Nine Reasons Why A Creative Writing Degree Is Freaking Sweet
7th Feb 2010 in Writing
So maybe you’re a writer, and maybe you’ve been thinking: ‘Hey, my writing could be more intellectual/less intellectual/more commercial/less commercial if I got a degree in Creative Writing – and all the lit mags love those degree kids!’
As a recent Creative Writing MLitt graduate, I present to you my list of Nine Reasons Why A Creative Writing Degree Is Freaking Sweet.
- I have some extra letters after my name. Obviously I don’t use actually sign things ‘Kirsty Logan, BA Hons, MLitt’, because I’m not a total wanker. But it’s nice to know I could.
- After my undergrad degree I spent several years working crappy minimum-wage customer-service jobs and saving money. Every time I thought about the money, I thought about the painful existential angst I suffered from dealing with The General Population all day. Now I have spent all that money on tuition fees, so I need never be reminded again.
- My girlfriend does not want to live outside the city, and I can’t afford to live in the city. Therefore we can’t live together, and I will never have to know how it feels to bicker over whose turn it is to buy toilet paper.
- Being both A Writer and A Student (and A Waitress to pay for the first two) leaves no time for household chores, so I never have to pull hairs out of the shower drain.
- My contact with other university writing programmes has resulted in the publication of much of my writing which would otherwise be in the shredder – for example, a series of haiku written by an automatic generator based on a letter I wrote to my tonsils before I had them removed.
- Spending much of my time with other writing students has led me to write things like experimental haiku based on letters to my tonsils. I am convinced that if I were not an Mlitt student, I would never have written such things.
- Attending dozens of Reading Parties, where I listened to other writers read stories about communing with Mother Bear or the journey of a sperm through the vaginal canal or the joys of hot beverages (“o cup of tea, how I love thee”), has given me enviable poker face skills.
- The ‘I have to study’ excuse can be used to get out of most unwanted social and work commitments, but with a creative writing degree any fiction reading can be classed as university work. This is why I did not feel guilty about skipping my cousin’s graduation party to stay at home and read an X-Files novelisation.
- Furthermore, anything that contains a narrative – or even words – can be useful to your development as a writer. This means never feeling guilty about spending the day watching The Ricki Lake Show, listening to nostalgic 90s rap, or reading alien abduction magazines. It’s all learning.
In conclusion: if you quite like the idea of being a shiftless, city-wandering, window-gazing, minimum-waged, library-lurking, takes-themselves-far-too-seriously, takes-nothing-seriously-except-a-bunch-of-words-on-a-page, pretentious dreaming overthinking waster of a writer, then fuck it. Do the degree.
this was a lot of fun to read. and hell i wasted all kinds of hours watching ricki lake in the 90’s…had no idea i could find them in re-run. what about tempestt?
Fantastic! Makes me regret not getting that MFA when I had the chance. Okay, not really…
Shanna, don’t get me wrong – I loved my MLitt and I’d do it again in a second. But I accept that not everyone wants to be a pretentious dreaming waster like I do!