Creativity is one of the most powerful tools writers can utilize. We often confine the idea of creativity in writing to pieces like poems, short stories, novels, and screenwriting—areas of writing that are often designated as “creative” and are considered safe spaces for self-expression or artistry. But creativity can take many forms—often ones we don’t think about—and has its place in all sorts of writing. Creativity can be as big as authoring Anna Karenina or as small as changing “beg” to “implore”. Avoiding repetition and using varied forms of syntax are basic suggestions for crafting strong writing. But are these concepts not rooted in the notion of creativity? This naturally begs the question(s), “What counts as creativity, and how do I incorporate it into my writing?”
Creativity is difficult to define, but keep in mind it can take a lot of different forms on a lot of different scales. It may be useful to think of creativity as including self-expression, originality, or uniqueness. For example, if you’re writing a personal statement, discussing a very impactful or compelling life experience can potentially set your writing apart. Or when you’re writing a paper for an English composition class, it helps to inhabit an original perspective on a topic that may be under-explored academically.
So what are methods for integrating creativity into writing?
1. Variety: Try to use variation when it comes to word choice and sentence structure and word choice. It helps with the overall flow of the paper and keeps the reader interested and engaged without wearing them down.
2. Use personal details: When writing a personal essay or statement of interest, think about what it is that really make you you, and what it is about your life experience that offers a fresh take or unique perspective on things.
3. Get weird: Don’t be afraid to push the envelope, even if it means going to a place you weren’t expecting. Sometimes getting uncomfortable can do wonderful things for your writing in terms of creativity. If you write with fearlessness, it’ll make your work all the more compelling.