Claire Cox

MA Creative Writing

Claire Cox

Before coming on the course I hadn’t been in formal education for many years so being a student again was equally fun and hard work. It took a while to absorb the set books on literary criticism, but learning new ideas and approaches was extremely exciting and rewarding and gave me many new ways of looking at creativity and literature

Claire Cox found having access to so many experienced writers on the Brookes Creative Writing MA both exciting and invaluable. The closeness of the group of students on the course through the sharing of their work was also particularly rewarding.

Before coming on the course I hadn’t been in formal education for many years so being a student again was equally fun and hard work. It took a while to absorb the set books on literary criticism, but learning new ideas and approaches was extremely exciting and rewarding and gave me many new ways of looking at creativity and literature.

As I work full-time, I did the course part-time over two years which worked very well for me in terms of getting into the habit of writing but, perhaps more importantly, getting my family into the habit that I wrote!

I’d been writing off-and-on for many years, not too seriously and not in a structured way. I wanted this course to help me become a better writer and to give me the tools to analyse how and why good writing works. I also needed to build my stamina up as a writer: you can’t create anything – a poem, a novel, a short story or a piece of non-fiction – without sitting down and writing, sometimes for many hours at a stretch, and that kind of commitment is really easy to avoid especially if you have other things in your life like work and a family. So I hoped that the MA would provide a valid reason for me to put everything else aside and concentrate on my writing. And it did!

The most exciting part of the course is having access to so many experienced writers covering so many different forms. Between them, the tutors and Creative Writing Fellows have amazing experience in poetry, novels and non-fiction. The introductory talk from Philip Pullman was wonderful. He spoke to us like we were fellow writers and that really made me feel like I was at the beginning of something special. And the other Creative Writing Fellows were excellent at sharing advice and tips which gave an invaluable insight into writing as a profession.

The course was excellent for generating writing. I now have several short stories and a collection of poems. Some of my poems have won prizes in competitions and have been published. I’m now in the process of sending the remaining work out to more competitions and publishers. And what next? Well, I want to improve on my writing even more.

One of the most rewarding parts of doing the MA was working with the other students. During the course you learn to share your own work, scary though that is at first, and also to read and critique other students’ work. As a result the group can become very close. This happened with my cohort of part-time students, so much so that we ended up meeting over the final summer to support the development of each other’s Major Projects. And we have continued to meet and share our work after the course. Writers need this sort of encouragement through the lonely times and the self-doubt. Having a group of other writers who know your work and with whom you can share triumphs and disasters is absolutely vital if you want to stick at it and progress.