As a teacher, parent, or educator, you’ve probably heard about the importance of creative writing. But if you’ve never studied the discipline, you may be left wondering, “What is creative writing?”.
Even for people who have spent a great deal of time writing, this can still be a vague and somewhat nebulous question. You see, this genre is quite broad and far-reaching, encompassing everything from a human interest piece you might read in a magazine to an esoteric poem from an unknown author.
Further, when it comes to learning how to harness the benefits of this practice with young students, things can get even more complex. Fortunately for you and your students, we’ve created the following guide to teach you all about what creative writing really is—and how to use it in your classroom!
Read on to learn about specific types of creative writing, its numerous benefits, and some fresh ways to get students excited about trying it out.
What is Creative Writing: An Intro to the Genre
At its core, this is a form of writing that strays from traditional professional and academic norms. It usually expresses a point or idea in an imaginative, unique, or otherwise creative way, and it may break normal writing rules.
For example, creative writing may play around with factors like sentence structure, chronological storytelling, or narrative identity in an effort to tell a story or convey a message in a particular way. Some popular forms of in this genre include:
In some ways, creative writing is defined more by what it isn’t than by what it is—so what do these forms of writing have in common?
Generally speaking, creative writing is the more free-spirited cousin of traditional writing. Its boundaries are loosely-defined by intention, and it typically emphasizes factors like narrative, character development, and tone above qualities like grammar and literal truth.
That’s not to say that there are no rules to creative writing—but rather, that this form of writing as an art form believes that rules may be broken in the spirit of creating art. And above all else, it is absolutely art!
What are the Benefits of this Form of Writing?
Now that you’ve learned a bit more about what this style of writing, let’s examine its benefits and see how creative writing can help your students!
1. Creative Writing is a Powerful Tool of Self-Expression
Children are often made to feel as though their thoughts and opinions don’t matter. Whether it’s being told “you’re too young for that” by a parent or “that’s dumb” by a peer, many kids regularly hear that their experiences aren’t valued by others. Obviously, this can be hugely detrimental to a child’s self-esteem…so, how can something like creative expression fix it?
Creative writing combats this issue because it places great importance on what the child has to say. Whether they’re writing short stories, personal essays, or poems, the key focus of creative writing is always to express something.
This exercise teaches students that what they have to say is meaningful, valuable, and worthwhile—and in turn, helps them become more comfortable and confident in speaking their own truths.
2. This Type of Writing Improves Communication Skills
Of course, creative writing also has very tangible benefits for students—including the ways in which it can improve their communication skills. For starters, any writing practice is good practice when it comes to becoming a better writer. However, writing in this style is especially beneficial because the genre encompasses so many different styles and methods of writing.
As students begin writing and practicing different forms, they’ll become more adept at shaping their thoughts toward a particular audience. They’ll also learn how to construct and deliver clear patterns of thought.
Journal writing will teach them to organize their scattered thoughts into more cogent ideas, while storywriting will teach them to craft a narrative. When they write letters and speeches, they’ll discover the importance of shaping a message for a particular audience—and when they write poetry, they’ll learn to convey big ideas in fewer words.
No matter what or how they write, students will improve their communication skills through regular creative writing practice.
3. It Empowers Big Thinking
Finally, creative writing also encourages kids to think a little bigger—and shows them that anything is possible when they do. This genre is all about imagination and finding your own unique voice. It rewards honest self-expression and artistic integrity, and it grants writers the space to flesh out their wildest dreams.
Students who are new to creative writing will love how flexible and limitless this art form is. While they sometimes will undoubtedly be intimidated by the expectation of filling a blank page with their own words, they will be rewarded if they can push past the fear and let their voices out.
Ultimately, it teaches students that dreaming big is better—and it can help them develop the confidence they need to carry this attitude out into the real world and their real lives.
How Do You Get & Keep Kids Interested?
Now that we’ve established what creative writing is and why it’s so beneficial, we’ve reached the most difficult question of all: how do you get kids interested in creative writing?
This one’s a little harder. After all, as adults, we can clearly see why creative writing is so important—and the idea of a non-judgmental, totally creative way to express ourselves is quite appealing.
Kids, of course though, are often a tougher sell. So, to keep creative writing from looking like just another boring homework assignment, you’ll want to start out by showing them just how fun and full of excitement it can be!
6 Writing Ideas to Engage Interest & Spark Creativity
Here are six fun ideas to spark your students’ interest in this genre.
- Have students choose and decorate their own creative writing journals using markers, colorful paper, stickers, glitter, and more!
- Back into creative writing by organizing a fun activity for the class to do together—and then ask students to write about the experience.
- Use writing prompts to help kids who don’t know what to write about find something to say!
- Let kids partner up and share their writing with a classmate or friend.
- Write a collaborative short story or poem as a class. Make sure everyone gets a turn and see what you can all come up with together!
- Ask students to write their own version of a favorite story, television show, or movie. They can choose a new ending, explore a whole new setting, or even add themselves to the plot!
If you were wondering “What is creative writing?” before, we hope this guide has begun to answer your question.
In its essence, this form of writing can truly be anything that the writer wants it to be. While writing creatively can take on many forms, its ultimate goal is always to say something, to mean something, or to make someone feel something—and it is a powerful way for students of all ages to learn the value of their own hearts and minds.
Links & Resources
- 60 Daily Creative Prompts to write about
- More Creative Ideas and Topics
- Creative Writing 101: A Beginner’s Guide to Creative Writing
Until next time, write on…
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