Skip to Main Content Skip to bottom Skip to Chat, Email, Text

Creative writing: Why it’s important and how to get started 

checkmark

This article has been vetted by University of Phoenix's editorial advisory committee. 
Read more about our editorial process.

Photo of Briana Houlihan, MBA, G-PM, Dean, College of General Studies

Reviewed by Briana Houlihan, MBA, G-PM, Dean, College of General Studies

At a glance

From journalism to novels to marketing and advertising, creative writing in the modern world is more prevalent than you might think. In fact, creative writing can be used in a variety of ways, including building your personal brand.

Whether you’re a marketing manager trying to differentiate your product, a copywriter trying to craft engaging content or a social media or public relations professional aiming to engage your audience, creative writing can help you present your ideas originally and memorably.

So, what’s the catch? It might seem as if one has to be born creative in order to be good at creative writing. But the truth is, anyone can learn the fundamentals of creative writing and implement them in their work.

Explore online degree programs in the liberal arts at University of Phoenix! 

What is creative writing?

Creative writing is about expressing yourself in imaginative ways, often without the constraints of academic or professional standards. In contrast to academic writing or basic reporting, which focuses on presenting facts and information in the most direct way, creative writing often employs storytelling, vivid imagery and emotional responses. Your words become more than a communication technique. They morph into a literary vehicle that can take your readers on a ride.

Consider, for example, blog articles, marketing materials, website copy, social media content and magazine articles. These are all forms of creative writing separate from the more traditional creative writing genres of novels and short stories, poems and scripts. Everything from song lyrics and comic books to speeches and personal essays can be considered creative writing. As a result, creative writing skills can apply to a wide range of jobs. Let’s explore some of them.

Creative writing jobs

If you love creative writing but want to pursue a career outside of the arts, you can consider jobs in a number of industries, including creative positions that sit within traditional and content marketing, social media, journalism and business.  

Copywriters

Copywriters are professionals who specialize in creating written content, often for the purpose of advertising or marketing. Their main responsibility is to produce persuasive and compelling copy that promotes a product, service, brand or idea. Copywriters use their creativity and language skills to craft messages that resonate with a target audience, drive engagement and ultimately encourage a desired action, such as making a purchase or clicking on a link.

Whether it’s in advertisements, promotional materials, websites or other marketing channels, the goal of a copywriter is to create content that effectively communicates the value proposition [EE1] of a product or service while capturing the attention and interest of the audience.

read similar articles

Photo of a book representing data-driven storyteling

How to turn insights into compelling narratives

Proofreader or copy editor

Proofreaders are professionals who meticulously review written content to identify and correct errors in grammar, spelling, punctuation and syntax. Their primary focus is on ensuring the text is free from typographical mistakes and adheres to proper language conventions. Proofreaders play a crucial role in enhancing the overall quality and clarity of a document by polishing its final draft.

Copy editors, on the other hand, are responsible for a more comprehensive review of written material, with a focus on improving style, coherence and overall readability. In addition to correcting grammar and spelling errors, copy editors analyze the structure and flow of the text, suggesting revisions to enhance the clarity and effectiveness of the writing. They may also address issues related to consistency in tone, style and formatting, ensuring that the content aligns with the intended audience and purpose. Copy editors contribute significantly to the refinement and professional presentation of written works.

Editorial assistant

Editorial assistants are professionals who provide support to editors in the publishing industry, whether it be in book publishing, magazines, newspapers or other editorial contexts. Their role involves a range of administrative tasks and editorial responsibilities.

Editorial assistants often help with the acquisition and evaluation of manuscripts. They may also communicate with authors and contributors and help coordinate the publication process. Other responsibilities can include fact-checking, proofreading and ensuring that written content adheres to editorial guidelines and standards.

Additionally, editorial assistants may handle correspondence, manage schedules and assist with the overall organization of editorial projects. 

Content coordinator

A content coordinator is a professional responsible for managing and organizing the creation, publication and distribution of content across various platforms. This role often involves collaborating with content creators, writers and other team members to ensure that the content aligns with the organization’s goals and brand messaging.

Content coordinators play a pivotal role in maintaining content calendars, tracking deadlines and overseeing the workflow of content production. They may also be involved in editing and optimizing content for search engines, social media or other specific channels.

Additionally, content coordinators may liaise between departments, ensuring that the content strategy is cohesive and meets the needs of the target audience. This position requires strong organizational skills, attention to detail and the ability to collaborate.

Why learn to write creatively?

Creative writing can be applied to many roles and industries that you may not initially consider creative.

To give you a better understanding, consider the following examples:

  • Technical writers, who produce precise, clear instructions for complex processes or equipment, can benefit from creative writing skills. While accuracy and clarity are crucial, so is engaging the reader. Creative writing techniques help technical writers make their content more interesting and easier to understand.
  • Crafting an effective purpose statement for your business is another area where creative writing skills come into play. A purpose statement should communicate what your company does and why — ideally in a way that resonates emotionally with your market. Getting this right is important to the overall success of a business.

No matter what role you’re in, learning to write creatively can help you communicate effectively, engage your audience and persuade them to take a desired action.

Elements of creative writing 

If you’re feeling lost on where to begin as a creative writer, there are a few vital elements you’ll need to know:

Descriptive language and imagery

Descriptive language and imagery use vivid, sensory details to create a rich picture in the reader’s mind. You want to make your readers feel as if they’re experiencing the story firsthand.

This ability can be leveraged in other capacities as well. For instance, as a marketer, you might routinely rely on your skills as a creative writer to craft a skillfully vivid product description that captivates and appeals to your audience.

Plot and story structure

The plot is the sequence of events in a story, and story structure refers to how these events are organized. Even in business or technical writing, understanding the plot and story structure can help you present information in a logical and compelling narrative that works to inform, instruct, entertain and connect with your audience.

Character development

Characters are the heart of any story, and character development reveals characters’ personalities, motivations, pain points and growth over time. Effective character development in nonfiction writing, such as case studies or profiles, can bring the subject to life.

Style and voice

Style is the unique way a writer uses language, and voice is the distinct personality or perspective that comes through in their writing. Another related element is point of view, which determines through whose eyes the story is told.

These elements give a piece flavor and significantly affect how readers perceive and respond to the story. For instance, a marketer writing about a product might use humor, irony or slang to keep readers interested and create an emotional connection. 

Themes and symbolism

Themes are a story’s underlying ideas or messages, while symbols represent objects, characters or events. These constructs add meaning and depth, making your writing thought provoking and memorable. Even in business writing, incorporating these elements can make your message more impactful and memorable.

Creative writing tips

There is always room to develop and hone your creative writing skills, whether writing comes naturally to you or requires more discipline and practice. Here are a few ways to jump-start your creative process:

Read 

The more you read, the better your writing will be. This is because as you read, you’re not only learning about the subject matter, but you’re also exposing yourself to different writing styles. For example, reading a nonfiction book about a historical figure and a fictional book about a magical world will likely offer completely different techniques that can inspire and influence your own writing.

Take notes on how your favorite authors structure their stories, develop their characters and use descriptive language. While you don’t want to copy them, you can find inspiration in their work to find your own voice. 

Write often

Writing is an art, but it’s also a discipline that requires regular practice. Writing regularly will help develop and establish this habit, making it far easier to build your creative routine and improve your skills. Even a few minutes each day can make a difference.

By writing frequently, you’ll also have more opportunities to try new things and push yourself as a writer. Practice different types of writing, experiment with styles and formats and don’t be afraid to make mistakes — this can all lead to new, exciting discoveries in your writing.

Take classes

Classes and courses offer guidance about how to write and provide feedback on your work. Consider taking courses like multicultural literature or creative writing, which can expose you to diverse perspectives and writing techniques.

If you’re passionate about all forms of reading and writing, or interested in pursuing an editorial career, consider earning a Bachelor of Arts in English. This degree program lets you develop advanced writing skills while gaining valuable insight into different literary works.

Where can creative writing take you?

Creative writing skills can unlock numerous personal and professional opportunities.

Writing can become a powerful tool for self-expression, enabling you to explore the depths of your thoughts, emotions and experiences. Plus, creating something from scratch can bring you a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction.

In addition, creative writing skills are highly valued across various industries. If you take a look at job descriptions in virtually any field, you’ll find that businesses often need skilled writers to help create persuasive content that engages their audience, conveys their brand message and drives action. Writing skills, in other words, can help you go down any number of career paths.

Creative writing at University of Phoenix

If you’re interested in learning more about creative writing, University of Phoenix offers introduction to creative writing courses within its online Bachelor of Arts in English degree.

This program also includes courses like literary interpretation and analysis, introduction to technical writing and mechanics of writing. From this rich and varied curriculum, students gain a strong skill set in reading, writing, communication and storytelling that they can carry with them on any number of career trajectories. 

Headshot of Michael Feder

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

A graduate of Johns Hopkins University and its Writing Seminars program and winner of the Stephen A. Dixon Literary Prize, Michael Feder brings an eye for detail and a passion for research to every article he writes. His academic and professional background includes experience in marketing, content development, script writing and SEO. Today, he works as a multimedia specialist at University of Phoenix where he covers a variety of topics ranging from healthcare to IT.

 

want to read more like this?

Everything You Need to Know About Attending University of Phoenix

University Life

September 15, 2023 • 9 minutes

UOPX Commencement: Your Questions Answered

University Life

October 19, 2023 • 5 minutes

How to Get Started Homeschooling Your Child

University Life

March 05, 2023 • 5 minutes