Creative-writing classes teach you a lot more than just how to write. (Illustration by Sofie Moustahfid, University of Maryland, College Park)

Once you’ve picked a major in college, you’ve got your classes laid out for you until you graduate, and your open spaces for electives are precious hours a week where you can explore different areas of study or just goof off.

If you’ve got the time, I’d recommend taking at least one creative writing course, because it provides the platform for you to improve real-world habits and become a better writer, all while having fun and stretching your imagination. So, if your ever-busy college schedule allows for you to take a class, then do it. It takes some work, but the rewards are worth it.

1. Learn to take and give feedback

Most creative-writing courses require students to create and share prose and poetry, and the discussion of what works and doesn’t work in each piece can be stressful. However, putting your work and ideas out there is crucial, not just for your own success but for the success of others.

Sometimes, a story is just bad, or you don’t like it, but you can’t just say that. Learning how to convey constructive comments and find the positives is good for social skills, and in the meantime, you learn to grow some tough skin and look at your work with a critical eye.

2. Get those creative juices flowing

Obviously, a creative-writing course will require some creativity, depending on how much work you put into it. Making up worlds and characters is a different sort of difficult compared to a science class, but the rewards of imagining up something new are beautiful and exciting. It’s same sort of amazement that small children have when they’re in a museum, except now you get to dictate the rules of your universe.

The beauty of writing is that nearly anything goes. If you like dragons, then write about dragons. If you like contemporary teenage fiction, go for it. If you like avant-garde stuff that just describes the color yellow, do it. Whatever you write, you just have to make it your own.

3. Dealing with deadlines

A creative-writing class can make a procrastinator sweat. As it turns out, writing a whole, not-terrible story the day the assignment is due, unless you google best essay writing services Australia, is not going to be very good most of the time, and the added pressure will probably stall whatever creative faculties are happening in the brain. And if a person can’t manage a to write story in a fairly low-stakes situation, then how will they manage when they have to turn in reports or finish a job on time?

Bettering your time-management skills is crucial, and there’s no better time to practice it than with writing. Meeting deadlines is crucial in any job, but writers and editors are constantly meeting deadlines. I had to meet a deadline for this article! Don’t fret if you’re not good at time management yet, however, because you can learn.

4. Perfection isn’t real

One of the most difficult lessons to learn is that perfection isn’t feasible, especially not in a first draft. Creative-writing classes are the perfect playground to discover this fact, because chances are good that you will turn in something that isn’t great. Even though writing is subjective, there tends to be an issue with writers deeply wanting every single one of their pieces to become their magnum opus, and that’s not realistic.

I turned in a piece after a painful round of edits, and even though my classmates seemed to enjoy it, I only saw where I needed to improve. I loved the story, but I couldn’t make it “perfect,” whatever that might mean. I figured out that I should just strive for better in my next story instead of destroying myself over details that were probably fine. Writing is all about the progress made, and creative-writing classes teach that lesson.

5. Cultivate better writers

Maybe writing isn’t your thing, and you were never good at it in high school. I hate to say it, but there is no secret that will make you a better writer instantaneously. To be a better writer, you have to write and read. A lot. Practice makes perfect, after all, and a creative-writing course certainly provides a space that pushes you to write to your limits.

The other truth is that written communication is extremely important, no matter what career you pursue. Sounding competent, clearly conveying information and being professional helps every work environment run smoothly, and writing ability makes you more employable.

6. It’s fun!

Your imagination is bound only by your ability and willingness to create, and the stories that emerge will always bring something new to the discussion. And honestly, some really fantastic ideas don’t always come from the writing majors. Even if you aren’t a writer, getting to create your own fiction or poetry can be fun.

Other courses in college don’t always allow for boundless imaginations to run free, and a creative-writing course allows students to explore ideas and take a break from the humdrum of their major coursework. That freedom can be refreshing.

Storytelling is a human experience, and people are constantly creating narratives in their heads to remember details and dream up new ideas for inventions and stories. Creative-writing classes don’t just teach writing or other, more definable skills; they teach you how to find your own creativity.

So, take a creative writing class and prepare to step out of that comfort zone and create something new. You just might surprise yourself.

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