How often do you hear (or read) people say things like this:
“I enjoy writing my blog, but I worry that it takes time away from my creative writing.”
“I write non-fiction, I’m no good at creative writing.”
“I love creative writing. Writing articles or non-fiction pieces doesn’t appeal to me.”
People say things like that all the time right? And I’m afraid I don’t get it. I accept that the term ‘creative writing’ tends to mean fiction, but that doesn’t mean that non-fiction writing isn’t creative too. When you write your blog posts, or if you write articles for magazines or newsletters, are you just spouting out dry facts parrot-fashion? No, of course not. You are being creative because you are having to use your imagination as to how you present the information, what words you use, how you synthesise the facts, which of your own ideas and opinions you will include. You evoke feelings by giving it a humorous or a sad slant. Do you really not consider any of that to be creative?
While writing this piece, I looked up some definitions of ‘creative’ to see if the definitions supported what I’m saying. The first couple of definitions I found do an adequate job:
‘Relating to or involving the imagination or original ideas’.
‘Anything which you have thought up, or thought of in a different way to others’.
And then I came across something which had been written by Tanner Christensen on a site called ‘Creative Something‘, which I think says it all:
’Being creative means solving a problem in a new way. It means changing your perspective. Being creative means taking risks and ignoring doubt and facing fears. It means breaking with routine and doing something different for the sake of doing something different. It means mapping out a thousand different routes to reach one destination. It means challenging yourself every day. Being creative means searching for inspiration in even the most mundane places. It means you’re asking stupid questions. It means creating without critiquing. Being creative means you know how to find the similarities and differences between two completely random ideas. Being creative means you’re thinking.’
But does it really matter whether we classify non-fiction writing as creative or not? I say it does matter. I say it matters because those writers who feel they are neglecting their creative side if they spend time on their blogs, or on other non-fiction writing, may feel better about themselves if they realise that they are still feeding their creativity. And those non-fiction writers who say that they don’t have it in them to do creative writing might realise that they have been writing creatively all this time.
Of course that’s just my opinion. What do you think?