As you begin to advance as a student, creative writing can be a fun and effective tool for learning and studying a new language. Creative writing provides an excellent canvas where you can learn to think more abstractly as you begin forming more complex ideas of your new language in your mind. Through creative writing, vast, new windows of learning are opened offering a variety of opportunities like analyzing and reading inspiring authors, practice in building dramatic tension, and reading your own creative works out loud.
As the expression goes, art imitates life (or the other way around!) and creative writing also allows the ability to explore a wide range of subjects, formulate discussions with teachers and classmates and ask intriguing questions. You may find creative writing exercises in your new language challenging or even daunting at first, but with the right teacher and encouragement, you’ll find the rewards of creative writing are endless.
Forms and Ideas for Creative Writing
Keeping a detailed journal is one of the great foundations of creative writing. Not only can they be but journals can be a treasure trove of ideas, thoughts and brainstorming that can lead to the creation other forms of creative writing. Some of the greatest writers have kept journals and journal writing as been the catalyst for some truly inspiring works of literature throughout time. No matter what type of writing you plan on doing, keeping a detailed or creative journal in your new language is a fantastic idea for learning.
Short Stories (or Novels)
Short stories are a perfect starting point for the novice creative writer in their second language. Short stories allow you to create something from scratch while fitting it into a powerful dramatic form with a beginning, climax and conclusion. It also allows you to explore theme, character, conflict, setting and elements of plot.
Many students find poems and haikus more approachable when attempting creative writing in their second language since rules of form can be applied loosely. Exploration, word choice and feeling can all be construed with the possibility of more abstract wordplay that can be beneficial when exploring word pairings and expressions of thought.
Screenplays and Scripts
Since they are almost entirely built on dialogue, creative writing exercises built around screenplays or scripts are invaluable as you are forced to create a story formed by the way people actually speak. This can help you explore, analyze and express a variety of types of speech, contexts, idioms, and expressions that you can then implement into daily life.
Essay and Creative Non-Fiction
Essays and non-fiction are also powerful tools for expressing yourself and offer endless possibility in available subject matter running the gamut from opinion, to slice of life stories to investigative journalism. Essays can also lead to powerful discussions of current events, personal issues, and observations that can help bolster your language learning.
But It’s Not Just About Writing
When we talk about creative writing, we know that the other three other basic language skills are essentially intertwined with learning. Reading, listening and speaking are all incorporated into creative writing activities and assignments that will improve your overall use of a new language.
It is no secret that to be a great writer you need to read as much as possible. As you advance, attempting to read some of your favorite writers in your new language will be an essential practice. Who are your favorite authors? What types of writing inspires you? Reading also offers opportunities to explore different styles and forms that you can incorporate into your writing. Many words that your favorite writers might use can also be examined and offer the opportunity to see they are used in different contexts to improve vocablulary. For mining for creative ideas, newspapers, magazines and stories online can all be a powerful sources of reading inspiration.
Conversely, listening to a other students in a class read their own work or having your teacher read a favorite author’s work back to you is something that can be incredibly beneficial. Hearing some of your favorite passages can inspire you, give you confidence, or allow you to ask questions about the use of language. Watching movies parts and listening to how the written script comes to life from the written page can be another fun exercise for learning and incorporated into your lessons.
One of the hardest but most invaluable parts of creative writing can be sharing your written work through speaking to teachers and classmates. New writers can be understandably hesitant to share their work (especially when it is in a second language!), so it is important for teachers to provide a nurturing environment where you can feel comfortable. Once that is accomplished, the powerful benefits of reading your work out loud are two fold: They allow you to practice public speaking, and by reading your own words that you have written, you are reinforcing your use of the of the language. It also allows your teacher to help you with proper form and structure. Through this continued practice you can gain tremendous confidence with your new language in a short period of time.
How to Get Started
As you can see there are a wide range of possibilities and ideas to explore by creative writing in your new language. Through this exploration, you will gain a newfound sense of freedom and satisfaction and that is unique to creating an original work in a new language. Creative writing is great for homework assignments because the writing aspect is something that you can explore on your own that can lead to discussion and spinoff activities in subsequent classes.
So ask your Verbling teacher how they might help incorporate some of these creative writing ideas into your lessons. You will be rewarded with a whole new world of options and growth in your language learning that will put you well on your way to fluency.