Writer’s Block: Is Writing an Art or Craft?
Just because you curate an awesome blog doesn’t mean you necessarily want to be the next great American novelist. Or even if you do, your blog content may not be fodder for your debut. But that doesn’t make one style of writing more illustrious than the other. Business writing and creative writing both require careful wordsmithing, nuanced understanding of your audience, and a clear narrative. So that leaves us with one very simple question. Is writing an art or craft?
When someone asks if writing is an art or craft, the easiest answer is: both. This is especially true when you consider how artful writing communicates your brand image, tone and voice while servicing your business needs. To understand where the distinction lies, it’s important to understand where art and craft intersect both types of writing.
The Art (and Craft) of Creative Writing
Not surprisingly, creative writing is most commonly considered an art form. The creative arc of a plot line and narrative voice draws a natural link between this pleasurable pastime and the artistic world. Experimental authors such as J.D. Salinger and David Mitchell are often praised for their artful blend of tenses, cursive and discursive consciousness, rich character development, and illustrative backdrops. The results from these artists are often kaleidoscopes of literary textures and tones.
While it’s easy to see the art in creative writing, it’s important to note there is craft as well. Many novels follow a plot formula or borrow familiar story tropes (such as the “marriage plot,” in which the protagonist overcomes a series of obstacles to – at the end – find true love). While the characters, settings, and outcomes are often different, the skeleton of many narratives borrow from well-crafted, carefully constructed story bones. Good writers pour over their literary devices and grammatical styling choices to ensure their art is – indeed – craft.
The Artful Craft of Business Writing
On the flip side, business writing is more frequently considered craft because its primary goals are satisfying SEO needs or establishing thought leadership rather than delighting an audience … but this mindset is misleading. Even though business writing does increase your brand’s searchability and build industry authority by using a (sometimes) formulaic craft approach, it is important to recognize the more artful brand elements that infuse even the most rigid, search-engine-friendly posts with life.
The art behind business writing reveals some of the subtlest, most well crafted word slinging. Even when constrained by word count, keyword requirements, tagging, and engagement trends that dictate an article’s structure, business writers must turn brand values into digestible catch phrases, and tired product descriptions into visceral snapshots of a lifestyle their customers crave.
Is Writing an Art or Craft?
The real art in the craft – or business writing – emerges when an author translates your brand. Writing is one of the most powerful tools to communicate your business’s unique value proposition and express your brand’s personality. Business writing can capture lighthearted, breezy consumer culture or emphasize the staunch reliability of a financial services firm with the simple tweak of a few nouns and adjectives.
The results show that even the most artful writing relies on craft and visa versa. So the next time someone asks, “is writing an art or craft?” you can simply reply … yes. And your brand will thank you for knowing the difference.
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