Grammar and informational or persuasive essay exercises aren’t the only important exercises writers need to do to hone their skills and craft.
Creative writing exercises also offer benefits to writers that are often overlooked and undervalued, especially in a world that’s shifting toward regimented standardized tests and data-driven work.
Here are seven benefits of completing creative writing exercises on a regular basis.
1. Building Confidence
When writing creatively, you’re engaging in an exercise that will allow you to truly develop your own voice and perspective without consequential limitations. You get a better opportunity to explore and express how you feel about topics, perspectives, philosophies, characters, etc. And this will allow you to feel more comfortable and confident when asserting your opinions and perspectives in other things you write, too.
Writers who don’t write creatively might worry about coming across as an authority or reliable source. By forgetting to insert their own take on the subjects that they’re writing about, they unintentionally end up losing their voice and sound like drones spouting off data. As a result, they lose out on utilizing their unique voice and coming across as an expert with real-world and firsthand experience.
2. Artistic Self-Expression
Individuals who write creatively on a regular basis engage in self-expression, without even realizing it most of the time. Such self-expression can be a healthy way to navigate through negative emotions and thoughts that a writer may experience on a day-to-day basis. Experts even agree that artistic self-expression (i.e., creative writing) “might contribute to maintenance or reconstruction of a positive identity” for individuals who deal with different kinds of trauma (Medical News Today).
While it may sound hokey, imagine being stressed at work and then taking a short break to write something creative. When you begin to write and unveil characters or settings, you’re able to better identify why you’re stressed or, at the very least, uncover the negative emotion that you’re experiencing. This gives you the opportunity to work through it all and move in a more positive direction. You can do this for your personal life too, whenever you experience some sort of trauma, stress, or setback.
A lot of people think that creative writing is frivolous because it’s all about imagining worlds, situations and characters. How could that possibly be beneficial to a real-life working adult who needs to get real work done?
Well, when you engage in creative writing, you’re stimulating and pushing your imagination and “thinking outside the box.” This allows you to refocus your energy on other things and to become better at discovering alternatives and new solutions to problems you’re experiencing. Whether you’re a scientist or a marketer, creative writing will give you the imagination boost you need to think more innovatively and to push boundaries.
4. Thought Clarification
Creative writing allows you to clarify your thoughts as well as your emotions. For example, if you’re a marketer trying to develop your next marketing campaign, you could write a short story in which your target customer reads your promotional emails. You can imagine what they’re doing, where they’re sitting, what’s surrounding them, etc. This allows you to narrow down the language and tactics you use.
Or, if you’re a technical writer writing about a new computer platform, you can write a creative scenario in which someone using the platform experiences a problem. This exercise allows you to clarify your thoughts about what type of information will be valuable to include for your readers and what can be omitted.
In addition, you can also complete creative writing exercises for your personal life to uncover what you think about topics or situations you find yourself immersed in.
5. Better Understanding of the Mechanics of Reading and Writing
As you begin to regularly do writing exercises, you’ll not only gain a more extensive vocabulary, you’ll also come to understand the mechanics of reading and writing better. You’ll know when strict grammar rules work and when they don’t, and you’ll know what will make something you’re writing flow better for your readers even if what you’re writing is a budget report. Once you become comfortable with and have mastered the mechanics of writing professionally and creatively, you’ll be able to bend and break the rules when you need to—to use your own voice and make what you’re writing compelling without coming across as amateur, dull, or inauthentic.
6. Empathy and Communication Skills
When writers create universes with imaginary characters and settings, they must also imagine personalities, emotions, places, and walks of life outside of their own lives. This can provide them with a healthy dose of empathy and understanding for others who are not like themselves and who don’t live where they live or experience what they experience every day.
When writers understand other perspectives better, they’re able to communicate better. They can figure out how to explain and discuss topics from various vantage points. This skill is exceedingly important in both the professional and personal realms.
7. Better Mental, Emotional, and Physical Health
One study, among others, has revealed that expressive writing (i.e., creative writing) has yielded better mental, emotional, and physical health benefits. Creative writing alleviates stress levels, and can ward off severe illnesses, among other things.
Do you like to complete creative writing exercises on a regular basis? Has it helped you when writing for your organization? If so, what benefits have you experienced? Share with us in the comments below.