What courses are needed for a career in literature?
I know this is kind of hard to answer, but I plan on going in the English/literature field for and after college, and I was wondering which classes would be most helpful in honing my writing skills. I heard that you don't actually need college for this career, but I felt like it wouldn't hurt to have some sort of extra education in it, so I just figured I'd, you know, inquire. #college #writing #english #literature #english-composition
Christopher R. Broom
There is no such thing as a course for a career in literature. Working in literature, AKA, a professional creative writer is more of a personal endeavor than a professional one. However, there are many collegiate courses and degrees that will help you achieve your goal of putting forth publishable works.
First step: Read everything. Write even more.
Second Step: Read books you don't even like. Every piece of literature that is put forth by professional writers will offer you ideas of what to do as well as what not to do in terms of character development, pacing, setting development, conflict and world building.
Third Step: Enroll in Fiction courses in college. Learn to master the basics in grammar as well as storytelling. Never assume you know everything there is to writing even if you achieve good grades. Writing is a lifelong process that you will never truly master. Let yourself be open to new ideas.
Fourth Step: Write, write, write! You will only get better if you write. Learn to write every day. Even if its only a few lines of creative writing, every little bit helps in honing your voice and skill.
Fifth Step: Learn to accept criticism and rejection. It's true, you will be rejected more than you will be accepted. Grow a thick skin. Never get upset over a review. Learn to accept well given criticism and throw out the rest.
Best of luck to you in you future endeavors.
Hi again, Evan!
I think for this question, it depends on the type of career you're looking to have in literature. For instance, when I think of a "career in literature" I think of being a teacher or professor and teaching literature classes while publishing scholarly articles about literature. But I think from your other question that you may also be considering journalism, or creative writing.
In any case, you should take all the literature classes you can - you'll be exposed to great books. And the best way to prepare to become a writer is to read as much as you can. It will also be valuable to have class discussions about what makes the books great (or not great).
Creative writing classes are really helpful when you're just starting to figure out what kind of writer you want to be. Again, you'll read a ton of accomplished writers, get to practice your own skills, and they're really just a lot of fun - because you get to write about whatever in the world is interesting to YOU.
Journalism classes will be helpful because they'll teach you the fundamentals of research, source citation, interviewing subjects, etc. You'll learn how to properly format articles you submit, find the right topic, etc. Of these three versions of a career in literature, this is the one with the most guidelines for how the writing should be done. So I think classes in journalism would be really helpful.
Here's the other thing: If you're goal is to be a writer, than your real subject is... life. As a result, it's helpful to develop a wide range of interests. I studied Spanish in college, and I think it helped me with my use of metaphor and imagery, my vocabulary, and it exposed me to really interesting Latin and South American writers I might not have read otherwise. Political science and sociology and philosophy would get your brain working in new and interesting ways. Your job as a writer is to be inspired, so you should cast a wide net to find the unique things that inspire you. Those will be the subjects you're best equipped to write about, and that will be the most fun for you to write about.
Best of luck to you!
Susan E.’s Answer
The first question I'd like to ask you is what you are planning to do with a career in literature. Do you just want to be come a writer/spoken word artist. Are you looking to be a teacher? I think having focused idea of WHAT you want to do with literature would be first.
THEN, you can start looking at classes. Definitely take all required English writing and literature classes (or as much as you can) as well as attend any workshops available for that major/field of study.
Like you're anticipating the courses, I'd study journalism and creative writing novels. Then consider copywriting for ads. Teaching is always a good career. The most difficult career would be to write scripts for films and TV. Best wishes, Mark.