Creative writing is good for you

George Saunders’ presentation rekindled the love for creative writing I had in a different way.

Destanie Martin-Johnson

Bestselling author George Saunders held the spotlight at Northrop Auditorium last Tuesday to read an excerpt from his new book, “Tenth of December.”

The work is an anthology of several short stories. These stories enter the minds of characters who struggle with deep, real-world problems centering on things such as rape, post-traumatic stress disorder and the identities of the rich and poor.

While listening to Saunders’ voice change to fit the persona of a naïve teenage girl, an awkward teenage boy and a rapist, I immediately appreciated his dark, creative skill.

Incorporating creativity into a speech, a paper or a leadership activity can make communication more effective.

Some may feel that creative writing courses and workshops are a waste of time, but this is not the case. These classes improve writing and creative thinking, two skills valued in many professions.

The brainstorming and writing process has been shown to enhance information retention, conceptualization, emotional understanding and focus. Used as a form of psychotherapy, creative writing has also been proven to help people with mental illnesses.

Saunders used his creative thinking and personal experiences to write an award-winning book.

While this is an example of how creative writing and thinking shapes a person’s career, it can have many other benefits. Creative writing fosters personal reflection, mental stability and learning.

In other words, it affects both our lives and our grades in positive ways and should be integral to one’s curriculum.