Guest post by Lauren Davison
It’s a challenge to give creative writing an exact definition The scope of it is so vast, that it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what something has to be, in order to be categorised under the creative writing umbrella. However, Derbyshire Writing School co-founder Laura Stroud’s description of creative writing as ‘an act of creation,’ that allows us to bring ‘new ideas, stories, even people, into existence,’ is a particularly exciting way to think about it.
Whether it’s a poem, a story, a memoir, creative writing has an infinite number of possibilities. As David Morley points out, ‘we should try to think of the empty page as an open space,’ (Morley, 2007 p.1). We have the power, the freedom, to write whatever we wish. It gives us this whole other world at our fingertips.
But why is it important?
For some of us, talking isn’t always easy. Trying to verbalise something can feel daunting. That’s where the written word comes in. Creative writing offers people an alternative avenue for self-expression, an outlet for us to vent, release, and explore thoughts and feelings in creative ways. No matter what we want to say, what we might feel we need to get out, we have all the aspects of creative writing to turn to.
If we struggle to speak about something in conversation, creative writing offers us a multitude of ways to express ourselves. From novels to poetry, finding a way to express ourselves can be invaluable. It provides a safe, creative way to articulate feelings and experiences.
Creative writing doesn’t only refer to published works. A piece of writing can be a personal thing, and still live within the realm creative writing. There can be immense therapeutic qualities to a story, a poem, or anything else we might choose to write.
This personal release can be the primary reason why some people write. Sometimes, creative writing can be focused on process, rather than product. For example, a fantasy story might offer escape and distance from worries at work or in life for a while.
The re-writing process has a lot of therapeutic potential too. When we step back from a piece of writing, and revisit it with fresh eyes, it might carry new insights. We may now see different parts of ourselves, different ideas within it.
It’s interesting to see if this influences us, changes the direction we take the writing. Perhaps we’re not the same person we were when we originally wrote it. That’s why keeping drafts can be useful. You can reflect on things, as you embark upon your creative writing journey. Most writers would say they become better writers over time as their craft improves like a fine wine.
In the craziness of modern life, it’s sometimes easy to feel overwhelmed by things and events outside our control. Yet with creative writing, we have control. It’s our hand holding that pen, our fingers pressing those keys. Through this we can gain confidence and a sense of self-assurance we might not have felt in a while.
You don’t have to run your creative decisions past anyone, it’s all about what feels right for you, what line, what rhyme, what simile is running through your mind.
Sense of wonder
Have you ever lost yourself in a good book? Ever felt yourself completely immersed in an author’s world or creation? That’s part of the beauty of creative writing. It has the ability to draw us in, and hypnotise us with this sense of wonder. There is such a special power to it, that sometimes feels like it transcends everything going on around us.
Julia Cameron describes it as ‘picking words is like picking apples: this one looks delicious’ (Cameron, 2000 p.4). When the words feel right, when they possess that sense of magic, it’s easy to be completely absorbed by them.
Bringing people together
Creative writing also has the potential to bring people together, and create a sense of community and shared passion. Take the Oakwood Literature Festival for example! It’s a wonderful opportunity to bring people together to celebrate and explore creative writing, in just a few of its glorious forms.
We’ve got workshops about writing memoir, creating protagonists and villains, and plenty more. Check out our website for details of all of the workshops that will be taking place. It’s an amazing opportunity to network too!
Your own truths
Creative writing is freedom. Nobody can dictate what we can and can’t write about, or tell us what style we must write in. We can explore endless avenues. That’s where so much of its charm lies. It allows all of us to tell our own stories, our own truths. We can let our creative impulse flow without the pressure of rules and restrictions.
While publishing our work is a different ball game, in terms of expectation and standards, the essence of creative writing doesn’t change. It’s our words. Our hearts on the page.
No matter what we write, or how we write it, creative writing embraces all of us. It’s an open field of possibility and excitement. From short stories to scripts, there’s so many things for us to experiment with. In a world that’s been rocked by restrictions in the last couple of years, the freedom given to us by creative writing, feels more valuable than ever.
Morley, D. (2007) The Cambridge Introduction to Creative Writing. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, p.1.
Cameron, J. (2000) The Right to Write: An Invitation and Initiation into the Writing Life. London: PanMacmillan, p.4.