Why I’m glad I didn’t major in Creative Writing.
When I was in high school, I was convinced I was going to have creative writing as a major. It was my life passion (still a passion of mine) and I was convinced I needed to study it in college. But I didn’t and I am glad looking back now that I did not.
Definitely, reading is really important to being able to write. What we read influences our writing. But when I was looking at majors, what I really wanted was less about reading 18-century literature and more about reading modern day books. I wanted to learn more about the craft and style of writing fiction, how to create characters, world building, dive in depths into different genres, stuff like that.
Looking at course catalogs, I felt that more creative writing majors were really just English majors with one or two general creative writing classes thrown in there. And while I think it’s important to study past literature, I didn’t want that to be the focus of my major.
When I was in college, I graduated with an English minor, but not a typical one. I managed to piece together a minor comprised of classes I found interesting. Native American lit, graphic novels, creative writing 1 and 2 (advanced), environmental literature, and Japanese art, literature, and culture. I feel this although not exactly what I had in mind, was more beneficial to my goals then a true creative writing major.
I’ve also always felt that creative writing majors tend to focus more on writing LIT and not the kind of books your average everyday person is going to read. While there is definitely a section of the population that enjoys literature, I think the majority enjoy genre fiction more.
And my mom has always pointed out to me, what do you do with a creative writing major after college? While I definitely think we should allow people to go to college and study without having a laser focus on how it translates to jobs, I do think that study my major allowed me better job prospects after school. And you don’t need to study creative writing in college to become a published author.
On the other hand, I have heard friends who choose creative writing as a major and it kills their passion for writing. I’ve also heard that from friends who studied art in college. The sheer amount of work you have to do can lead to some serious burnout I know some friends are still dealing with post college.
The only school I’ve found that I would love to go to for writing is Columbia College Chicago and take their fiction writing major. That is the only one I’ve found where they focus more on how to build characters, how to develop your voice, get published, and the like. Now you can definitely find courses like these outside of colleges too. There is plenty online and some places like them in person like the Literary Loft in Minneapolis. But if you want that one shot go at it, I would recommend that college.
So overall, I’m glad I didn’t study creative writing in college. Plus I still get to write in my free time, and learn what I want to learn on my own time. If you studied creative writing in college, do you think it was worth it?