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October 15, 2012 / NextStepU

Major Monday – Creative writing

A great imagination is a wonderful thing to have. Even better is the ability to bring all those thoughts to life through words, something authors make a living off doing. If you love to write and want to share all those stories you’ve got going on in your head to the world, you might want to consider pursuing a major in creative writing.

The quill might be a bit old-school but, hey whatever gets the creative juices flowing.


According to the College Board, a major in creative writing is often earned at the bachelor’s level (a 4-year degree). Typical college courses that are taken for this major include contemporary short story, American poetry, fiction workshop, technique and form in fiction, the creative process and memoir writing. Writing workshops are also a frequent occurrence for those in this major and students use this workshop to get feedback on their work and offer critique to their fellow classmates.

What to know before you apply

Because of the nature of this area of study, critique and feedback is a common occurrence both on your own work as well as giving it to the works of other students. That being said, students should be prepared to publicly recite or publish their works, revise and re-write their pieces based on feedback and accept criticism of their work without becoming frustrated or defensive. In addition, students should get as much practice and experience as possible to better their writing, so joining a student newspaper or literary magazine is encouraged, as is reading the works of other writers. Also, if students have a particular concentration in mind (like screenwriting, novel, poetry), they should look into schools which offer courses in these areas or offer something similar that will help them grow as a writer.


A career as a writer is often one that is based on freelance, meaning the author seeks out different outlets to write for while not being hired by any specific company. Since this kind of work is based on individual cases, it is difficult to determine an average salary, however, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics it was estimated that writers and authors earned an average of $55,000 per year as of 2010. Students who graduate with a degree in creative writing can also pursue a career as a copy editor which involves editing the work of others and earned an average yearly salary of $51,470 as of May 2010.


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