Many students enter college with a clear idea of what they want to study and, more importantly, what they want to do after they graduate. For others, college can be a bit of a revelation. The opportunities to create are seemingly endless, yet finding a way to express this creativity in a form that will hopefully entertain or educate others can be a challenge.
The Growth Of Creative Writing In College
Throughout the twentieth century, creative writing has primarily been associated with literature, poetry, and drama. However, in recent years, this definition has changed to include all genres and styles that fall under the umbrella of creative writing. For example, non-fiction, short stories, plays, screenplays, and novellas are all considered forms of creative writing.
Why Study Creative Writing In College?
There are several reasons why a university might offer a degree in creative writing, with the most prominent being that they believe it will enhance their student’s employability. According to the US Department of Labor, between 2015 and 2021, the number of available jobs for writers and artists is predicted to increase by 19%. So it’s pretty evident that education is playing a key role in preparing students for the workforce.
Another compelling reason to study creative writing in college is that many of the careers that it leads to can be highly creative, requiring a lot of writing, thinking, and problem-solving. Some of the most in-demand jobs for creative writers in 2021 include copywriter, technical writer, journalist, and fiction editor.
The Types Of Creative Writing In College
Depending on the university, a student might study creative writing and then focus on one specific genre, but the chances are that they will have explored a variety of different styles and approaches. One of the things that makes creative writing in college so valuable is that you get the opportunity to explore different points of view, different perspectives, and different ways of approaching a topic.
Here’s a short list of some of the most common genres and styles that you will encounter in your studies:
Students might study literary fiction or creative fiction, which are both considered sub-genres of fiction. In addition to this, they will study aspects such as character, setting, and plot as these are integral to any good story. Studying fiction helps students understand the basics of narrative, which they will use in every other genre that they explore. It also means that they will have the opportunity to engage with some of the best English teachers in the world, who are also recognized for their creative talents!
A more practical consideration that leads some universities to offer a degree in non-fiction is that they believe it will help their students become better journalists or bloggers. With the rise of the digital age, the distinction between fact and fiction has blurred, and the demand for multimedia content, such as infographics and data-driven visualizations, has increased. Therefore, studying non-fiction will prepare students for a career in the field of information retrieval and curation.
Drama is another common component of a creative writing program. Like fiction, drama has traditionally been defined in terms of its elements, such as plot, character, and theme, but in recent years, the boundaries have blurred. For example, students might study theater games or interactive dramas, which blend elements of theater, film, and gaming. While traditional drama studies will certainly give you a solid foundation in scene construction and stage combat, you will also have the opportunity to develop your creative skills through writing, acting, and directing.
Another important aspect of a creative writing program is the exposure to different styles of writing and the opportunity to develop your own voice. It is well known that William Shakespeare was not averse to the odd sonnet here and there, and the experimental styles of many modern day poets can still be found on the web. Studying poetry will give you a chance to explore different narrative structures and develop your creative techniques in terms of language and rhythm. It also means that you will have the opportunity to engage with some of the best English teachers in the world, who are also renowned for their creative writing skills!
An essay is a short piece of non-fiction that typically explores a single topic in depth, offering an opinion on the subject or explaining something that happened in the context of a narrative. What’s important about essays is not so much what you will study but rather the range of topics that you will encounter. It’s an excellent opportunity to study something that you are genuinely passionate about and to develop your skills as an argumentative writer. Being able to write an essay with proficiency is a valuable tool for any student, regardless of their career path!
Once you’ve studied creative writing, you might not necessarily want to limit yourself to a single career when it comes to making your creative endeavors known to the world. Having a degree in screenwriting will give you the option to pursue either screenwriting for film or television, or, if you prefer,, digital content such as video games and online narrative.
The novel is a genre that you might study if you are a dedicated writer or poet who wishes to continue exploring the written word. Unlike the short story and the essay, the novel is a longer and more complete work that typically takes a while to write. One of the most prominent novelists of all time is undoubtedly William Shakespeare, whose works are still considered among the greatest ever produced.
Studying literature is a fantastic way to not only develop your reading skills but also to gain a deeper appreciation for the craft of storytelling. There are several English-taught universities that offer a complete degree in English literature, which means that you will not only get a great education but also have the opportunity to develop your creative and writing skills.
If you are passionate about languages, you might consider pursuing a career in translation. With so much demand for foreign language teachers, especially in emerging economies, you will certainly find work, regardless of whether you have a formal background or training in translation. The only difference is the level of pay; with many universities offering a Master of Translational Studies, you will not only be able to develop your skills but also be able to gain some extra spending money!
Why Study English In College?
If you’re reading this, then most likely you’re planning on going to college at some point in your life. Well, why not make the most of your time there? One of the most practical reasons to study English in college is that a lot of the jobs that you will encounter require some knowledge of the language. Whether you’re applying for work at a professional level or just wish to improve your social skills, you will undoubtedly find the opportunity to grow as an English speaker through studying this fascinating language.
In addition, many universities will also promote English as a foreign language, meaning that even if you don’t end up taking the language for your final degree, it will still be useful in your job search. If you’re really passionate about languages, then consider studying for a Master’s degree in Applied Linguistics, which will give you the opportunity to specialize in foreign language teaching.
Where Do I Go From Here?
You’ve decided that you want to pursue a career in creative writing. Great! You will find that there is a huge variety of work, and it’s pretty competitive. If you really want to make yourself stand out, then you should consider studying for a Master’s degree in Creative Writing. Not only will this give you the option to specialize in a single topic, but it will also mean that you have the academic credentials to back up your chosen career path.