Creative Writing Classes — A Veterans Perspective

I’m a writer by my own definition. It’s what I love to do, and what I want to do with my life. I’ve known this since I was young, and over the years I played to my passion and took a lot of creative writing classes. I took different kinds of writing courses in high school, community college, a four year university, and an on-line school. So I’d like to think that I’m a veteran of these kind of classes.

Writing is a hard thing to learn, and even harder to teach. Photo by eklarkins on Flickr

Writing is a hard thing to learn, and even harder to teach. Photo by eklarkins on Flickr

So take it from me when I tell you – if you love to write, then take as many writing classes as you can, but DON’T TAKE THEM IN COLLEGE. That’s right, don’t you dare waste your time, effort, and money on racking up what are essentially useless college credits.

The truth is, writing is like athletic ability: some people have the talent, and some people do not. If you have that talent, then you need to use it, practice it, hone it, perfect your craft. But if you do not have the talent, a writing class will do very little for you.

If you do have the talent, you can find other ways to hone it, because bottom line having a creative writing class on your college transcript will impress no one and be no help to you at all in finding a job. It won’t even help you get a writing job, because your writing will be the thing to land you a writing job. High school kids can instantly become pro athletes, and high school kids can also become successful authors with virtually no experience.

So do not take college courses for creative writing, take classes that will enhance your overall education and prepare you for a job you may have to take even if you don’t want to.

While you are taking real classes, there are several options for working on your writing. Distance learning classes that cost nothing, for example. Or workshops hosted in your area by successful authors. Or simply practice in your free time.

What did I learn from all the different writing classes I took? I learned to write in different formats, which is important if you want to diversify. I learned to take criticism, and how to use that criticism during re-writes. But the biggest lesson I learned is that there are no hard and fast rules to writing, and all a professor can really teach you is how THEY write. And while it is good to learn different styles, any writing teacher will be evaluating and grading your work based on their own personal tastes. And writing, like any art, is purely subjective. So there is just as good a chance that the writing class will discourage or hinder you as there is of it helping you. And that is not something worth pursuing while you pursue a degree.

This is just one man’s opinion. But it’s an opinion I earned.

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