The term creative writing is used to discern certain types of inventive or artistic writing from other general types of writing. The field of creative writing is broad and includes many different formats and genres of writing. The broad and general description of it is purposeful in its effort not to limit the imagination of the potential writer, or that of the reader. Creative writing is totally different from other types of writing, such as technical writing, scientific writing, or copy-driven journalism. The discipline of creative writing includes, but should not be limited to, works of fiction, poetry, personal memoir or autobiography, song lyrics, plays and screenplays, and any mixture of the above.
By and large, writing is a skill that is innate to a person. Just like with other proficiencies, most types of writing often comes easier to some people than to others. Therefore, it is often thought that a person cannot be taught how to write, especially creatively. Despite whatever natural talents for writing a person might have, those talents often need to be developed in order for the writer to realize his or her fullest potential in the craft. Learning how to write creatively must begin on the inside. A certain amount of individual experience, opinion, and innate sensitivity must be tapped when taking on the task of creative writing.
Creative writing is an artistic expression, like painting or composing music. It is therefore subject to criticism, both constructive and disrespectful. This should in no way deter a person from writing creatively, or in any other way. Sometimes, artistic expression is done just for the sake of doing it. There does not have to be a reason to create something, and there does not have to be an explanation behind the creation. The personal expression is free. This sentiment holds especially true with creative writing.
Creative writing courses are extremely popular and widely available in various formats. Short-term workshops ranging from merely a few hours to a day or several weekly sessions are available through public libraries, community education centers, and even community colleges. They are for everyone from the beginner to the seasoned writer looking to polish his or her skills.
In a creative writing course, there are many potential topics to discuss and methods to teach at length. These topics include, but are not limited to, techniques on brainstorming and exploring creative ideas, overcoming writer's block, learning how to structure work, overcoming the fear of people reading/judging the created work, editing completed work, and getting works published. Though some will argue that true creative writing cannot be taught, it is widely acknowledged that certain skills can be mined and honed, as well as certain techniques taught, to make almost anyone at least a fair writer, and not be afraid to unleash his or her creativity.
Many budding writers opt to study creative writing in college. Often it can be an emphasis within a major in English, and a 4-year bachelor's degree can be earned. This can open doors to many professional opportunities, as well as equip a writer with the skills to either take a stab at freelance writing, or translate his or her creative writing skills into other professional arenas, such as public relations, advertising, or editing.
For those whose writing ambition is to do creative writing as more of a hobby, looking to the Internet for creative writing websites is a good way to get work seen and gain insight into the craft. Many creative writing websites offer bulletin boards where writers can post works to be read and enjoyed, and where feedback can be given reciprocally. Also, writers can find a real community of individuals looking for other writers with whom to trade and share ideas.
Some creative writing websites also offer some of the same lessons and pointers on brainstorming and formulating ideas, editing, publishing, and other techniques that many workshops or writing courses offer, except it often does not cost anything online, and it is more convenient. There is also the appeal of the relative anonymity online, for the shy writer who is not quite ready for the face-to-face public arena. True creative writing might not be a learned talent, but the ability to tap inner creativity is possible for just about anyone.