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Academic Writing vs. Creative Writing: Understanding the Key Differences

Both academic writing and creative writing are commonly used in many contexts and serve a variety of goals. While academic writing is widely utilised in educational environments, creative writing is frequently employed in literary and artistic contexts. The ability to write should be universal. No matter what their profession, educational background, or area of interest, everyone may utilise writing to express their ideas, thoughts, and feelings.

Writing can take many different forms, each with its own target audience, goal, and style. Writing for academic purposes and artistic purposes are frequently misunderstood. In this article the primary distinction between academic writing and creative writing will be discussed.

What is Academic Writing and its Features?


A style of writing called academic writing is utilised in academic environments including colleges, universities, and research institutions. Information, research findings, and ideas are communicated to a scholarly audience using this formal and objective writing style.

Academic writing can be distinguished from other types of writing by a variety of features. It is ordered, formal, objective, and precise. The vocabulary, tone, and writing style are appropriate for an academic setting. Extensive study, analytical thought, and analysis are also required for academic writing. It frequently is founded on facts, figures, and conclusions from research.

What is Creative Writing and its Features?


Writing that uses imagination and creativity to convey thoughts, feelings, and ideas is referred to as creative writing. It is a distinctive style of writing meant to enthral, motivate, and arouse the reader’s emotions.

There are several factors that distinguish creative writing from academic writing. Different types of tools are used in writing while the use of article rewriter in academic and creative writing is generally encouraged.

Key Differences Between Academic Writing and Creative Writing

At first glance, writing for academic and creative objectives may appear to be one and the same thing. Nonetheless, there are two different writing styles, and each has its own traits and goals. The main distinctions between academic writing and creative writing will be covered in this section.

The main distinction between academic writing and creative writing is the reason for the writing. In a formal and objective way, information, facts, and knowledge are communicated through academic writing. It is employed to investigate and examine a certain subject or problem and to give arguments supported by facts. Academic research and educational institutions both employ academic writing.

Writing creatively is a tool for expressing ideas, feelings, and thoughts in a unique and inventive way. It is employed to enlighten, uplift, and communicate with the reader. Plays, poems, novels, and short stories all involve creative writing.

Academic writing frequently has researchers, academics, and subject-matter specialists as its audience. A sizable component of the audience for creative writing is made up of readers of fiction, poetry, and other literary genres.

In academic settings, writing is formal, detached, and objective. Pronouns in the first person are generally avoided. The text is straightforward, clear, and basic. The third person is frequently used when the passive voice is being used.

Writing with creativity is informal, individualised, and subjective. First-person pronouns are commonly employed, and the writing style and personality of the author are evident. The writing is typically vibrant and evocative and places a significant emphasis on imagery, figurative language, and storytelling.

Accuracy and precision are stressed in formal language used in academic writing. The tone is neutral and objective, and the jargon is specialised and technical. Slang and contractions are not appropriate.

The language used in creative writing is looser and more casual, with a focus on creativity and flair. The vocabulary is varied, and the tone might be lighthearted, sentimental, or subjective. Slang and contractions are permissible, and the author is free to coin new words and employ turns of phrase.

An introduction, body, and conclusion are all clearly defined in academic writing. Background information and the paper’s goal are given in the introduction. The thesis is supported by the body’s arguments and supporting data, and the conclusion restates the thesis and summarises the key points.

The writer has more leeway to experiment with different structures when writing creatively because there is no set structure to follow. Flashbacks, non-linear tales, and other approaches can be used by the author to develop a distinctive framework.

Advantages of Academic Writing and Creative Writing

1.enhance communication skills.

Communication skills are improved by the use of clear, succinct language in academic writing. Individuals learn to properly and eloquently convey their ideas and thoughts through academic writing. In many professions where communication is key, like law, journalism, and teaching, this talent is essential.

2.Increases Analytical Abilities

The considerable study and data analysis necessary for academic writing aids in the development of analytical skills. This ability is essential in many fields, like business and finance, where data analysis and critical thinking are essential.

3.Builds Data Analysis Skills

Research and data analysis are crucial parts of academic writing since they call for in-depth subject knowledge. In many fields, notably scientific research, where the interpretation and analysis of data are critical, this talent is essential.

4.Helps in Expressing Emotions

People can convey their ideas and emotions in unique ways through writing. This talent is essential in many fields where creativity is needed to interest the audience, such as marketing and advertising.

5.Enhance Imagination

Because creative writing calls for imagination and creativity, it fosters the development of these skills. This skill is essential in a variety of professions where the ability to produce intriguing and appealing information is required, such as writing and entertainment.

For various reasons, it’s important to comprehend the difference between academic and creative writing. In the first place, it can aid writers in deciding which genre to use in a particular circumstance. In addition, it can aid authors in honing the abilities and methods required for every kind of writing. As a final benefit, it can assist authors in understanding the demands and expectations of various writing styles, which is helpful in both academic and professional contexts.

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Academic Writing vs. Creative Writing

Academic writing will earn you a’s; creative writing may get you published..

Academic writing must be taught, but rarely is; creative writing is optional, but is almost always the focus of writing curricula.Creative writing focuses on story-telling and recounting personal experiences. Its students author fiction and poetry—using style, voice, and technique to make their writing entertaining, smart, and packed with panache. Most curricula on the market encourages this kind of creativity and style, drawing out the reluctant writer and cultivating a future author, columnist, reporter, or novelist—someone who is confident and comfortable with the pen. The truth? We really do want to produce fabulous writers in our homeschool. Thus, the kind of writing we value and encourage is creative, expressive writing. We even endorse the use of creative writing with the all-important essay. Herein lies the problem. College professors just want the facts, not the flair.Thinking back on my own college experience, I’m embarrassed by my impudence. How pompous I must have been to think my college professor would enjoy reading my extraneous ideas and insights. I used my college essays as a platform to express my opinions and deeper philosophies in lengthy poetic prose. I was a creative writer: an artistic, loquacious, verbose wordsmith. How dull it must have been for my professors, laboring through more than 300 papers, seeking to find out which students learned the material and which didn’t. My stylistic passages were not joy, but drudgery. Because of the volume of papers that must be read, professors prefer clear, concise compositions that convey the material has been understood—academic writing.Creative writing may indeed get you published. But it’s truly not the kind of writing we must learn. In academia, it is superfluous. To do well in school, we must learn academic writing. This is the kind of writing upon which we should focus our children’s writing instruction.Although all writing should be concise and clearly communicate an idea or point, academic writing must eliminate all literary lavishness. Style is eliminated, voice is barely noticeable, and structure prevails. Sadly, words like “sadly” must go. Academic writing adheres to a rigorous code that leaves no room for extraneous or entertaining ideas. Academic writing is what your college professor wants when he asks you to write an essay. Academic writing is what the SAT requires. If you teach no other form of writing, academic writing—which is far easier than creative writing—should be taught.So, if academic writing is more important than creative writing for scholastic success, why is everyone teaching creative writing? I believe it’s because we want our children to acquire skill and confidence in writing, and enjoy it. That’s not a bad thing. It’s a great thing. We want to grow writers! There is not one thing wrong with that. However, we must remember that in addition to teaching the fundamentals of style, eloquence, and technique that give boldness to writing, we should also teach the separate subject of academic writing. This kind of writing will enable our children to get through college with ease and success. Sure, they can write for the college magazine or start their own newsletter, filling up pages with their thoughts, opinions, and feelings, however, if you only have time to teach one kind of writing—academic writing will ultimately give the child more confidence. There’s no better feeling than checking the board for your grade and seeing an A.There is actually a formula for academic writing. It’s uncomplicated, and once learned, can be used in every essay whether it’s for art history or economics. When I struggled through the college essay, I didn’t even know there was a formula! My husband, on the other hand, was taught the formula in high school and sailed through college and law school, graduating with honors with virtually no creative writing skills of which to speak. He recently revealed this secret formula to me. I call it The Composition Code. It’s my plan to circulate this secret in the homeschool community so we can take the world by storm—or at least help our children improve their college essays.Read on for more about the importance of rigorous writing in our homeschool.

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Academic Vs. Creative Writing: What You Need to Know Before You Teach

Academic Vs. Creative Writing: What You Need to Know Before You Teach

In college and during your teacher training, you probably spent a lot of time discussing how to teach writing to students. Even if you didn’t discuss writing pedagogy, you know the basics of academic writing from having gone through academia yourself. You might feel unprepared, then, when you need students to do creative writing. How do you approach–and teach–academic vs. creative writing?

( Teaching Creative Writing for the first time? You may want to start with this post. )

imaginative writing vs academic writing

Teaching the Differences Between Writing Goals

Many of the differences between the two types of writing center on the goal, audience, and purpose of the writing. It’s important to understand these so that you can better communicate them to your students. 

You don’t want students fabricating rich stories for their essays, and you also don’t want them to panic when asked to use their imaginations. Teaching both academic and creative writing is essential, then, for students to be able to respond to the variety of tasks life will throw their way. 

While you might intuitively understand the difference, your students probably have not developed this awareness yet. Use this breakdown of the differences between academic and creative writing to help them know when to use each. 

imaginative writing vs academic writing

Academic Vs. Creative Writing Difference #1: Style

It’s important for students to have at least a basic understanding of style before walking them through the differences between academic and creative writing. 

Academic writing uses a much more formal style of writing. Academic settings, like universities and schools, use it almost exclusively. For this reason, your students are probably already familiar with the basic expectations of academic writing. 

Academic writing uses an objective, unbiased tone and focuses on presenting research and evidence to support an argument or claim. Academic writing is typically based on factual information and aims to inform and educate the reader about a particular topic.

Product cover for It's Lit Teaching Voice Workshop Mini-lesson with pictures from the lesson slideshow and worksheet

Creative writing, however, is more expressive and imaginative and aims to entertain its reader. It can take many forms, including fiction, poetry, and personal essays.

Creative writing uses emotive language. Creative writing is less concerned with presenting factual information and more focused on exploring themes and ideas through the use of storytelling and descriptive language.

Teaching students about style can help them see the differences between academic and creative writing for themselves. It will also help them maintain the correct style for the writing task at hand. 

( Want a fun activity to start a discussion about style? Try this lesson on Literary Voice! )

Academic Vs. Creative Writing Difference #2: Intended Audience

Academic writing is typically aimed at a more specialized and educated audience. For students, the intended audience for most of their academic writing will be teachers, professors, and fellow students. If they pursue academics, they may one day write for peer-reviewed journals or share scholarly articles. 

Because academic writing audiences tend to already be knowledgeable, the writing may be more technical and difficult for a general audience to understand. 

Creative writing, meanwhile, is often aimed at a wider, more general audience. Your students should be able to list all kinds of examples of creative writing from children’s books to fiction novels to even the old classics they read in class. 

Creative writing may be more accessible and engaging to a wider range of readers. (Although this isn’t necessarily true–just look at how our students struggle with Shakespeare today.) Creative writing uses more poetic and figurative language . 

It’s important to discuss intended audiences with your students regardless of what kind of writing they’re doing. Their audiences should inform their choices of language, form, and style in all of their writing. 

imaginative writing vs academic writing

Academic Vs. Creative Writing Difference #3: Purpose and Goal

Academic writing is typically focused on presenting research and evidence to support a specific argument or claim. This means that academic writing may be more structured and follow a specific format.

Your students are probably very familiar with the good old five-paragraph essay. They may even have learned C-E-R or some other highly structured format for presenting claims, evidence, and logical reasoning . 

Creative writing on the other hand is more focused on exploring ideas and emotions through storytelling and descriptive language. The intent of a poem can sometimes be as simple as to convey strings of beautifully sounding words.

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While academic writing often feels formulaic, creative writing is more open-ended and creative in its approach. (This may actually frustrate some of your students!)

How many ways have you seen authors discuss love? There are poems, plays, stories, and more. Even if you just look at “love poems,” you can see there are countless ways to structure creative writing. 

To demonstrate just how open-ended creative writing can be to students, it might be helpful to show them a variety of mentor texts. For example, you can compare E. E. Cummings’s abstract style with Shakespeare’s highly-structured sonnets. 

These Poem of the Week activities are a great way to incorporate a variety of mentor texts and bring different opportunities into your classroom for poetry discussion. 

If you’re teaching a Creative Writing class for the first time, it’s important to go into it with a firm understanding of how it varies from academic writing. This will help you to begin thinking about what lessons and skills you’ll need to focus on in your class. 

Even more important, however, is making sure your students understand these differences for themselves. After all, once they leave school, no one is going to tell them whether to write a formal, five-paragraph essay or a villanelle to summarize their notes for the big meeting. 

Students need to understand the characteristics of both–and learn when to use each–if they’re going to find success (and possibly fulfillment) in writing in their futures. 

Need to teach a whole Creative Writing class and don’t know where to start? Make it easy on yourself with my done-for-you Creative Writing 9-Week Class !

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academic writing creative writing

5 Key Differences Between Academic Writing & Creative Writing

The world of writing is quite intricate. There are multiple categories in it. But if we are to, we will divide writing into two broad brackets – formal and informal. And this is the fundamental difference between academic and creative writing: the former is formal, and the latter is informal.

If you find it too difficult to comprehend the fine line between the two, you can opt for a paper writing service for your college assignments. Meanwhile, you can work on your writing skills.

If you are an aspiring writer, know that there is a great demand for both academic and creative writers out there. But when you undertake an assignment, you must be able to determine the style of writing it requires. To help you with it, we will walk you through the key differences between academic and creative writing.

How to Distinguish Between the Two Types of Writing

Academic writing is more factual and standardized than creative. You have to stay true to evidence and facts that you take from authentic resources. These kinds of assignments require you to provide references as proof of the argument you are putting forth. Academic content is largely covered by EssayService to aid students in their college assignments. And each educational institution might have its own rules and standards.

On the other hand, creative writing is personal and informal. There is no specific style guide or standardization. You can even voice your opinion and support it with some reference without being completely sure of its original source. Examples of creative writing include stories, personal experiences, ideas, opinions, poetry, and journals. Needless to say, adherence to grammar and spelling rules is a common requisite in both.

Now, let’s explore the key differences between the two types of writing in detail.

The style of writing is one clear difference between academic and creative articles. While creativity is not bound by any specific style or pattern, you have to stick to certain parameters in academic content. Academic writers should always abide by the standard structure. There are several guidelines designed for different types of papers. Institutions choose their preferred style from a variety of widely-used style guides.

On the other hand, creative writers enjoy a fair amount of freedom in terms of writing style. The writing of a story or a personal opinion does not need adherence to a particular tone. The writer can choose to shape the content any way they want.

The purpose of writing is another significant difference between the two. Academic content is written to prove a point or give your audience a well-backed perspective. Whether you are writing a school/college paper or preparing a piece of content for your client, the main aim of academic writing is to explain, discuss, and elaborate on a given topic. You back up your thoughts and beliefs with the latest statistics and valid data.

On the contrary, creative writing mainly focuses on the expression of one’s idea through the medium of suitable words. You need not present any facts or figures to support your content. You can go on to write content for scripts, plays, stories, prose, poetry, biographies, etc., with the sole aim to entertain or educate your target audience.

3. Time Limitations

In most cases, academic writers have to face time restrictions. There will be almost no room for brainstorming. Also, you cannot afford to procrastinate. You will have to prepare much ahead of writing and gather all the necessary data well in time.

Creative writers generally do not face time limitations. Even if they are writing for a production house or publishing company, they get ample time to create engaging, unique, and fresh content. And when the creative juices flow, the writers can curate amazing content within a very short period.

4. Language

While writing academic content, you should be mindful of the language. Depending on the type of assignment, you will have to decide upon the jargon. The usage of informal language or slang is strictly prohibited. You cannot use colloquial expressions, idioms, and contractions extensively in academic writing.

But in the case of creative content, the writers can decide upon the tonality. One can use casual or semi-formal language. Creative writers can experiment with the language as per the demand of the content and the target audience. There are no hard and fast linguistic rules to be followed by creative writers.

Academic writers should be aware of the formats for different types of papers. They must adhere to the formatting guidelines such as APA, MLA, Harvard, or Chicago. These guidelines also can vary depending on the subject and even the professor’s demands.

The format for creative assignments is not as stringent as it is for academic projects. If you wish to create the desired impact on your audience with your creative content, you should keep the preferred formats in mind.

Wrapping Up

At the school or college level, you should be able to curate both academic and creative write-ups based on your project requirements. However, specialization in any of these niches can take you to great heights in your career.

We hope that the mentioned points have made it all clearer for you. Now, keep practicing your craft and have faith in your abilities .

imaginative writing vs academic writing

Naomi Kizhner

On, I want to share tips, tricks, and quotes that will hopefully inspire someone who might be struggling. Also, I wish to help others find their true passion in life and cut out any negativity.

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Academic Writing and Creative Writing

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More Alike Than You Might Think

W hen you think of academic writing, what comes to your mind? Thesis statements? Topic sentences? Boring? While most answers could be considered correct, I bet you didn’t jump to the thought of creative writing. But I am here to change your mind.

Few of us think of creative writing and academic writing as similar. However, the two are much more related than initially meets the eye. Academic writing involves entering a conversation and trying to convince the other side that you are correct through specific rhetoric and an intentional argument. You produce good academic writing by creatively coming up with a way to convince your reader that you are correct. This construction requires creativity because writing is a science and an art. Any art form is creative, and academic writing is no exception. Academic writing is creative writing. If I haven’t convinced you yet, let me give you some specific reasons why academic writing should be considered creative.

  • Academic writing allows us to enter into a greater conversation . It’s true that academic writing is not creative writing in the sense that we get to construct our own story as we please, but academic writing does allow us to construct our own argument and choose a rhetorical style to best demonstrate our point. We get to engage with something greater than ourselves when we write.
  • Any type of writing is an art form with each sentence being crafted for a specific purpose . Because there is no one way to write, it becomes a creative process of puzzling together your syntax and your argument. English is unique in the way that is does not have one equation to solve to get the correct answer. Rather, it’s a process of explaining something in the most beautiful way possible. Writing is something you craft; no matter what type of writing it is, it’s an art.
  • You are in complete control of what you say . Any time you have the freedom, the responsibility, to put original thoughts on a paper, it becomes a creative process. Good academic writing is not boring. It’s an opportunity to see your thoughts come to life. If you do it well, it’s something to take great pride in. It becomes a work of art that you created. It’s original to you, and that is something to be proud of.

One of Ouachita’s beloved English professors, Dr. Benjamin Utter, argues for this very concept by stating, “Make no mistake, my friends, academic writing can also be—indeed, must also be—creative writing!”

When we start to think of academic writing as a form of creative writing, the task changes from an obligation to an opportunity. We are now given the chance to completely control our input into a greater conversation in a style that is completely our own. Hopefully, I have changed the way you think about academic writing, and the next time you are given a paper to write, it’s met with just a little more excitement. Let me ask you again. What comes to mind when you think of academic writing?

Haylee Cannon is a junior English education major; in spring 2021, she is available for sessions 7-9 PM on Mondays.

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