10 creative writing skills and how to develop them
By Indeed Editorial Team
Published 9 July 2022
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
Any type of writing requires particular skills and the skills that are important may vary depending on the type of writing you're doing. If you want to work with creative writing, there are a number of specific skills that are helpful to develop. Doing this can improve your confidence and the quality of your writing. In this article, we discuss 10 creative writing skills in more detail, including outlining some skills that are useful to develop.
What are creative writing skills?
Creative writing skills are the skills that are necessary for creative writing, which involves imagination and story-telling. This might be different to some other types of writing, like academic writing or copywriting. The skills useful for creative writing help you to tell stories more accurately and vividly, which makes them more enjoyable for others to read. Creative writers require a variety of skills.
10 skills for creative writing
If you're interested in working in creative writing there are some skills that might be useful to you. You might already have some of these skills. Finding out more about the type of skills you require means you're able to compare them to your own skillset. You can then identify areas to improve on and work to enhance your skills in these areas. These are the skills that are particularly useful for creative writing:
Whilst creative writers tell stories based on their own imagination, research helps them to add details that make the story more realistic. Being able to conduct research effectively and using a variety of methods to do this improves your knowledge of your subject and helps you write about it in a more convincing way. It's possible to conduct research in various ways, including research online or in a library, interviewing other people or visiting places relevant to your story.
The purpose of a creative writer is to tell a story to their readers, so it's essential to have strong storytelling skills. Storytelling skills help you communicate a narrative clearly and in a way that engages the reader. This might involve using language in a specific way to make the story more compelling or understanding how to present the narrative in a smooth and clear way. Storytelling skills also keep the reader interested as the story progresses. Some writers take part in storytelling workshops to help them improve these skills.
Creative thinking skills are important for creative writers because they help them think of new and original ideas. Being open-minded and using your imagination allows you to think of new storylines, characters and scenarios you're able to develop later on. Creative thinking also helps you add more detail to your writing. It's helpful to take notes of all of your ideas, even if they seem silly at first, to encourage yourself to think creatively.
Written communication skills are vital for creative writers, regardless of the type of stories you're aiming to communicate. Effective writers are often able to build a connection with their readers through their ability to communicate in writing. Written communication skills help you to express your ideas clearly and aim your writing at the right audience. Thinking carefully about who your audience is helps you to communicate appropriately.
Organisation skills are necessary for creative writers. These skills help you to manage your time effectively but also make it easier for you to work. When you're working on a piece of creative writing you might gather a large amount of research material or notes. Keeping this information well-organised helps you to easily refer to it whenever necessary. This helps you to work more efficiently.
Proofreading and editing
Like any other type of writer, it's key for creative writers to have proofreading and editing skills. These skills help you identify and remove errors in your work and improve its overall quality. You can either edit your work as you progress or do an entire proofread and edit at the end of the process. Editing as you proceed is usually more effective for longer and more complex pieces of writing. These skills require you to have strong attention to detail.
Attention to detail
Attention to detail is key for creative writers because it helps them ensure their writing makes sense. It also reduces errors and helps writers identify issues or inconsistencies in their writing when they're proofreading and editing. Attention to detail is also valuable when you're doing research. This skill makes it easier to write effective and convincing stories.
Comprehension skills relate to being able to read and understand information. These skills are necessary for writers when they're reviewing and editing their work. Having good comprehension skills helps you write a story that makes sense but also helps you read back what you write and understand it from a reader's perspective. This helps you assess how well you're communicating your ideas and make changes if necessary.
Creative writers often work independently, so having the skills to motivate yourself is an asset. To work effectively, it's key for creative writers to be self-sufficient and be able to think of ideas and develop them further independently. Finding strategies to motivate yourself is often important. The strategies that work well for you are likely to be quite individual. Try some different approaches to find what suits you the most.
Working independently as a creative writer also means it's necessary to have time management skills. In this job, you're responsible for your own workload and might have deadlines to meet. This means you require the skills that manage your time effectively and ensure you complete your work on time. Creative writers often have a considerable amount of flexibility in their job and it's likely that you're able to organise your time in a way that suits you.
How to develop your writing skills
There are some things you can do to further develop your skills and improve your creative writing. The approaches that are most suitable for you are likely to depend on the skills you want to develop in particular. Trying some of these methods is useful for cultivating a range of skills that are necessary for creative writers. These methods include:
1. Write regularly
Writing regularly is one of the most effective methods for improving your creative writing. Doing this helps you develop all of the skills that are important for creative writers. In particular, regular writing practice helps to enhance your storytelling and written communication skills. You can also use regular writing practice as an opportunity to work on your organisation, time management and research skills.
2. Read regularly
In addition to writing regularly, regular reading is beneficial for writers. Reading work from other people helps you generate new ideas and identify new ways of writing that might be useful. Reading other creative writing is important but it's useful to read a range of different types of text. This gives you a broader range of ideas to take inspiration from. For many writers, it's advisable to aim to read and write every day.
3. Establish a routine
Establishing a routine is beneficial for improving your motivation and time management skills. A clear routine means you know how much time you have available for writing and helps you plan your work more effectively. Some people find it easier to work when they're adhering to a schedule, which makes it easier to motivate themselves.
4. Get feedback
Getting feedback from other people helps you develop your creative ideas and improve your storytelling and communication skills. Sometimes it feels intimidating to share your work, especially when you're new to creative writing, but it helps you to progress. Ask friends or family members to read your work and share their opinions or attend a group or workshop for writers to share and discuss their work.
5. Use tools
There is a variety of tools and software available to help improve your writing. Online dictionaries and thesauruses are useful tools for writers and help you to develop your vocabulary and the quality of your writing. There are also software and tools available to help you with time management, creating a writing schedule or organising your workload. Using tools and software allows you to work more effectively.
Explore more articles
- Librarian skills for a CV (with soft and hard skills)
- How to write a dog walker cover letter (plus example)
- Geologist CV skills (with definition and examples)
- How to write an educational psychologist CV (with example)
- How to write a nail technician CV (template and example)
- How to write a detailed freelance writer CV (with template)
- How to add bullet points to a cover letter (with example)
- How to show you're an independent contractor on a CV
- 10 essential archaeologist CV skills (plus examples)
- What are plumber skills? (With examples, steps and tips)
- Office assistant skills (definition and how to improve)
- How to write an effective tailor CV (plus an example)