Why do an MA in Creative Writing? Surely, if you can string a sentence together, describe a scene clearly and create some believable dialogue, you shouldn’t need to spend the time and money on completing a Master’s degree?
That’s oversimplifying the question, but the straight answer (well, my straight answer) is: if you’ve got the time, money, and inclination to do the MA, then do it. Seriously.
I learned so much more than just about the craft of writing. I learned how to give – and take – constructive criticism, and how to discern the difference between suggested edits and someone trying to rewrite what you wrote into something that they would write. I read books on writing and on different schools of writing. I discovered how to read as a writer, and allowed my writing to be influenced by a range of writers in a range of genres and forms which I wouldn’t usually read. I stopped procrastinating and became more efficient with getting stuff done NOW, rather than waiting until later, you know, tomorrow, maybe and oh crap! the deadline’s tomorrow. The course gave me structure, focus, and the intellectual stimulation I craved. I met wonderful people, and saw how my own writing improved from their advice, ideas and experience. I made new friends with people I never would have met under my usual circumstances, and my view of the world has expanded just that much more. I tried new things and reached for new opportunities – if I hadn’t been part of the MA course, those opportunities wouldn’t have been there.
I didn’t learn absolutely everything there is to know about writing, let’s be clear about that. But I did learn what my strengths and weaknesses are – and they weren’t what I thought they were. I’m writing now with a more accurate understanding of my abilities; I appreciate my strengths (I no longer apologize for enjoying writing in genres, rather than literary fiction) and am working to beef up my weaknesses into something stronger.
This was the busiest year of my life, and I enjoyed every minute of it – even during the most frustrating rewrites for the dissertation. Doing the MA in Creative Writing enriched my life and my writing.
If you’ve ever wondered about it, stop wondering and go find out about it! It just might change you – for the better.