There are numerous studies in the field of linguistics, language pedagogy and second language acquisition backing up creative writing as an effective method that engages the cognitive part of the brain, develops creativity and benefits the development of foreign language learning. It has been shown that writing activities give language learners the opportunity to improve their word and sentence formation, spelling, punctuation, vocabulary, cohesion and coherence. Creative writing has been proven to engage both hemispheres of the brain, not only logic, strategy and organisation, but also imagination and emotion. Especially in the world we live in today, empathy, an aspect that creative writing not only relies on but also trains, is essential.
Language learning should be approached holistically as the broad picture matters as much as the details. Practicing creative writing in a foreign language helps you not only improve your grammatical accuracy and range of lexical resources, but also your sense of rhythm, imagination and humour. What creative writing can do compared to other language learning methods is that it encourages you to be inventive and make the most of the language you know, as you constantly try to find different ways to say the same thing or develop your ideas.
Sometimes less is more, so do not feel constrained or discouraged by a lack of knowledge. You do not need to be advanced in French or know all the Spanish tenses, nor do you need to master all the declensions in German to write a flash story or a short poem such as a haiku. A language learner does not need to have full control of the language studied to be creative, in fact, being creative helps you make the most of the little knowledge you have to play with. For me, creative writing activities are a true celebration of learners’ progress no matter what proficiency level they have.
Creative writing is a process: it takes time and dedication. Some people prefer to write their first draft as quickly as possible and then go through their text and edit it. Others prefer to reflect on each sentence written down as they had already decided on a genre, subject and format. Do not stress if you cannot come up with a good introduction: you can start writing your story fist and then decide on an introduction and conclusion at the end, once you have figured out the entire plot. What is amazing about writing creatively is that you can develop your language abilities without being under pressure, which in time helps you hone your skills. You can write a text based on your own interests, experiences, imagination and so it is one of the best ways in which you can counteract boredom. Not to mention that creative writing can be an individual, but also a collective activity. You can write a poem, a story or even a play online, with your friends, which improves not only your creativity, but also your communication and team working skills.
When you study foreign languages, practicing creative writing is not only effective, but also an enjoyable activity. It helps you break away from monotony, improves your language skills, nurtures your emotional intelligence and communication abilities and allows you to explore the language and the culture you are learning about without feeling under pressure. Creative writing helps you maximise your exposure to a new language, especially when travelling and social interaction are so limited these days. Step outside of your comfort zone and challenge yourself to write a little bit, if not every day, then once a week.
Working with one of Think Tutor’s talented professional tutors or mentors could help you improve your writing skills, perfect your grammar, vocabulary, spelling and punctuation, hone your personal style, as well as identify your strengths and weaknesses.