The term creative writing is bounded around with the presumption that everyday people, and us writers for that matter, know what it is. However, it isn’t simply about writing something interesting or “outside the box”.
The term creative writing is used broadly, but actually refers to the expression of feelings and emotions, often in a metaphorical and highly descriptive way. And therefore, arguably, creative writing is perhaps the most difficult of writing disciplines. I would even say more difficult that technical writing, for which, although you must be well-versed in a particular subject matter, you don’t need to get in touch with your “inner-self” to do well.
Creative writing requires the writer to dig deep into the imagination, often connecting with fictional characters in an alternative reality. Think of the marvelous creativity within JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series, and the way in which she builds an alternative world, and indeed a world for each character to live within that world. Creative writing comes from somewhere deep inside, from a part of the mind and soul we all have the ability to access, but seldom are capable of penetrating.
And therefore it isn’t just solid writing skills you require to be a great creative writer, but also the ability to use your life experiences, feelings, emotions, thoughts, opinions, imagination, inner-person and spirituality to create vivid visuals and captivating stories for the reader. It isn’t an easy feat, to say the least. So, if you want to embark on the journey of creative writing, it is highly recommended that you don’t dive straight in and try to write a novel. Instead, start with short story writing or poetry. Practice using metaphors and putting your feelings down on paper. Practice writing descriptions of other people and life’s events. Play with adjectives and let your imagination run riot on the page.
One key aspect to creative writing is to let your creativity lead you. Don’t force it when it isn’t present. It is quite likely that you will feel creative late at night, so keep a pen and paper handy on your bedside table. Alternatively, you may feel compelled to write as soon as you wake from deep dreams, in order to capture your sleep-land imagination on the page. Whenever you get the urge you must start penning that stream of creativity.
It may be the case that you are a great storyteller already, but remember, not all great storytellers are great writers, and combining the two is a task that takes time and patience to master.