Advice for Undergrad Students Pursuing a Creative Writing Degree

Jane Friedman AWP

Even though I’ve been actively teaching in the university setting for more than 10 years, I’ve nearly always been in front of non-writing majors. (Right now, at the University of Virginia, I teach media studies majors.)

However, my undergraduate degree is a BFA in creative writing, and recently the AWP approached me to write an essay offering advice to undergraduate students pursuing that same degree. You can now read it over at AWP’s site.

Here’s a little bit of what I had to say.

“If it were up to me, every undergraduate writing program would help their students better understand the economics of the writing life and how authors or artists do manage to put together a full-time living from doing what they love. It is possible, but instruction and mentorship surrounding these issues remains rare in traditional programs. So it is up to you, dear student, to demand it from your program and its professors, or find it elsewhere.”

Read the full piece.

I do find it telling (and unfortunate) that my skills and abilities have so far been most highly valued by university degree programs not directly related to creative writing or English. Maybe that will change in time.

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Posted in Writing Advice and tagged , , , .

Jane Friedman (@JaneFriedman) has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in digital media strategy for authors and publishers. She is the publisher of The Hot Sheet, the essential newsletter on the publishing industry for authors, and was named Publishing Commentator of the Year by Digital Book World in 2019.

In addition to being a columnist for Publishers Weekly, Jane is a professor with The Great Courses, which released her 24-lecture series, How to Publish Your Book. Her book for creative writers, The Business of Being a Writer (University of Chicago Press), received a starred review from Library Journal.

Jane speaks regularly at conferences and industry events such as BookExpo America, Digital Book World, and the AWP Conference, and has served on panels with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Creative Work Fund. Find out more.

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