Structure vs. Creativity

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhich is better: Using a tried and true structure of writing, or creatively branching out and writing as you think? Every writer needs to do a little bit of both. It’s like this.

The sun rises every day at a predetermined time. Any weather site can tell you when that event will take place. Boring. Where’s the creativity in that?

It’s in the details. A sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean looks vastly different than a sunrise over the Rocky Mountains. Layer in shades of orange, rose and purple, add a little cloud cover or a clear blue sky, spice it up with some white sugar sand and colors bouncing off the water, and you have the makings of a very creative sunrise. Good news. No two are ever alike.

Every person has a skeleton. Same number of bones in the same place on each one of us. You can’t see your skeleton, but it’s there, giving you the structure you need to stand up, walk around and live life. Can you imagine trying to get dressed or eat breakfast without a skeleton to hold you up? But, if everyone has the same skeleton, where’s the originality in that? It’s in the details like eye color, hair color, body shape, clothing and height.

In your writing, embrace both structure and creativity. Use structure to bring order to your work. Take a few minutes to plan what you will write, whether you do it mentally, on paper or on the screen. Then, when you write, use details to add creativity to your work, making it uniquely yours.