Is an International Masters in Creative Writing needed to become a writer/author?

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”

– Ernest Hemingway

This single sentence encapsulates a lot of what it means to be a writer. It states the simplicity of writing, wherein you merely sit and write, to the intense complexity of the task, wherein you must let your thoughts, your emotions, your feelings and words flow, right from your soul through the tip of your pen, onto paper, where it is crystallized.

So, in a world where education is more important than ever before and people are willing to spend lakhs on their studies, what is the worth of a degree in creative writing? And is it truly needed to become an author or a better writer?

We look at that dilemma here.

Pros

A Masters in Creative Writing will surely teach you the nuances of writing and improve your all round work, turning you into a better author. The study of writing techniques, of the classics, and of English literature will give you a firm grasp of the subject in its entirety and help you create full-fledged, real characters instead of mere caricatures. Your work will be polished and you will be able to rise to the next level with the aid of your professors and mentors.

Secondly, an MFA or MA in Creative Writing will also mark you as someone who knows their craft and it may make it easier for you to get a book deal when you pitch your idea and presentation to agents and publishers. Mind you, an MFA or MA is no guarantee that you will get a book deal, but it may give you an added advantage as your peers may realize you are quite serious about the field from your choice of major.

Beyond that, this degree will also be a useful tool for you if you plan to pursue teaching Creative Writing or even English as a profession. The teaching assistantships and research assistantships that you may have undergone during studying will hold you in good stead if you plan to become a teacher.

Cons:

An international MFA or MA in Creative Writing may sound good, but it does not come cheap, and the cost of education is quite high for this arts major. Similarly, having a Masters in Writing does not mean that you are the only accomplished writer, after all, the best way to improve as a writer is to actually write. Thus, while you may have spent lakhs on this degree, there may be someone else who is naturally talented or has worked hard on their own to become a better writer and gotten a job as a writer based on that and their portfolio. In today’s market, an MFA in Creative Writing is a risky decision, and unless you plan to become a professor, it would be better to pursue a safer Masters which has higher chances of landing you a well-paying job while practicing your writing and improving on your own side-by-side.

Ernst Hemingway did not have a degree in Creative Writing, JK Rowling does not have one either, and nor does Chetan Bhagat.

All in all, it would be smarter to practice writing every day and better your skillset as you work on your magnum opus while studying a major which would have a greater chance of landing you a job.

Until then, read more, and sit at the typewriter and bleed, let the words come from your heart and soul, let them flow true.

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Pritesh is a writer, reader, photographer stricken with wanderlust, Football aficionado, Demon-slayer, Monster-hunter, entrepreneur supreme. He creates worlds with words and he is currently working on three novels and a collection of short stories. When he isn't writing, he can be seen inhaling copious amounts of coffee and arguing with the many voices in his head.

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