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Thinking about getting a Masters Degree in Creative Writing...waste of time?

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I have been thinking for a while of getting a Masters in Creative Writing. But I just wonder if this is a bad idea. I have a Bachelors in Japanese and am re-mastering my French so I have my languages to fall back on for a backup career. I just wonder if this will make me a better writer or be a waste of money if I apply to some job and "Masters in Creative Writing" doesn't look too impressive to my job interview. Thoughts?

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I think it really depends on what you plan to do.


Are you willing to incur the expense of that degree for what it will give you in return?


I'm not trying to be a negative person, but there's a video I watched, can't remember its title, that went over different degree types and their expected income generation...and creative writing was among the bottom few, with the likes of medieval lit and philosophy.


Especially if you go to a 'good' school, you're looking at never making back what you put into it, and if you don't find gainful employment a lifetime of debt (or 25 years on income-based repayment).


Not worth it in my opinion.

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Knowing multiple languages is great, but just adding degrees to your resume without direction is not the best thing to do. Also, translation is no longer done by people as much. Computer programs do the work. Have you thought of a field in which you will need creative writing, French, and Japanese? Have you ever thought of who would actually conduct an interview for you?


It all depends on what you do with these skills. Sorry Furtive, but my sister makes $350k a year with a degree in English and philosophy, so I would have to disagree with you-- she is a speech writer, and philosophy comes in handy.


Just my opinion, but I think generalists are useless in today's economy. People have to combine specific skills, like language and sales skills, or language and accounting. Arts degrees are useless unless you use them with something else.

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It depends on what you want the degree for.


If you want it for professional reasons, then it's probably not the best degree you could get. If you want it for personal enrichment, then it might be worth it.


I did a fair bit of undergrad in creative writing, and a few grad level courses. What you get out of it will depend a lot on the program that you're in. If you decide to do it, look carefully at what's available and what their focus in teaching is. For me, I ended up in a program that focused almost exclusively on minimalist short fiction. I feel like it had a lot to teach me, but also that at the end of the day, I've learned more about being a writer on my own than I ever did in a classroom.

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If you want it for professional reasons, then it's probably not the best degree you could get. If you want it for personal enrichment, then it might be worth it.

That's a great answer. "Education" and "training" are two different things, and some people overlook or dismiss the "personal enrichment" angle, even though intangibles can be perfectly valid.


For most of us, though, I will admit that we must carefully weigh the financial investment against the economic returns when it comes to education.

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I have an MA in Creative Writing. In terms of my job prospects, I don't think it's helped me at all. This isn't why I did it. I already had an MA in English literature, which is a little (not much!) more practical. After the creative writing MA it took me quite a while to get a job, and the job I got (in editing) I would have gotten without it. Now I work as a freelance editor and (non-creative) writer and make good money. And I'm still trying to write novels in my spare time.


If you are serious and passionate about writing, and you want to explore this, go for it. To be honest, I didn't have the greatest experience with my own MA in creative writing, but this was because of my supervisor and various other things I don't want to get into now. Other people I did it with found it enormously beneficial and really developed their writing. The most valuable thing about it for me was being able to devote a year to writing a novel - something I'd been continuing to put on the back burner - and getting really in-depth feedback on it. I don't know that I necessarily became a better writer for having done the MA, but I certainly learned more about what works and what doesn't in terms of writing routines and how to get it done.


I don't think having 'MA in creative writing' on my CV is anything that any potential employers have looked askance at. In the work I've been doing, in editing, every second person is also writing a novel, so mostly I think they see a kindred spirit. I think of it as something that would make you look more interesting - like you have interests outside of getting on the career train. Maybe not if you are going for a job as an accountant. But don't people have any respect for the arts anymore?


I think if you've got the languages and you can already get good work in this, and you want to follow this writing thing, go for it. Don't expect it to improve your career prospects, but I don't think it will do any harm, either.

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I was planning on becoming a novelist and I figured this might help me improve my writing in a way. But since even getting a book published (and selling well) is hit or miss, I just hope the educational value would be worth it.


How much coursework will help you in writing a novel is debatable. In my experience, the thing that helps you most when it comes to writing a novel is just that: writing a novel.


I don't regret the classes that I did take. They taught me a lot that I wouldn't have learned otherwise, and they armed me with tools to step into the future with, but I don't feel like they made me a better writer. A better reader and a better editor, yes, but as an actual writer, I've spent most of the past two years trying to wipe certain aspects of my coursework out of my mind.

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