What is creative writing? Is there a correct definition anywhere? That is what I hoped to find when I Googled the term “creative writing” a while back. But the answers were disappointing for me as a pure beginner, and puzzling. Here’s what is written as a definition for creative writing in Wikipedia:
“Creative writing is considered to be any writing, fiction, poetry, or non-fiction, that goes outside the bounds of normal professional, journalistic, academic, and technical forms of literature. Works which fall into this category include novels, epics, short stories, and poems. Writing for the screen and stage, screenwriting and playwriting respectively, typically have their own programs of study, but fit under the creative writing category as well.
It’s clear that Wikipedia does not give a clear definition but only says that it is considered any writing which is outside the bounds. To rephrase that:
In any subject, concepts can only be understood by examples. Fiction, poetry and non-fiction are all examples of creative writing. We’ll look at them in detail in future instalments of this series. For now, let’s see what constitutes creative writing.
The Work Which You Can Recognise as Creative Writing
As said before, fiction, poetry and non-fiction are the examples of creative writing. They are examples because they are obviously creative and not necessarily true (with the exception of non-fiction). Fiction is written to entertain and educate. We love reading stories. Although there are some true stories, most stories are nothing but fiction. Then there is poetry, of which there are many forms. Poetry books, sonnets, haikus, pantoums, etc.
The above examples are obviously creative writing. But now we come to more subjective material. Ever heard of an autobiography or a biography? I’m sure you have. Then there is its distant cousin the memoir. Famous people make millions by publishing memoirs, and some of them are popular reading material. Famous personalities also write autobiographies or pay someone to write their biography. This is also constituted under creative writing.
The fact is that these types of writing are not written to entertain (and personally I’m bored to sleep by them) but to educate (in some cases) and to inform (in most cases). In bookstores, biographies and autobiographies are sold along with stories. If I may be honest, I have never seen people buy them. Then again, this may be because I’m too busy checking out the latest novels.
And so that is what constitutes creative writing in a nutshell. Now let’s look at the work which you can recognise as not creative writing, and to use its technical term, technical writing.
The Work Which You Can Recognise as Other Professional Forms of Writing
Most of the writing written in the world falls under this category, technical writing. Advertisements. Web copy. Copywriting. Product descriptions. Textbooks. Reference material such as encyclopaedias. Letters (such as formal letters to get an interview etc).
Words which appear everywhere, on your TV screen, on the computer and on the paper. All technical writing. Technical writing is in some ways easier to write than creative writing. But it too is governed by rules, and has its own do’s and don’ts.
A further comparison of creative writing and technical writing will be made in a future post.
Writers which compose the material of books are called authors regardless of the content and style of the material. This is one area where creative writing and technical writing share a similarity.
It goes without saying that technical writing is not written to entertain therefore I find it rather boring to read and so do other people. Surely you’ve read the Terms & Conditions of some website. How boring it is to read. Though you see words that make sense, you are not moved by them. Whereas in creative writing… if it’s really good… you can’t put it down.
Creative Writing Means What You Believe It Means
Is creative writing an art or a craft? Of course, the debate will never finish. But I do believe that it is both. Therefore it is something special of an art and a craft. Forget about definitions. Use your own creativity and find your very own meaning of creative writing. Somebody said that writers have a gift. Especially creative writers. Creative writers have the power to entertain someone, to make someone laugh, to make someone cry. To make someone think.
And so we see that creative writing does not deserve a clear definition, but attention and a special meaning. I love creative writing. I love reading it and I love writing it. Are you like me? If you are, then what are you waiting for? Open that word processor, and start typing. You never know, you might find a hidden masterpiece.
To read more about creative writing, go to Creative Writing 101, or get free updates to Writers’ Treasure today.
I really found this site helpful to me during my studies today in my online class. It was a great help with ideas and guidance.Thanks.
I want to join your class
Danyal Zia says
Thanks for the nice introduction to creative writing! I always thought that autobiography is a form of creative writing. Blogging too is a form of creative writing because it is undisciplined and inspiration-driven.
Idrees Patel says
Of course autobiography is also a form of creative writing. And as for blogging… it depends.
Arę You a writer blogger or autobiographer
G2 Enterprises says
Sentence : (wrong)
Of course autobiography is also a form of creative writing. ( dont start a sentence with a conjunction especially AND) And as for blogging… it depends.
Of course ( include— an ) an autobiography is also a form of creative writing. As for Blogging, it varies. ( you do not start a sentence with a conjunction cardinal rule my fine english speaking friend )
If you are going to teach me English please take time to understand it yourself . Thank you
This piece was very helpful thanks.
I am a beginner and I want to learn creative writing, can anyone please guide me in this regard. Can you please let me know about any good online course for creative writing?
I know that groupon us a course for $39 that helps you to write an actual novel upon completion.
You cant learn creative writing. It comes from your heart, your soul, at least that’s what I think it is.
I am not a very good creative writer but I dont think any kind of course will help you. Creative writing is within you and the only way to improve it is to write. Just get a book and start writing.
If you really want help you can contact me about it, I do write books, unpublished yet but on wattpad, and even though you can’t really teach someone, I can give you tips and guidance. Contact me at email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, or on instagram at halo.universe.
deep shah says
forget about a course and give birth to a creative writer. one day, he will become a great writer. carry on.
Hello. Love your blogging. I just have one question: what should the structure of creative writing be like?
Anil Ahire says
As the blogger has mentioned that anything written or any literary genre as the product of creative mind is creative writing.
There is no specific structure for writing. But especially for writing literary genres the writer should learn it’s features , techniques, acquire command over the language .
Hi Idrees I am a mom I love the explanation of creative writing the reason that I am writing u I need some advice I have a 9yr old son he don’t like writing nor reading but it’s a requirement for school he prefers to watch TV sometimes I feel he has no sense of imagination but I have try classes and everything not one on one but regularly classes can u give me some tips to get him more interested in doing creative writing it very important to me I am not on twitter but facebook Kavita chotilal
Idrees Patel says
It’s important to consider that a 9-year-old still is very young and has a lot of time left to develop creative writing skills. When I was 9-years old, I too had no interest whatsoever in creative writing, and I did not even read books. You have to encourage him step by step, gradually, to read first and then learn the creative writing skills. Adventure and mystery stories are generally preferred by that age group. You can try reading aloud if he doesn’t want to read by himself. Also, don’t forget to be patient – a mindset doesn’t change quickly.
protagonist tim says
Great stuff man… Very informative. Keep up the great work
Such a simple and clear article to understand what Creative Writing is. ThankYou Sir!
So educative keep on . I enjoyed the teaching on creative writing
Thanks a lot
Patricia Carmel says
“Terms & Conditions of some website…” are not written by technical writers. They are written by lawyers. And as a very experienced technical writer, I take exception to your claim that, “Technical writing is in some ways easier to write than creative writing.” Both types of writing are subject to specific skills. Technical writers provide a service for users who would be unable to operate their hardware or sofware application without guidance from a user manual. As most technical manuals deal with hi-tech products, the technical writer is required to have a full grasp of the technology and to be able to explain and instruct users in the use of the product in language that complies with the user’s level of understanding. I also have experience in creative writing, which is the antithesis of technical writing in terms of using rich, vivid language to excite and capture the reader. Please don’t be dismissive of technical writing. It is not something a writer with experience in different authoring fields, would be able to do without training.
Raffy Ali K Usman says
thanks a lot
Charlene cabatuan says
We should enhance creative writing and reading books to develops our public speaking
Claire Niña Dizon says
This website is very helpful for me, durimg my online classes. And I want to learn more about creative writing.