1. Honeybun
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    Honeybun Active Member

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    MA in Creative Writing anyone?

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Honeybun, May 9, 2009.

    Hi guys, I'm not quite sure whether this is the right place for this thread, but I'll just give it a go.

    I really want to know if anyone here has done a degree in Creative Writing. What's it like? and what should one expect? How much will it add to one's writing career or abilities?...etc.

    Any info would be great! :)

    Thanks
     
  2. Henry The Purple
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    Henry The Purple Active Member

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    Self-help is the best help. Doing an MA in it is nice, and it may even increase your chances of landing a job in writing...BUT, to be a succeful novelist/poet/writer you must be entirely self-driven. No course in the world can cultivate the kind of self-discipline and devotion required to hone the craft properly...
     
  3. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    I only know of two writers who have that degree, and they were not very good. Of all the writers whose education I know about, the best ones were more likely to chose areas of study that gave them something to write about instead of focusing on classes that tell them how to write. For sure, take some classes, but I would not recommend making it your major. Besides, what can you do with such a degree if your writing career doesn't take off besides teach and run a cash register? At least with a degree in e.g. history, there are museums and historical societies, and other tourist-attraction type places that involve history.
     
  4. hiddennovelist
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    hiddennovelist Contributing Member Contributor

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    That's what I was going to advise. I majored in English Lit, just because they didn't have a creative writing major at my college until right before I graduated, and took as many creative writing classes as I could. Looking back, I really wish I had chosen to major in something else and just taken a few creative writing classes to help me improve my technique.
     
  5. Honeybun
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    Honeybun Active Member

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    I suppose you're right guys. But generally speaking, I think it's good to learn the techniques- given that you're passionate about writing- and add some, I dunno, tightening to those edges?

    Thanks for passing by ;)
     
  6. hiddennovelist
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    hiddennovelist Contributing Member Contributor

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    I couldn't agree more. But you don't have to major in creative writing to do that. Just use your extra curriculars.
     
  7. Ashleigh
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    Ashleigh Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm goin to be doing a BA in creative writing and literature in september.

    This thread shall be usefull to me too ;)
     
  8. JGraham
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    JGraham Senior Member

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    I do not have a degree. But this semester i will be starting. I am going to Major in Creative Writing and Minor in History. Like someone said in here you always need something to fall back on. And history will be a solid second choice. History has always amused me and i try to interject any history i can into my writing.
     
  9. Ashleigh
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    Ashleigh Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'd just like to point out that C.W degree's are not souly about 'teaching you to write'. You do not, by any stretch, just sit there writing stories all day. It's about exploring different genre's and types of text - Journalism, screenplay,fiction, textbook (and of course, your standard truck load of essays) - whatever. Also, it's the study of literature aswell. Whether it's in the title or not is irrelevent, because there will be an equal number of modules that require you to study literature, aswell as write and analyze your own. It IS NOT just some underdeveloped course made for people who are desperate to get published. Anybody who actually believes that is completely ignorant, and clearly hasn't researched the subject. (This is not aimed at the OP, I know you dont think this way)

    It's all very well saying that talent should come from within, but the degree provides the outlet of such talent, aswell as the opportunity to find out what forms of writing you like/dislike, and more importantly what you're good at. If you're snowed under with work for another course that you really dont enjoy and only took because it sounded more 'academic', then when will you get the chance to be creative?

    A good writer can write about anything - I dont see how somebody can be imaginitive if they can only write about Law, or Psychology. That's just text book stuff. If you're born to be a writer, it'll come through - so you might aswell take a subject you enjoy, and have faith in your ability to try your pen at any subject :)

    I'd also like to point out that a degree is the platform to better, well-payed jobs, whether they be in the area you intended or not. Writing and literature is just as valid as any other degree when trying to find a job - just because somebody doesn't become an author doesn't mean the course was meaningless. It just means you follow a different career path. A degree is a degree - Just because somebody took psychology doesn't mean they're necessarily going to be a psychologist, but it doesn't mean that their efforts were wasted either. The idea of a degree is that it opens a world of doors, not just one.

    Sure there are 'extra curricular' writing classes, but they dont cover it in any depth, or necessarily promise that you'll improve on writing - it's just an activity, not a study. If you enjoy writing, then just go for it - You'll have the same opportunities as anybody else with a degree. Trust your own mind - if you enjoy literature and writing, and you know you'll enjoy it, then what's stopping you? It's important to do what's good for you, not what sounds good to somebody else. If you dont like history, or psychology, or...I dont know, theology - then why take it? If it isn't your area of interest/career choice, then it's pointless, because you wont enjoy it, and it'll only open the same doors as another degree - So it might aswell be in the subject that you love. It's useless making yourself miserable for three years all for the same outcome. Just do what makes you happy and you'll have no regrets.

    That's my two cents.

    Good luck!
     
  10. Honeybun
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    Honeybun Active Member

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    Thanks guys, it is true that one should study what appeals to him rather than drown into a life of misery trying to study another.

    Is it advisable to take creative writing classes before starting an MA in the field? I have a BA in English, and haven't been envolved in writing workshops- which I think are very useful and interesting.

    lol @ Ashleigh. Your two cents are two thousand pounds to me :) thanks!
     
  11. Ashleigh
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    Ashleigh Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thanks :D Glad I could help.

    My comments weren't really aimed at anybody, but while we were on the subject, I just wanted to give my opinion on the misconception that C.W and literature are worthless and doesn't count as a recognised, appreciated degree. I say this because I've come across alot of people who don't think it's a solid, reliable subject - usually, it's either an unresearched opinion, or an opinion based on someone elses failure. IMO, You get as good out of a subject as you put in.

    Well done on already have a BA in English! Seeing as you've already worked so hard and gotten yourself an English degree, it's all the more reason to get a masters in the areas of English that you love best.

    I'm sure you'll love it, and I wish you all the best of luck :)
     
  12. Henry The Purple
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    Henry The Purple Active Member

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    I'm actually majoring in English Literature, so I know what I'm talking about. I'm not saying that studying literature is bad in itself...I'm merely saying it's unlikely to have a significant impact on how you grow as a writer. That will have to come solely from yourself, whether you study CA or not. I am not bashing the course, but most of the best writers out there never touched a 'writing' course. Most of my classmates studying literature are actually women (hardly any males), and a lot of them have no writing ambitions, they just have an interest in the degree. The interest is what matters I suppose.
     
  13. Honeybun
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    Honeybun Active Member

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    I know what you mean Purple. I know that I'm very much keen on getting a degree, and based on my interest in writing, I chose this course.

    I'm fully aware that to be a successful writer doesn't really come from/ depend on studying CW, but has to do with something within us.

    Thanks a lot for your encouragement Ashleigh, this really means a great deal :)
     
  14. Ashleigh
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    Ashleigh Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah, I agree. I'm not saying that you need the degree to make you a good writer, but i'm saying that it can't hurt it. Inmy opinion though, it certainly could help with your writing alot - it'd be ridiculous to state otherwise. The entire course has been set up for that exact purpose. The practice, criticism, and variation in itself will help you to grow immensely as a writer, providing you put the effort it. Sure, you can do this in your own time - but why? Why, when you could gain a degree whilst you do it? It's important to enjoy the subject you take - If you enjoy english and writing, then I can't see why you should steer clear of it.

    Also, it'd help with knowledge of contacts and publishers - most of those degree's are run by people who have worked in publishing, television, the theatre, etc...and are almost always authors themselves. At middlesex, where i'm hoping to go, the course tutor is an established author and poet, and worked for over 20 years in the BBC.
    Now, if anybody thinks that they wouldn't have alot to learn from that person, then you're very mistaken, i'm afraid.
     
  15. Honeybun
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    Honeybun Active Member

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    It's true. Once you get the oppertunity to study under the supervision of pros, because it's their experience is what you want to learn from.
     
  16. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    Of course it wasn't. It was likely directed at someone else specific
    Why are you exploring them if not to learn how to be a better writer, then, in a degree program designed for writers, which is exactly what I said at first? I never even came close to implying all that negative stuff you think I was, or said that taking it is a bad idea, just pointing out some of the challenges you could face with it. I know so many people who took courses for no other reason than because they liked it without knowing what they could do with them and end up being clueless about jobs once they graduate.
     
  17. lilix morgan
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    lilix morgan Contributing Member

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    I'm planning on majoring in English. I start college this September, so this topic is pretty interesting. -reads through-
     
  18. Honeybun
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    Honeybun Active Member

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    I'm also starting this September, and I really wanted to know what to expect. I've naturally searched the course as a whole, but on can never know about it in depth if you don't ask those who have been through it.
    '
    Glad you find this thread interesting lilix, and I hope more would benifit from it as to not end up 'clueless' :(

    Keep it up ;)
     
  19. marina
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    marina Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have no idea, but I do know Shannon Hale has a degree in Creative Writing. Also, many published authors started out as teachers (Stephen King, Melina Marchetta, Rick Riordan). So maybe a degree in Creative Writing as well as teaching might be a good idea.
     

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