Often used interchangeably, content writing and creative writing have similarities but are different. A non-writer may not recognize the differences between the two styles of writing. However, when you approach a professional writer, they will know precisely the nuances that make creative and content writing different.
If anyone is considering stepping into the world of writing, read on. The debate about creative writing vs content writing is ongoing, and you need to know the basics before you choose which kind of writing is better for you.
What is creative writing?
Creative writing is the art of creating stories that communicate ideas. It can involve any form of expression, including poetry, fiction, and non-fiction. Creative writing can help you explore your thoughts and feelings, connect with others, and share your unique perspective. It can also allow you to create something new or improve upon something old. In short, it is the art of engaging in creative thinking.
The following are some critical characteristics of creative writing:
1. It is an individual process, unlike scientific or journalistic research. There is no one defined way to write creatively; every writer has their unique style and approach.
2. Creative writers often explore unusual topics and ideas, creating relatively unstructured texts compared to traditional forms such as essays or reports. This flexibility allows them the creative freedom to communicate their ideas in an innovative way that cannot be done with a more conventional format.
3. Creative writers often use metaphors and other literary devices to convey complex ideas. Thus, they can communicate their ideas in a way that is easily understood and enjoyable to read.
4. The creative writing process uses creative imagination, which often leads to surprising and unexpected results. This element of surprise can add interest and excitement to the reader's experience, leading them to want to read more.
The key elements of creative writing are imagination, memory, and reflection. These three factors work together to help writers develop stories and characters that are interesting, entertaining, and suspenseful. Writers also use these same tools to explore ideas and express their views on life, making creative writing an often personal process.
Is creative writing a part of content writing?
Creative writing focuses on creating new ideas, whereas content writing focuses on distributing and promoting existing ideas. There is a clear-cut difference between creative writing and content writing. But that does not mean that creative writing is not a part of content writing.
Content writers and copywriters need to be able to think creatively to come up with interesting, engaging content that will keep readers interested. They must be able to write in various styles, including creative writing, so readers will find their writing enjoyable and informative. Thus, creativity is an integral element of the field of content writing.
What are the 5 types of creative writing?
Steeped in creativity and imagination, creative writing tends to be associated with many types and genres. Creative writing works can be classified into fiction or non-fiction.
Here is a list of five types of creative writing commonly known to all, followed by examples for each type of writing.
1. Narrative storytelling
Narrative storytelling is an approach to creative writing that emphasizes telling a story through events, characters, and settings. The term "narrative storytelling" has been used differently over the years. Generally, it refers to writing that employs a narrative structure—a sequence of events leading from the beginning to the end and character developments—to tell a story.
Example of narrative storytelling
Lamb to the Slaughter is a story penned by Roald Dahl in the narrative storytelling format. The story follows the protagonist, Mary, a housewife known for her loving nature. But one evening, as she welcomes her husband home, things take a different turn, and readers are enticed by the twist in the storytelling filled with thrill and horror. Do read the story to know more about what happened to Mary.
Poetry is a form of creative writing that uses metrical and rhyming patterns to create images or feelings. Poetry can be any length but typically remains shorter than standard prose. Poets use different techniques and rhythmical devices to evoke emotion in their readers, including metaphor, alliteration, imagery, and abecedarian rhyme.
Example of poetry
The Red Wheelbarrow is an eight-line poem by William Carlos Williams reflecting the importance of simple things in life that are often taken for granted. It artistically tries to capture the red wheelbarrow, the raindrops, and the white chicks, all essential components of a farmyard/agricultural activity.
Is the poem talking about the reliability of the wheelbarrow for farm activities? Or is it hinting at the chickens' significance? It depends on how you interpret the poem.
Screenwriting is one of the forms of creative writing that typically involves the development of a story, film, or television script. As with all forms of writing, screenwriting requires an acute sense of observation and storytelling ability.
Example of screenwriting
Eric Roth's screenplay for Forrest Gump is the best example of creative writing. How he has adapted the novel creatively to give birth to a movie that has won millions of hearts over the years displays the true power of artistic expression.
Essays are formal pieces of creative writing that typically examine a subject in depth. They can be informative or entertaining, but they usually aim to provide readers with new information or insights.
Example of essay
Here is a snippet from an essay written by a student on her very first local diner visit. It is creatively and descriptively written to ensure that readers are engaged, and their emotions get invoked. The description of the diner in the essay allows the reader to visualize it without visiting it.
Memoirs or bibliographies, as pieces of creative writing, are personal experiences that someone has written down; they often have a unique perspective and can tell stories in ways other types of writing cannot. This makes memoirs an interesting and effective means of conveying information or ideas.
Example of Memoir/Bibliography
Maya Angelou's memoir, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, is an excellent example of a creatively written memoir. It illustrates some fantastic life lessons. It follows the life story of Angelou to show how literature and strong character can help overcome trauma and racism.
The above types and examples of creative writing must have clarified why there is a difference between creative writing and content writing. Now let us move on to content writing and its examples to understand the differences better.
What is content writing?
Content writing is creating high-quality, engaging content for a website, social media, or blog. The content writing process involves creating written material that informs and engages the target audience. Content writers are involved in developing original pieces, rewriting existing content, or sourcing and curating information from other sources.
Ideally, the content created would be shareable and influential enough to attract readers (and potential customers) regularly and consistently. The primary purpose of content writing is digital marketing and branding.
Content writers target search engine optimization to create content that boosts business sales and encourages networking between individuals.
Some common skills required for successful content writing are:
- Understanding grammar and syntax
- Researching topics well enough to provide unique insights and thoughtful conclusions
- Using positive reinforcement language when promoting the brand or product
- Observing editorial requirements while maintaining user engagement potential
- Ability to work with various writing platforms, content management systems, social media, or traditional word processors.
The process of content writing works in the following manner:
1. Planning: Outlining topics and ideas for a piece, researching for information, and determining the audience.
2. Writing: Using effective grammar and vocabulary to create coherent, readable, and quality content.
3. Editing & Proofreading: Checking for mistakes before publishing
4. Promotion: Developing marketing strategies to promote your content
Examples of content writing
Content writing skills and strategy are essential to creating content for social media posts, blogs, ebooks, websites, etc. Below are a few real-life examples of popular types of content writing pieces found on the internet.
1. Blogpost example
Zoom's blog post is an ideal example of content writing because it showcases its features to specific audience. It offers information to readers about the features and tips for using Zoom for office parties and gatherings during the holiday season.
2. Social media post example
The brand-Incogmeato has leveraged Twitter's polling feature in this tweet. It has a graphic added to it to grab attention. The social media content is witty, encouraging dialogue and discussion among the audience.
3. Ebook example
Content Marketing Institute's ‘Content Marketing Survival Guide’ is a great example of content writing. It is informative and provides data related to around 12 social media sites. It also contains tips and tricks to create an effective social media marketing and content strategy.
4. Website content example
The screenshot is from Cupcakes and Cashmere, a website associated with lifestyle and fashion. Emily Schuman is the founder of this website. The content on this particular webpage provides a sneak peek into the founder's life in the most exciting yet simplistic manner.
Creative writing vs content writing: Key differences
Now that you know the basics of creative and content writing, it is time to move on to the key differences between the two.
1. Different purposes
One of the primary differences between creative writing and content writing is related to the specific purpose of writing. Creative writing is used to explore the inner thoughts, emotions, and experiences of the author. Conversely, content writing communicates ideas or information that can help people achieve their goals.
2. Different styles of writing
Another difference revealed by the debate on creative writing vs content writing is that both have different writing styles. Creative writing tends to be more poetic and lyrical, while content writing is more straightforward and persuasive.
3. Tone of voice
There is no definitive tone of voice for creative writing, as the style and approach to writing will vary depending on the author's personal preferences. However, the tone of a creative writing piece can convey action or excitement, rely on vivid imagery, employ intriguing metaphors, and inject humor where appropriate.
In contrast, in content writing, the tone of voice should be respectful and objective. While it's important to evoke the reader's emotions compellingly, the content is written impartially, ensuring readers can share it with a wider audience.
4. Fiction and non-fiction
Creative writing is typically associated with fiction, but sometimes some creative writers produce non-fiction works as well. Content writing, in comparison, is mostly non-fiction, and content writers only get the scope to write fiction if there is a marketing or brand requirement.
5. Word usage
You can use the same word in creative writing multiple times, even in one line. You have the authority and freedom to express yourself however you want. But when it comes to content writing, using a variety of words is especially important to grab readers’ attention. You must ensure that keywords are used but not excessively. Synonymizing is an essential element of content writing.
6. Process of writing
Creative writing resembles an art form. This means that creative writers typically take their time to produce and organize their work. The creative writing process allows the writer to devise a writing style and convey their ideas in whatever form they want.
Content writing must be done within a specific set of parameters decided by the client. The content cannot take any shape desired by the writer and must present facts and information as the client dictates. The writer also has to be mindful of SEO guidelines.
Similarities between creative and content writing
Although the points of difference between creative writing and content writing are quite clear now, understanding the similarities between the two forms is also essential. We will mention the similarities here so that your knowledge regarding the creative writing vs content writing debate is complete.
Both writing styles require the writer to come up with ideas, develop them into sentences, and then string those sentences together into cohesive and comprehensive pieces. They also need to be able to think critically about their work and make sure that it is readable to a large audience.
Whether you publish content pieces or promote creative writing, your writing must be of high quality to be successful. Your writing must also be error-free and formatted correctly if you want people to trust your authority and credibility.
Creative writing vs. content writing: Conclusion
We have successfully demonstrated that there is a difference between creative writing and content writing. While one has to be used creatively, the other has to be deployed strategically. Both styles have benefits that can be leveraged to write powerful and effective content.
Nowadays, content writers are using creative techniques to produce better content. On the other hand, creative writers are optimizing their content pieces and making them SEO-friendly to gain traction.
Also, content writing differs from copywriting. Read this blog, ‘Copywriting vs Content Writing: What are the Differences & Similarities?’ to know more.
Can AI writing help you in writing creative content?
Yes, AI writing can help you in developing creative content. It can recommend topics and angles to explore, scan through existing content for inspiration, and even offer corrections or refinements to your writing style.
Do you wish to use AI to write creative content? Use Scalenut. This AI-powered SEO and content marketing platform can help your website rank scale up with free SEO tools that ensure your creativity never gets blocked.
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