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Once upon a time...


Laptop screen with opening story sentences crossed out.
“Writing is easy. All you have to do is cross out the wrong words.” -Mark Twain

It's been a while since I've contributed to Northern Health's blog and to be honest, I haven't done any creative writing lately. Now, I could say that I've been too busy, or I could blame the weather, but to come clean, I don't have a valid excuse. However, I have the desire to write again, so I thought: where better to spark my creativity than with another blog post about…

You guessed it, creative writing!

Creative writing is a great way to challenge yourself mentally, kick-start your creativity, and express yourself. Writing can also support overall health and wellness! Whether it's supporting healthy child development by helping our kids develop problem-solving skills or keeping our minds strong as we age by introducing a new hobby, creativity promotes health across our entire lifespan!

What's more, put enough words together and you might have the next bestselling novel. But don't worry if writing a novel isn’t for you, there are other ways to try creative writing.

For instance, you could try your hand at poetry. Writing a poem can be a great way to start playing with words and can be a handy skill when it comes to impressing your partner or getting out of the doghouse! Poetry can also be very challenging to write, especially poems like villanelles or a haiku.

Short stories are another great way to start writing. Short stories are very rewarding and writing one story may lead to an idea for another (or maybe a novel). If the idea of a short story seems daunting, then consider flash or micro fiction.

What is flash or micro fiction, you ask?

Flash fiction is a very short story, usually no more than 2,000 words while micro fiction stories can consist of as few as 50 words. Now, you might be thinking that sounds easy, but it's challenging to tell a whole story in 50 or even 200 words. I've tried writing flash fiction and it certainly helps me learn to write in a more concise and purposeful way.

Now that you're ready to write, just remember a few things before you start typing away:

  • Don't worry about getting it perfect the first time. That's why you edit, and edit, and then edit some more. There are online editing resources that can help you fine tune your work so take advantage of them.
  • At one point, you will get writer's block. When you do, take some time away from what you're working on. I've found that having a couple of works on the go is helpful. When I'm stuck on one, I work on the other. There are lots of other ways to overcome writer's block and you never know what will work best for you.
  • Remember that writing is truly about self-expression and creativity. There's nothing wrong with aspiring to be the next bestselling author, but don't make that the only reason you write.
  • If you don't feel comfortable sharing your writing, that's all right. But if you do, then consider joining a writers' group or try submitting your work to a writing contest or publisher. If you are submitting your work, make sure that you follow submission guidelines or your great work might not even make it to the editor's desk.

So go ahead, write a short story, maybe a try bit of flash fiction or perhaps a haiku or two. Who knows, perhaps we'll see each other's work on a flash fiction website or I'll read your awesome short story one day. And yes, this is my challenge to you!