The question regarding exactly what are creative writing skills comes up reasonably commonly for those who are only just getting into creative writing. It’s common to think that this covers only two things; being creative and having writing ability. But there is much more to it than that.
Creative writing skills cover a range of abilities that need to be developed to improve your writing. You need to practice your technical ability and writing skills, exercise using your imagination and have perseverance and patience when it gets hard with the confidence not to quit.
Let’s start by looking at the most obvious of these skills in more detail starting with creativity and imagination then writing skills, before looking at a few other essential skills to utilize.
Creativity and Imagination
Let’s start by tackling creativity and imagination, which are often confused but are in fact quite different. Both are important in creative writing and are used together extensively in the writing process.
Creative writing is a rather vague term but put simply, it is any kind of writing that is not purely factual based, such as journalism or technical writing, for example. In addition to the standard fiction books, creative writing includes things such as poetry, song lyrics, television or movie scripts and even fact-based storytelling such as memoirs.
Imagination is the process of creating new things out of nothing, while creativity is taking these imagined things and combining them to produce a new creative work of some kind.
Many people think they do not have creativity or imagination, but in many cases, this is because something has happened in the past to make them believe this. For example, it could be a bad grade from a teacher for a creative class assignment or poorly in a childhood creative endeavor.
The good news is that you can improve these skills. Think of them as a muscle that you can work on and improve just as you would the gym for your body.
A great way to improve them is to go online and get some writing prompts or starting ideas and then use these to practice. You will find that you will soon be more confident in your skill to imagine new things and then create using them if you do this regularly.
Running closely behind as fairly obviously an essential skill is to have writing skills. For any creative writer to be successful, they must know how to use language to create interesting, engaging writing.
Good command of the language, grammar, sentence structure and general word usage is critical to know how to write in a way that is both interesting and not repetitive. It is very easy as a beginning writer to slip into using very familiar words and phrases repeatedly throughout the book without realizing it.
These jump out a lot more obviously to readers as they are going through your writing far faster than you originally created it, and therefore, they stand out very clearly.
This is also something that can easily be improved quite dramatically with a bit of effort and determination. If you go online, there are plenty of resources that can help you improve every aspect of your writing skills, no matter what level you are at.
Find something suitable for your current level and just work at it regularly. Keep writing and practicing and you will soon find your skills increasing.
You will also quickly find that your writing is much improved and the creative process is far easier and more enjoyable.
Next is technical ability. We have already covered the technical aspect of language usage, but you should also have other related technical skills that can help support you.
These skills include having good knowledge about using your computer and its software effectively to help support your writing as well as good knowledge about the publishing process and web resources available to you.
These are more important than they may of first seem. For example, knowledge of the publishing process may first sound like knowing how to get a manuscript published as your first book.
But it’s important to know this also includes having information about all the different locations, web writer competitions, writers support groups and so on that can help you improve your work. This can be especially useful as you go through the learning process and look around for helpful feedback.
Under the technical section, I also generally include knowledge about the general construction and format of stories in your particular genre. This can be extremely helpful in making sure you are writing something that will appeal to a publisher and ultimately readers in your target genre.
As we all know, writing is difficult and turning it into a paid income and ultimately a full-time career is even harder.
Rejection is extremely common and is just something you need to expect and accept as part of becoming a writer. Obviously, this will require a lot of perseverance to push aside those negative experiences so that you can continue moving your writing skills and abilities toward success.
If you are not someone who has had much experience of something that is typically this difficult, then it is good to know this in advance to prepare yourself mentally for the required level of perseverance. It is not to be underestimated, but the good news is you don’t have to just try to handle this alone.
Ensure that you reach out to fellow writers who are generally in the same position as you and are often very understanding and supportive of each other.
Make use of this valuable resource and, of course, return the favor as you advance by helping others who are earlier in the process than you.
Closely associated with this is having plenty of patience. As we have already mentioned, if you are a reasonably new writer, you are more likely to need to spend longer practicing and improving your writing skills and technical abilities than someone with more experience.
Make sure you have the patience for your appropriate experience level to not become too frustrated with how long it is taking for you to improve and become successful.
“Patience is a virtue” is a well-known phrase that absolutely applies here, so keep it in mind.
We all handle this differently, so find your own method for addressing issues and staying patient.
Drive to Survive or Resilience
Combining all this together, we can sum it up as having the drive to survive or resilience.
We’ve already mentioned a couple of times just how long and difficult this process can be. Combining this with the intense competition of so many others who also want to be writers means you need to make sure you have a lot of resilience to get through this process.
So many people will attempt this journey and quit well before the end.
Make sure you have the drive to survive that you need to get through from beginner to successful author.
Keep constantly pushing to practice and improve yourself in all aspects of writing, all the way from essential foundational items like using language and beginning your plotting and outlining, all the way through to editing your manuscript.
Many people think creative writing skills just come down to language, grammar, spelling and similar items. Still, as you can see from this article, there are other highly critical items that we should classify under this grouping “creative writing skills.”
The good news is these are all skills that can be learned and therefore improved if you have the right mindset. So make sure you are one of those people and you can become a successful author.
What exercises do you use to improve your writing? Let us know in the comments below!