A thought wandered into my mind the other day after reading a course mate’s blog. I have spoken about Jamie Andrews in my Define Success blogpost and it was a quote from his blog post Who is asking? – Part 3 that got me thinking: is all writing is creative?
Andrews, who writes mainly nonsense and surrealism but occasionally comedy, wrote the post which included a quote from his ‘writer’s self’ as it were. This quote was a response to when he was asked to explain “how he traversed the complexities of finding the blend between his usual layman’s writing style and a more academic voice”* and it opened my eyes to the idea that all writing is creative.
So, if all writing is creative then academic writing is creative which also means that creative writing is academic.
It seems as though there is an infinite loop that just keeps repeating itself and every time it is repeated I get more and more confused and begin to doubt myself. I thought I would do what Millennials do best and search “is all writing creative?” in good old google and report what I found.
I found an article on Taylor & Francis Online from 2008 titled “Why all writing is creative writing.” In the abstract I read, it spoke about students in higher education and their need to write lecture notes, essays, reports, exam answers and raised a very interesting point similar to the point highlighted in Who is asking – part 3. This point was that for these students who are in higher education but not in Creative writing modules or departments still write, and “For them, every piece of writing is a learning experience and, in any true meaning of the term, creative writing.”*
The Writing Cooperative also uploaded an article earlier this month on the subject matter. Business? Creative? It’s All Writing almost dissects what creative writing is and how this can apply to business writing, for example “a business letter sent to customers to describe a rate increase.”* When comparing Business Writing to Creative Writing itself it was said that “business documents are written to convey a specific meaning. They elicit certain emotions, feelings and thoughts — just like creative writing. As a skilled author, you’ll take creative license to convey the necessary and truthful message.”* The article then goes on to discuss audience and how knowing your audience is important in both.
Another point that is brought to the surface is research. Research is key to any form of writing. One of my first blog posts was Write What You Know…Or Don’t in which I reflect on one of the most mis-understood pieces of advice there is in the writing world. Author Xan Brooks put it better than I could myself in a guest lecture. When on the topic of writing what you know and whether having no first-hand experience on a subject is seen as cultural appropriation, the author simply said “As writers we’re defined by our own personal experience. But you are also defined by what you want to experience.” He then went on to speak about research and how essential it is. In the screenplay I am writing I have had to research clinical trials, childhood trauma, repressed memories in depth and have had to have them approved by a medical professional for complete accuracy. Is this not like an essay in which you have to research social theories, political theories and look into research methods in order to support the academic essay you are writing?
To write is to create. This creation can be anything the writer wants it to be: from a screenplay, to a piece of confessional poetry, to an academic essay, to content on a website, to emails, to a book review, to a report, to a dissertation, to a competition analysis, to a case study. I could go on but you get the idea. All of these forms of writing, yes, they are presented in different formats but they are all created to show the reader an insight into the writer’s mind.
Essentially, the writer is creating something that represents who they are, does it matter if this creation is creative or academic because it all comes down to the simple fact that it’s writing.