Does your middle school or high school-aged child love to craft stories? If so, you may fail to see the value of creative writing.
Perhaps you wish that their focus would shift from this seemingly frivolous activity to something that will better serve them on the coveted standardized tests that now reign supreme.
That’s a mistake though. Discouraging your passionate tween or teen from creative writing could have serious consequences.
You may want to consider, instead, having them attend a public arts academy middle school or high school that can educate to their needs and knows the answer to the following question:
What Is the Value of Creative Writing?
Many studies indicate that creative writing alleviates stress levels for increased mental, emotional, and physical health. Lower stress levels can also ward off severe illnesses.
Beyond that, there are a number of compelling reasons that arts academy high schools and middle schools emphasize spending time writing creatively. And this stretches beyond just the creative writing program. It’s astonishingly helpful in social studies, history, and even science and math.
Two decades ago, a well-known and respected literacy professor by the name of Gail Tompkins identified the seven following reasons there needs to be more stress on creative writing:
1. Building Communication Skills and Empathy
You want your child to go into the world as an adult with the skills that will help him or her get ahead. Communication and empathy are crucial to success in both the personal and professional realms. And creative writing cultivates these.
Creating worlds with imaginary characters, emotions, and settings gives writers a chance to explore different walks of life beyond their own. They gain a better understanding of what is it to walk in another’s shoes and see things from a different perspective.
They also learn how to explain and discuss topics from differing viewpoints. In this understanding of others’ perspectives, they become better communicators.
2. Clarifying Important Thoughts
Along those lines of better communication is the need to clarify thoughts.
An abiding interest in creative writing doesn’t mean your child will be living on the streets until he or she sells the next great American novel. They may put their writing skills to work as a copywriter, a blogger, a technical writer, or any number of avenues.
Through regular creative writing practice, they can come up with stories or settings around these writing projects that help them to narrow the specific language or tactics required.
For example, when promoting a new product, they may write a creative scenario where someone uses the product and loves it. This will enable them to clarify which information is helpful, and which goes to the chopping block.
3. Increasing Confidence
There’s certainly something to be said for finding your own voice. Regular engagement in creative writing lends to this.
The process allows for students to explore and express how they feel about specific topics, characters, or perspectives without consequential limitations. The natural byproduct of this is increased comfort and confidence when asserting opinions and different perspectives.
Writers who are only concerned about facts and figures and don’t write creatively run the risk of sounding like drones simply spewing data. Readers want writing from those who have unique voices and real-world experience.
4. Allowing for Self-Expression
Many creative writers don’t even realize they’re engaging in self-expression each time they come to the table (or wherever) to write. It’s common for writers to work out negative emotions and try to figure out how to navigate through tough situations through their writing.
In fact, therapists often recommend creative writing for dealing with stressful or traumatic events. Sorting out the events around a stressful situation through characters and settings allows those who are struggling to reframe the situation. From there, they can move in a more positive direction.
This is an invaluable skill.
5. Finding One’s Identity
The rigid curriculum of conventional education that focuses on test scores doesn’t allow for much freedom of exploration.
Young people, in particular, are at a time of their life where they are working toward autonomy. If they’re not given the opportunity to explore the aforementioned self-expression and their decisions are always made for them, they’re not going to feel very motivated or interested.
Creative writing, on the other hand, allows students to feel connected to the content on a personal level. As they work to find their voices and create through their own original work, they get a footing and gain a sense of being in charge.
In other words, they shine.
6. Boosting Imagination
A wild and brilliant imagination shouldn’t be the sole property of young children. Yet, so many of us are encouraged to steer away from the “frivolity” of imagination. This leads to the inability to see the value of creative writing. After all, how can it be of any benefit to busy adults who need to get things done?
By engaging in creative writing, students are encouraged to push the limits of their imaginations. They learn to think outside the box. They can refocus their energy to find innovative and alternative solutions to problems.
It’s no big secret that the most highly successful people in the world are notorious “outside the box” thinkers.
7. Improving Vocabulary and Grammar Skills
At the end of the day, it’s still important to have a basic grasp of the mechanics of reading and writing. Knowing how to write professionally is essential.
The beautiful thing about creative writing though is that once students grasp that, they begin to understand when strict rules of grammar apply, and when they don’t. (There’s that outside the box thinking again.)
Furthermore, the more creative writing a student engages in, the wider and more expansive his or her vocabulary. And that only has positive benefits.
Embrace the Value of Creative Writing!
At Arts Academy in the Woods, we’ve found that another value of creative writing. It helps develop a sense of community among our students. And any activity that fosters empathy and collaboration right now in this polarized world is a win.
So if you feel that your creative writer tween or teenager could benefit from an arts academy high school or middle school education, contact us. Give him or her a chance to truly shine.
And to succeed.