After receiving an answer request on Quora for the question – “What's the best advice you can give to someone who wants to study Creative Writing at university?” – I have answered in the form of an AskDigiNo video:
Question – “What's the best advice you can give to someone who wants to study Creative Writing at university?”
Here is the transcript from my video answer:
See, I studied creative writing, well English and creative writing, and what I would say is, when I was doing it I felt this isn't going to help me in the professional world. I was quite negative about it. When you're studying contemporary poetry you can sort of feel like, hmmm, how am I going to use this?
But when, looking back on it, it really was the best choice for me.
I chose it because it was the only thing I was good at was writing and reading. I didn't have any digital skills back then. When studying creative writing you might feel that same kind of dread for the professional world once you graduate. But the skills that you learn along the way are vital for the professional world.
When you study business, you learn all these skills about business, how to make money. But I feel the number one thing for good business is good communication and you may find a lot of business students are so good at the nitty gritty, the technical side of business, but when it comes to communicating through email, they may not have the right words, the right sentence structure to really communicate their message.
Every week you study what good writing is and your writing these things yourself. Like you're writing stories to convey a message. This doesn't seem like it at the time, but it translates to when you're writing an email pitch to someone for business or, you know writing your personal statement for a job application. Really like selling yourself through your words. You don't want to use too many adjectives like in a novel, but the fundamentals of communication is there.
For my final project at university, I had to write a short novel.
Or I chose to do that and this went a long way in helping me with grammar. This was just so vital, cause now most of my time I've spent writing articles and if I have bad grammar, then readers wouldn't accept this. Google wouldn't accept it, either. These are really vital skills that you'll pick up in creative writing.
When I wrote my book at the end of University, I turned it into a full-size novel and this whole process really, really helped with my grammar. Cause I wanted to get it perfect before I self-published it. If you want to find out how to write a book and how to self-publish, I've written a full guide on that, so I'll link to that below:
And this was a really, really good exercise.
When I was at university, we didn't have any professional writing modules.
It was all creative writing to do with literature, script writing, short stories, things like that. But when I've stepped into the professional world, I always think back to the things I learned about creative writing. Theory on narrative, what makes a reader root for a character, a protagonist. You'll find the fundamentals of it all still applies when you're writing a blog.
For instance, I can write a blog and I'll have in my mind to say, okay, if I write in this way, the reader is going to perceive me in this way. So they might perceive me as an antagonist – I don't want that. I want to be perceived as a protagonist. So there's a lot of great theory that will help in the professional world of creative writing.
That's my best advice, is don't get too discouraged when all of your friends are studying science or computer science and it feels like they're all going to be more successful than you.
This might be true, but there's so much you can do with creative writing if you're willing to put in the work. I know for me, for teaching as well, being able to communicate – it's been amazing.
Don't study creative writing if you don't want a job in teaching or writing. If you love writing, that's all you want to do, then go for it. That's all I can say. You might not become the next George R.R. Martin, but you might find yourself writing a blog that's very successful, and you can just pick up all the digital skills afterwards.
When I graduated, I didn't have any digital skills.
That's why I went on something like Skillshare, which I've written extensively about. Skillshare helped me pick up all the skills to combine my writing skills with digital skills in order to make an income.
So, hopefully, that answers your question. Thanks for the answer request on Quora.