Let’s start with a question. Why do you want to learn about Creative Writing? Here are some reasons that might be you.
A tool to learn English or another language.
To communicate a message in a creative and interesting way.
To make shed loads of money.
The pleasure of making up stories.
Enjoying writing poetry and playing with language skills.
Writing to feel better.
All of the above are possible, but what suits you? Today I am going to cover ‘To learn English or another language’, and follow through on the other topics in the coming weeks.
Why is Creative Writing different from a normal language lesson?
For Creative Writing your ideas and creativity are paramount – for a straight forward English lesson, you must learn facts about grammar and punctuation.
A Creative Writing project can give confidence with another language and you learn grammatical facts by the questions you ask as you go along. There isn’t a set pattern to the learning. A language lesson comes from books and teachers. Students learn better if they want to know the answers. For me, textbooks and teaching by instruction alone are secondary to a project that is student based.
If you are wanting to do Creative Writing start and keep going, don’t look for failures, but for achievements. You can do it alone, made so much easier with a computer to correct you on your way.
Groups work well with a creative project. A mixture of skills is of value. A student who is useless at grammar may have the best ideas. A team can feel the need to do their best to produce a worthwhile end product ready for presentation.
The spoken word is as important as the written word. If you are not good at writing try remembering and making things up on the spot.
Read plays, poetry, novels, short stories, news items, advertisements, read anything you can lay your hands on, not just a set book. Read aloud. Rewrite what you read in a style of your own.
Bring items to prompt stories. Students are preparing for the class before they get there. If you train yourself to look for prompts to write about, you will find them everywhere.
Warning – Writing is addictive.
Groups work well with both children and adults. Find a writers’ group near you or join one online. You shouldn’t be asked to pay to join. Be aware of false promises.
My classrooms are noisy places unlike the straight English lessons. Students are encouraged to butt in and contribute. There is a listening and sharing time at the end when mistakes are corrected as a sharing experience, criticism is not encouraged. I might ask a question like ‘how do you think this would work?’ I make notes of general mistakes and we go over them. Vocabulary is ongoing.
You can work alone on your writing, it is good to have a time goal, i.e. use a prompt and write ‘something’ in 5 minutes. Write a short story in a week.
Students go home with a sense of achievement not only a list of corrections. Exploring an idea from your imagination is a goal in itself.
If you are starting to write creatively, a reminder that in some cultures it is a lonely place to be. I would never encourage anyone to disrespect their culture and matching this with an unleashing of ideas can be tricky. Novelists, poets, journalists etc. have paid a big price for expressing their thoughts. If you live in a free society or a family that is open to discussing ideas from imagination, count yourself very lucky.
Here’s a thought for you today, What is a story?
Share your answers and don’t worry about mistakes unless it causes misunderstanding.
Writing and using our imaginations keeps our brains alive. If you don’t write for a long time you can lose your imagination and your language skills. It is important for young and old to write creatively.
5 more introductory lessons to go.