So, you’re studying a Creative Writing degree at university?
First of all, props to you. Despite what anyone says, a Creative Writing degree is one of the most challenging degrees out there. It will test your skills, patience, and will push you right out of your comfort zone. If you’re going to make it out alive, you’ll need some tips and tricks to help you through. Here is the ultimate guide to a Creative Writing degree!
1. Don’t be too hard on yourself
One of the most difficult things I had to come to terms with during my Creative Writing degree was having my work slated. On a weekly basis.
Part of the workshopping process is sharing your work with others and receiving suggestions for improvement. And believe me when I say, your work is going to get ripped to shreds. Not everyone is going to like your ideas, and it can be disheartening to know that your work hasn’t been received in the way that you hoped it would.
But once you overcome the first hurdle and understand that what you’re actually receiving is helpful, constructive criticism, the whole process becomes a lot more rewarding. Most importantly, don’t be too hard on yourself! Take any and all constructive criticism on the chin, and use it to help you develop and improve as a writer!
2. Plan your time well
Organisational skills are key when it comes to a Creative Writing degree. By the end of your first year, you’ll most likely have written between 10,000 and 20,000 words. That’s an awful lot if you think about it. Make sure to create a schedule detailing when you’re going to work on your writing, and how much you’re going to get done each day. Remember to leave aside some time for proofreading and editing, too!
3. Put yourself out there
Don’t shy away from creativity! Even if you think an idea might be a little risqué, get it down on paper! Your Creative Writing degree is all about finding your own unique style and voice, so put yourself out there with your ideas. You never know, one strange concept could be the beginning of a wonderful story! Plus, it’s so rewarding when someone praises an idea that you were a little unsure about.
The best writers in history never played it safe!
4. Don’t be afraid to say how you feel
On a similar note, don’t back away from sharing your opinions on other people’s work. At first, you’re probably going to feel a little nervous about offering criticism. But part of becoming a great writer is learning how to spot strong technique and skill, as well as figuring out how to recognise these aspects in your own work.
Don’t be outright nasty about other people’s work, though. It’s never a good idea to insult somebody’s piece, especially if they’ve dedicated hours of hard work to put it together. Instead, point out strong areas and suggest tips for improvement.
5. Keep on your toes!
When it comes to a Creative Writing degree, it’s no good staying stuck in the same old routine. In order to create new and impactful material, it’s important to mix up your writing habits.
When you aren’t busy putting together an anthology of poetry or finishing off a novel, try some simple writing prompts. These can be found on websites all over the internet, and will help broaden your literary horizons! There are some really wacky ones out there, so get searching!