I’ve been telling stories ever since I was old enough to hold a pencil, so I suppose you could say that storytelling is in my blood. However, over the past twenty years of my life, I have learned that stories are about more than just adventure and fantasy, or pirates and princesses and dragons. No, there is something much deeper to be discovered beneath the surface of the written word, and both reading and writing fiction of my own has helped me to reveal the true strength of fiction: the power of communication. Fiction writing has a way of gripping us both as authors and as readers alike, in a way other writing does not. Within its realms, we are free to explore sensations and emotions that likely cannot be fully expressed well in any other medium. This, I have noticed as both a writer and a reader, is particularly true in the fantasy realm, where core concepts and basic truths are dissected and analyzed in an intimate fashion, and communicates with the reading audience in a way you could not express in person. In short, in my own life, I have noticed that writing fiction has given me the courage to tackle everyday problems or sort through rough patches in my life that otherwise would be difficult to write about. So, what are some of the key ways writing fiction can help prepare you for a career? Depending on what your end goal is (mine, for example, is to be a full-time novelist), your list might be quite different from someone else’s. However, here are some essentials that should appear on anyone’s list, regardless of what your stance on writing is. Whether you’re going for a science or mathematics degree, need to learn how to scribe compelling prose, or merely wish to develop writing as a hobby, the written word has something for everyone. Below, I will list some of the biggest benefits that writing fiction has to offer as you prepare for a career in your respective field.
1. Fiction can help you find your voice
Are you, perhaps, quite introverted and find it difficult to speak up when you don’t like something? Or, do you sometimes find that suggesting better alternatives to executing tasks in the workplace can be tedious to vocalize? Quite often in life, being clear and concise can make us uncomfortable, especially if we don’t like being the center of attention, or work in a setting where people don’t know us very well. If someone on your volunteer or workplace team fails to understand what their roles are, treat your response like you are writing fiction, where there are no rules except to get a message across in a clear and concise manner. Also, with a dash of artistic flair and an expansive vocabulary, you can be sure that not only will you be listened to, but also, your bosses and co-workers alike will remember how much your articulate e-mail/PowerPoint presentation motivated them to action. However, it must be noted that to cultivate the skill of powerful written communication takes time, and will not manifest itself overnight. No matter what you think of your writing skill level, it’s best to stay in practice whenever you can—even if most of what you write is fiction for your eyes only. What matters most is the repeated exercise of expressing yourself through writing.
2. Writing Fiction Makes You Come Across As Intelligent
Over the past twenty years, I can’t even begin to count how many times I’ve received astonished glances after mentioning that I was an author to a new acquaintance. While not everyone will enter the writing field and seek to earn prestige from their skill with words, it’s universally acknowledged that a wordsmith will be respected and listened to by those around them. You do not need to be the next J.K. Rowling to earn a level of appreciation from those who walk in the same circles as you do, nor do you need to be a grand silver-tongue who speaks words above the level of the common man. While it is definitely a good idea to have a wide vocabulary, perhaps in a work setting it would be best to leave those four-syllable words to the scholars. As a general rule, writing fiction will showcase your artistic capabilities and, if published (even in small magazines or journals) can add some flourish to your resumé—attracting the discerning manager to hire you over other candidates. This can also work wonders in the educational sphere as well. Before settling on Lumerit Scholar Unbound (then CollegePlus), I walked onto the campus of a well-known school in a neighboring state, and upon bringing my self-published novel, they offered me a scholarship on the spot. I’m not saying you need to write a novel to get a glowing commendation from a workplace or university, but writing fiction (or philosophical pieces, if you dare) certainly won’t hurt your endeavors! Showing the world that you are a go-getter is one of the best ways to accelerate your race to the top of the career ladder!
3. It Allows Creativity to Grow Both in the Mind and in the Workplace
Last but certainly not least, writing fiction allows you to mentally exercise your brain on a regular basis. It has been scientifically proven that without proper stimulation, the brain will grow stagnant, and without motivation or inspiration our lives can become dull as a result. Whether you like writing or not, it is always a good idea to keep your mind sharp and to challenge yourself and your interests by penning down thoughts on what you know and expressing it in a creative manner. A side benefit of writing fiction is that it also helps you to work through issues in a meaningful and healthy way, so if you are encountering hardship in the workplace, writing can help you vent your frustration in a rewarding fashion. Not only will this help you to shift your focus from the stresses of the work day, but also, writing can potentially lead you to finding a solution to the problems you are encountering! I find that I often do my best thinking behind the screen of a computer or while scratching a fancy pen against paper. There are, quite obviously, several other amazing benefits to regularly writing fiction. It opens channels within your mind that cannot be opened otherwise, and the benefits that can be reaped span far beyond the scope of standing out in the workplace. Whether you are still a college student struggling to survive finals, or are persistently battling those real-life dragons that often manifest themselves in the form of managers, it is great to remember that writing fictions serves as a stellar outlet for both expanding and exploring our understanding of the world and the workplace. Written by Gabrielle A. Perron