Creative Writing Students – Thursday’s Children

Thursday’s Children – A weekly blog hop where writers come together to talk about whatever inspires them.

I spent the May Day Bank Holiday weekend marking creative writing folders for the lifewriting course I teach at Bath Spa University. Now, a weekend spent working (and a Bank Holiday one at that when the sun actually made an appearance) may sound like a bit of a drag but trust me it wasn’t. The 16 creative folders I read and marked were on a huge range of subjects from Formula 1 and love at first sight, to tattoos, buskers and dementia. They were also written in a diverse range of styles using different narrative techniques. Not only did I learn about transition nurses, eating disorders and South Africa but I read work that both moved me and made me laugh.

Ever since creative writing courses and degrees came into existence there’s been great discussion around whether or not writing can be taught. Having been a MA in Creative Writing student and now an undergraduate teacher of creative writing, I strongly believe there’s a great deal that can be gained from being immersed in a creative environment, working alongside fellow writers and being taught by practising writers, poets, playwrights and authors.

There’s one other thing that creative writing courses do and that’s inspire. Far from being competitive with each other (okay this might be a generalisation but this is my experience) creative writing students work together and encourage each other to improve and grow as a writer. Anyone who belongs to a writing group will know what I’m talking about. Workshopping your own and other people’s writing is all about constructive criticism, support and praise. Nobody wants anyone to fail as a writer; to not get an agent or sell masses of copies of their self-published novel. At the end of the day we all want the same thing: to write as well as we can and have as many people as possible read our novels, short stories and poems. I’m not jealous of my fellow MA alumni, Man Booker Prize longlisted Nikita Lalwani or Orange Prize shortlisted Samantha Harvey and the other authors like Jenni Mills, Rebecca Lisle, Paul Dale and Anthea Nicholson that have been published over the last nine years – the way I’m thinking about it is my time will come – namely the 12th June this year when I launch my first novel, The Butterfly Storm.

For last weeks Thursday’s Children post Elaine Jeremiah talked about being inspired by us bloggers and I couldn’t agree with her more. When I meet up with my writing friend in Cheltenham (also an ex-Creative Writing MA graduate) I go home re-motivated to crack on with writing or editing or whatever I’m working on at the time. The Thursday’s Children bloggers and the lovely WIPpet Wednesday writers, as well as all the writers and authors I’ve met via Twitter over the past year, inspire me to work harder and write more. Reading my students’ creative folders over the weekend made me feel privileged to be a part of their writing journey and I also learnt from them – they reminded me to take risks in my own writing, to not be afraid to experiment with different styles and techniques and most importantly to have fun with words.

Inspire and be inspired by clicking on this linky and joining in with the Thursday’s Children blog hop. Big thanks go to hosts Rhiann Wynn-Nolet and Kristina Perez.

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  1. How exciting about your book! We’ll want more details, cover reveal, etc. *salivates* And yes, others’ inspirations DO inspire me – and I love seeing that happen for Thursday’s Children :)

  2. Congrats about your book! That’s fab. I totally agree with you. Coming from the medievalist wing of academia, I’ve been so amazed by how encouraging and gracious writers are to one another. Not at all like when I used to present papers at grad conferences and then white knuckle it through the Q&A before having one––or five––very stiff drinks!

    • Thanks Kristina! I so couldn’t cope with an environment like your old grad conferences – I’m not surprised you needed a stiff drink or five. That’s what’s so lovely about writers, we support and encourage each other. :-)

  3. I agree with you about writers encouraging each other Kate. That’s one of the reasons why I wish I’d got onto the Bath MA course for Writing for Young People. I was really looking forward to sharing thoughts with other writers. Oh well I guess that’s what these bloghops are for. :) Glad you found it so helpful. I hope your teaching continues to go well. It sounds like it is.

    • The bloghops are incredibly encouraging and supportive and it’s good to know so many lovely writers even if it is only virtually.

  4. I thought about supplementing my science college classes with creative writing but was too scared to try. I do regret it but I’m glad I didn’t give up on writing all together. And yes… You’re time is coming. Soon!

  5. Hi Kate, great to hear more about your work, and it’s the first time I’ve heard about Thursday’s Children – I’ll definitely be getting involved in that. I’m currently doing a masters in creative writing at MMU, and it’s heartening to hear a teacher talk about being inspired by students’ work – and enjoying reading it on a sunny bank holiday too! (You’re very dedicated.) Am so excited about The Butterfly Storm, and can’t wait to see the cover. Jo x

    • Hi Jo, I’m a very new teacher and the deadline to get the work read, marked, second marked and back to the students at the last class next week was pretty tight so I had to read it over the bank holiday – although I honestly did enjoy it and do always find reading other writers’ work inspiring. I’ve read the few blog posts you’ve written about doing your MA – I found I learned and grew as a writer so much whilst doing mine. x

  6. christineallenriley

    Can’t wait to check out The Butterfly Storm!!! 😀

  7. Kate, thanks for sharing that about MA programs; ‘twould be so awesome to attend one of those one day. I’ve heard many good things about a good many programs, and how nice it is to be with other writers totally focused on craft. :)

  8. Congrats on releasing your novel!!! And yes, the inspirations of others are always a great source of inspiration. That’s why I love my CP’s so much!!!

  9. Your group sounds wonderfully diverse! One of the things I love about working with other creative people is that being exposed to all that wonderful creativity rubs off. The encouragement, support and understanding are all wonderful. Your job sounds amazing, and I’m sure your book will be too (especially if the WIPpets are anything to go by)!

    • Thanks so much Raewyn. They’ve been a great bunch of students to teach and definitely diverse – some fabulous writing too. I totally agree with you about creativity rubbing off.

  10. Sounds great. I would love to go on a writing retreat one day. And I’m checking out WIPpet Wednesday! Congratulations on your Novel!! all the best. :)

  11. Ooo… I love the idea of being immersed in the creative writing process. Sooooo not where I am right now or where I’ll be able to be for several years, but it sounds lovely.

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