So you’re interested in creative writing—maybe you’ve been jotting down ideas and stories in a notebook for years, or maybe you’ve never tried it before—but you feel like you need to choose a class that is practical, one that will help you get a job when you graduate.
The two aren’t mutually exclusive, though: So much of the creative writing practice helps you develop skills that translate to the workplace, especially so-called “soft skills” that are essential but not as easy to quantify on a resume. Skills like:
Telling a good story. A good story uses language effectively, keeps an audience interested, and helps us articulate ideas we find meaningful and important. Whether you’re explaining an organization’s mission to a potential donor or writing an email to your colleagues, storytelling is a tool for communicating ideas and connecting with others.
Articulating opinions beyond likes and dislikes. In creative writing workshops, you’ll be expected to read and respond to classmates’ writing with the goal of helping it reach its fullest potential. Simply saying “it was great!” or “I don’t get it” isn’t very helpful feedback, so a big part of the creative writing process is learning how to identify what’s working or not working in a piece of writing, and then articulating why that is.
Receiving and learning from constructive criticism. When you’re not giving feedback on your classmates’ writing, you’re getting it on your own writing. This is often the most challenging aspect of creative writing classes, especially for first-time writers—allowing yourself to be vulnerable by sharing your work with a group. The more you do it, though, the easier it becomes, and you’ll learn how to take constructive criticism for what it is and use it to make your writing even better.
Thoughtfully considering perspectives that are different from yours. Art isn’t separate from the concerns of the real world—it deeply engages with the real world, and helps us consider it from new and different perspectives. Whether it’s reading and discussing published work or your classmates’ workshop drafts, you’ll see and consider the world through other perspectives.
Developing community. Creative writing classes are largely collaborative in that we’re all (instructor and students) working toward a common goal of helping writers develop their work to its full potential. We’re sharing work that feels personal in some way and trusting that the people we share it with will treat our writing with care and respect. We’re constantly working to create community through this practice, and what I find so wonderful about online classes is that our community is made up of people from all over the country (and sometimes, the globe).
Want to learn more about CSU’s online creative writing minor? Visit english.colostate.edu. Spring 2019 course offerings include Beginning Creative Writing, Advanced Fiction Writing, and Advanced Creative Nonfiction Writing.
For more information about CSU’s online undergraduate degrees, visit online.colostate.edu.