I decided to do an MA in Creative Writing for purely logistical reasons: I needed to move my writing into the centre stage of my already hectic life. And as with most things, it has taken me a while to get into the groove of being a student again. You know the basics like securing funding, remembering to hand in homework on time (trickier than pinching water) , understanding what is expected of me etc - but now that I am close to the end of the first term it's all falling into place.
I've heard some say that creative writing can't be taught and that these courses churn out clone-like writers. Not sure I have the know how or the energy to refute any of that except to say that they (whoever) would have a hard time cloning the folk on my course. Anyway, back to the MA and its illuminations. So far I am learning that:
1. Good writing is different from good story telling
2. Getting structure right can be boring but your great story is a mass of confusion without proper organisation
3. Writing in slang or vernacular can be the death knell. Fake it and your reader will scream: pastiche!
4. Don't be an idiot - listen to criticism - most of it is constructive
5. You can't be a writer without writing
6. Your ground breaking experimental style will only work if you show that you have mastered the conventional rules of story telling
7. Writing is reading is writing is reading is writing is reading
8. That Gladwell guy who said 10000 hours practice makes you perfect was right. You just have to keep on re-writing until the shit sings off the page
9. Student bars were all designed and decorated by the same person