Difference between Creative and Academic Writing

Although creativity is vital to all stages of academic writing, however, academic writing and creative writing majorly differ from each other, chiefly due to the purpose and audience of the work. For instance, in creative writing, you will find extensive use of narrative techniques such as suspense to name one, so that the writer can engage the reader’s imagination and attention (Lee, 2019). On the flip side, academic writing is more analytical and persuasive, which means writers use explanations and convincing arguments that support the overall focus of the work to keep the reader engaged (Hyland and Jiang, 2019). Another major difference between the two is that where academic writing offers cogent information that shows the author’s understanding of the topic, creative writing keeps the readers engaged through emotion and imagery. While readers involve their imaginations in their reading experiences to actively participate in creative writing (Phillips and Kara, 2021), the focus of academic readers is on understanding how an author thinks about a given topic (Jackson and Mazzei, 2022). To explain it by an example, a reflective piece of work on personal leadership goals, the writer could tell the story of a challenging workplace conflict and explain how solving the conflict will add to their growth as effective leader. By providing this analysis, the writer makes room for the reader to view the conflict in the same light as the writer sees it: a challenge, but a critical step to be taken to develop personal leadership skills. In contrast, if the analysis lacks the additional explanation, the story of the workplace conflict itself would fail to convey how resolving the conflict holds a spot in the broader discussion concerning the writer’s development as a leader, nor the reason why the writer places such value on the opportunity to build the required skills. There are many cheap essay writing service USA that students can use to submit a high-quality creative or academic paper to their professors.

Role of Creativity in Academic Writing

Students who have a penchant for using creative forms of expression such as art, music, creative writing, and storytelling are likely to struggle with the structure and formal tone that is usually expected in academic pieces of work (Phillips and Kara, 2021). If you have wondered how creativity finds a space in academic writing then you might view academic writing and creativity as two opposite ends of a spectrum. Yet, they share more similarities than you might think. In reality, since authors need to tap into their original ideas so that they can communicate their ideas to their audience, it is safe to say that academic writing does not take place without creativity, just as artists, musicians and storytellers use their preferred methods to capture their ideas. Although the final product of academic writing is structured and formal, however, academic writing is still an expression of creative thinking that specifically meets the expectations of a scholarly audience. To help students with their academic pieces that are filled with the flavour of creativity, there are now many online homework writing services that they can use with just a small fee and that will surely guarantee them good grades.

How to Incorporate Creativity in Academic Writing

Oftentimes, when academic writers put their fingers to the keyboard, what they end up writing is dry, dull and, well, academic. The reason is that although their work is filled with impressive research but is also teeming with technical jargon.

Academic writing is also, at times, referred to as critical writing, the reason being that it involves the use of key critical thinking skills (Kuhn, 2019). This poses the question if there is room for creativity in this type of writing. And if so, then how and where? The answer is easy: YES. Yes, academic writing goes beyond being dull and boring and instead be creative. However, one should note that both narrative and descriptive components have critical parts to play in academic writing where each component is deeply creative at its core.

Descriptive Component in Academic Writing – How? Where?

  1. If the main purpose of a scholarly paper is to outline and describe the results of an experiment, then the experiment must be described properly. For example, what was the scope of the experiment? How many people were involved? What are the details? These are some examples of the questions that should be answered in the descriptive section.
  2. Sometimes a section of a dissertation, thesis, article or other research project needs to provide specific information on the background of the topic where the field of the research itself must be described. Examples of questions that can be answered in this section before the writer can move with their own analysis include what has been said by researchers on this topic. Are there debates in the field? Are there different schools of thought?
  • If the research is either ethnographic or in various other fields characterised as qualitative, then describing the context such as the setting, the classroom or the culture plays a key role in the success of the presentation of this kind of research.

Narrative Component in Academic Writing – How? Where?

  1. When writing an ethnographic study, oftentimes the description of the sample that is being studied holds the same importance as the narrative of a series of events so that the author can paint present a realistic portrayal of the group being observed. As a narrative piece of academic analysis, all the standard narrative components must be captured to create a beginning, middle and end of the research observations.
  2. Narrative components usually structure the basis of summaries where historical research is concerned. To be able to analyse the data or historical facts that the author’s research will bring to light, they would want to ensure that they tell the story of the historical event in such a manner that it goes beyond capturing the attention of the readers, and sheds light on the points of the event that will be meaningful to the remaining analysis.

It is in these contexts i.e. narrative and descriptive, that the demands on the academic writer are that they simultaneously behave as creative writers.   

Below is a list of some of the best universities in the world when it comes to research performance in creative writing. Students can enrol in programs offered by these universities to hone in on their writing skills and become a master of language.

  1. University of Toronto – no. 1 in North America and no. 2 in Canada for creative writing
  2. University of Oxford – no. 1 in Europe and no. 1 in the United Kingdom for creative writing
  • Columbia University – no. 2 in North America and no. 1 in the United States for creative writing
  1. University of Texas at Austin – no. 3 in North America and no. 2 in the United States for creative writing
  2. University of Cambridge – no. 2 in Europe and no. 2 in the United Kingdom for creative writing
  3. Other universities in the list can be found at this link: https://edurank.org/art-design/creative-writing/


Hyland, K. and Jiang, F.K., 2019. Academic discourse and global publishing: Disciplinary persuasion in changing times. Routledge.

Jackson, A.Y. and Mazzei, L.A., 2022. Thinking with theory in qualitative research. Taylor & Francis.

Kuhn, D., 2019. Critical thinking as discourse. Human Development, 62(3), pp.146-164.

Lee, S.M., 2019. Her Story or their own stories? Digital game-based learning, student creativity, and creative writing. ReCALL, 31(3), pp.238-254.

Phillips, R. and Kara, H., 2021. Creative writing for social research: A practical guide. Policy Press.