You might have noticed by now that I’m pretty passionate about creativity, both for adults and kids. Creativity forms a bedrock of my family’s entire educational philosophy and is a primary reason for us choosing home education. Not to mention my chosen career of Writer!
Enjoying creativity is one thing…
But why is creativity IMPORTANT?
Aside from the fairly obvious things about creative expression being a good way to unwind and de-stress, creative writing, in particular, has some pretty impressive benefits for both adults and children. I’m going to cover a handful of them for you today.
There is oodles of research on this out there. But if dry research papers are not your bag (they’re not mine either!) then here is a handy summary.
Aids Crucial Areas of Development For Children
Expressive writing, which includes poetry, journalling and writing stories, has been proven to improve problem-solving abilities and facilitate creative thinking in different situations. This kind of lateral thinking is incredibly valuable in both personal and professional spheres. Encouraging children to engage in expressive writing now will help prepare them for their future.
In the more immediate term, creative writing gives children the opportunity to express their feelings in a safe and constructive way. Learning to manage big emotions can be challenging for children, especially if they are sensitive, as mine are. Being able to sort through their feelings by writing them down in creative forms can help them to process what’s going on in their life and feel better able to cope.
Developing the skill to express themselves also builds self-confidence in children. With so many negative messages bombarding this generation from all of the information around them, a bit of confidence in their own abilities to communicate and be themselves will be invaluable.
Children Are Naturally Creative
It seems obvious to someone like me. But I realise it may need saying anyway.
All children are naturally creative. Think back to your own childhood, or focus on the early years of your child’s life when their imagination ran wild and free. Sometimes it didn’t serve them so well, (monsters under the bed), but how about all that time playing out stories with their toys? They are capable of creating vast worlds and complex stories spontaneously with just a few simple cues.
Some people would argue that this creativity naturally declines as a part of growing up. I disagree. I think it is a trait that needs nurturing, absolutely, but in incidences when creativity does seem to abandon children it is not because this is the natural result of maturing. Rather it is the fault of a society and education system that not only devalues creativity but is fundamentally anathema to it.
If you haven’t already watched it, I highly recommend all parents, and anyone with an interest in education watch Sir Ken Robinson’s influential Ted Talk: Do Schools Kill Creativity? This video has been viewed over 46.5 million times, all around the world, since it was published online over a decade ago.
Valuable for Mental Wellbeing In Adults
Expressive writing aids organisation and planning for people who engage in it. These are important skills for both children and adults. 
It probably comes as no surprise to those of you who have been reading my blog for a while, but I wholeheartedly endorse this research! As someone who is somewhat keen on organisation and planning *innocent whistle* this little fact is music to my ears.
What’s more, writing poetry has been found to reduce anxiety.  Research from Oxford Brookes University has found that writing poems and haikus can relieve work related stress and also stimulate a better work-life balance.
Journaling or blogging can enhance mood and writing a weekly gratitude log has been found to enhance motivation and generate a more positive outlook. 
Writing about traumatic events has also been found to be beneficial to long-term healing. 
What About Getting a “Real” Job?
Well, creative writing helps with that too. One study found that engineers who were out of work found new jobs more quickly if they practised expressive writing than if they didn’t. 
Writing notes by hand has also been proven to improve the retention of new information, which may aid in all sorts of professional and educational endeavours. 
It is also widely recognised now that creative thinking is one of the most valuable skills in the modern job market. The world’s problems need increasingly creative solutions and employers are valuing creativity when selecting candidates for interviews. 
We Ought To Be Valuing Creative Careers Anyway!
Not everyone can or wants to be an engineer, financial advisor, or doctor. Wouldn’t the world be a sad and empty place without writers, artists, musicians and dancers?
Why are we telling children not to pursue these careers?
It sort of made sense 40 years ago, when people were guaranteed a job if they went with the flow through the industrialised public education system. Well-meaning parents wanted their children to enjoy a secure future and so advised them against the perceived “high risk” arts career choices where “failure” was almost certain.
But when university graduates are no longer able to find work and the modern economy is becoming centred around self-employment and entrepreneurship, it makes far less sense to blindly funnel people towards academic subjects at the expense of those that stand a higher chance of being a) useful and b) fulfilling.
I absolutely love this talk by Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, on Your Elusive Creative Genius. It’s definitely food for thought.
Find Your Passion
I write novels, I blog and keep a journal. I found my passion.
- What is your passion?
- What were you born to do?
- Are you doing it?
- What about your children?
- Do they want to write and create?
- How can you help them?
First of all, model what it looks like to follow your passion and express your creativity.
Then nurture theirs. Give them space to create without criticism. Give them access to learning opportunities that will enhance their creativity.
If you’re looking for a creative writing program for your child, then you could always check out my online course, Fun and Ink *shameless plug alert*. I help young people learn how to write fantastic stories that they feel proud to share with other people.
Whatever your child’s creative passion, you can help them to flourish.
What are your thoughts? Have you found creative or expressive writing to be beneficial in your own life? Do you have a child who loves telling stories? Let me know in the comments.