Five reasons to study creative writing
Interested in writing stories, poems, songs or scripts? Explore the benefits of studying creative writing in this article.
Creative writing takes a lot of hard work, but there are few things that stretch your imagination and storytelling abilities as well. It isn’t always given the respect it deserves as a topic of study, but you’ll learn a set of valuable and transferable skills if you take a creative writing course.
According to Whatuni, there are 97 universities in the UK that offer a total of 413 creative writing courses. This means that the opportunity to embark on a creative writing course is more accessible than ever before.
But why might someone pursue creative writing as a career? In this article, we explore what creative writing is, the benefits of studying it, and some online creative writing courses that can inspire you and help you reach your goals.
What is creative writing?
Creative writing goes beyond academic and technical forms of writing and encourages you to use your imagination to creatively express yourself through writing – adding plenty of flair and panache.
It’s often overlooked and seen as a less academic alternative to an English degree. However, this is a bit of a myth, as a course in creative writing has several key differences and offers students plenty of benefits in its own right.
Creative writing brings together a variety of different writing styles and genres, mainly focusing on contemporary works. This can include:
With creative writing, pre-existing structures and genres tend to be ignored, and instead, there is a strong focus on the more creative aspects of the written word.
Why study creative writing?
So, why pursue creative writing? If you fancy yourself as the next best-selling author or think you have what it takes to rival poetic greats like Sylvia Plath, then creative writing could hold the key to your literary success.
Here are five reasons why you should develop your creative writing skills and let your imagination run wild.
1. Develops your storytelling
People care about stories, so knowing how to tell them in an engaging way is a valuable skill. When you study creative writing, you learn how to create written work that is persuasive, informative, and captivating – encouraging readers to see the world in a different light.
Through creative writing, you’ll let your imagination flourish and tap into creative aspects of your personality. If you like to express your emotions through well-constructed arguments and stories, then studying creative writing will tick all of the right boxes.
2. Improves self-expression
Improving your writing skills will help you to become a better communicator and express yourself freely, whether that’s in front of an audience or on a more personal level. Writing a song or story can be an incredibly cathartic experience, helping you to manage your feelings and thoughts in a positive way.
In fact, studies show that writing about emotional experiences can lead to significant physical and mental health improvements.
3. Transferable skills
No matter which industry you work in, there is always a high demand for quality writers. While you might not always utilise the full suite of creative skills you have learnt, the ability to accurately convey information in an engaging way will always make you desirable.
It’s not all about the writing skills you’ll develop either. While studying creative writing, you’ll also learn valuable skills such as:
- Planning and research
- Time management
- Emotional intelligence
- Working independently
4. Gain insights from published authors
A big perk that’s associated with studying creative writing is getting to work alongside and hear from published authors. Whether you study a creative writing degree or learn more by enrolling on one of our courses, the advice and guidance you receive will help you to set your own goals and see first-hand that becoming a successful writer is possible.
Being able to learn from a professional writer is quite rare, so this is a valuable opportunity to pick their brains and use their success to inspire your own career. This may also help you build a good network within the profession, which could become invaluable once you start looking for jobs or promoting your work.
You can also attend creative writing networking events and guest speaker presentations for more author interactions.
5. Enhances your career opportunities
As we have already mentioned, there will always be a need for excellent writers across all industries. Whether the role involves effective communication, written, or marketing skills, the knowledge you gained as part of your creative writing course will prove invaluable. We’ve listed some of the most relevant career fields you could go into below:
- TV and Film
- Social media
Excellent writing skills will not only help with the day job and being able to communicate with your colleagues, but it could also be the difference when it comes to landing your next promotion. Creative writing skills will undoubtedly help you stand out against your competition and present yourself in the best possible manner.
What techniques will you learn on a creative writing course?
When you study creative writing, you’ll be encouraged to tap into a range of techniques that will help your written work stand out. Some of these are specific to creative writing courses and won’t necessarily be taught in other English-based courses. Creative writing techniques include:
- Character development. Creating realistic, fictional characters full of personality and depth. This skill will help you populate stories and is a great tool for building a connection with the reader.
- Plot development. Producing stories that are enjoyable to read and grip the reader through tension. You’ll learn how to develop and unfold a story, incorporating key elements like action, surprise, intrigue and drama.
- Dialogue. Creating believable interactions between different characters. Good dialogue helps to define a character’s personality and create a visual image for the reader.
- Point of view. Writing from a particular point of view indicates who is telling the story and how key information is filtered to the reader.
- Literary devices. Understanding how to use metaphors, similes, juxtaposition, symbolism, and so much more to make your writing as descriptive and engaging as possible.
While the techniques listed above focus on the storytelling aspect of a creative writing course, these skills are transferable and can be used to enhance your writing ability more generally, as well as your creative skills.
Creative writing is all about digging deep into your imagination and using your creativity to bring flair and excitement to your written work.
Find an online creative writing course
Now you know more about creative writing and its benefits, the next step is to further your learning. Here are a few quick tips on how you can kick-start your creative writing journey:
- Read as much as you can
- Start a diary and write every day
- Write a range of short stories, poems, and articles
- Practice using different literary devices
- Embark on a creative writing course.
If you’re still wondering why you should study creative writing, we have a range of different online courses that can get your creative juices flowing. With the help of FutureLearn, you can expand your current skill set and reach new milestones in the world of writing.
- Start Writing Fiction by The Open University
- Playing with Poetry: Creative Writing and Poetics by the University of Newcastle, Australia
- Copywriting Fundamentals by the Chartered Institute of Marketing
- Feature Writing by the University of Kent
- An Introduction to Screenwriting by the University of East Anglia
- What Is Poetry? An Introduction to Literary Analysis by the University of Newcastle Australia
- Poetry: How to Read a Poem by the University of York
- How to Write Your First Song by the University of Sheffield.