How important is creativity in writing?
Well I suppose that mostly depends on what you are writing and who it is intended for. With a love letter or an essay on the life and times of Shakespeare or even writing in a business context such as a sales proposal or management restructure document, it could be argued that a dollop of creativity in the writing of it would improve the reader experience somewhat. Conversely with a shopping list, witness statement or audit report, all we really need are the facts.
The notion of producing a blog on creative writing and how to do it came about because a question was asked the other day in a meeting. When a colleague was putting together a strategic planning document he said to his assistant, “we’ll put something together and we need to really jazz it up” to which the reply came, “Jazz it up - how creative do we have to be as I’m not very creative?”
A fair point you might say. However, since most people in the room are totally immersed in sales and marketing they very much see themselves as a ‘creative type’ so naturally this sparked a debate about creativity in writing and how one would get to grips with it if you recognised that you weren’t actually that good at it.
So here are a few hints and tips on how ‘jazz up’ your writing if the situation calls for a something a little more interesting that just a regurgitation of the facts.
If you find yourself in a position where you have to produce any form of written work that needs to engage the reader then before you embark on putting pen to paper or tapping the keyboard, it is worth investing in a dictionary and thesaurus.
The dictionary is required because although you may already be really good at spelling, we all make mistakes of course, or come across something where we just can’t remember if the ‘i’ does indeed come before the ‘e’ and so it’s always worth checking (spell checkers don’t always pick these things up and often also use none UK English).
Having a thesaurus handy is great for when you know that you want to use a new or alternative word that would be more appealing or just different but just can’t quite extract it from the depths of your mind. It also teaches you to use different words thus avoiding repetition and it helps to build your vocabulary in general.
When you start to write, one of the first things to consider is the different types of written communication that we use and therefore what is an acceptable choice in terms of writing style, language, formality, length of report etc. For example, although much shorter, a creative tweet can be just as effective as a creative strategy document in relation to its impact when considered in each individual environment.
Ask yourself, what is the intended purpose of your document? To inform, entertain or maybe instruct or even complain? It may be a combination of things so consider the use of language carefully. For example, using big words just to make yourself look perspicacious (as you can see) doesn’t always work! Sometimes just saying exactly what it does on the tin is all that is required to be creative.
Don’t confuse using ‘Victoriana’ or flowery language for the sake of it as creativity either as it may not be the most appropriate thing to do e.g. “During our induction meeting my primary function whilst performing as adjunct to the senior warehouse manager is to provide felicitous anecdotes designed to put those on-boarding our organisation at ease”. Which could just as easily be “as assistant warehouse manager I welcome our new starters providing them with all the information they need for their first day”. Being creative in your writing is not necessarily about using big words or convoluted sentences. Being descriptive, engaging and precise in your writing is even more important.
So how can I access this creative streak and be more engaging in how I write? I hear you ask. Well once you have considered your audience and established the purpose of your piece and the structure of how it will be put together, one of the best ways to improve or unlock your creativity with the actual content is Mind Mapping - Tony Buzan is the world-renowned inventor of Mind Mapping and expert on the brain, memory, speed reading, creativity and innovation. Buzan created the technique called Mind Mapping as a way of helping individuals think better and more creatively, and reach their full potential. He has awakened the brains of millions worldwide.
This technique is invaluable in helping you to avoid those situations where you are left staring at a blank piece of paper for an age wondering what to write next. Combined with some very practical guidelines relating to the purpose, structure and clarity of your written piece, using this technique will open up new avenues of creativity within you that you didn’t know you had. There has been much written about Mind Mapping and this information is readily available and easy to locate in the appropriate books, websites and journals. Take the time to research the subject and unlock your potential – it will be well worth the effort.
At Maguire Training we deliver many courses on creativity and Creative Writing Skills is just one of them. Try the link below to find out more or call us on 01623 810505 and we can chat through how we can help you.