8 Reasons Why a Degree in Creative Writing is Not a Waste of Money

A degree in creative writing is like any other degree: it is as useful as you make it.

And in this article, I‘m going to give you a list of 8 reasons why I believe that a degree (B.A. or M.A.) in creative writing isn’t a waste of time and money.

Things I gained from doing my degree, things I’m certain I wouldn’t have been able to gain elsewhere.

I studied for an M.A. in Creative Writing (part-time, distance learning) after getting a B.A. in English.

If you want to become a good writer, there are a number of things you will need to learn.

1. You will become a creative writing expert.

Pretty obvious, right?

You won’t improve as a writer unless you show your work to the world.

2. You will meet like-minded people and get feedback on your work.

When doing a degree in creative writing, you will get to meet lots of like-minded people with the same passion as you.

That’s one of the top skills of a successful writer: being able to receive feedback and use it to improve your craft.

In distance learning degrees, most of the communication happens online, through forums and workshops.

Having a team of trustworthy, objective people who are not afraid to tell the truth about your work is invaluable.

Trust me, if you really want to get better, you don’t want someone who is too afraid to be honest with you in case they’ll hurt your feelings.

A strong portfolio is essential for finding writing job opportunities.

3. You will build a strong portfolio of work.

When you do a degree in creative writing, you don’t only study the theory, you also get to do a great deal of practice through activities and assignments.

This means that by the end of your degree, you could end up with a portfolio of up to 35,000 words of professional material that has the potential to land you jobs, get you published and/or win some writing competitions.

Because putting some effort into your degree and getting good grades means that your portfolio will include pieces of work that have been carefully thought-out, written, edited, commented on by peers, and assessed by industry professionals.

One of the short stories I wrote for an assignment got a grade of 80% and was shortlisted for the Writers’ Forum Short Story Contest in May 2020.

I’ll find out if I’ve made the top 3 within a couple of months.

Being a creative writing graduate shows you have put time and effort into becoming a better writer.

4. You will gain professional credibility.

When applying for a writing job, your employer or client will look at your CV and see that you have a degree in creative writing, and it might instantly set you apart from other candidates because it shows that you’re not just “someone who likes writing”: you’re someone who took writing so seriously that you actually spent money and time getting a degree in it.

It shows how serious and skilled you really are as a writer.

Of course, you need more than just a mention on your CV: having a degree does not do everything for you.

Meeting industry professionals gives you invaluable insight into the world of publishing.

5. You will get to meet industry professionals.

Throughout your degree, you will probably have the opportunity to meet industry professionals.

And don’t think that distance learning makes any difference.

While studying for my degree, I got to meet agents and publishers online: there was a window of several days where we could ask whatever we wanted, and they would respond to us directly.

I didn’t know I loved scriptwriting so much.

6. You might fall in love with a genre you’d never explored.

Most of the time when doing a degree in creative writing, you have the opportunity to choose a primary and a secondary genre. I chose fiction and script. Other options include poetry and non-fiction.

It can make a huge difference in your skill set, and therefore in your career.

It might be just the push you need.

7. You will finish that story/novel you’ve been working on for ages.

It might not be an argument in itself, but more of a “nice plus”.

So if you just can’t finish any of the stories you start writing, and you feel like you need a little guidance and structure, a degree might be just the thing for you.

That was actually one of the reasons I decided to do a degree in creative writing.

A passion for writing might be enough to get in.

8. You don’t need to have studied creative writing before.

Of course, this will depend on the requirements for your specific university/degree.

In some cases, some experience and the right amount of motivation is all you need!

And it’s not because you haven’t studied creative writing before that you will necessarily fall behind and fail: as long as you have a good understanding of how academic studies work (there are free courses to get you up to speed), and you already have some creative writing experience (even just as a serious hobby), you will probably get by. It’s honestly not that difficult.

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Pauline Julien

Pauline Julien

Postgraduate student in Creative Writing, storyteller, narrative designer, nomad, cat-owner.