All writing has one of four purposes: to explain, to inform, to persuade, or to entertain. Regardless of the topic, all writer’s must pick one of those four purposes for their piece, but what does it mean to be a writer? Obviously, a writer writes, but what kind of writing? A novel writer wanting to publish their book? A journalist wanting to be on the front page? Or perhaps even a researcher wanting to document their findings? There are many possibilities, so it’s important for anyone who wants to write to discover what it is they want specifically.
Let’s start with informative writing (or noncreative writing as some will say to explain it) is one that focuses on displaying information; simple as that. This is what we think when we read a news article or research paper. The author isn’t trying to make a groundbreaking simile or memorable quotes but rather just tell their audience “how it is.” While some people think of this type of writing as boring, they couldn’t be more wrong as this type of writing is crucial. Have you ever googled something but the author spends a good 3 or 4 paragraphs before getting to what you want to know? Maybe you just finished watching the latest Marvel film and you think to yourself, “I wonder if there’s an after credits scene?” So you look it up, click on a link, and instead of getting a yes or no response you get, “The Marvel Cinematic Universe began in 2007 and ever since has skyrocketed in popularity. Since its debut it has blah blah blah.” Annoying, right? You have to scroll down to a random paragraph near the end and that’s where you find your answer after wasting your time searching. It’s annoying and cutting out all of the useless information helps you as the reader get the information you need. It’s an art in its own way knowing what’s needed and what’s not, but in order to master the art of informative writing, it’s a necessity.
Creative writing is where we see the loquacious writing. This kind of writing has variety like informative writing too, though. There’s the traditional fiction, nonfiction, and poetry which we think of with creative writing, but think beyond that. Novels, short stories, collections, screenwriting, all of these are vastly different in approach, but all fall into creative writing. So, if creative writing is what you’re thinking, where do you start? Well firstly realize that all forms of creative writing involve the use the elements of storytelling. You’ve got your beginning, middle, and end of course but beyond that you need characters, dialogue, setting, and everything else that goes to making the most alluring piece possible.
Novels are usually a product of themselves. To create one, it’s best to make lists of characters, their relationships, and construct a natural story arc. This differs from short stories or poetry where their publications usually come in collections. Sometime the collection is all from the same writer but other times it includes multiple writers with a central theme that unites all the pieces together. A short story or poem will probably not include as much note taking or planning as a novel, but that does not make it easier in any way. Short stories are more compact, which means you have less time to cover your beginning, middle, and end and create a complete story arc.
Then there’s screenwriting which is extremely unique because it’s the one kind of writing where your audience won’t see what you wrote. Now true, your audience can always purchase the script online or buy a physical copy if it’s been published that way, but most people will watch the show and that’s that. They don’t feel like they have a need to look at how you wrote it, but that doesn’t mean the script’s unimportant. It tells everything from the character’s dialogue to where the camera points and because of that it’s what I like to think of as a silent necessity. Your writing may not be appreciated in the traditional literary sense, but any good script will make a show sell.
Regardless of your preference in writing, your main goal will be to sell. Money is all the essence for a writer but never go into writing for the money. It should be passion and it should be your need to get your thoughts out that inspire you. While there’s nothing wrong with dreaming of how far your writing will take you, it’s important to be a writer because you enjoy it. You should enjoy constructing ideas. You should enjoy planning. You should enjoy the simple act of putting words on a page. Most important, you should enjoy learning from writing. Reading other people’s work, having others revise your work, and being willing to shape yourself into who you want to be. It all starts with a simple goal, and for you that can be deciding on what kind of writing you want to do.