The MA is over. We have completed all the classes and I submitted the final dissertation. I will get my degree on the 25th of March, and University of Westminster will be far away from me. I feel like it is very far already. Still, I try to consider myself a student. I try to see me as one of those person that never stop studying, reading, analisying, examining, and, of course, writing. It really seems like I opened this blog just yesterday. I was writing down everything that happened during Creative Practice classes, summarising the books and writing about our visits around London. It seemed like yesterday I was wearing my fur and my backpack and walking down Liverpool Street, ready to discover the city.
The debate about studying Creative Writing at academic level is very much alive, and many writers are either very positive about it or just think it is a waste of time. I think that, after having studied in an environment that is so strongly academic as University of Florence and at University of Westminster, where I have mainly done creative work, I have something to say about it – and that is, that studying creative writing at uni will not make you become a published author. I did not believe this was going to happen in the first place. When I decided to study creative writing, I wanted to do so because I felt this was the subject I knew I wanted to deepen in academia and that maybe one day I would be able to teach.
So, no, a creative writing academic background is not essential, if your ultimate dream is to be a published writer. That being said, I strongly encourage every passionate writer to go on and do an MA. This kind of academic experience will make your life as a writer challenging. It will help you understand that you don’t have to be afraid of other people’s judgement and opinions on your work, and while some feedbacks are valuable and will really help you improve your writing, some others are not that important, because there will always be people who simply don’t like your work. Being humble but also confident is extremely important. An MA will give you friends and people who will read your work, edit and give you feedback for free, just because they like what you write. They will look at you as a friend who has the same objective that they have, but they will not see your relationship as a competitive one, because basically everyone writes very differently.
During an MA in Creative Writing, you’ll seeyour weaknesses and your strengths, you will meet amazing writers and professors that will guide you in this difficult path. Some may be strict, because they want you to get used to the harsh life of the writer. In reality, writers get refusals and negative answers all the time. The most important thing is to keep on writing and keep on improving your work, reading and never giving up. Becoming a published writer needs talent and committment, which is something an MA cannot really give you. It can help shape them, giving them a direction, but you have the main responsibility. And this is where, at the end of the academic path, I want to start my life as a struggling author. As they taught me at the beginning of the MA, there are so many opportunities in London.