Have you always dreamed of writing the next great novel or award-winning movie? Or maybe you just have a story you’d like to share with the world. Then you, my friend, need to get into creative writing. Read on for everything you need to know about how to write creatively and some writing classes that’ll help you get started.

What is Creative Writing?

It’s hard to pin down exactly what creative writing is. A creative definition may be any work that elevates writing from a means of communication to an art form. It involves imagination, a love for story, and a care for craft. It can be done as a hobby, and there are also plenty of writing jobs if you want to turn it into a career.

4 Forms of Creative Writing

While there are really no bounds to what creative writing can be, there are four main buckets it falls into. 

1. Fiction

Fiction is work that describes imaginary events, places, or people. This can include novels, short stories, or even flash fiction.

2. Creative Nonfiction

Creative nonfiction is about telling true stories in more narrative and unique ways than a news article or academic paper. It can include memoirs, personal essays, and literary journalism.

3. Poetry

While poetry can be fictional or nonfictional, what defines this form is a special focus on the aesthetics of the words themselves. Expect a lot of symbolism, thoughtful word choice, and rhythmic qualities.

4. Screenwriting

Screenwriting is any piece of work written to be filmed, such as TV or movie scripts. Again, these can be fictional or nonfictional, but require a completely different approach to everything from structure to formatting.

How to Get Started With Creative Writing

Step 1: Read a Lot

Before you put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) it’s important to see what’s out there and be inspired by others. Don’t just casually read each piece—study it to understand what works (and what doesn’t). While you never want to outright steal someone else’s style, over time you can start to emulate the things you like to improve your own craft.

Step 2: Write as Often as You Can

Published authors or anyone out there working writing jobs will tell you that the secret to their success is a writing habit. That means sitting down regularly—every day if possible—and writing for a set period of time (even if you’re not inspired). Don’t know what to write? Free write or journal, do character studies, mine your memories for stories, or turn something interesting you saw into a descriptive scene

Step 3: Use Writing Prompts

A great tool writers use when they’re feeling stuck is writing prompts. These fun little writing assignments can help you discover your next great story idea. Here are some writing prompts to get you started. 

creative writing as taught in a skillshare original
From acclaimed writer Rumaan Alam’s Skillshare Original

Step 4: Get Feedback & Revise

No first draft is perfect. The best way to improve your work is to share it with others and incorporate their feedback. Most classes will include the chance to workshop your writing with others, or you can start a writing group to help each other out.

Kick Off Your Writing Habit!

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Where (and How) to Learn Creative Writing

There are so many ways to learn how to do creatively write, from accessible online writing courses to creative classes in your community. 

1. Online Writing Courses

Learning from other writers is one of the best ways to kickstart your work. Here are a few of our favorite writing classes for learning how to do write creatively in different genres:

Curious how to teach writing? Teaching online writing courses can be a great place to start—anyone with a passion and some expertise can do it!

2. Community Classes

Prefer to learn in person? Many local libraries and community organizations offer writing classes—do a Google search to find options in your area.

3. Books

Plenty of writers have written about the act of writing. Here are some popular guides to read:

  • Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
  • Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg
  • On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
  • Tell it Slant: Writing and Shaping Creative Nonfiction by Brenda Miller & Suzanne Paola
  • A Poetry Handbook by Mary Oliver
  • Save The Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need by Blake Snyder

4. MFA Programs

If you’re really serious about building a career in writing, you may decide to get an MFA. What can you do with a writing degree? If you’re wondering how to teach writing at the university level, you will typically need an MFA. An advanced degree can also lead to other writing jobs.

Find Your First Story!

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Written by:

Erin Greenawald