Creative writing is a concept in which the writing of texts is understood as a creative process. It assumes that writing is a craft whose tools can be learned by anyone. There are many methods for creative writing. These are closely related to creativity techniques.
Especially in the USA, creative writing goes back to a long history. The term “creative writing” appeared there in the 19th century in literary science seminars at universities. In Germany, on the other hand, creative writing has only received attention since the 1970s.
A variety of methods and techniques for creative writing are available. In the broadest sense, these are creative approaches to brainstorming that help in the writing process. The goal is to break down inhibitions to writing and to allow creativity to run free when writing texts.
In addition to using creative writing techniques in the context of literature, creative writing is also used in psychology as part of therapy. It serves as a way of self-awareness and as a form of self-expression.
Methods of creative writing
The methods of creative writing range from a playful approach to texts to working with literary forms. A wide variety of avenues of inspiration can be used for text production. Often, a variety of creative methods are used in combination. Particularly common methods of creative writing are freewriting and clustering.
In freewriting, the writer writes down everything that comes to mind unfiltered – whether it’s a word, a combination of words, or a sentence. Without interruption or censorship, thoughts are put down on paper unfiltered. The pen is not put down. If ideas fail to materialize, the last word is repeated until a new idea comes to mind. This is intended to overcome initial difficulties in writing and to solve writer’s block. After a predefined time limit, what has been written is examined and reflected upon. In this way, valuable ideas and constructions for texts are created.
This technique goes back to the US-American lecturer and author Gabriele Lusser Rico. Clustering is a method of brainstorming and is used to get a visualized overview of a topic. In clustering, a keyword or combination of words is first written in the center of a sheet of paper. A circle is drawn around it. All the terms that come to mind for the word are noted around it and circled as well. The various circles are then connected to form chains of associations. The chains of thoughts form a possible structure for suitable texts.
Other well-known methods of creative writing include journal writing (keeping a book of thoughts that is regularly maintained) and brainwriting (a written form of brainstorming in which ideas from group participants are written down individually and later combined).
In addition, there are a variety of writing games that support creative writing processes, such as using letter cubes or writing haikus (from Japan, the world’s shortest form of poetry).
Learning to write creatively
There are hundreds of universities in the U.S. that teach creative writing. Many renowned writers, such as Dave Eggers, have taken creative writing courses themselves or teach creative writing.
In contrast to the USA, there are still few universities in Germany where creative writing is taught. Notable here is the University of Hildesheim with its Creative Writing and Cultural Journalism program.
However, there are a large number of private writing institutes and writing workshops that offer creative writing courses and tutorials. Most adult education centers also have creative writing courses in their programs. These usually teach methods for creative work and literary writing.
In addition to adult education, creative writing has now made its way into classrooms. Instead of focusing solely on spelling, dictation and essays, the creative use of language is also to be taught in German lessons. This is said to have a positive impact on students’ expression and vocabulary.
Anyone can be a good writer if they learn the necessary tools. This is the idea behind the concept of creative writing.
Creative writing is primarily about overcoming writer’s block and using language creatively. Various methods are available for this purpose. Having fun with language is the main focus of creative writing. However, by using creative writing techniques, stories can also be created and texts can be refined.
Creative writing methods are now an integral part of teaching German as a foreign language. In addition, some universities and a large number of private providers offer courses in creative writing.
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