Creative Non-Fiction is your diary hidden under the mattress, your travelogues, your WordPress blog, it’s your overflowing binder of recipes, erotica, your favorite fan-fiction, it’s your advice columns, Yelp reviews, satire news articles, and literary criticism. And, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Creative Non-Fiction, also known as Literary Journalism, makes a great example of how flexible the practice and art form of writing truly is. Most of us adhere to the simple understanding of fiction and non-fiction being categorized by how factual the writing is.
Creative Non-Fiction purposely blurs these lines.
That fact alone is the reason why it is my preferred genre and the reason why I absolutely adore it so much. It is a reminder that a person’s individual truth is often subjective, whereas a concrete, well-supported fact, is not.
Creative Non-Fiction enjoys dipping its toes in and out of sub-genres, rubbing people the wrong way, while often dancing all over and challenging a critic’s claims.
A basis for understanding this concept can be seen when observing sub-genres such as poetry, song-writing, or script-writing. Unlike personal essays or memoirs, where the foundation is, in fact, real life, such a rule cannot be measured or tested in all works. Only the writer can verify whether or not their poetry, song-writing, or script is derived from real life, and how much of it is. Creative elements within poetry, song-writing, and script-writing, as well as style or theme, make such a claim impossible to measure.
You’re Probably Already Doing It
Many types of writing, many of which you probably do often in your day-to-day life, is considered Creative Non-Fiction. In fact, journals, not to be confused with diaries, are the most common types of Creative Non-Fiction. Diaries are typically a type of Journal in which you log or document the events of your day-to-day life, however, a Journal is any kind of written log — anything written with the intention to reference later. This can be a collection of recipes or a comprehensive guide to completing your long-term goals.
Literature vs. Journalism
Why has Creative Non-Fiction taken on the nickname of Literary Journalism? First, we must consider what Literature is, and why it holds value in Journalism. Literature, more specifically, is considered written work with a strong creative or artistic touch. Literature is the poetic element; the story-telling. It is the parts of writing that bring forth pleasure, imagery and other emotions. Journalism, objectively, is the reporting of facts. It often strives to inform the reader of events that are happening around them.
What Creative Non-Fiction Means to Me
Without Creative Non-Fiction, this blog would not exist. Scar Tissue would not exist. Without Creative Non-Fiction, the power and influence of storytelling would not exist. Perspective would not exist. Connecting with the world would not exist. Learning about the world would not exist. The comments section would not exist. The conversation would not exist. My truth would not exist. Your truth would not exist.
The Future of Creative Non-Fiction
Today, journalists instill elements of Creative Writing into their news reporting in order to make their stories more compelling. Many would advocate that this strategy blurs the facts — that it is all but a competitive tactic driven by media giants to maximize readership, consumption and profit. There is no doubt that the capitalistic nature of mass media influences what is produced, as well as what is distributed.
However, the beauty of art, language, and literature is that we are free to write what we want. And, most importantly, we are most free when we do it. We can always write another story, a better story. We can always bring forth another perspective. We can always change the minds of our audience.
Keep creating. Keep writing. Keep sharing with the world.