Case study

MA creative writing student — Sarah Billington

Discover how Sarah plans to use her postgraduate degree in creative writing to start a career in teaching and freelance writing

How did you get on your course?

I applied for the MA once my degree was finished as I wanted to continue my study of creative writing, in particular poetry. I had an interview with the head of the MA programme to discuss my future aims, for which I had to provide a portfolio of my work.

Make sure you know exactly what you want to study and what area of writing is best suited to you. It is quite fast paced, especially if you do it full time

How relevant is your degree to your postgraduate course?

My MA is in creative writing with a focus on poetry so what I learnt on the degree plays huge part in my development on the MA. I see the MA as a continuation of my degree; a way to expand on my own literary practice providing me with an advanced knowledge of my chosen subject.

What does your postgraduate course involve?

I attend a mixture of lectures and workshops, where I study a lot of contemporary literature and discuss my own writing. I receive feedback from my group on how to improve the pieces I am working on. I also learn and practice poetics, which is a form of reflection on my writing.

What do you enjoy about your postgraduate course?

I love learning new things in a subject that I am passionate about. I am introduced to the work of many writers and poets that I may never have encountered if it had not been for the course.

I also really enjoy the workshops and find them extremely helpful in the development of my writing.

What are the most challenging parts of your postgraduate course?

Time is my biggest challenge. I also work part time and have children so trying to juggle everything along with studying and having time to write is a huge challenge.

Where do you hope to be in five years?

I hope to still be writing poetry and have a collection published.

Any words of advice for someone who wants to get onto this postgraduate course?

Make sure you know exactly what you want to study and what area of writing is best suited to you. It is quite fast paced, especially if you do it full time.

What career do you plan to go into?

I would like to go into some form of teaching but perhaps in prisons or working with vulnerable people.

How essential is what you are studying to getting your chosen job?

What we learn on the creative writing MA certainly feeds into many aspects of teaching. I have acquired skills that have enabled me to help others develop their own writing, which will be a great advantage for me.

Do you also need work experience?

I could do some voluntary work in my chosen career to get a better understanding of what is expected of me. However, I do think my studies will stand me in good stead to be able to approach employers to get the experience I need.