This semester, I have been dabbling in different forms of creative writing. My usual focus is fiction, and I tend to drill my thoughts on creative writing so deeply into the framework of fiction that I often don’t consider the other writing forms of poetry and creative nonfiction. This semester, though, initially by necessity (graduation, anyone?) and now by choice, I have been writing, and reading, lots of poetry and lots of creative nonfiction.
At first I was a bit skeptical. I absolutely love reading poetry (I even wrote an article about why everyone should read poetry here), but I wasn’t too keen on writing it. My thoughts on writing poetry have been altered, if only by a little, since then, though. And as for creative nonfiction, I was, to be honest, completely and utterly new the form. I thought it would be a bit boring or simply informative, and not much else, as I had come to expect nonfiction to be. I can say now, though, that creative nonfiction is absolutely magnificent and that I may just be a fiction and nonfiction writer from now on!
Although my mindset has changed when it comes to approaching poetry and creative nonfiction, I’m finding that I am gaining more than just an appreciation for different creative writing forms. I am learning that do be a great writer – yes, even of purely fiction – I need poetry and creative nonfiction. I need to not only try my hand at writing it (and fail at writing it in the case of poetry) but I need to appreciate the thoughtfulness that goes into different disciplines within the field of creative writing and use what I learn in the process.
Writing, reading, and learning about creative nonfiction has helped me develop a better sense of how to describe. I’m at least hoping that after this semester, I will be able to distill images and scenes into beautiful masterpieces – something that I can certainly take with me into my fiction writing, and that nonfiction experts seem to do so effortlessly. Writing, reading, and learning about poetry has made me realize how important words are. In creative pieces, each word holds weight – and I need to weigh my word choices thoughtfully before placing them in a piece. Poetry has also taught me the intense and real work that goes into creating something so small but so very, very powerful. Poets are incredibly gifted, and I have come to admire them as artists even more!
I guess I have been surprised at how beneficial to me as a writer it has been to dabble. Dabbling in many different things is often seen negatively – as something that only those who are flighty and indisicive do – but I am realizing that dabbling is what helps creative people of any kind grow, and I hope to continue dabbling and learning and writing some more.