The Student Room Group

Should writers study creative writing?

Personally I don't think writers should study creative writing because I don't think it's something you can teach. That sort of thing has to come from within. I'm aware some people like the idea of a creative writing workshop but it's not going to help your writing if all you do is talk with other writers which wastes valuable writing time. Having a support network is good but when it comes to Creative Writing most of the skills you need to learn you can pick up for free on the internet. A degree in creative writing won't make you stand out to publishers anymore than someone who doesn't have one. All they care about is the quality of the written story. It's a skill that must be learnt not taught. What are people's thoughts on this?
Original post by EH34
Personally I don't think writers should study creative writing because I don't think it's something you can teach. That sort of thing has to come from within. I'm aware some people like the idea of a creative writing workshop but it's not going to help your writing if all you do is talk with other writers which wastes valuable writing time. Having a support network is good but when it comes to Creative Writing most of the skills you need to learn you can pick up for free on the internet. A degree in creative writing won't make you stand out to publishers anymore than someone who doesn't have one. All they care about is the quality of the written story. It's a skill that must be learnt not taught. What are people's thoughts on this?

I agree, creative writing is a skill and a talent, that comes from exposure to lots of books. I read a lot of books in primary and still do, throughout my schooling I've entered and won many writing competitions. When people talk about studying creative writing I don't know what they mean, you can study the art of English but stringing together techniques is learnt by exposure to a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction books, as well as speeches, documentaries etc.

So I totally understand where you're coming from 😁
Original post by Unikitty77
I agree, creative writing is a skill and a talent, that comes from exposure to lots of books. I read a lot of books in primary and still do, throughout my schooling I've entered and won many writing competitions. When people talk about studying creative writing I don't know what they mean, you can study the art of English but stringing together techniques is learnt by exposure to a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction books, as well as speeches, documentaries etc.

So I totally understand where you're coming from 😁

Hi unikitty,

Thanks for your response. I completely agree with what you're saying although I'm not trying to downplay the opportunity of someone doing a creative writing degree I just don't think that someone who has writing talent should waste tution fees on a degree that might not necessarily get them to where they want to be. A creative writing degree maybe useful for some people who want to develop their skills but for me I think I learn best by teaching and reading myself. I think you learn more that way and you can look back on life knowing you taught yourself and didn't waste money on a degree programme when there's no guarantee that it will necessarily get someone published. So yes I agree, exposing yourself to different types of fiction is ultimately a better option as you can develop your skills first hand without the cost of tuition fees.
Original post by EH34
Hi unikitty,

Thanks for your response. I completely agree with what you're saying although I'm not trying to downplay the opportunity of someone doing a creative writing degree I just don't think that someone who has writing talent should waste tution fees on a degree that might not necessarily get them to where they want to be. A creative writing degree maybe useful for some people who want to develop their skills but for me I think I learn best by teaching and reading myself. I think you learn more that way and you can look back on life knowing you taught yourself and didn't waste money on a degree programme when there's no guarantee that it will necessarily get someone published. So yes I agree, exposing yourself to different types of fiction is ultimately a better option as you can develop your skills first hand without the cost of tuition fees.


Wow, there's a degree for Creative Writing? I'm in Year 11 so don't know much about University! 😁
I agree with you, a creative writing degree sounds like something that somebody with a passion for writing would want to take if they were to develop their skills.
Are you planning on becoming a writer?
Original post by EH34
Personally I don't think writers should study creative writing because I don't think it's something you can teach. That sort of thing has to come from within. I'm aware some people like the idea of a creative writing workshop but it's not going to help your writing if all you do is talk with other writers which wastes valuable writing time. Having a support network is good but when it comes to Creative Writing most of the skills you need to learn you can pick up for free on the internet. A degree in creative writing won't make you stand out to publishers anymore than someone who doesn't have one. All they care about is the quality of the written story. It's a skill that must be learnt not taught. What are people's thoughts on this?


Hi, I'm a writer who's going to be studying English Literature and Creative Writing at Lancaster University after my gap year (with the intention of becoming a teacher and failing that, an in-house copywriter). I love studying English Literature because I love to read, and analysing other storytelling techniques can seriously strengthen one's own writing. I'm going to be studying the creative writing element not to learn to become a good writer, which I feel as though I'm already capable of being, but to learn as much about my craft as possible from people with experience. I know it's an expensive investment to make for that, and can see why people would think it foolish that Β£4,625 a year is going towards learning creative writing. But I'm mostly going to use it as a networking opportunity with the professors, who are published authors themselves, and attempt to break into the industry. To be clear, I'm trying to publish my writing before I complete my education, as I do want a stable job, and love to work with kids, so would love to teach. My back-up is publishing or copywriting if not. I have one or two more backups as well, and will just be writing on the side. I think if you're passionate about something and know what you're doing with it, then it can be a worthy investment. But it depends on the individual, and if you're not already a somewhat talented writer, then studying it may be fruitless.
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by Heathersrocks
Hi, I'm a writer who's going to be studying English Literature and Creative Writing at Lancaster University after my gap year (with the intention of becoming a teacher and failing that, an in-house copywriter). I love studying English Literature because I love to read, and analysing other storytelling techniques can seriously strengthen one's own writing. I'm going to be studying the creative writing element not to learn to become a good writer, which I feel as though I'm already capable of being, but to learn as much about my craft as possible from people with experience. I know it's an expensive investment to make for that, and can see why people would think it foolish that Β£4,625 a year is going towards learning creative writing. But I'm mostly going to use it as a networking opportunity with the professors, who are published authors themselves, and attempt to break into the industry. To be clear, I'm trying to publish my writing before I complete my education, as I do want a stable job, and love to work with kids, so would love to teach. My back-up is publishing or copywriting if not. I have one or two more backups as well, and will just be writing on the side. I think if you're passionate about something and know what you're doing with it, then it can be a worthy investment. But it depends on the individual, and if you're not already a somewhat talented writer, then studying it may be fruitless.

I definitely agree.
I think it's about what kind of a person you are and whether you are considering writing as a career or if its just your hobby!
Hope you get into teaching! 😁
Original post by Unikitty77
Wow, there's a degree for Creative Writing? I'm in Year 11 so don't know much about University! 😁
I agree with you, a creative writing degree sounds like something that somebody with a passion for writing would want to take if they were to develop their skills.
Are you planning on becoming a writer?


Hi unikitty,

Yes there's a degree in creative writing but it's only available at undergraduate level as a combination degree which means you can't study it alone. You can do a joint degree like creative writing with English for instance or even creative writing with psychology. At postgraduate level, you can study it on it's own.
Yes I am planning on publishing my stories at some point but they are not complete yet. I am pursuing a degree in English literature at Lancaster university due to start next month. Through this degree, I will get to read a variety of different fiction which I hope will help compliment my writing which I will do in my own time. I tend to write more crime fiction like murder mysteries. Are you a writer?
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by Heathersrocks
Hi, I'm a writer who's going to be studying English Literature and Creative Writing at Lancaster University after my gap year (with the intention of becoming a teacher and failing that, an in-house copywriter). I love studying English Literature because I love to read, and analysing other storytelling techniques can seriously strengthen one's own writing. I'm going to be studying the creative writing element not to learn to become a good writer, which I feel as though I'm already capable of being, but to learn as much about my craft as possible from people with experience. I know it's an expensive investment to make for that, and can see why people would think it foolish that Β£4,625 a year is going towards learning creative writing. But I'm mostly going to use it as a networking opportunity with the professors, who are published authors themselves, and attempt to break into the industry. To be clear, I'm trying to publish my writing before I complete my education, as I do want a stable job, and love to work with kids, so would love to teach. My back-up is publishing or copywriting if not. I have one or two more backups as well, and will just be writing on the side. I think if you're passionate about something and know what you're doing with it, then it can be a worthy investment. But it depends on the individual, and if you're not already a somewhat talented writer, then studying it may be fruitless.


Hi Heathersrocks
That sounds interesting, I think it will be good for you to study the best of both worlds with both English and creative writing. I am also due to start studying at Lancaster university next month but doing English literature on its own because I wanted to do my creative writing in my own time but if you feel like the combined English and creative writing degree would be good then definitely go for it, you may get insight from professors who are probably published authors of some kind.
Original post by EH34
Hi unikitty,

Yes there's a degree in creative writing but it's only available at undergraduate level as a combination degree which means you can't study it alone. You can do a joint degree like creative writing with English for instance or even creative writing with psychology. At postgraduate level, you can study it on it's own.
Yes I am planning on publishing my stories at some point but they are not complete yet. I am pursuing a degree in English literature at Lancaster university due to start next month. Through this degree, I will get to read a variety of different fiction which I hope will help compliment my writing which I will do in my own time. I tend to write more crime fiction like murder mysteries. Are you a writer?

That sounds really cool!
I'm in Year 11, so I don't know if I can call myself a writer just yet πŸ˜‚, but I do write a lot and have been published several times.
Writing is more of a hobby for me; I'm considering a medical route for my career, probably Pharmacy, but I don't think I'll stop writing in the future.
Hope you get published! πŸ˜„
Original post by Unikitty77
That sounds really cool!
I'm in Year 11, so I don't know if I can call myself a writer just yet πŸ˜‚, but I do write a lot and have been published several times.
Writing is more of a hobby for me; I'm considering a medical route for my career, probably Pharmacy, but I don't think I'll stop writing in the future.
Hope you get published! πŸ˜„


Hi unikitty,

Thank you. I think you definitely do count as a writer regardless of your age. A writer is anyone who has put pen to paper and the fact that you've been published before is fantastic for your age. Well done πŸ‘

Regarding your chosen career path, a medical route is fine if you feel it is what you want to do. Agatha Christie was a nurse after all and she wrote a lot of murder mysteries. When it comes to being a writer all you need to do is put pen to paper and keep at it.
Original post by EH34
Hi unikitty,

Yes there's a degree in creative writing but it's only available at undergraduate level as a combination degree which means you can't study it alone. You can do a joint degree like creative writing with English for instance or even creative writing with psychology. At postgraduate level, you can study it on it's own.
Yes I am planning on publishing my stories at some point but they are not complete yet. I am pursuing a degree in English literature at Lancaster university due to start next month. Through this degree, I will get to read a variety of different fiction which I hope will help compliment my writing which I will do in my own time. I tend to write more crime fiction like murder mysteries. Are you a writer?


Original post by EH34
Hi Heathersrocks
That sounds interesting, I think it will be good for you to study the best of both worlds with both English and creative writing. I am also due to start studying at Lancaster university next month but doing English literature on its own because I wanted to do my creative writing in my own time but if you feel like the combined English and creative writing degree would be good then definitely go for it, you may get insight from professors who are probably published authors of some kind.


Thank you! Apparently there's also a crossover in the departments. I'm doing a gap year first so I'm not gonna be there for a year yet, but good luck on starting in October!
Original post by Unikitty77
I definitely agree.
I think it's about what kind of a person you are and whether you are considering writing as a career or if its just your hobby!
Hope you get into teaching! 😁

It is, and thank you! 😁
Hi everyone,

I'm a fourth-year English Literature and Creative Writing student at Lancaster University, which means I study 50% of each for my degree. Regarding your question - as many others have said below - you don't necessarily need to study creative writing to be a writer. The vast majority of published authors come from wildly different backgrounds, and their writing is successful due to their talent, life experiences and discipline to hone their craft.

However, if you are going to university and do want to be a writer, studying creative writing is a really good option. On my degree, for example, we workshop and improve our craft through exploring a variety of different techniques, mediums and genres. Personally, I love my degree, because it gives me the opportunity to work with published authors and also benefit from workshops, which provide feedback on my writing. I'm in my final year now, and I can definitely say that my writing has significantly improved from doing the degree. Some of that comes with age and experience though, I'd say, so it's really up to you whether you want to study it. It's also about making those connections and gaining experience from experts in the field (as with every degree). Finally, there are also incredible opportunities offered within the degree to improve your employability prospects. I've just completed a placement year, where I worked as a copywriter, and this has definitely given me an avenue to pursue in the future. You might find these opportunities outside of university, of course, but doing it as part of your degree makes it a little easier to apply.

I chose to study Creative Writing alongside English Literature because the combination of the two allows me to strengthen both my creative and critical practices. As many have said on this thread already, becoming a full-time writer is a very unpredictable and often unsuccessful career, so it is important to consider backup options. Doing a joint degree like mine, therefore, means that you'll also be opening doors to a variety of different employments once you graduate.

You can find more information about my degree here: https://www.lancaster.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/courses/english-literature-and-creative-writing-ba-hons-qw38/

If you have any questions, let me know!

Maria - Lancaster University Student Ambassador

Quick Reply

Latest