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What Is Creative Writing?

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Craig LockI believe ALL writing is creative (a nice short sentence to get the ball rolling). Journalism is a different form of writing in that it merely reports the facts of a particular event.

However, I believe even journalism can fall under the banner of creative writing; because it still utilizes one's imagination in HOW you choose to report an event and the style you choose to write in (more on style coming up in a later lesson). Journalism is meant to be completely objective; yet often the biases of reporters come through in their writing. It is very hard to avoid that.

I would regard (or define) creative writing as "fully using a person's inherant creativity' through the amazing power of the creative imagination (subconscious mind) in putting words to paper to tell a tale, or attempting to get a message or moral through to one's readers."

(I just wrote that in response to a query from someone doing a thesis)

To continue after that rather long-winded definition...

To be a published writer is one of the most rewarding occupations and pastimes - both financially and creatively. I find it a very satisfying and enjoyable activity. I can't teach you how to write, let alone how to be a writer. I don't have all the answers. All I can do is give you some tips and guidelines that I've learnt over the years (starting from the beginning of my writing "career" with writing "stirring" letters to newspapers in South Africa), which hopefully will make it a lot easier...if that is what you really want to do.

They are all based on what I have learnt by doing it myself - usually through the long process of trial and error. I hope this information is interesting and helpful to you in your quest to be a writer and getting published.

Firstly (and most importantly)...

There are no ABC's in writing - there is no set formula, which guarantees success. Everyone is a unique individual with their own gifts: their experiences, perspectives and highly individual style of writing. I believe having the ability to put words down on paper is only the beginning to writing. There is a great deal more to be learned on the techniques, which I've developed over the years. Hopefully, by the end of this course, you'll be able to look back and see how much your writing has progressed, which gives me great gratification - nice long word that, like marmalade!). We all have our own particular style of writing. As you'll see, I use a particular style in this course; however the style in my novels is completely different. In this course I try to inform and entertain at the same time, through "light, breezy" writing (no wind, please!).

My main aim in this course is to help develop your unique style of putting words to paper, as well as giving you some practical tips that I've learnt (especially from writing for the last six years). I believe that writing courses and workshops (such as offered by the polytechnics here in New Zealand) can improve your writing - as long as the basic talent, your gift is there. Online courses through the internet can be a great educational tool (at a greatly reduced cost). Well I have to say that, don't I?

All writing courses can help develop your skills by enhancing your creative powers, if you have the DESIRE to learn and grow (even dwarfs!). Why do you want to be a writer? What is your biggest motive you think? Write a few sentences on this to clarify your thinking and give you something to aim for in your writing.

For example do you want to write for pleasure or for profit...or perhaps both. I find writing my thoughts down, focuses my thinking. What are your attitudes to writing and what are your writing ambitions? What would you like to achieve in the future? It's fine for your writing ambitions to change over time. Mine have changed drastically, as well as my "styles"; however right from the start I only wanted to write for publication - to "make a living", as well as impacting others - making a difference through sharing my experiences.

For example, you might just want to "dabble" in a bit of writing for your own eyes, for pleasure; then write items for close friends or family members. Then a few years down the track, you might decide that you want to write articles on your particular hobby for magazines - for MONEY. Wow! Later perhaps even a book, as I believe we all have a tale to tell deep within us.

What kind of writer do you want to be? Do you want to write for pleasure and/or for profit? I believe, if you write for pleasure, you'll be happy doing what you like... and it often leads to profit naturally. Because when you do something you are good at, it gives you enjoyment (or when you enjoy some activity you become better at it). This can often lead to financial rewards.

Many top writers and other artists (yes, it is an art!) earn very good money from doing what they love.

You can perhaps write your own life story I feel that the writer's obligations to readers are to instruct, entertain or somehow extend one's perceptions of life.

I truly want to let the light shine brightly through my words to impact and help others ...to inspire people throughout our (sometimes happy and sometimes dark and sad, yet always beautiful and magical) world. So that as many individuals as possible may realise the full potential of the indominitable human spirit and BECOME WHAT THEY ARE CAPABLE OF BEING.

To end off this piece, here are two of my favorite quotations, that help keep me inspired daily.

"What you can do, or dream you can do, begin it; boldness has genius, power and magic in it."
- Johann von Goethe

"Do what you love, then you'll never have to do a day's work in your life."

Vincent Van Gogh, that clergyman turned artist, so beautifully put it like this: "Your profession is not what brings home your paycheck. Your profession is what you were put on earth to do with such passion and such intensity that it becomes spiritual in calling."

"The person born with a talent they are meant to use will find their greatest happiness in using it."
- Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Happy writing...creatively, of course!

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