Here at the Writing Center, we consultants have the pleasure of working with writers on many academic assignments throughout the year. We are always ready to welcome any kind of academic paper and collaborate with writers, whether that is because a professor has required a consultation, a student feels in need of guidance, or a client wants a listening ear for their ideas. Perhaps you have brought a research paper or two to the Writing Center before.
There is a lot more to your writing than those academic essays though, and this “other side” of writing can take many forms on a liberal arts campus like ours. For some, it might look like those half-finished poems in the back of notebooks, partially scribbled out and surrounded by doodles. For others, barely-baked ideas for a short story to submit to Kodon. And for those who registered for a creative writing class needing an LE tag, secret feelings of dread.
Whatever your experience with creative writing, you should know that the Writing Center is not only equipped but eager to work with yours.
Before class assignments kick in for a semester, not many people typically schedule appointments at the Writing Center. That’s why I was pleasantly surprised when someone scheduled a consultation during the second week of classes, and even more excited to see she wanted to work on a poem to submit to Kodon.
The reason I get excited about poetry? Improving our creative writing skills also improves every other kind of writing we do.
When the consultation began, the writer read her poem aloud, and we spent the thirty-minute session addressing precise word choices and brainstorming concepts that would help her convey the poem’s meaning clearly. The writer left expressing more satisfaction with her piece and confidence in her toolbox of poetic devices. But the best product of this type of session isn’t just a grade in an LE class or a spot in the pages of Kodon: it’s becoming a stronger writer. In the same way that a consultation for an academic paper can support your developing research skills, a session with a creative piece can also help equip you to grow in your use of written language. And it’s not just poetry that works this way. Here’s an overview of how the three main streams of creative writing can help you become a stronger writer in every genre:
- One of the hallmarks of poetry writing is the intense attention to minute, line-level details like word choice, meaningful punctuation, and figurative devices. Those skills come in handy for all kinds of writing, especially writing about sensitive or important topics that require extra care. For example, if you bring a poem to the Writing Center to work on word choice, you can also put those sharpened diction skills to use when crafting powerful statements for your next persuasive essay. Or perhaps your metaphor-making prowess can transfer from poetry to your public speaking class to help you create a compelling opening line for an informative speech.
- Writing fiction is often all about the imagination. Whether you’re inventing characters, fine-tuning plotlines, or adjusting a story’s setting, you’re always building your imaginative thinking skills while working on a fiction piece. That practice also applies helpfully to the research and organization process of any genre of writing because your mind can more adeptly develop ideas, recognize patterns, and arrange concepts when it has experience building stories from scratch. If writer’s block likes to slow down your prewriting process, fiction writing skills can help.
- Creative Nonfiction
- Last but certainly not least, creative nonfiction (CNF)–which can encompass anything from the personal reflection essay to the literary-journalistic piece—combines almost every writing skill used in other genres, but typically with more freedom when it comes to form and subject matter. Spending time exploring this stream of creative writing can be beneficial if you tend to have trouble working up the motivation for an academic writing assignment. With CNF, you can supplement your understanding of an assignment topic by allowing your mind to explore it in a more personal, expressive manner.
No matter the genre or discipline, your writing requires a process of revision and continuous development. From minute details and concept organization to motivating yourself to sit down and write, creative writing can serve as a fun tool for personal growth. That’s why we love and welcome such genres at the Writing Center! We encourage you to bring your creative works to a consultation, because whether you think of yourself as a creative writer or not, poetry, fiction, and CNF develop your skills through self-expressive writing that’s accessible to anyone, anytime.