I have received a lot of fascinating reactions from friends, family and strangers alike when I have told them that I am pursuing a Masters in Creative Writing. A particularly remarkable one was from a fellow passenger on my flight to Newcastle who thought that it had something to do with improving your handwriting.
Many people, including authors and media professionals, are often of the opinion that studying Creative Writing is a waste of one’s time and energy because it is an inherent talent. You either have it or you don’t. I agree with the adage to a certain extent. There needs to be an innate interest and acumen for one to pursue a career as a writer. But like all forms of art, it needs practice, drafting, redrafting, sleepless nights, a sudden epiphany, endless cups of coffee, the works.
This is where a creative writing course comes in, to help and guide you, when the road (plot) ahead might seem to have vanished into thin air. The small workshops on the Creative Writing course at Newcastle University are bubbling with new and experienced writers across all age groups and professions. We discuss works of veteran authors and allow their styles to seep into our own work. Sometimes a classroom prompt and a writing exercise of fifteen minutes holds the potential to be developed into a short story, a script or a poem.
The MA degree at the University allows you to specialise in one of the four strands: Prose, Poetry, Script and Creative Nonfiction. Even if you wish to pursue a form you are not comfortable with, the professors encourage you to take it up as a challenge and a process of discovery.
The classroom is a conducive environment to learn and unlearn, build and dismantle, to hopefully come up with something which you are then ready to share with the world.