MA From A Distance: Why Do A Course In Creative Writing?

It’s been a couple of weeks since I handed in my final portfolio and completed my MA in Creative Writing at Lancaster University. I thought I’d let the dust settle before I reflected on the experience. Now it’s over I feel…what do I feel? Exhausted; relieved; bereft.

Deciding to study for the MA in Creative Writing at Lancaster University was definitely one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life and certainly one of the most rewarding learning experiences I have ever had. Before I applied  I looked at various creative writing courses, but most of them seemed to be focused on delivering it as a one year full time course or as short courses. After having a baby and giving up full time work, I was keen for, and actively seeking, the rigour that an MA provides, to give my life some sort of structure that was not wholly centred on my daughter’s routine. I chose Lancaster because of its good reputation and because it offered a way of studying for the MA via distance learning over a two year duration.I’ll admit, I didn’t give too much though to the transcultural focus of the course, which is one of the aspects that sets the DLMA at Lancaster apart from its competitors.  I thought of the course only as a support mechanism to help me finish the novel I had been working on. Now, however, I realise that the transcultural element of the MA at Lancaster was key to my enjoyment of the course and also my development as a writer. Before the MA I don’t think I had ever really considered the impact that different cultures having on the reading and understanding of a piece of poetry or fiction writing. Now I realise that the best writing transcends social, cultural and racial boundaries and invites understanding whatever the subject or cultural content.

So what else I have learnt? The answer is, too much for one blog post. And so, I’ve decided to write a little mini series I’m calling ‘Why Do A Course In Creative Writing’. I know, it’s catchy, right?

Over the next few weeks I’ll outline some of my key learnings and observations  from studying for the MA in Creative Writing at Lancaster University, in the hope that the information might help someone else out there considering a course in Creative Writing. I’ll aim to keep my posts short and specific, but if there is anything anyone feels I’ve skimmed over or missed out completely, please post a comment and I will do my best to rectify. The first post covers that age old question: can creative writing be taught? It will be up shortly.

Good luck to anyone considering a course in creative writing. Hope this helps!

3 thoughts on “MA From A Distance: Why Do A Course In Creative Writing?

  1. Hello Alandandra, I found your blog via Kumquat poetry. Enjoyed the poem. I’ve been accepted for a part time MA Writing course starting in January. It was a spur of the moment application and I’m still wondering what it will be like. I look forward to reading your posts on this subject.

    • Hello Roy,
      Thanks for your comments and for reading my poem! It’s nice to get some feedback. Where will you be studying and how (on site or distance learning)? From my experience, those who take the MA part time probably work twice as hard as those who do it one year. You have more time to ruminate on your writing (which is a good thing) and research around your subject matter. Immerse yourself and it will be a very rewarding experience. It all hangs on your tutor, of course. The right one can really boost your confidence and writing development. The wrong one can have devastating consequences. Small issues can be become big issues in the distance learning context and my advice would be that if you are studying via this route, to confront any problems immediately. Just cautionary notes which may or may not be relevant to you, but good to be aware of, I think. Good luck with it all.


      • Hello Alex, thank you for coments. I’ll be studying on site – quite a comute (about an hour and a half by train each way) once a week. I’ve chosen the Uni because I won an award and am getting my fees paid-amazing in this day and age. I’m still a bit vague about the course as have not even had time to visit campus due to home commitments. I’ll take your advice and make sure I’m proactive in getting what I need. I have a book comming out next year so things are looking up. When I’ve stopped feeling anxious about the book and the course I can start enjoying myself.

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