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Difference between academic writing and creative writing


In personal, reflective, or creative writing, there are far fewer rules since it is.. well. personal and creative! In this kind of writing, one can tell a story, summarize their experiences, or express their opinions, ideas, or emotions. Their writing can be entirely fictional, requiring minimal factual evidence or support. However, writers may still want to include support for their assertions, especially if their personal writing is supposed to be persuasive or deliver an opinion. Writers may support their claims with personal experiences and information that they have heard, even if they aren’t entirely sure where from. Their evidence doesn’t have to include the page number of the specific text it is found in like academic writing does. This is simply because it is writing for the purpose of only the writer’s intentions. It doesn’t need to satisfy requirements or match the grading of a rubric. Academic or scholarly writing on the other hand is a little more standardized. One’s writing must be much more organized and formatted, and the evidence used as support for their assertions must come from concrete sources. The sources should be properly cited both in text and in a works cited page. In academic writing, the writer needs to prove to the reader that what is being said is factual and correct. Ideas need to be explained, and any inferences or deductions based on textual evidence or data must include support. Contrary to creative writing, one cannot simply ponder about an idea and ask questions. In academic writing, questions must be answered.

Another difference between academic writing and creative or personal writing is the presence of pressure due to time restraints. In timed essays, ones writing situation may greatly change. There is no time to brainstorm or procrastinate, so being able to organize ideas quickly is essential. Also, far greater preparation before beginning the paper is required. The writer does not have the luxury of aimlessly searching through sources for evidence. The subject of the timed essay must be understood thoroughly, prior to the beginning of the timed writing.

Overall, creative writing allows for more personal expression whereas academic/scholarly writing aims to explore an idea, argument, or concept. Academic writing requires more factual evidence for support, and presents challenges such as the pressure of time. They each have their own purpose, and as a developing writer, I hope to improve my writing of both types.

Difference Between Academic Writing and General Writing

Main Difference – Academic Writing vs General Writing

Writing is an action that we all engage in our day to day lives. There are different styles of writing such as literary writing, technical writing, creative writing, academic writing, etc. Academic writing is the style of writing we use in academic disciplines, which requires a special set of skills. The main difference between academic writing and general writing is that academic writing is very formal, objective and concise in comparison to other styles of writing.

This article looks at,

1. What is Academic Writing? – Features, Choice of Language, and Use

2. What is General Writing? – Features, Choice of Language, and Use

3. What is the difference between Academic Writing and General Writing?

What is Academic Writing

Academic writing is the style of writing we use in the field of academics. Research projects, term papers, conference papers, essays, abstracts, reports, etc. in various disciplines are written in this style. The main difference between academic writing and other styles of writings is that it is more formal and structured. Academic writing also has its own set of rules and structures. The target audience or the readers of academic writing is the scholars of the same discipline.

Academic writing is generally objective, concise and impersonal. It is also more complex than general writing and may consist of technical jargon. Precision is also another very important factor in academic writing. Punctuation and grammar should be strictly followed. Contractions (don’t, can’t, etc.), slang or informal words, clichés, unnecessary filler words such as really, very, etc. should also be avoided in academic writing.

Referencing and citations is another major difference in academic writing. In academic writing, the writer is expected to support his argument by citing evidence by other sources. However, this evidence from other sources always has to be properly attributed according to an accepted style guide such as APA, MLA, Chicago and Harvard referencing.

What is General Writing

Writing for non-academic and no-technical purposes can be described as general writing. This is the style of writing we use in our day to day life. Diary and journal entries, letters, emails, newspaper articles, advertisements, posters, etc. are all written in a general writing style. Although general writing also requires correct spelling and grammar, it is not as strict as academic writing. In addition, there are no restrictions on the use of slang, contractions, clichés and other words. General writing can be informal, formal or semi-formal, but it’d be simpler and easier to understand than academic writing. There is also no need to use strict referencing and citation in general writing.

Difference Between Academic Writing and General Writing

Academic Writing is used in research projects, conference papers, essays, abstracts, reports, etc.

General Writing is used in letters, emails, newspaper articles, diary and journal entries, etc.


Academic Writing uses formal, objective, concise language.

General Writing uses informal, semi-formal language.


Academic Writing does not use slang.

General Writing can use slang.


Academic Writing does not use contractions.

General Writing can use contractions.

Referencing and citations

Academic Writing always uses referencing and citations.

General Writing does not usually use referencing and citations.

About the Author: Hasa

Hasa has a BA degree in English, French and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Masters degree in English. Her areas of interests include literature, language, linguistics and also food.

The Difference between an Essay and Creative Writing

An essay can be written creatively but it has a structure that is not seen in creative writing. Creative writing is free writing that goes outside the bounds of other forms of literature and typically shows imagination and invention.

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It helps people to step outside of their reality and into an imaginative world. A formal essay is generally a piece of writing that presents the ideas of the author or proposes an argument, expresses an emotion or initiates a debate.

Types of essays

Essays can be descriptive, persuasive, narrative or expository and each type has certain structuring requirements. The main reason for these requirements is to make the material clear to the reader. The writing needs to flow logically and stick to the topic.

The introduction gives readers a glimpse into what topic the essay will discuss. The body fleshes out the topic and offers mounting evidence in the form of specifics to support the arguments of the writer. The reader should be able to follow the argument as it builds step by step. The end paragraph summarizes all the evidence put forward and makes inferences from it. Most essays, except for narrative essays, are written in the third person.

Types of Creative writing

There are many different types of creative writing, from poems and haikus to short stories and memoirs. Creative writing may include first, second and third-person accounts. The language is engaging and the focus is usually on the narrative. Creative writing, especially dialogue, will usually have colloquial expressions unique to a character.

Creative writing offers writers an opportunity to express themselves and convey their emotions. Some stories are historical and use real characters from history but the authors have the freedom to invent and do not have to stick to the facts.

Creative writing forms an umbrella for all kinds of written expression using just about any kind of structure. As long as the writer uses imagery to create an environment or a mood and makes a person feel a certain way, it can be classified as creative writing.

Essay writing help from professionals

Students getting an education at college often find that time constraints prevent them from doing their best work when writing an essay. They have to focus so much on what they need to study that they may need help. Using the reliable essay writing service from EduBirdie can help them to cope. They can have direct communication with one of the pre-vetted professional writers who will take their instructions seriously and give them a well-written essay on time.

The purpose makes the difference

Style is the main difference between creative writing and academic writing. Creative writing does not need to adhere to any specific format whereas the structure and execution of a formal essay have to be done according to a number of stringent guidelines.

Formal essays are written to inform readers, whereas the purpose of creative writing is to entertain them, inspire them and evoke emotions. When creative writing, a writer can do some subtle philosophizing about life and disguise it in the form of a story. Many good creative writers incorporate social issues into their fictional stories that can stir a response in readers.

A transition to academic writing can be difficult

It can be difficult for students to transition from writing high school essays to writing more formal, academic essays. They may be unused to all the requirements for writing academic essays and struggle with many aspects. For example, they may find it difficult to understand that they should not use any source without citing it or they could be accused of plagiarism. They may have to study all the requirements for referencing very carefully before they’re sure of how to format them.

It can be tricky to switch between academic writing and creative writing. Students used to creative writing may end up writing an academic essay in a more informal way using colloquialisms and more. They’re surprised to find that they get poor marks because they do not yet understand the difference between creative essay writing and writing a formal academic essay.

Those who enjoy researching a specific topic and imparting their knowledge to others may gravitate towards formal essay writing whereas those who enjoy telling a story and entertaining people may prefer creative writing.

Professional essay writing online

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Writing academic essays

When writing an academic essay, it is necessary to follow standard citation practices. Students can use any reliable source as long as they cite it properly. They have a thesis and they have to defend it, proving that what they say is true. Advancing their arguments means gathering evidence to support them and perhaps responding to scholars who hold the opposite viewpoint.

The language used in an academic essay can sometimes be niche jargon because the readers are usually well-versed in the topic. However, using convoluted language in an essay in order to try and “sound” academic should be avoided, especially when a student doesn’t really understand the proper use of a specific word.

Academic essays usually have a specific goal and this will dictate the type of essay. It has to be precise, concise and accurate. Students have to use evidence that comes from recognized sources to support their assertions.

The ability to write good academic essays usually only comes with practice. When students begin to understand exactly what’s required, it gives them a chance to distinguish themselves and gain excellent grades.


Just as the best creative writers will not only entertain but inform too, the best academic writers can inform in an entertaining manner. Essays do not have to be dull and boring and a well-written formal essay may just as interesting for some people to read as creative writing. Both genres of writing have a unique style and purpose that distinguish them and make them what they are.

Author’s Bio

Michael Turner is working as the lead author for a storybook publishing company and is one of the main writers behind the success of the books by the company. He’s also into freelancing and takes up gigs from the number one essay and thesis online writing agency. In his free time, he loves playing chess, reading satire books and watching anime series.