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University query : Conversation question • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com

University query

Every month in Writer's Digest's InkWell section, we pose a question related to the writing life. Tell us your thoughts.
grundy1o1
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University query

Postby grundy1o1 » Fri Jan 27, 2012 7:40 pm

As an A-level student, I desire to become an author and a primary school teacher. I've applied for a primary education course to do at university, however, I'm not sure if I should have done a creative writing course instead. My teachers have said that you should concentrate on what you love doing, and you feel you'll be successful at, but this has made more confused on what I should do.
What do you think is best, should I have applied for a creative writing or publishing course, or stick to the education course?

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mammamaia
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Re: University query

Postby mammamaia » Sat Jan 28, 2012 7:45 am

first, you'll need to earn a living... it could take many years for you to get to that point with writing, if you ever do [the odds are heavily against it, sorry to say], which is why wannabe writers are always cautioned to get and keep 'a day job'...

and very few successful authors ever took any creative writing courses...

that should answer your question about which courses to take...
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James A. Ritchie
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Re: University query

Postby James A. Ritchie » Sat Jan 28, 2012 11:26 am

You should always do what you love. But there's no law that says you can't take one major, and take a minor or two that covers a second love. If you love teaching, then get your teachers degree. If you don't want to spend thirty years as a teacher, then find another major. But majoring in one thing doesn't mean you can't also find writing courses workshops, seminars, etc., that teach creative writing.

This is one place where I strongly disagree with maia. Darned near every successful writer I've known has had at least some creative writing courses of one kind or another. If nothing else, they have an English or Journalism degree, and both delve deeply into creative writing, at least at good universities.

It may be different where you are, but good universities here have a pretty fair assortment of creative writing classes and courses that are wonderful, but that do not interfere with a major outside of writing. And, as I mentioned, you can always go to good workshops, seminars, etc.

At any rate, whatever you choose to major in, plan on doing it day in and day out for the next thirty or forty years. A backup way to make a living is a wise thing, but no matter what you do, you'd better love it.

max2011
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Re: University query

Postby max2011 » Sat Jan 28, 2012 12:05 pm

Same here. there is no law that says you can't be both. Get your teaching degree and keep writing. Take some courses on and off to better your writing. You'll find that you'll need to focus on that degree and publishing all the great things you create will come later, either while you're teaching or not. Best of luck!

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mammamaia
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Re: University query

Postby mammamaia » Sun Jan 29, 2012 10:54 am

i don't think we're actually in disagreement on that, james, since i was referring to successful writers throughout history [such as dickens, poe, clemens, porter, hemingway, et al.], not just the contemporary ones you and i may have known personally... guess i should have been more specific...
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James A. Ritchie
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Re: University query

Postby James A. Ritchie » Mon Jan 30, 2012 6:52 pm


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mammamaia
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Re: University query

Postby mammamaia » Tue Jan 31, 2012 3:10 pm

it's both chilling and sad, isn't it, james?

i'm glad i'm so old i won't have to see how much worse it's bound to get for much longer...

hugs, m
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CHeadley
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Re: University query

Postby CHeadley » Tue Mar 20, 2012 8:50 pm

I believe in Christianity as I believe in the sun; not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.

-- C.S. Lewis

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rosebud
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Re: University query

Postby rosebud » Fri Mar 23, 2012 10:28 pm


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janemaldives
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Re: University query

Postby janemaldives » Thu Apr 19, 2012 3:08 am

Study to be a teacher asap only if you really want to teach. But also, teaching quals are great to have: you can get jobs all over the world teaching English'; most countries are still happy to employ even if you do not have a TESOL, eg. Forget about making a living as an author sometime in the next few years. You can do a variety of creative writing courses anytime along with submitting to competitions, etc. Even with a MCW, or MFA, you would be unlikely to get a job apart from teaching. As someone has already said, most well-known authors have never done a course at any level. Good writing really is innate and the only way to improve is to keep at it - doing it rather than studying it. You want to think about studying journalism or advertising which both require high-level writing skills.


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