Unfortunately, there is not a single program in Pakistan on Creative Writing. We, in our student lives, mistakenly, used to assume that MA English offered English language, literature and Creative Writing skills. With the same attitude, I joined MSc Applied English linguistics, which appeared to be something very different, though it enriched my language skills. However, Literature analysis and Creative Writing were two different disciplines, though interlinked with each other, which was revealed upon me when I later attended workshops on Literature and Creative Writing by American Professors.
When I first started attending the workshop, I was stunned to know about the concepts of Fiction, Nonfiction, Creative Nonfiction and extended genres came under these terms. It was a new morning, offering a complete paradigm shift in looking at happenings around me. I began to watch movies, read novels and poetry in entirely new light. Then online courses on coursera.org introduced the creative writing techniques in fiction and creative nonfiction that are required to match the international standards and make your way through international market provided you were interested. I was among the rare ones who were introduced to it, but what about the rest if the nation?
Unfortunately, in our country, all writers are self-made. They began writing depending upon their natural talent and interest in studies. A hat off to them, but it’s not fair. In this competitive professional world how can we deny the need of professional trainings? If no one can disagree with it, how can we exempt Creative Writing Programs from them?
There are certainly some reasons behind the scene:
We, as a nation, are unaware of the importance of Creative Writing, which gives us confidence and skill to voice ourselves forcefully in the world and enables us to be heard by the entire world. We don’t want other nations and/or cultures to misunderstand us or manipulate our regional incident against us. Rather, we want other political powers and countries to understand us in our own context and perspective.
It can provide us with platforms to look into our individual, social and national matters through research, which will lead towards solutions and awareness.
We need Reading and Writing Programs from the grass root levels so that our youngsters have strong foundations for their future literary and writing endeavors. Finally, when they reach college and university, they should be ready to make the most of their educational opportunities, which will result in having exceptional writers, thinkers and literature experts.
We are unaware and unsure of the professional scope of Creative Writing. Parents ask,
“Well, if you want to study Creative Writing, will you earn a respectable living through it?”
And, youngsters have no answers just because they don’t know about the Creative Writing job market. So, they end up compromising, opting for other careers, no matter how richly pregnant they are with writing talent. Thus, every year we waste, lose and disappoint a lot of gifted authors.
Creating awareness on the matter should be a part of Creative Writing Programs. Also, colleges and universities should provide internships as part of the program, so that students are introduced to various Creative Writing agencies and opportunities, along with their access to professional experiences.
Another issue is, we don’t have professional teachers to learn the skill. I suggest we should hire teachers from abroad in the beginning until we have our own students turning into writing teachers.
Once the program starts, hopefully, new Creative Writing opportunities will open up and our voice will be stronger enough to be noticed by the entire world.