Nonfiction Book Author.
Short Story Writer.
We love to compartmentalize everything. And if having a name for the type of writing you do weren’t enough, people want to categorize even further.
Oh, you’re a freelance writer? So what do you write about?
Oh, you write nonfiction books? What subject?
You’re a novelist? What genre?
What kind of poetry do you write?
You do content marketing? What kinds of companies do you consult for?
And so on.
The truth is, at the end of the day, no matter what neat box you fit into (or even if you don’t fit into a box at all), we are all creative writers. All writers are creative writers. Yes, even if all you do is write nonfiction. Even if you do content marketing 24-7.
Being a writer of any kind is creative work. And all writing is creative writing. True, most people are referring to novels when they use the term, but creativity is inherent in the written word.
When I write an interview-based piece, it takes creativity to put together the best quotes I’ve gathered into a coherent narrative that speaks to readers. When I put my own experience into a piece and tie it up with expert quotes, it takes creativity to make it work. When I write blog posts and try to make them conversational, it takes creativity to take dry material and make it seem like I’d be talking to someone at a party about it.
The reason I’m so passionate about having this website out in the world is that I feel that creative writers (so, writers of all kinds) are being stifled by a culture of specialization.
Creative people were born to create. And creating requires big picture thinking, freedom of exploration, and the throwing away of rigid boxes. Let creatives create, and stop trying to convince the world that the only way a creative person can be successful is to pick a niche and stick to it.
Artists and writers of all stripes not only can be, but are more likely to be successful when they’re given the freedom to be who they want to be—and to create as they will. That goes for novelists, nonfiction writers, painters, and people who are all of the above.
So if you’re a creator, go create. Niching be darned.