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Wesley Scott
04-04-2008, 08:12 AM
For a long while now I have felt the insufferable yearning to get back to my writing roots. I feel that I have deluded myself for far too long. After years of delay unrelated to my craft, I am about to embark on another journey of self-illusion. I will be taking an MA next year in English Literature. This is something that must be done due to economic, personal, and emotional circumstances—and it is a decision I did not make lightly. Alas, I must continue down this avenue in order to survive for the time being.

I started writing because of the media I love. I love the visual media—TV, film, even cartoons. But as I worked my way through a degree in television production and a secondary degree in English (which encompassed film, creative writing, and literature), the goals I had set for a career became hazy. I believed that to reach my goals of becoming a professional writer I would have to diversify. I spread my interests into the aforementioned areas of knowledge with a great zeal and frenzy. Only I soon realized it was a mistake. Instead of diversifying, I should have focused on my main interest.

I have written very little over the past two years. In fact, my interest in writing has dwindled and almost vanished. That is not to say that I do not enjoy writing—I want to write the rest of my life. I merely feel that what I have been writing does not suit my interests. I do not feel as strong of a connection to writing as I once did. It has almost become a chore. As an undergrad, I was instructed to write literary fiction. My professors and colleagues all degraded what I most enjoyed. Literary fiction was not just the de facto writing style, it was the only style recognized. Popular fiction—the only type I could see myself writing in the long run was not allowed. And while I had much support from my screenwriting professor, others in the writing program looked down upon screenwriting as something unworthy of a true writer. It also didn't help, I must admit, that I learned little from my screenwriting professor as his own skills were lackluster.

Now I am at a crossroad as what to do. I still believe that a university level program is the right step to achieve my goals. What I want to do as a writer, and what I have been setting myself to do have diverged somewhere along the way, and I am unsure as to how I should straighten out my path. I will wait out the next two years in the English MA program—as I said I must. And I will continue to write and send out fiction to publishers. But after, I need advice as to where or what I should study. I do not believe I will ever be a great fiction writer. I don't think I will even be much more than a mediocre pop-fiction writer. And though I do wish to continue writing fiction, and believe that writing traditional fiction will help me grow as a writer, I need to get back—somehow—into screenwriting.

Any thoughts would be most welcome.

timewaster
04-04-2008, 12:34 PM
If you want to be a writer then write. Another course seems a distraction. If you want to write for the market, write for the market. What do you think the course will give you that you can't find out for yourself?

I am a Brit and the majority of working pro writers I know, including myself, have never done a course of any kind. Just get on with it.

JamieFord
04-04-2008, 06:00 PM
I'm with timewaster. Just write. Don't expect to be brilliant from the start and allow yourself room to grow. My degree is in design. There are plenty of published authors that don't have MFAs. And plenty of MFAs teaching, not writing. Coursework will help, but it might just be another form of procrastination.

willietheshakes
04-04-2008, 08:21 PM
The best decision I ever made, as a writer and as a human being, was NOT going to grad school.

timewaster
04-04-2008, 08:52 PM
Oh I went, just not for writing. I did an MBA. It was an interesting experience, it got me a job and I met my husband, but I'm really glad I've never had any formal training in writing. It makes life so much simpler when you don't know what 'rules' you are breaking.