1. Brandon J.
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    Brandon J. Member

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    Writing in College

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Brandon J., Jul 25, 2016.

    When I go to college, I plan on majoring in journalism. Creative Writing is and always will be a passion, but I am wondering if I would be sacrificing an opportunity if I didn't take any courses in Creative Writing in college.
     
  2. A man called Valance
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    A man called Valance Active Member

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    If you can find time for both, do both. If the schedule gets so tough that you have to be practical and drop creative writing to concentrate on something that'll pay the bills, so be it. At least you'll have tried. Good luck whatever you decide.
     
  3. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think journalism, these days, may be almost as much of a day-dream profession as novelist. That is, there are certainly some who make a living at it, but not nearly as many as want to.

    I think university can be an opportunity to broaden horizons rather than specialize. For me, I'd hope to have the discipline to take courses I found interesting but wouldn't likely learn about on my own. Like, if someone is passionate about reading and researching history, but isn't taking a history degree, I'd say that person may not benefit as much from talking history electives because she's already going to learn a lot of history without taking the courses. She shouldn't take something that holds absolutely no interest, but maybe she could take an anthropology course or something instead, to learn something totally new?

    So, if you're already passionate about creative writing, maybe you don't need to take creative writing courses because you'll learn it all on your own. Maybe.
     
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  4. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'd go one further and say it's pretty much that way with any profession. Universities and colleges have become factories for churning out Qualified Workers. I saw the beginnings of this movement when I went to college in the 1980s. I once overheard a conversation between two staff members at the college who were talking about funding units. When I asked an instructor what a funding unit was, he looked me in the eye and said, "You are." Like any corporation, they put out a product, an 'educated' funding unit.

    What this has lead to is unpaid internships for any job worth having and those go to people who can somehow get along without an income after graduating (the length of internships varies from a few months to five years). The rest of us have to either keep on living at home or come up with some kind of partnership with others in the same situation so we can all survive until those internships turn into jobs.

    So, if you're really not into journalism and you're just taking it as a way to earn money after graduation, just forget about it and sign up for all creative writing courses. Either way, you're likely to be still living with your parents when you turn forty, but at least you'll be doing what you want.
     
  5. Brandon J.
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    Brandon J. Member

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    I love the replies. To be quite honest I would say journalism and creative writing are sort of co-dreams for me. I love doing both.
     
  6. Constance Cole
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    Constance Cole Member

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    The situation you are in right now is actually a pretty good one, since creative writing and journalism remotely co-exists. You taking up journalism might even help you with your passion in creating writing.
     
  7. deadrats
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    deadrats Active Member

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    Journalism is awesome to study and awesome to work in. The hours are long. The pay sucks. But you get to do important things. I think it's a great thing to study. Though the landscape of the industry is changing, trained and responsible journalists will always be needed. And why wouldn't you take creative writing courses while you are in college? Those might be the best part of getting the education.
     
  8. platerawriter
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    platerawriter Member

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    Right now, I'm actually a double major in English and communications with concentrations in creative writing and journalism respectively. I guess there are multiple schools of thought, I've heard some say that it's better to focus on one specific subject matter/field that you'll pursue a career in for the rest of your life, but I don't believe that should be the case.

    I know myself and know I will never be satisfied doing one thing for the rest of my life. I love that my school allows me to work for my bachelors in communications and English, while having special concentrations. My career interests tend to vary by the day, so I think it'll benefit me to cast out a wider net to help me. If your school has something like that and you feel like you can manage the work, I'd 100% recommend it. Even if not a double major, I'd say maybe to minor in one of them or at the very least take some classes. I've taken a few creative writing classes so far and am registered for two more this upcoming semester, and believe me when I say it's a very valuable experience. :)

    And also, I know some other mentioned this, journalism doesn't always pay all the bills alone. My mentor at school has made her living by freelancing articles, writing books, ghost writing books and even owning and managing a magazine for a while. So sometimes you just have to ride the wave a little. I guess essentially what I'm trying to say here is that you have a lot of options. It also is worth mentioning that journalism values experience often times in even higher regard than education, at least in my experience. I've been told that an English major with a superior portfolio of clips and internships could easily beat out a journalism major for a job. So there's a lot to consider!
     
  9. etherealcalc
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    etherealcalc Member

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    I feel like several majors, especially the humanities, give you plenty of legroom to take classes outside your requirements. I don't see why you couldn't take some CW classes here and there.
     
  10. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Creative writing courses can go one of two ways. Either you find a good group of students who take it seriously, or you end up with students who are taking it for an easy A. I took two creative writing courses, and we had a mix of both types of students. I got lucky because most of the students I dealt with were serious enough to give some kind of constructive criticism.

    I suggest you take a creative writing class to see if you like it. Hopefully you have room for an extra class or elective in your schedule.
     
  11. cydney
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    cydney Banned

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    This thread reminds me of how hard it is for me to write a thesis or even just an end-of-the-course paper. It was hard for me when I was 20 and even harder for me the last time I took a college course.

    Learning and education are always interesting for me. I don't know why I can't write a paper about it.

    Creative writing is different, I think. Creating anything should always be enjoyable - always a positive choice. We should always have that freedom. Really sad to see when that doesn't happen. Especially for a young person.
     
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  12. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    Creative v. Formal writing. They are completely different. With formal writing you have to write something that is based on reality and is typically serious and linked to a specific topic, presenting one side, or both sides of a discussion on the topic. Also you have to cite your sources so you have something to back up your paper on specific topic and point of either pro or con. There are accepted formulas that one must follow when writing Formally ( more like writing laws not to be deviated from if you expect anyone to take your work with any grain of credibility).

    Creative writing can be virtually about anything the individual can imagine, and is not required to cite sources to back up the content found within it. The format is entirely up to the individual writing the story. Just because it is pretty much cannon to have chapters, doesn't mean that you have to play along with the cliche. You don't even need to have more than one giant paragraph that runs the entire length of a novel if you want to (though that would be really cruel to the reader). You can even write a plotless story that has no clear direction or anything (again this would be cruel to the reader). Also you can have dialogue.

    So the only real thing they have in common is writing, but they are dynamically different.:)
     
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  13. deadrats
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    deadrats Active Member

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    I think you mean academic rather than formal, maybe? I see formal as more of a style that can still be used in creative writing if someone wanted to take that approach.

    In theory, Cave Troll, you are correct that creative writing can be just about anything. However, once you start to take creative writing seriously with an eye on publishing, it is important to be very aware of what you are doing and how it has or hasn't been done before. There are still rules to writing. You can break them or follow them, but you should be aware of them. If you want to publish your work, a plotless story with no clear direction is not the way to go. Even in a writing class, why would you ever want to make your fellow classmates read such a thing?

    Anyone majoring in writing or English will probably end up doing some of both. But the OP really wasn't asking about that.
     

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