Ten good reasons to study creative writing …. some might surprise you
1) It’s a vocational subject. In every job and area of life it’s valuable to be able communicate as clearly and effectively as possible.
2) It could help you get a job. The most intimidating blank sheet you are ever going to face is the one headed: Tell us why you think you are qualified for this position…Remember that creative writing includes creative non fiction – it’s not always about making things up.
3) If you lose a job it could give you the confidence to get another. Back in the 90s an American study was done on 63 engineers who hadn’t been able to find work since being made redundant. The engineers were divided into three groups. Group One: the engineers weren’t asked to do anything. Group Two: members were asked to write about time management and Group Three: they were asked to keep a journal about their feelings, especially in relation to losing their job. Three months later less than 5% of the engineers in Groups One and Two had new jobs. In Group Three more than 26% of the engineers had found work – they weren’t going to more interviews than they had done in the past, but it looks like they were better at being interviewed.
4) It can relieve anxiety.Researchers at Bristol Royal Infirmary looked at the benefits of writing poetry. Of the 200 study participants, over half said that writing poetry reduced anxiety and some were able to stop taking anti-depressants or tranquillisers as a result. .The research team suggested that other forms of creative writing, such as drama or biography, could produce the same effect.
5) It could mean less visits to the doctor. A research study in 2004 revealed that writing about good experiences makes you happier and less likely to go to the doctor. Chad M. Burton and Laura A. King organised two groups: one wrote for twenty minutes each day for three days about an intensely happy experience while a control group was instructed to write about a neutral topic. Following the study, the positive group reported feeling much happier while the control group did not. Over the next three months researchers recorded positive group went less often to the doctor than the control
6) Wounds might heal more quickly. Expressing yourself in writing may have a real impact on your physical health as well. Researchers in health psychology at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, studied 49 healthy senior citizens, aged 64 to 97. Half wrote about the most traumatic event they had experienced. The other participants wrote about their plans for the next day. They were asked not write about their feelings, or express opinions or beliefs. Two weeks later, researchers took small skin biopsies, under local anesthesia. (The skin tissue was used for another study – pretty helpful group of senior citizens!)
The research team discovered that the wound left by the biopsy healed more quickly in the group that had written about their worst experiences. (Over three quarters of the group that had written about trauma were fully healed after 11 days while only 42% of the other group were.)
7) You may never write a bestseller, but you will come to enjoy sharing stories. Once you start to read like a writer you’ll have a greater appreciation of other authors.
8) You might write a bestseller. In 2011 it was estimated that J.K.Rowling was worth $1 billion.
9) It means never being bored again. Waiting in a queue? You’re wondering why the man in front is wearing odd shoes.
10) You’ll mix with nice, tolerant people. Writers are the ones who don’t mind when someone has a telephone conversation at the top of their voices in a train carriage because we’re too busy imagining what the person on the other end looks like.
Is this the right time to mention that I have a creative writing book that you might like? It is available in paperback and ebook formats
Back to CREATIVE WRITING School contains 30 practical writing exercises designed to beat the blank page. You can buy here on Amazon UK (82 five star reviews) and Amazon.com (71% five star reviews)
It contains exercises on description and magic realism, dialogue and horror writing, on creating atmosphere and characters so real you feel they could walk off the page. Some are 10 minutes long and designed for practice in the same way as musicians practice the scales, some could give you a novel length idea that will keep you writing for months…
“I recommend it to all my students…” Alex Pheby, author and Head of Creative Writing at the Univeristy of Greenwich