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Psychological Benefits of Creative Writing
In an age of digitisation and technology, creative writing has emerged as the next hot topic. From bloggers to marketers, it has become an enjoyable career for many. Creative writing is on its way to becoming one of the highest-paying occupations, with an annual growth rate of 16%. Today, experts have demonstrated that what we consider as the highest-paying industry serves as a therapeutic aid for most individuals. It offers far more psychological benefits than anyone could have envisioned. Creative writing is said to be helpful in decision-making and stress relieving, improving mental health. In summary, creative writing can help with the following psychological factors: - Gaining mental clarity - Increasing self-esteem - Improving attention span - Expressing feelings - Enhancing and boosting creativity - Strengthening memory - Fulfilling your career ambitions Cognitive advantages of creative writing are numerous. Writing is an art that encourages you to engage your brain in a unique - yet familiar - way; looking at things from a fresh perspective and choosing your words carefully. Interested in pursuing a career in creative writing? Keep reading to delve deeper into some more psychological benefits of such an enticing career path. Find out how BA (Hons) Creative Writing at the University of Bolton can help you fulfil your career ambitions.
1. CREATIVE WRITING HELPS YOU TO GAIN MENTAL CLARITY:
According to prominent research, individuals currently have attention spans of about 8 seconds . This indicates that you should have stopped reading this post by now; many individuals nowadays have shorter attention spans than they had in the past. So, how may creative writing assist with this? When you write, you force your brain to focus on a single activity. However, you are not doing simply one thing. Many individuals are unaware that writing necessitates multitasking. You must compose, think, and read simultaneously. This focuses your attention. When one phrase is finished, another comes to mind and wants to be penned. Ultimately, the more you write, the more focused you will become.
Creative writing can also assist us in expressing our emotions; allowing us to deal with tough situations in a healthy manner. Writing can be a self-care method for many; helping to unwind and de-stress. Some may also use creative writing as a way of connecting with others. Sharing tales and perspectives while also learning from, and supporting one another. Writing about difficult situations can help us release our feelings in a healthy way. In a study conducted by psychologist James Pennebaker, researchers encouraged individuals to write about their darkest emotions and thoughts regarding a terrible incident. The findings revealed that individuals who wrote about their encounters had considerably fewer physical problems, such as migraines and gastrointestinal issues than those who did not write at all.
6. CREATIVE WRITING STRENGTHENS OUR MEMORY:
Memory loss is something that is vastly feared by older adults. Improved memory is one of the psychological benefits of creative writing . It can help contextualise ideas and make them more manageable in our brains. The written word can be more trustworthy than our own thinking. Even a small note on a piece of paper might spark our recollection of an unfinished task. When we compose a story, we are creating a mental series of events that are linked together. There is proof that handwriting, in special, can build unique brain connections. The thickness of the paper, the heaviness of the pen, and even the scent of the ink may all help us remember things better. This is because sensory input plays a significant part in memory formation. CREATIVE WRITING CAN BE A FULFILLING CAREER; NOT JUST A HOBBY
A creative writing career can be both personally and professionally rewarding. On a personal level, it can provide an outlet for your creativity and allow you to express yourself in a unique way. On a professional level, a career in creative writing can be both challenging and rewarding. You'll have the opportunity to use your talents to create content that will engage and entertain readers. You'll also gain valuable experience that will help you progress in your career. Here are a few of the career paths you can pursue with a creative writing degree: - Blogger: A blogger does not just need a camera and a great day out. Your creative writing classes can act as a catalyst for your blog post. With this, you can better communicate your thoughts and ideas to your audience, and they will resonate with you. - Content Writer: The content writing industry has taken the world by storm, especially after the pandemic. In this digital world, the demand for people with excellent writing skills is increasing daily. - Magazine Contributor: If you have grown up reading content from the authors in your favourite publication, here is your chance to become one of their members. With creative writing skills in your pocket, you can easily give your input to these magazines. Studying creative writing at the University of Bolton As a Bolton University student on a creative writing degree , you can learn to express your creativity through all aspects of creative writing; poetry and fiction, stories and narrative, drama, and short-form media. By studying in our supportive learning environment as a valued member of the Bolton School of the Arts, we aim to nurture you in exploring the rich, expressive potential of the English language, as well as your development of the crafts of creative writing. Our students gain the opportunity to refine and develop their skills at every stage of the writing process; from the initial concept, through planning, background research and first drafts, to editing, re-writing and self-critique. It’s this constant support our students receive while studying in our multi-million-pound invested facilities that is why our creative writing degree has been voted first in the UK for Student Experience*. If the prospect of a career spent informing, exciting, and inspiring others through your creative writing sparks your interest then there’s no better place to get started than a creative writing degree at the University of Bolton. Taught by a dedicated team of professional writers, we’ll help you to develop your creative writing abilities in a friendly, inclusive environment where our student’s needs come first. Want to see what #UniAsItShouldBe is about with your own eyes? Book one of our upcoming Open Days ! Speak to our creative and passionate lecturer team who are proud to help our students achieve their goals, and find out what our students love most about life at Bolton. Need more information? Email us at [email protected] or call us on 01204 903807 to find out! *The Times and Sunday Times – 2022 - UK
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Creative Writing: What It Is and Why It Matters
By: Author Paul Jenkins
Posted on Published: January 13, 2023 - Last updated: January 15, 2023
Writing can be intimidating for many people, but creative writing doesn’t have to be. Creative writing is a form of self-expression that allows writers to create stories, characters, and unique settings. But what exactly is creative writing? And why is it important in today’s society? Let’s explore this further.
How We Define Creative Writing
Creative writing is any form where writers can express their thoughts and feelings imaginatively. This type of writing allows authors to draw on their imagination when creating stories and characters and play with language and structure. While there are no boundaries in creative writing, most pieces will contain dialogue, description, and narrative elements.
The Importance of Creative Writing
Creative writing is important because:
- It helps us express ourselves in ways we may not be able to do with other forms of communication.
- It allows us to explore our creativity and think outside the box.
- It can help us better understand our emotions by exploring them through storytelling or poetry.
- Writing creatively can also provide much-needed escapism from everyday life, allowing us to escape into a world of our creation.
- Creative writing helps us connect with others by sharing our experiences through stories or poems they can relate to. This way, we can gain insight into other people’s lives while giving them insight into ours.
Creative Writing: A Path to Mental and Emotional Wellness
Writing is more than just a way to express your thoughts on paper. It’s a powerful tool that can be used as a form of therapy. Creative writing has been shown to improve emotional and mental well-being.
Through creative writing, we can gain insight into our emotions, develop self-expression and communication skills, cultivate empathy and understanding of others, and boost our imagination and creativity.
Let’s examine how creative writing can relieve stress and emotional catharsis.
Stress Relief and Emotional Catharsis
Writing has the power to reduce stress levels significantly. Writing about our experiences or about things that are causing us anxiety or distress helps us to release those complicated feelings constructively. By expressing ourselves through creative writing, we can work through the emotions associated with stressful situations without having to confront them directly.
This is especially helpful for people who struggle to share their emotions verbally or in person.
Improved Communication and Self-Expression
Creative writing is also beneficial for improving communication skills. Through creative writing, we can explore our thoughts and feelings more intensely than by speaking them aloud. This allows us to think more clearly about what we want to say before actually saying it out loud or in written form, which leads to improved self-expression overall.
Additionally, writing out our thoughts before speaking aloud allows us to articulate ourselves better when communicating with others—which is essential for healthy personal and professional relationships.
Increased Empathy and Understanding of Others
Through creative writing, we can also increase our empathy towards others by exploring different perspectives on various topics that may be unfamiliar or uncomfortable for us—such as racism, homophobia, sexism, etc.—and allowing ourselves the opportunity to see the situation from someone else’s point of view without judgment or bias. This helps us become better communicators and more understanding individuals overall.
The Professional Benefits of Creative Writing
Creative writing is a powerful tool that can help you communicate better and more effectively in the professional world. It can also help you develop various skills that prove invaluable in many industries. Whether you’re looking to build your résumé or improve your communication, creative writing can effectively achieve both.
Let’s take a closer look at how creative writing can benefit your career.
Preparing Students for Careers in Writing, Editing, and Publishing
Creative writing is the perfect foundation for anyone interested in pursuing a career in writing, editing, or publishing. It teaches students the basics of grammar and composition while allowing them to express their ideas in imaginative ways.
Creative writing classes also allow students to learn from professionals who have experience as editors, agents, and publishers. They can use this knowledge to learn creative writing, refine their craft and gain valuable experience before entering the job market.
Improving Skills in Storytelling and Marketing for Various Careers
Creative writing teaches students to think critically about stories and craft compelling narratives that draw readers in. This skill is precious for those who wish to pursue careers outside traditional writing roles—such as marketing or advertising—where storytelling is key.
People who understand the fundamentals of creative writing will be able to create persuasive copy that resonates with readers and effectively conveys a message.
Enhancing Team Collaboration and Leadership Skills
Creative writing isn’t just about expressing yourself through words; it also provides an opportunity to practice working collaboratively with others on projects. Many creative writing classes require students to work together on group projects, which helps them develop essential teamwork skills such as communication, critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity.
As they work together on these projects, they will also gain confidence in their ability to lead teams effectively—an invaluable asset no matter what industry they pursue after graduation.
Uncovering the Power of Creative Writing
Creative writing has become an increasingly powerful force in shaping our society. Creative writing has many uses, from preserving cultural heritage to promoting social change.
Preserving Cultural Heritage with Creative Writing
Creative writing has long been used to preserve and share cultural heritage stories. This is done through fictional stories or poetry that explore a particular culture or group’s history, values, and beliefs. By weaving these stories in an engaging way, writers can bring a culture’s history and traditions to life for readers worldwide. This helps bridge cultural gaps by providing insight into what makes each culture unique.
Promoting Social Change & Activism with Creative Writing
Creative writing can also be used for activism and social change. Writers can craft stories that help promote awareness about important issues such as poverty, race relations, gender equality, climate change, and more.
With the power of words, writers can inspire readers to take action on these issues and work towards creating positive change in their communities.
Through creative writing, writers can raise awareness about important topics while fostering empathy toward individuals who may be facing difficult or challenging situations.
Fostering Creativity & Innovation with Creative Writing
Finally, creative writing can foster creativity and innovation in various fields. For example, businesses can use creative copywriting techniques to create compelling content that captures the attention of customers or potential investors.
Aspiring entrepreneurs can use storytelling techniques when pitching their ideas or products to potential partners or investors to make their cases more persuasive and memorable.
By harnessing the power of words through creative writing techniques, businesses can create content that resonates with their target audience while inspiring them to take action on whatever message they’re trying to convey. It often aids the overall creative process.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the benefits of creative writing.
Creative writing has many benefits, both for the writer and the reader. For the writer, it can be therapeutic, helping them to explore their emotions and better understand themselves. It can also be used as entertainment or communication, allowing them to share their ideas with the world. For the reader, creative writing can provide enjoyment, escapism, and insights into the human condition.
How can I improve my creative writing skills?
There are several ways you can improve your creative writing skills. Firstly, make sure you allow yourself time to write regularly. Use a writing prompt to inspire a short story. Secondly, read as much as you can; great writers are also great readers. Thirdly, experiment with different styles and genres to find one that suits you best. Fourthly, join a writers’ group, writing workshop, or creative writing program to get feedback from other writers. Finally, keep a journal to track your progress and reflect on your work as a creative writer.
What is the importance of imagery in creative writing?
Imagery is an important element of creative writing, as it helps to create a more vivid picture for the reader. By using sensory and descriptive language, writers can transport readers into their stories and help them relate to their characters or themes. Imagery can bring a scene alive with detail and evoke emotion by helping readers create strong visual images in their minds. Furthermore, imagery can help make stories more memorable by giving readers a deeper connection with the characters or setting.
What are the elements of creative writing?
The elements of creative writing include plot, character, dialogue, setting, theme, and point of view. The plot is the structure or main storyline, while the character is the personage involved in this story. Dialogue includes conversations between characters to give insight into their emotions and relationships. Setting refers to the place or time in which a story takes place, while theme explores deeper meanings behind a story’s narrative. Finally, point of view defines how readers experience a story through first-person or third-person omniscient narration.
What’s the difference between creative writing and other types of writing?
The main difference between creative writing and other types of writing is that it allows the writer to create their own story, characters, settings, and themes. Creative writing also encourages writers to be inventive with their style and use descriptive language to evoke emotion or bring stories alive in readers’ minds. Other academic or technical writing types typically involve more research-based information and are usually more objective in their presentation. Additionally, most forms of non-creative writing will have stricter rules regarding grammar, structure, and syntax.
What is the golden rule of creative writing?
The golden rule of creative writing is to show, not tell. It’s the core creative writing skill. When it comes to creative writing, it’s essential to use descriptive language that immerses readers in the story and allows them to experience the events through their emotions and imaginations. This can be done through metaphors, similes, sensory language, and vivid imagery.
How important is creativity in writing?
Creativity is essential in writing as it allows writers to craft a unique story and evoke emotion from the reader. Creativity can bring stories alive with fresh perspectives and exciting plot lines while creating an escape for readers and giving them more profound insights into the human condition. Writers who combine creativity with technical aspects such as grammar, structure, language usage, and flow will create pieces that capture their audience’s attention and provide an enjoyable reading experience.
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Why learn creative writing? Truthfully, creative writing is one of the most misunderstood disciplines in the 21st century. When people think of a creative writing course, they often imagine a group of lofty, out-of-touch people who wear argyle sweater vests and have unproductive conversations about abstract concepts.
In reality, nothing could be further from the truth: the best writing classes remain engaged with the real world, and the skills gained in a creative writing course apply to nearly every facet of daily life.
If you’re wondering whether it’s worth picking up a course in fiction, nonfiction, or poetry, we have five reasons to learn creative writing. But first, let’s talk about what actually happens in a creative writing course.
The Basics of a Writing Workshop
Whether you’re enrolled in a poetry, fiction, or nonfiction writing class, you can expect the following writing process – at least in a quality writing course like the ones at Writers.com.
- Weekly prompts and writing exercises to sharpen the precision and necessity of each word you use.
- Constructive critiques from a community of writers who are each growing their writing skills alongside you.
- A creative space to explore new ideas, experiment with language, and arrange words in new and exciting ways.
- Focused writing instruction from a master of the craft.
The benefits of creative writing come from engaging with the course material, the writing prompts, and the other class members. These elements help you become a better writer, both in creative realms and in everyday life. How? No matter what form of writing, a creative writing class pushes you to connect ideas and create effective narratives using the best words – and that skill translates into real world success.
Check Out Our Online Writing Courses!
Show and Tell: How to Write Captivating Memoir and Nonfiction
with Brad Wetzler
December 5th, 2023
Your true story of healing or transformation can captivate and empower your readers. Learn how to balance showing the vivid details of your own journey with telling the broader themes for readers to apply in their own lives.
(Free Panel) Nurturing the Teen Writer
December 6th, 2023
If you’re a parent, teacher, or have a teen in your life with a penchant for creative writing, join author and Writers.com instructor Cara Stevens, published novelist and high school English teacher Rachele Alpine, and writer Alexa Stevens for a discussion on kindling the creative spark in teenagers. The panelists will share practical insights and…
Call of the Weird: Poetry and Nature
with Caitlin Scarano
Turn your poetic lens towards the outdoors in this six week workshop, where we'll put to verse everything strange and wonderful about the natural world.
Write into Mystery: Writing Flash Memoir on Wonder and the Unexplained
with Joanna Penn Cooper
We often encounter wonder, mystery, and the unexplained in our everyday lives. Turn those experiences into flash essays in this community-centered course.
Simple Winter Sanity-Saving Writing Circles
with Susan Vespoli
Write your way to the finish line of 2023: let go of and say goodbye to a momentous year, honor the changes in yourself and the world, and set your intentions for a new chapter.
The Benefits of Creative Writing
1. why learn creative writing: improved self-expression.
Improving your writing skills leads to stronger communication. When you practice finding the right word in a story or poem, you engage the same parts of your brain that are active in everyday writing and speaking. A creative writing course subconsciously turns you into a more effective communicator.
The importance of precise language and self-advocacy translates well into both interpersonal relationships and working environments. Take it from this expert on how writing and self-advocacy results in career and leadership success.
2. Why Learn Creative Writing: Job Success
This brings us to our next point: great writing leads to job success. Of course, your boss probably isn’t expecting you to write emails in the form of a short story or a sonnet – though if they are expecting this, you have a pretty cool boss.
In reality, almost every job requires some sort of written work, whether that’s simple written communication or something more elaborate, like publishing data or marketing materials. In a creative writing class, you practice the style and grammar rules necessary for effective writing, both within the realms of literature and in career-related writing. Sharpening your writing and creativity skills might just land you your next promotion.
3. Why Learn Creative Writing: Improved Thinking Skills
Strong writing leads to strong thinking. No matter what type of writing you pursue, learning how to write is another form of learning how to think.
That might seem like a bold claim, so think about it this way. Without language, our thoughts wouldn’t have form. We might not need language to think “I’m hungry” or “I like cats,” but when it comes to more abstract concepts, language is key. How would you think about things like justice, revenge, or equality without the words to express them?
When you hone in on your ability to find choice, specific words, and when you work on the skills of effective storytelling and rhetoric , you improve your ability to think in general. Good writing yields great thinking!
4. Why Learn Creative Writing: Empathy
Reading and writing both rely on empathy, especially when it comes to being an effective workshop participant. When we read and write stories, we situate ourselves in the shoes of other people; when we read and write poetry, we let language navigate us through emotion.
The importance of creative writing relies on empathy. We practice empathy whenever we listen to another person’s life story, when someone tells us about their day, and when we sit down with a client or work partner. When we write, we practice the ability to listen as well as to speak, making us more effective communicators and more compassionate human beings.
5. Why Learn Creative Writing: It’s Fun!
In case you’re not convinced that a writing course is right for you, let’s clarify one more fact: creative writing is fun. Whether you’re in a fiction writing course, starting a memoir, crafting a poem, or writing for the silver screen, you’re creating new worlds and characters. In the sandbox of literature, you’re in control, and when you invest yourself into the craft of writing, something beautiful emerges.
The Importance of Creative Writing
Simply put, creative writing helps us preserve our humanity. What better medium to explore the human experience?
To learn creative writing, like any art form, requires compassion, contemplation, and curiosity. Writers preserve the world as they observe it in stories and poetry, and they imagine a better world by creating it in their works.
Through the decades, literature has explored society’s profound changes. Literary eons like the Naturalist movement and the Beat poets responded to the increase in Western Industrialization. Confessional poets like Virginia Woolf helped transform poetry into a medium for emotional exploration and excavation. And, genre movements like the cyberpunk writers of science fiction helped popularize the idea of an “information economy.”
Thus, the importance of creative writing lies in its ability to describe the world through an honest and unfiltered lens. Anyone who engages in creative writing, no matter the genre or style, helps us explore the human experience, share new ideas, and advocate for a better society. Whether you write your stories for yourself or share them with a wide audience, creative writing makes the world a better place.
Jobs for Creative Writers
Because creative writing isn’t a STEM discipline, many people don’t think that learning it will help their job prospects. Why learn creative writing if it doesn’t make any money?
In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Creative writing skills are much sought after on resumes, since both creativity and the ability to write are soft skills in decline. Additionally, if you’re considering a career change—or ready to start one!—these are some popular jobs for creative writers.
- Average Starting Salary: $51,000
- Demand: High
- Skills needed: creativity, grammar, timeliness
Copywriters help companies put their branding into words. A copywriter might write emails, blogs, website content, or ad copy that encompasses the company’s voice and purpose. Copywriting requires you to write in a mix of styles and forms, flexing your writing muscles in new and exciting ways.
- Average Starting Salary: $50,000
- Skills needed: storytelling, research, argumentation
Nonprofits and research facilities rely on local and national grants to fund their projects. Grant writers help secure that funding, writing engaging grants that tell the organization’s story in an engaging, tailored, and convincing way. Creative writers will enjoy the opportunity to tell a meaningful story and create positive community change through this career.
Communications/Public Relations Specialist
- Skills needed: creativity, communications, social media
A communications specialist helps drive a company’s image through various social channels. They may help create a positive narrative for their company through blogs, journalist outreach, social media, and other public-facing avenues. Much like copywriting, a PR specialist helps weave an effective story for a company.
- Average Starting Salary: $55,000
- Demand: Medium/High
- Skills needed: creativity, storytelling, organization, self-reliance
The dream job for many writers is to write and sell books. Being a novelist is an admirable career choice—and also requires the most work. Not only do you have to write your stories, but you also have to market yourself in the literary industry and maintain a social presence so that publishers and readers actually read your work. It’s a tough business, but also incredibly rewarding!
Reasons to Learn Creative Writing: Finding a Writing Community
Finally, creative writing communities make the writing struggle worth it. The relationships you foster with other creative writers can last a lifetime, as no other group of people has the same appreciation for the written word. Creative writing communities create transformative experiences and encourage growth in your writing; if there’s one reason to study creative writing craft, it’s the friendships you make in the process.
You don’t need a class to start writing, but it’s never a waste of time to learn the tools of the trade. Creative writing requires the skills that can help you in everyday life, and a creative writing course can help.
At Writers.com, we believe that creative writing can transform both individual lives and the world at large. See the importance of creative writing for yourself: check out what makes our creative writing courses different , then take a look at our upcoming course calendar today.
Would like to apply for a course to write a novel.
I’d be happy to help! Please email [email protected] with any questions, and we’ll find the right course for your writing.
[…] Sean. “Why Learn Creative Writing.” writers.com. June 7, 2020. https://writers.com/why-learn-creative-writing . Accessed November 7, […]
[…] And last of all it’s fun! I hope to live my life doing the things I love, with like-minded creative people who I love. I have many exciting things upcoming as I continue with the process of completing my first novel, Les Année Folles, such as publishing to my first magazine, journal, and working on the millions of short story ideas I have stored in my head. Stay tuned! References: Glatch, S. (2020, June 7). WHY LEARN CREATIVE WRITING? Retrieved from Writers.com: https://writers.com/why-learn-creative-writing […]
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How creative writing can increase students’ resilience, students can find strength and community in sharing their stories through writing..
Many of my seventh-grade students do not arrive at school ready to learn. Their families often face financial hardship and live in cramped quarters, which makes it difficult to focus on homework. The responsibility for cooking and taking care of younger siblings while parents work often falls on these twelve year olds’ small shoulders. Domestic violence and abuse are also not uncommon.
To help traumatized students overcome their personal and academic challenges, one of our first jobs as teachers is to build a sense of community. We need to communicate that we care and that we welcome them into the classroom just as they are. One of the best ways I’ve found to connect with my students, while also nurturing their reading and writing skills, is through creative writing.
For the past three years, I’ve invited students in my English Language Development (ELD) classes to observe their thoughts, sit with their emotions, and offer themselves and each other compassion through writing and sharing about their struggles. Creating a safe, respectful environment in which students’ stories matter invites the disengaged, the hopeless, and the numb to open up. Students realize that nobody is perfect and nobody’s life is perfect. In this kind of classroom community, they can take the necessary risks in order to learn, and they become more resilient when they stumble.
Fostering a growth mindset
One of the ways students can boost their academic performance and develop resilience is by building a growth mindset. Carol Dweck, Stanford University professor of psychology and author of the book Mindset , explains that people with a growth mindset focus on learning from mistakes and welcoming challenges rather than thinking they’re doomed to be dumb or unskillful. A growth mindset goes hand in hand with self-compassion: recognizing that everyone struggles and treating ourselves with kindness when we trip up.
One exercise I find very useful is to have students write a story about a time when they persevered when faced with a challenge—in class, sports, or a relationship. Some of the themes students explore include finally solving math problems, learning how to defend themselves, or having difficult conversations with parents.
I primed the pump by telling my students about something I struggled with—feeling left behind in staff meetings as my colleagues clicked their way through various computer applications. I confided that PowerPoint and Google Slides—tools (one might assume) that any teacher worth a paperweight has mastered—still eluded me. By admitting my deficiency to my students, asking for their help, and choosing to see the opportunity to remedy it every day in the classroom, I aimed to level the playing field with them. They may have been reading three or four grade levels behind, but they could slap a PowerPoint presentation together in their sleep.
For students, sharing their own stories of bravery, resilience, and determination brings these qualities to the forefront of their minds and helps solidify the belief that underlies a growth mindset: I can improve and grow . We know from research in neuroplasticity that when students take baby steps to achieve a goal and take pride in their accomplishments, they change their brains, growing new neural networks and fortifying existing ones. Neurons in the brain release the feel-good chemical dopamine, which plays a major role in motivating behavior toward rewards.
After writing about a few different personal topics, students choose one they want to publish on the bulletin boards at the back of the classroom. They learn to include the juicy details of their stories (who, what, when, where, why, and how), and they get help from their peers, who ask follow-up questions to prompt them to include more information. This peer editing builds their resilience in more ways than one—they make connections with each other by learning about each other’s lives, and they feel empowered by lending a hand.
In my experience, students are motivated to do this assignment because it helps them feel that their personal stories and emotions truly matter, despite how their other academics are going. One student named Alejandro chose to reflect on basketball and the persistence and time it took him to learn:
Hoops By Alejandro Gonzalez Being good takes time. One time my sister took me to a park and I saw people playing basketball. I noticed how good they were and decided I wanted to be like them. Still I told my sister that basketball looked hard and that I thought I couldn’t do it. She said,“You could do it if you tried. You’ll get the hang of it.” My dad bought me a backboard and hoop to play with. I was really happy, but the ball wasn’t making it in. Every time I got home from school, I would go straight to the backyard to play. I did that almost every day until little by little I was getting the hang of it. I also played with my friends. Every day after lunch we would meet at the basketball court to have a game. … I learned that you need to be patient and to practice a lot to get the hang of things. With a little bit of practice, patience, and hard work, anything is possible.
Originally, Alejandro wasn’t sure why he was in school and often lacked the motivation to learn. But writing about something he was passionate about and recalling the steps that led to his success reminded him of the determination and perseverance he had demonstrated in the past, nurturing a positive view of himself. It gave him a renewed sense of investment in learning English and eventually helped him succeed in his ELD class, as well.
Maintaining a hopeful outlook
Another way to build resilience in the face of external challenges is to shore up our inner reserves of hope —and I’ve found that poetry can serve as inspiration for this.
For the writing portion of the lesson, I invite students to “get inside” poems by replicating the underlying structure and trying their hand at writing their own verses. I create poem templates, where students fill in relevant blanks with their own ideas.
One poem I like to share is “So Much Happiness” by Naomi Shihab Nye. Its lines “Even the fact that you once lived in a peaceful tree house / and now live over a quarry of noise and dust / cannot make you unhappy” remind us that, despite the unpleasant events that occur in our lives, it’s our choice whether to allow them to interfere with our happiness. The speaker, who “love[s] even the floor which needs to be swept, the soiled linens, and scratched records,” has a persistently sunny outlook.
It’s unrealistic for students who hear gunshots at night to be bubbling over with happiness the next morning. Still, the routine of the school day and the sense of community—jokes with friends, a shared bag of hot chips for breakfast, and a creative outlet—do bolster these kids. They have an unmistakable drive to keep going, a life force that may even burn brighter because they take nothing for granted—not even the breath in their bodies, life itself.
Itzayana was one of those students who, due to the adversity in her life, seemed too old for her years. She rarely smiled and started the school year with a defiant approach to me and school in general, cursing frequently in the classroom. Itzayana’s version of “So Much Happiness” hinted at some of the challenges I had suspected she had in her home life:
It is difficult to know what to do with so much happiness. Even the fact that you once heard your family laughing and now hear them yelling at each other cannot make you unhappy. Everything has a life of its own, it too could wake up filled with possibilities of tamales and horchata and love even scrubbing the floor, washing dishes, and cleaning your room. Since there is no place large enough to contain so much happiness, help people in need, help your family, and take care of yourself. —Itzayana C.
Her ending lines, “Since there is no place large enough to contain so much happiness, / help people in need, help your family, and take care of yourself,” showed her growing awareness of the need for self-care as she continued to support her family and others around her. This is a clear sign of her developing resilience.
Poetry is packed with emotion, and writing their own poems allows students to grapple with their own often-turbulent inner lives. One student commented on the process, saying, “By writing poems, I’ve learned to be calm and patient, especially when I get mad about something dumb.” Another student showed pride in having her writing published; she reflected, “I feel good because other kids can use it for calming down when they’re angry.”
To ease students into the creative process, sometimes we also write poems together as a class. We brainstorm lines to include, inviting the silly as well as the poignant and creating something that represents our community.
Besides offering my students new ways of thinking about themselves, I also invite them to take kind actions toward themselves and others.
In the music video for “Give a Little Love” by Noah and the Whale, one young African American boy—who witnesses bullying at school and neglect in his neighborhood —decides to take positive action and whitewash a wall of graffiti. Throughout the video, people witness others’ random acts of kindness, and then go on to do their own bit.
“My love is my whole being / And I’ve shared what I could,” the lyrics say—a reminder that our actions speak louder than our words and do have an incredible impact. The final refrain in the song—“Well if you are (what you love) / And you do (what you love) /...What you share with the world is what it keeps of you”—urges the students to contribute in a positive way to the classroom, the school campus, and their larger community.
After watching the video, I ask students to reflect upon what kind of community they would like to be part of and what makes them feel safe at school. They write their answers—for example, not being laughed at by their peers and being listened to—on Post-it notes. These notes are used to create classroom rules. This activity sends a message early on that we are co-creating our communal experience together. Students also write their own versions of the lyrics, reflecting on different things you can give and receive—like kindness, peace, love, and ice cream.
Reaping the benefits
To see how creative writing impacts students, I invite them to rate their resilience through a self-compassion survey at the start of the school year and again in the spring. Last year, two-thirds of students surveyed increased in self-compassion; Alejandro grew his self-compassion by 20 percent. The program seems to work at developing their reading and writing skills, as well: At the middle of the school year, 40 percent of my students moved up to the next level of ELD, compared to 20 percent the previous year.
As a teacher, my goal is to meet students where they’re at and learn about their whole lives. Through creative writing activities, we create a community of compassionate and expressive learners who bear witness to the impact of trauma in each others’ experiences and together build resilience.
As a symbol of community and strength, I had a poster in my classroom of a boat at sea with hundreds of refugees standing shoulder to shoulder looking skyward. It’s a hauntingly beautiful image of our ability to risk it all for a better life, as many of my ELD students do. Recognizing our common humanity and being able to share about our struggles not only leads to some beautiful writing, but also some brave hearts.
About the Author
Laura Bean, M.F.A. , executive director of Mindful Literacy, consults with school communities to implement mindfulness and creative writing programs. She has an M.F.A. in Creative Writing and presented a mindful writing workshop at Bridging the Hearts and Minds of Youth Conference in San Diego in 2016.
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The benefits of creative writing
As you learn to clarify your thoughts and emotions more efficiently and accurately, through creative writing, you will communicate more effectively; a skill that’s exceedingly important in all areas of life.
Practising creative writing is about a lot more than just improving your grammar, spelling and vocabulary; it will allow you to develop your own unique voice and share your perspective without limitations, expressing how you feel about the worlds inside and outside of your head. When you engage in creative writing you’re stimulating your imagination and thinking outside the box, which teaches you how to think more innovatively and push boundaries. Both are valuable skills.
Creating a pretend universe will often mean assembling personalities, emotions, and places that might be totally alien to your own life experiences. This is an effective way to build on your capacity to feel empathy and understanding for people who may have had very different life experiences to your own. Your perspectives and philosophies can be mirrored or explored by your characters or their setting. With practise you’ll find yourself becoming more comfortable in asserting your opinions and values in real life.
Expressive writing can bring a range of mental, emotional, and physical health benefits.
If you engage with creative writing when you’re dealing with difficult emotions, it can help you explore why you’re feeling what you’re feeling, allowing a direct insight to your mindset. It’s an opportunity to work through whatever discomfort we’re experiencing so we can get back to whatever we want to achieve today; a healthy way to alleviate the negative thoughts and emotions we experience on a day-to-day basis.
Of course, creative writing exercises can also expand your vocabulary and provide a better understanding of the mechanics of the written word. You’ll learn to distinguish when grammar works and when it doesn’t. With practise, your writing will flow better for the reader.
According to clinical psychologist Karen A.Baikie and psychiatrist Kay Wilhelm, writing creatively about traumatic, stressful or emotional events has been found to improve both physical and psychological health. In a clinical trial, participants who wrote about difficult life events for 20 minutes, on a handful of occasions, had significantly better physical and psychological outcomes compared to those who wrote about neutral topics. Baikie and Wilhelm concluded that expressive writing has real potential as a therapeutic tool for survivors of trauma and in mental health treatment settings.
By Grant J Everett, Panorama magazine
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A Look Into Creative Writing | Oxford Summer Courses
Exploring the magic of creative writing with oxford summer courses.
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Defining Creative Writing
Creative writing , as taught at Oxford Summer Courses, is the process of crafting original and imaginative works of literature, poetry, prose, or scripts. It transcends conventional writing, encouraging individuals to explore language, structure, and narrative. Whether it's a heartfelt poem, a captivating short story, or a thought-provoking novel, creative writing allows us to communicate our unique perspectives and experiences with the world.
The Magic of Imagination
Creative Writing is a catalyst that sparks our creativity and empowers us to breathe life into our ideas on the page. With Oxford Summer Courses, aspiring writers aged 16-24 can embark on an extraordinary journey of creative expression and growth. Immerse yourself in the captivating realms of Oxford and Cambridge as you explore our inspiring creative writing programs. Teleport readers to distant lands, realms of fantasy and creation, introduce them to captivating characters, and craft new worlds through the transformative art of storytelling. Discover more about our creative writing course here . Unleash your imagination and unlock the writer within.
What Are the Different Types of Creative Writing?
Creative Writing comes in many forms, encompassing a range of genres and styles. There are lots of different types of Creative Writing, which can be categorised as fiction or non-fiction. Some of the most popular being:
- Fiction: novels, novellas, short stories, etc.
- Poetry and Spoken word
- Personal essays
At Oxford Summer Courses, students have the opportunity to delve into these various types of Creative Writing during the Summer School.
The Benefits of Creative Writing with Oxford Summer Courses
Engaging in Creative Writing with Oxford Summer Courses offers numerous benefits beyond self-expression. By joining our dedicated Creative Writing summer school programme, you would:
- Foster self-discovery and gain a deeper understanding of your thoughts, emotions, and personal experiences.
- Improve your communication skills, honing your ability to express yourself effectively and engage readers through refined language and storytelling abilities.
- Enhance empathy by exploring diverse perspectives and stepping into the shoes of different characters, broadening your understanding of the world around you.
- Gain new skills for further education or work, expanding your repertoire of writing techniques and abilities to enhance your academic or professional pursuits.
- Nurture your creativity, encouraging you to think outside the box, embrace unconventional ideas, and challenge the status quo, fostering a life-long mindset of innovation and originality.
Embracing the Journey
To embark on a journey of creative writing, embrace curiosity, take risks, and surrender to the flow of imagination. Write regularly, read widely, embrace feedback from tutors and peers at Oxford Summer Courses. Begin to experiment with styles and genres, and stay persistent in your course of action. The path of creative writing requires dedication, practice, and an open mind. Join us as we provide tips to help you start your creative writing journey and unleash your full creative potential under the guidance of industry professionals.
Creative Writing is a remarkable voyage that invites us to unleash our imagination, share our stories, and inspire others. It offers countless personal and professional benefits, nurturing self-expression, empathy, and creativity. So, grab a pen, open your mind, and embark on this enchanting journey of creative writing with Oxford Summer Courses. Let your words paint a vivid tapestry that captivates hearts and minds under the guidance of experienced tutors from Oxford and Cambridge. Join us as we explore the magic of creative writing and discover the transformative power it holds within through the renowned Oxford Summer Courses summer school.
Ready to study Creative Writing? Apply now to Oxford Summer Courses and join a community of motivated learners from around the world. Apply here .
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Grammar Phile Blog
7 benefits of creative writing exercises.
Posted by Phil Jamieson Jun 8, 2018 7:30:00 AM
Creative writing exercises also offer benefits to writers that are often overlooked and undervalued, especially in a world that’s shifting toward regimented standardized tests and data-driven work.
Here are seven benefits of completing creative writing exercises on a regular basis.
1. Building Confidence
When writing creatively, you’re engaging in an exercise that will allow you to truly develop your own voice and perspective without consequential limitations. You get a better opportunity to explore and express how you feel about topics, perspectives, philosophies, characters, etc. And this will allow you to feel more comfortable and confident when asserting your opinions and perspectives in other things you write, too.
Writers who don’t write creatively might worry about coming across as an authority or reliable source. By forgetting to insert their own take on the subjects that they’re writing about, they unintentionally end up losing their voice and sound like drones spouting off data. As a result, they lose out on utilizing their unique voice and coming across as an expert with real-world and firsthand experience.
2. Artistic Self-Expression
Individuals who write creatively on a regular basis engage in self-expression, without even realizing it most of the time. Such self-expression can be a healthy way to navigate through negative emotions and thoughts that a writer may experience on a day-to-day basis. Experts even agree that artistic self-expression (i.e., creative writing) “might contribute to maintenance or reconstruction of a positive identity” for individuals who deal with different kinds of trauma ( Medical News Today ).
While it may sound hokey, imagine being stressed at work and then taking a short break to write something creative. When you begin to write and unveil characters or settings, you’re able to better identify why you’re stressed or, at the very least, uncover the negative emotion that you’re experiencing. This gives you the opportunity to work through it all and move in a more positive direction. You can do this for your personal life too, whenever you experience some sort of trauma, stress, or setback.
A lot of people think that creative writing is frivolous because it’s all about imagining worlds, situations and characters. How could that possibly be beneficial to a real-life working adult who needs to get real work done?
Well, when you engage in creative writing, you’re stimulating and pushing your imagination and “thinking outside the box.” This allows you to refocus your energy on other things and to become better at discovering alternatives and new solutions to problems you’re experiencing. Whether you’re a scientist or a marketer, creative writing will give you the imagination boost you need to think more innovatively and to push boundaries.
4. Thought Clarification
Creative writing allows you to clarify your thoughts as well as your emotions. For example, if you’re a marketer trying to develop your next marketing campaign, you could write a short story in which your target customer reads your promotional emails. You can imagine what they’re doing, where they’re sitting, what’s surrounding them, etc. This allows you to narrow down the language and tactics you use.
Or, if you’re a technical writer writing about a new computer platform, you can write a creative scenario in which someone using the platform experiences a problem. This exercise allows you to clarify your thoughts about what type of information will be valuable to include for your readers and what can be omitted.
In addition, you can also complete creative writing exercises for your personal life to uncover what you think about topics or situations you find yourself immersed in.
5. Better Understanding of the Mechanics of Reading and Writing
As you begin to regularly do writing exercises, you’ll not only gain a more extensive vocabulary, you’ll also come to understand the mechanics of reading and writing better. You’ll know when strict grammar rules work and when they don’t, and you’ll know what will make something you’re writing flow better for your readers even if what you’re writing is a budget report. Once you become comfortable with and have mastered the mechanics of writing professionally and creatively, you’ll be able to bend and break the rules when you need to—to use your own voice and make what you’re writing compelling without coming across as amateur, dull, or inauthentic.
6. Empathy and Communication Skills
When writers create universes with imaginary characters and settings, they must also imagine personalities, emotions, places, and walks of life outside of their own lives. This can provide them with a healthy dose of empathy and understanding for others who are not like themselves and who don’t live where they live or experience what they experience every day.
When writers understand other perspectives better, they’re able to communicate better. They can figure out how to explain and discuss topics from various vantage points. This skill is exceedingly important in both the professional and personal realms.
7. Better Mental, Emotional, and Physical Health
One study , among others , has revealed that expressive writing (i.e., creative writing) has yielded better mental, emotional, and physical health benefits. Creative writing alleviates stress levels, and can ward off severe illnesses, among other things.
Do you like to complete creative writing exercises on a regular basis? Has it helped you when writing for your organization? If so, what benefits have you experienced? Share with us in the comments below.
Topics: writing techniques
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Looking for more in Learning or Creative writing for schools ?
Why is Creative Writing important?
Read our evidence review citing new and relevant research supporting the importance of creative writing in school
Why is creative writing important? And what is the research behind it? These are key questions when thinking about establishing creative writing in your class or school. Scottish Book Trust has pulled together this evidence review for you, citing all the relevant research to support creative writing in schools. This review will help you ensure your practice is research-informed and grounded in evidence.
The review explores evidence into the benefits of creative writing by splitting the research into four key areas:
- Raising attainment through creativity.
- Boosting confidence and imagination.
- Nurturing and supporting wellbeing.
- Improving skills.
All sources are listed at the end of the review, so you can go and read the original resources for yourself too.
Download the evidence review
- Creative writing evidence review (DOC) (this link will open in a new window) 714.2 kb
- Creative writing evidence review (PDF) (this link will open in a new window) 459.8 kb
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What Is Creative Writing? Is It Worth Studying?
As loose as the definition of Creative Writing is, it’s not always easy to understand. Sure, writing a story is Creative Writing. What about poems or personal essays?
Also, how does Creative Writing even help one succeed in university and career life? We empower our Creative Writing summer school students to grasp the power of creative writing and how to use it.
How? By giving them access to personalised tutorials with expert Creative Writing tutors from prestigious universities such as the University of Oxford and Cambridge.
Creative Writing doesn’t have to be confusing or intimidating. In this article, we’ll take you through a simple explanation of what Creative Writing is and why it’s helpful and relevant.
What is Creative Writing?
The simplest description of Creative Writing is what it’s not: it doesn’t revolve around facts like technical writing.
Technical Writing vs Creative Writing
You encounter technical writing in your daily life. You’ll find it in newspapers, journal articles, and textbooks. Do you notice how the presentation of accurate information is necessary in each of these mediums?
Because the goal of technical writing is to explain or relay information as it is .
But in creative writing, such is not the case. The primary goal of Creative Writing is not to present complex information for the sake of educating the audience.
Instead, the goal is to express yourself. Should you want to share information via Creative Writing, the objective becomes persuading your readers to think about it as you do.
Hence, if you contrast Technical Writing and Creative Writing within this context,
- Technical Writing: share information without biases
- Creative Writing: self-expression of how one feels or thinks about said information.
If reducing personal opinion in Technical Writing is virtuous, in creative writing, it is criminal .
Self-Expression in Creative Writing
One must express oneself in Creative Writing to entertain, captivate, or persuade readers. Since Creative Writing involves one’s imagination and self-expression, it’s common for Creative Writers to say that they “poured a part of themselves” into their work.
What are the different ways you can express yourself in Creative Writing?
Types of Creative Writing: 2 Major Types
The two major umbrellas of Creative Writing are Creative Nonfiction and Creative Fiction.
1. Creative Nonfiction
“Nonfiction” means writing based on actual events, persons, and experiences. Some forms of creative nonfiction include:
- Personal Essay – here, the writer shares their personal thoughts, beliefs, or experiences.
- Memoir – captures the writer’s memories and experiences of a life-changing past event.
- Narrative Nonfiction – a factual event written in a story format.
2. Creative Fiction
The bulk of Creative Writing literature is found under the Creative Fiction category, such as:
- Short Story – shorter than a novel, containing only a few scenes and characters.
- Novel – a full-blown plot line with multiple scenes, characters, and subplots.
- Poem – uses specific rhythm and style to express ideas or feelings
- Play – contains dialogue and stage directions for theatre performances.
- Screenplay – script to be used for film production (e.g. movies, video games.)
In short, Creative Fiction involves stories . Do you want more specific examples of Creative Writing? Then, you may want to read this article called “Creative Writing Examples.”
Why Is It Important to Learn Creative Writing?
It’s essential to learn Creative Writing because of the following reasons:
1. Creative Writing is a valuable skill in school and work
As a student, you know well why Creative Writing is important. You submit written work in various situations, such as writing essays for assignments and exams. Or when you have to write a Personal Statement to apply for University.
In these situations, your chances of getting higher grades depend on your ability to write creatively. (Even your chances of getting accepted into a top ranked creative writing university of your dreams!)
What about when you graduate? Do you use Creative Writing in your career? Convincing a recruiter to hire you via cover letters is an example of creative writing.
Once you’re hired, you’ll find that you need to write something up. It depends on your line of work and how often and complex your writing should be.
But mundane tasks such as writing an email response, coming up with a newsletter, or making a PowerPoint presentation involve creative writing.
So when you’ve practised your Creative Writing skills, you’ll find these tasks manageable. Even enjoyable! If you want to study creative writing at university, we put together what a-levels you need for creative writing .
2. Creative Writing enhances several essential skills.
Do you know that writing is thinking? At least that’s what the American Historian and two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize, David McCullough said.
Many people find Creative Writing challenging because it requires a combination of the following skills:
- Critical thinking and analysis
- Reasoning skills
Many of these skills make you a valuable employee in many industries. In fact, Forbes reports that:
- Critical Thinking
- and Emotional Intelligence
are three of the Top 10 most in-demand skills for the next decade. That’s why Creative Writing is a valuable endeavour and if you take it at university there are some great creative writing degree career prospects .
3. Creative Writing Is Therapeutic
Do you know that Creative Writing has a significant beneficial effect on your mental and emotional health?
A 2021 study in the Counselling & Psychotherapy Research reports that Creative Writing brought significant health benefits to nine people who worked in creative industries. Writing helped them in their cognitive processing of emotional difficulty.
Result? Improved mood and mental well-being.
A plethora of studies over the decades found the same results. Expressing yourself via creative writing, especially by writing in your daily journal, is beneficial for your mental and emotional health.
4. You may want to work in a Creative Writing-related Career
Creative employment in the UK grows 2x faster than the rest of the economy. In fact, did you know that jobs in the creative industry grew by 30.6% from 2011 to 2018?
Compare that to the average UK growth of 10.1% during the same period, and you can see the potential.
How about in the US? The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates a 4% increase in employment for authors and writers from 2021 to 2031. Resulting in about 15,200 job openings yearly over the next 10 years.
The median yearly salary? It was at $69,510 as of May 2021.
So if you’re considering a Creative Writing career, now would be a great time to do so!
How To Be A Creative Writer?
You want to be a Creative Writer but don’t know where to start. Don’t worry! The best way to start is to learn from Creative Writing experts .
That’s why we ensure our Creative Writing summer school students have access to 1:1 personalised tutorials with expert Creative Writing tutors.
Our Creative Writing tutors come from world-renowned universities such as the University of Cambridge and Oxford. So you’re in excellent hands!
Here you’ll learn creative writing tips and techniques , such as character creation and plot mapping. But the best part is, you’ll come out of the course having experienced what a Creative Writer is like!
Because by then, you’ll have a Written Portfolio to show for your efforts. Which you presented to your tutor and peers for receiving constructive feedback.
Another surefire way to start becoming a Creative Writer is by practising. Check out this article called “ Creative Writing Exercises .” You’ll begin building a writing routine if you practice these exercises daily.
And trust us, every great writer has a solid writing routine!
Creative Writing is a form of self-expression that allows you to use your imagination and creativity. It can be in the form of personal essays, short stories, or poems. It is often used as an outlet for emotions and experiences. Start with creative writing by reading through creative writing examples to help get you in the mood. Then, just let the words flow daily, and you’re on the road to becoming an excellent Creative Writer!
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