Around 3 months ago, The Guardian came up with an article titled ‘Is a creative writing degree worth the money?’ (http://www.theguardian.com/education/mortarboard/2014/mar/03/students-creative-writing-degrees-are-they-worth-it). I think the subtitle of the same article, that stated ‘Some people say you’ll never get a job with a creative writing degree, but they teach valuable transferable skills’ (http://www.theguardian.com/education/mortarboard/2014/mar/03/students-creative-writing-degrees-are-they-worth-it) aptly encapsulates the whole article. My personal experience of doing a full-time M.A. in Creative Writing was with no doubt the best learning experience of my life.
The most important part of any University-level creative writing degree is the fact that students get an opportunity to workshop their creative work in workshop-groups. During my M.A., I was fortunate enough to be in a group of people, who may have a different style of writing, but have the same fundamental schema in life – to be professional creative writers. These workshop-groups would give me constructive criticism on my work, with an acutely strong emphasis on ‘constructive’. Also, our highly respected Booker-nominated faculty would be strongly involved and professionally orchestrate these workshop-groups .
Apart from the continuous improvement of my writing skills, the workshop-groups also helped me develop a ‘habit’ of writing. If I had to produce work that needed to be discussed and critiqued in groups on a weekly basis, I in-turn also had to achieve discipline in my writing schedule.
Believe me, when you face a writer’s block even after you have consumed two cups of machine-dispensed coffee, and are unproductively stirring the questionable dark sedimented residue in the bottom of you second cup, it’s good to know, there’s someone you can contact who completely understands what you’re going through.
It’s good to see that Brunel University, the university where I did my M.A. in Creative Writing from, is number 6 in The Guardian’s latest ranking of UK universities for their English and Creative Writing department. In the rankings, Brunel is right after Oxford and right above Warwick. More importantly, Brunel’s three places above University of East Anglia! (http://www.theguardian.com/education/ng-interactive/2014/jun/03/university-guide-2015-league-table-for-english-and-creative-writing)