5 Reasons Why Studying Creative Writing Kind of Takes the Fun Out of Writing
Study Creative Writing, they said. You’ll be able to finally use and develop your awesome writing skills, they said. You’ll be the next J. K. Rowling, they… OK, they didn’t say that bit, but I dream big.
If you thought, like I did, that Creative Writing was just pen, paper and imagination, I’m here (regrettably) to tell you to think again.
1. There is so much theory.
In first year, for example, we had a module called The Craft of Writing. Can you guess what that was about? Yeeeah, it was like taking A Level English Literature allll over again. Sentence structure. Adjectives. Tenses. Anything to do with words, we studied it. It was so boring, but on the other hand, a good but unnecessary refresher.
2. You sort of end up hating every set text/ novel/ screenplay.
Now, I can’t speak for everyone, but I certainly found that dissecting texts to within an inch of their lives very much took the fun out of them. By the time we were done with one, I never wanted to even glance in its direction again. Just hearing the words “A Streetcar Named Desire” makes me gag even now.
3. You can’t always write with passion.
More often than not, assignments and portfolios end up due on the same day, inevitably meaning that you end up feeling a little thinly stretched on the creativity front. For me, I would find myself putting 100% into my creative portfolios because creativity is awesome and needs to be awesome, and just blagging my way through the critical essays because, honestly, I was so uninspired by them I didn’t care as much.
4. Tutors can be close-minded to your own writing.
Many of my tutors are published poets, screenwriters and authors. Each have their own unique writing style and favourite genres. So when pitching an idea for an assignment that you yourself find interesting and exciting, you are often met with disapproval, scepticism or just pure hate because it is different to what they know. I know one girl on my course was told to do her dissertation on a marketing proposal – the exact opposite of what she wanted to do!
5. Thousand word essays + portfolios + deadlines = VERY SERIOUS WRITER’S BLOCK
Unfortunately, the criteria-driven nature of a Creative Writing degree can sometimes cause you to intermittently fall out of love with writing. It’s easy to feel like you’re writing to please your lecturers, not yourself. Before university, I would often write in my spare time, something that soon changed when assignments took over. The passion I used to have to spontaneously start writing cooled down significantly, yet to be rekindled.
Of course, I’m not saying it’s all bad, but it’s not at all what I imagined. And I just thought that you should know so that you can be more prepared than I was.
Happy writing 😅