When I first announced to a couple of select friends and family members that I was thinking of trying for a place on a masters course in creative writing, the reactions were not as varied as you might imagine. Ranging from a well meant Are you sure you won’t find it too much work? to advice that As a writer you should just get on with writing books, everyone had an opinion, and the general opinion was don’t do it!
Of course, anyone who knows me well also knows that while I always listen to cautionary advice, I rarely take it! And if there’s one thing I love it’s a challenge. So this week I begin studying creative writing at the MMU. The MA is taught mainly online, and part-time, so I have three years of glorious study ahead of me. To say I’m excited is a massive understatement!
Securing a place on this course is a validation for me. I left school at 16 with only a handful of fairly good O Levels, and went straight into hairdressing. No one in my family to that point had been to university, and it wasn’t even on my radar. Years later, realising that I was actually quite bright, I began studying with the Open University, taking courses as disparate as psychology and Shakespeare. I love learning – I imagine I can feel my mind expanding when I fill it with new information and ideas. And the MA will be a chance for me to take my writing to the next level. Who knows where it might lead? But one thing is certain, it won’t make me a worse writer …
No, but it will make you a less productive one, some have said. Maybe that’s true, but I still intend to write and publish novels in my current genre, starting with The Family Trap this year and then aiming for two more titles a year. The MA will run alongside this work, informing and improving my writing abilities at every stage. In all professional careers there is a requirement for Continuing Professional Development. Authors should be no different. I’m reinvesting my earnings back into my career and my future as a writer. There are other benefits too – once I graduate I’ll be qualified to teach creative writing, and this is another dream of mine. And meanwhile I’ll be able to bring titbits from the course to my blog and share some of what I learn along the way.
Yes, it’s a lot of work, but did you know that my maiden name is Tasker? As in multi-tasker 🙂
In case I’ve inspired anyone else to further study, coming up on Saturday is a list of the best home-study creative writing courses.