In the United States, college students are increasingly expected to develop their academic skills and to take on creative writing as part of their coursework. According to the College Board, undergraduate writing demand is expected to increase by 25% in the next decade.
While this is undeniably good news for aspiring writers, it comes with its challenges. Specifically, it can be difficult to find the time to regularly write, never mind polish and submit the work for assessment.
Fortunately, there are simple things you can do to ensure that your writing experience is as comfortable and rewarding as possible. One of the most important things you can do for your writing career is to develop a strong foundation in the craft. This means learning the necessary skills and tools so that you can produce quality content on a regular basis.
Understand What Creative Writing Is
If you’re unsure of what creative writing is, don’t worry. You’re not alone. When applying to college, you’ll likely be asked to submit a writing sample as part of your application. In many cases, you’ll simply be asked to write a few paragraphs describing your creative writing activities in high school. While this may sound like a simple assignment, understanding what is required is key to securing great grades and progressing smoothly through your college career.
Creative writing is not a genre. It’s a form of writing that allows you to experiment and produce content that is both creative and original. This may include, but is not limited to, the following:
- Nonfiction, such as short stories, biographies, or catalogs
- Comic books or graphic novels
- Fiction, such as novels or novellas
- Dramatic writing, such as plays or screenplays
- Creative nonfiction, such as Memoirs from Life
- Artistic expressions, including dance, music, or visual arts
As you can see, this is a really broad category. It can be difficult to know where to begin. This is why it’s important to identify the specific requirements of your university or college.
Set Daily Goals
Setting goals is a crucial part of every successful endeavor. In case you’re wondering, the key to setting successful goals is to establish a clear relationship between what you want and what you’re willing to do to achieve it. For example, if you want to become a professional writer, you may need to make some significant changes to your life. When you set a goal like this, it’s important to start small and then progressively work your way up to the big things.
If you want to become a professional writer, for example, you may first need to take some online classes so that you can learn the craft. Once you’ve mastered the basic techniques, you can look into getting an academic writing position at a university or college. Here, you’ll primarily be tasked with producing scholarly works for publication. As a result, you’ll need to develop a specific skill set that will be beneficial to your career as a creative writer. Once you’ve mastered the basics of writing, you can consider taking a creative writing class where you’ll get a chance to practice your newly acquired skills on a variety of assignments. For a more in-depth look at setting goals and how to achieve them, check out how to write a business plan.
The human body needs plenty of time to rest and recuperate. Your body follows a daily schedule of resting and active periods during which it functions at its best. In the same way, your brain needs time to process all the new information you’re taking in, whether it comes from a lecture hall or a blog post. Just because you have a 9 to 5 desk job doesn’t mean you have to be at work all night. Give yourself some breaks during the day so that you can come back stronger and more productive.
Develop A Routine
Like with any hobby or pastime, there’s a certain amount of routine that goes along with being a creative writer. When you develop and follow a routine, mundane tasks like writing become much easier. For example, if you make a habit of putting your work out there into the world, eventually it will start to come back to you. As you get more confident in your writing, you can take on bigger projects and tasks as part of your routine. Creative writing is a fantastic skill to have, but it can be difficult to find the time to do it every day. A routine can help, as can a few focused sessions where you put aside all other activities so that you can get the work done.
Join A Society Of Creative Writers
If you’re looking to further your creative writing career, why not consider joining a society of creative writers. These are organizations that were founded upon the belief that writers should be compensated for the work they do. In return for your membership fee, you’ll get access to a variety of social events and opportunities to network and build connections within the creative writing community. Some of the benefits of becoming a member of a writers’ society include the following:
- Networking – Meet other creative writers and make contacts that can benefit your career
- Scholarships and grants – Many writers’ societies offer scholarships and grants to their members
- Protected images – Registration as a member of a writers’ organization allows you to retain copyright of your creative works
- Education – Many writers’ organizations offer online and offline learning opportunities to members
- Publications – Many writers’ organizations have publications available to their members
- Fiction Fellowship – Many writers’ organizations offer residencies and fellowships to their members
- Creative Writing Degrees – Several writing degrees, such as the MFA, require a lot of coursework in creative writing. Joining a writers’ organization can open the door to getting into an accredited university or college program
- Career Paths – There are literally hundreds of careers that you can explore if you have a background in writing. From copywriting to magazine editing to screenwriting and beyond, your skills will be highly valued in nearly any field
In conclusion, establishing a creative writing foundation at the college level is an excellent place to start your writing career. By taking the time to develop your skills while at college, you’ll be able to secure your first professional writing gig and begin to make your way to the top. Don’t hesitate to put in the work and dedicate the necessary time so that you can succeed.