Why creative writing is more important now than ever

by Lauren Brown

You might be starting to feel restless as the mundane days roll by seemingly undifferentiated. Being stuck at home is hard. Maybe you’ve felt like this for ages, sick of doing the same things, trying to find new ways to explore and play.

Fizzing with energy you don’t know what to do with, you might instead turn to scrolling on social media or watching TV. But this could prove overstimulating and trap you deeper in your anxious boredom, leaving you more restless than ever to get up and back to life as we knew it before the pandemic. Not that there’s anything wrong with these activities, not at all, it’s just that slowing down even when it feels like the last thing you want to do could take you to unexpected places, far away from the same four walls you’re dying to burst out of!

Taking a long, deep breath before sitting down with a pen and paper could be the perfect antidote. Instead of being barraged by content, letting your mind wander freely to make unexpected connections has been proven to have a myriad of benefits.

Ever heard of the phrase ‘to walk in someone else’s shoes’? Well, creative writing allows you to do just that, to imagine and feel what life might be like for someone else. Especially at a time like right now, when experiences of this pandemic are so wildly different depending on individuals’ circumstances, fostering qualities like empathy, intuition and, importantly, tolerance are great interpersonal skills to have. Broadening perspectives and getting creative also transcends the ‘learn to pass exams’ matrix often enforced by traditional curricula and encourages lateral thinking; an ability that can help enhance all aspects of study, not just English. Research has shown it can even help with maths and science learning!

Creative writing can have emotional benefits for the writer too. Feeling frustrated can be exacerbated by not knowing how to put into words where that frustration is coming from, or why. Being able to write down your thoughts can help you understand yourself better, perhaps even to realise things aren’t quite as overwhelming as the amorphous swirl of thoughts felt like at first.

You may not want to share your writing at first – it can be very personal, and that’s OK! – but once you’ve practiced your creative writing and produced something you’re really proud of, it could provide an enjoyable escape not only for you but for someone else – your reader – too. Good writers articulate feelings in a way that resonates with others who may not find it as easy. On top of that, it can make you a better reader, too.

The list goes on and on, so what are you waiting for?!