whether you're dreaming up a fantastical world to write a novel about or just imagining what the world would be like if one thing about it was different. Imagination will help you to figure out who your characters are and what their stories are, including the backstories that may not get written down but can help you to design more interesting characters.

Being able to adapt to different audiences, tones, and formats is also a good skill to have for a creative writer. You may want to keep up with the latest trends, branching out to write whatever audiences are consuming the most right now. Or you might change up how you write when your creativity is flagging. Even famous authors sometimes write for a different age group than they usually target or publish something in a different genre than they usually write in.

But one of the most important skills that any writer needs to have is resilience. You'll undoubtedly run into times when people don't like your work, and you need to be able to handle that. When you get constructive feedback, you should be open to criticism and carefully consider whether this feedback can be useful to help you improve your writing. And when you run into roadblocks, whether it's a rejection from a publisher or a case of writer's block, you need to be persistent enough not to let those obstacles stop you. Setbacks will happen for any creative writer, so you shouldn't let them get you down. At times like this, it's OK to pause, take a break, and start up again later with a different mindset.

Additional Creative Writing Tips and Resources