To Study or Not To Study?

Goals setting for year resolution and new project

A Masters degree in creative writing.

Advice on whether to study this is mixed at best. The verdict is that people simply don’t know whether you need some formal study to become a writer or better writer.

A nice piece I found on the Guardian.com describes what a lot of writers think about writing courses, that

A. That is cannot be taught

AND

B. That a course can only enhance what talent the writer naturally has, to begin with.

This might be so but there are other merits I believe to studying a writing course, whether it be taken in a University or otherwise. Firstly a formal course will expose you to other forms of writing and teach you how to work with a variation of the craft. By this, I mean writing poetry or script writing or non-fiction. Using the course I plan on taking with the Open University in Ireland as an example, I have the option to choose two different styles of writing. The choices are fiction, script, poetry, and non-fiction. Having the choice to tackle two styles teaches new techniques and perspectives on the craft itself. Pushing one’s skills into another area may change their writing, in general, for the better.

Another benefit to studying a course is the access you gain to not only a community of like minded people but experts in the area too, in the form of lecturers and tutors. Using the resources at hand on a writing course can only help when it comes to shaping the craft of writing and pushing it to the next level. Critical analysis and critique of your work can be tough to take. It can be even harder to find people to do it sometimes. Having assignments and people paid to read and work through them in depth can only help a writer become an even better writer.

There are other benefits to studying regardless of the subject. It can be liberating to feel you are gaining knowledge about a particular subject and bettering yourself in the process. I, myself am a life long learner and would happily study anything but, from now and for the next two years it’ll be the Masters of Creative Writing (o;

Two preparatory books I’ve been working through are recommended for the course I’m about to start. The first is Creative Writing: A Workbook with Readings and the second is Creative Writing: A Workbook with Readings . I’ve found both books to be very comprehensive and the readings in each are excellent pieces to teach with. I’d recommend them to anyone who writes or is thinking about writing.

So, that’s it on the Masters in Creative Writing. I’ll update on how it is going but as always let me know what you think about writing courses below.

Until next time (o:

 

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  1. #1 by Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt on August 5, 2016 - 12:06 am

    Everyone will look at this question through the lens of their own experience.

    I thought about such things a long time ago. Somehow, though, during the process of getting my debut novel up I passed the point where I would even consider it. I got too comfortable learning on my own, from books and practice.

    It may have been when I learned to self-edit, or when I discovered my proofreader was having personal problems and wouldn’t be able to do it (so I learned that, too), or when I learned to format – and that wasn’t that bad.

    I think I’m too old, and not interested in listening to youngsters tell me what to do. I don’t care. Funny how actually doing something, to your own carefully honed standards, also works on your confidence (that, and writing for the last 20 years).

    Most writers (except the truly deluded) know how bad/good they are, and what they need help with, and whether they can or want to learn it themselves. Good enough.

    I’m curious how your study comes out, so do report back.

    Like

    • #2 by David J Delaney on August 5, 2016 - 6:08 pm

      Thanks for commenting Alicia. I’m certainly looking forward to the course and really hope it improves my writing. I’ll certainly let people know how it all goes (o:

      Like

      • #3 by Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt on August 5, 2016 - 11:50 pm

        There are many ways to improve one’s writing – for the many different kinds of writers there are.

        I, unfortunately, don’t have the physical or mental energy to leave the house much – and I wouldn’t be much good in classes. So it’s just as well that I’m an autodidact!

        The same way that even though I’m an extreme plotter, I still enjoy reading about writers who pants. And have many online writer friends in that category.

        Liked by 1 person

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