The Benefits of Creative Writing


To some, creative writing is a fun hobby that has little benefit, and can in fact serve as a time sink wherein nothing is accomplished other than words being spewed onto a page. To others, creative writing is a vital way of expressing oneself. It can be difficult to say which group is correct, but there are some definitive benefits to engaging in creative writing.

One of the first benefits is that it helps to develop creative problem solving skills. Creative writing is an exercise in solving problems, either for the characters within the story or for the author themselves. Characters within stories need to be navigated through a series of difficulties, and if the problems take place in the real world, then the solutions must also be real-world solutions. If the problem is a literal dragon that needs slaying, there’s somewhat less need for it to mimic a real-world solution, since that’s not typically a problem that we have. By navigating fictional characters through difficult times in their lives, either emotionally or financially, writers can learn how to handle those problems in the real world as well, without the stress of trying to figure it out when they’re already in the middle of the situation.

Another benefit of creative writing, particularly if the writer is involved in a formal class or writing group, is that it gives the writer experience in both taking and giving constructive criticism. The first time someone hears that there’s something wrong with their writing can be difficult, but over time, it does get easier. Trust me. I’ve had my fair share of critical remarks, and I’d like to think I’ve gotten better about responding to them. I no longer cry and throw things, so that’s a definite bonus. Taking criticism well is a vital skill, especially in the workplace, because employers often have feedback for their employees that might not necessarily be what the employee wants to hear. Giving criticism that is also constructive is another incredibly valuable skill. If someone believes they are just being torn down, they will not listen to a piece of criticism that might genuinely be designed to help. For this reason, it is important to understand that there are ways to provide tips for improvement without ripping someone’s work apart. Working in a workshop or a creative writing class will help improve these skills.

Creative writing helps to build vocabulary. Do you know how many types of swords there are? I don’t either, actually, but I know many of them. Do you know how many ways there are to say mean? Well, there’s mean, of course, but there are also words like malevolent and malicious and cruel, which all help to paint a more accurate picture of whatever it is that the writer is trying to portray. Once the writer knows these words, they aren’t likely to ever be forgotten. At the very least, the next time the writer is trying to describe someone as mean, they might remember that there are two other, more impressive sounding words that start with ‘m’ that might be used to describe said person.

Creative writing helps to improve outlining skills, which are vital for any kind of large project. Without an outline, creative writers might find themselves bogged down in details they didn’t intend to get lost in, or might lose track of vital plot threads that they’ll need to remember for later in this story. This is also true for any kind of large project, whether it be academic or professional. Presentations made without an outline in place can meander and get lost in themselves, making them difficult to understand or follow. For this reason, outlining is a good skill to pursue, and can be learned or improved upon through the use of creative writing.

One of the most subjective benefits to pursuing creative writing is the way that it can benefit the writer’s emotional well-being. I was skeptical about this one for a long time, because I love writing, but found it to be more stressful than anything else when I did indulge in writing. However, I have found that as I’ve adopted a regular writing schedule and have stuck to it, my mood has begun to improve greatly. I have had friends tell me that I’m happier now, and I do genuinely feel it. But I’m definitely willing to acknowledge that the same might not be true for other people

Creative writing is incredibly beneficial to burgeoning writers, and to students of all kinds. It requires effort, yes, but the more effort someone puts into it, the more likely they are to reap the benefits of it.

3 Tips for Writing an Essay with a “Boring Topic”

I get it. Just because I’m a Writing Center tutor doesn’t mean I don’t understand that sometimes essays can be boring. And when they’re boring, it’s easy to put off writing the paper until the last minute, which invites a whole host of problems.

My fellow students, it doesn’t have to be this way! Together, we can come up with ways to conquer the mountain that is an essay with a boring assigned topic. Try these four tips for success:

Tip One: Visit the Writing Center!
I know, I know, shameless self-plug here. But here’s the thing: we’re here to help you, and we can do that at all stages of the writing process! Need to brainstorm? We’ve got some storm clouds* for you. Need an outline? We’ve got pen and paper. Need to find a way to make your topic interesting? We can totally do that with you! We have tutors available in all subjects, not just English. If you’re finding a science paper boring, come visit one of our tutors that’s in the science program! They’ll be happy to help, and hearing someone who’s passionate about the subject might just help spark some ideas.

Tip Two: Find Something Interesting About It
Find something within your topic that sparks your interest. Maybe there’s a thread of a story you read for your English class, the one you have the ten-page paper on, and you want to explore that one thread further. Maybe there’s a throwaway comment your teacher made during math class about the history of pi, and you find that fascinating, and now you get to write a ten-page paper on that. Maybe you can take the period of history that you’re supposed to be writing about and find one interesting person whose past you want to explore further. The possibilities are endless!

Tip Three: Surrender
Sometimes, in spite of all of the attempts to engage with the topic, there’s just nothing that can be done to make a boring topic more interesting. And that’s okay! That doesn’t mean that the essay you write is going to be a bad one, it just means you’ll have to use different strategies. The fact is that we write better when we’re interested in the topics we’re writing about, but it doesn’t mean an uninteresting topic is un-writeable. Instead, take a breath, plan, and write.

And remember, no matter how boring you think your topic is, we’re here at the Writing Center, ready and willing to help you out. We won’t complain about the topic, but we will walk you through planning, pre-writing, research, or any other stage of the writing process you need help with.


*Please note, the Writing Center does not actually contain storm clouds, nor do we encourage the use of storm clouds inside. Lightning is a dangerous, people.