How to Write a Creative Essay: Guide for Students

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Struggling with that creative essay you were assigned to? With our list of top tips, it’s not that complicated anymore!

English teachers occasionally assign a creative essay as a way to get a good idea of where the students in their class are in terms of their writing abilities. This may not be an issue for some students, but it can be a panic-inducing event for others. Not everyone was born to be a writer, and an essay can seem like a monster of a task. For those looking to finish a creative essay, here’s how to do it:

Know exactly what you’re doing

First and foremost, understand what a creative essay is. The worst thing a student can do is to write what they think they were supposed to do instead of what the teacher actually wanted them to hand in! A creative essay is an assignment where a student is directed to create a story and write it down.

The subject of the story is either assigned, or the teacher will give free rein to the student to choose the subject themselves. What’s important to remember is that this is not unlike a writer creating a short story. That’s the main goal: to tell a story within the allotted time and number of words. You can always use the help of some online tools, such as one at, which will make this process even more easier.

Choose a subject

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This is the most difficult thing about doing a creative essay. If the teacher has chosen a subject for the class, then the hardest part of the essay is already over! If, however, there is no chosen subject, then one has to choose a one before they can get started. Assignments like these are usually given overnight, but that’s still a limited window, so don’t spend too much time thinking up a subject.

Another thing to keep in mind about choosing a subject when it comes to a creative essay is to choose one that you want to write as opposed to what one thinks the teacher wants to read!

A topic can come from many places, but the best thing to do is to choose something that happens to a student in everyday life, a fantasy, a story they’ve always wanted to tell, or even just something interesting that happened to them in the past. There’s plenty to choose from, so simply pick what seems to jump out at oneself.

If nothing comes to mind, then it’s a good idea to engage in what’s called “freewriting”. Freewriting involves simply writing down on a piece of paper whatever comes to mind. Once a person does this for a while, they will usually find their thoughts have been narrowed down to one subject they’d like to write about.

Choose what form the story is to take

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Writing a story sounds simple enough, but there are a few different ways to tell it. A story is always in the form of a narrative, but many people today choose to tell it in first-person. First-person is writing in the form of: “I went to the store, and then I walked home.” It’s told from the writer’s perspective.

Writing in third-person is a form of narrative where they write in the form of: “Ted went to the store, and then he walked home.” The narrator is telling the story as though they are seeing it from outside of the action.

Whatever the choice of narration, once it is chosen, stick to it. There’s no reason to change one’s mind afterward!

Just tell a story!

This seems deceptively simple, but it really isn’t. The teacher isn’t expecting a student to be the next Stephen King, they just want to know where a student’s writing ability lies. So, just tell the teacher a story and don’t be afraid of being forthright, funny, or even morose.

Once it’s started, don’t stop

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Everyone is always tempted to stop writing their first draft and go back and fix something they don’t think is going to work. Take this advice seriously: don’t stop writing the first draft. Write it in one sitting from beginning to end. Don’t worry about that last paragraph that stinks or whether or not the grammar in that other paragraph is good. Just keep writing!

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Not everyone finds an essay to be an easy thing to do, so don’t hesitate to ask friends and family for help in getting it done. If there’s no one around, then a student can visit this site for help with any essay.

Feel free to use a dictionary and a thesaurus

Again, no one expects a student to be a talented, undiscovered writer, so don’t try to be one. If uncertain as to a word’s meaning, look it up in an online dictionary, like Merriam-Webster.

If one is having trouble thinking of another word to describe something, then look up a synonym in a thesaurus, like

Write at least three drafts

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Never write a single draft and then hand it in the next day. It might take less time to do just one draft, but the grade that’s received after the essay is submitted is likely to not be impressive. Write a second draft to ensure that the idea or central message of the story is clear and that everything is communicated clearly.

Write a third draft to smooth everything out and eliminate as many spelling and grammatical errors as possible.

Show it around!

Let others take a look at the creative essay, once it’s done. Just be sure to address trustworthy people, like friends and family, to have a look at it and ask for an honest opinion. Don’t go to people who are going to tell you what you want to hear.

Proofread, proofread, proofread!

Make sure to go through that essay with a fine-toothed comb and ensure that all of the grammar is correct and that there isn’t anything that’s misspelled. Most word-processors have built-in spellcheckers now, but it’s also a good idea to find a good online one, like Grammarly, to have a second analysis to make that creative essay is as good as possible!

After doing all of that, be proud, because that essay is ready to be passed in!