Why do I want to go to University?

By: Sue Dukes who starts the MA Creative Writing this September.

Because I have the opportunity, because I really, really want to; because education doesn’t – shouldn’t – stop when you reach a milestone number of years.

After retiring from a lifetime of tedious work to keep family and home together, I decided to spend time doing what I want to do most:  writing fiction. I had a goal and was actively seeking a path to follow, and taking an MA turned out to be part of a logical progression.

I had small successes in genre fiction over the years, but, I was always working in a vacuum.  No editor has ever sat down with me to go through my work to indicate areas needing improvement; no agent has evinced the slightest interest in my work; and no rejection has ever come with a kindly note on how to progress. This will sound familiar to anyone who has ever tried to sell fiction.  No-one is out there to help you – they are out there to make money from the skills you have.

So, I needed to improve, but how?  Firstly I joined an Arts Council funded on-line group called YouWriteOn, which provided reciprocal assessment opportunities, and there I posted various literary offerings.  I received responses ranging from the pertinent to the bizarre.  I also provided assessments for others. The online group is a stepping stone and a sounding board which I might return to from time to time with new pieces; however, it’s time consuming and the responses as variable as the participants.

So where should I go next?  I discovered the Skibbereen writing group, and for the first time in my life began to interact face to face with a group of people interested in the art of writing.  We discuss the specific meanings of words, narrative viewpoints, grammar, and all the other associated topics. This is mind-broadening stuff. My horizons expanded.

Then I discovered UCC ran an MA in Creative Writing, and my reaction was instant: I WANT TO DO THAT.  It will provide a structured learning process and criticism from people qualified to give it. It will take my writing to a higher level.  I will be able to immerse myself in the world of writing.  It will push me to a new depth of awareness and competence.  I will read work I haven’t considered reading and gain information I don’t know I’m lacking.   I’ll receive the education and advice I’ve been seeking all my adult life.

Why UCC?  I’m lucky it’s my nearest university.  I’ve visited the campus a few times. I love the ethos and the atmosphere, yet when I visit I feel like an intruder into someone else’s world.  I want it to be my world, too.  Interacting with a group of people on the same wavelength will be as much an education as the lectures.  The MA might increase my chances of eventual publication, but above all, I intend to enjoy the educational experience.

 

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