12 Things I’ve Learned As A Writing Major That Are Useful In Real Life

There are plenty of things I’ve learned as a writing major that has helped me in my day-to-day life. These tips can help make your writing more engaging, but they’re also useful for many other forms of communication. 

Some of these tips are more applicable to creative writing, but even discussions with friends and family can be made better by the advice I’m going to share here. And after all, isn’t our job as writers to help people see the world differently? Or at least see it through new eyes?

5 Things I Learned from my Creative Writing Classes ✍️
1. Effective Communication: Writing majors learn to convey ideas clearly, a skill applicable in various professions.
2. Critical Thinking: Analyzing and interpreting texts enhances critical thinking, aiding problem-solving in daily life.
3. Creativity: Writing fosters creativity, benefiting tasks like brainstorming and finding innovative solutions.
4. Attention to Detail: Editing skills acquired can help improve accuracy and attention to detail in tasks.
5. Research Skills: Writing majors learn resear

1. The Five Senses Are Your Best Friends

You’re going to be writing a lot of things for the rest of your life, and it’ll be much easier if you have a great handle on what makes good writing. So let me share with you the most important thing I learned in college: The five senses are your best friends. 

You can use them to describe scenes, characters, emotions, places, objects, food, and weather. Sound like a lot? It is! But it’s also so easy once you get into the habit of using all five senses whenever possible.

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2. Using Adjectives And Adverbs Is Okay, Just Don’t Rely On Them Too Much

I’m not going to lie: at first, I didn’t understand the big deal about adjectives and adverbs. I thought they were okay! Sometimes they’re even necessary! 

But then my English professor explained them to me like this: “Adjectives and adverbs are ways of describing things,” he said in his thick Irish accent. “But if you have too many of them, it’s like overdoing it on makeup.”

It turns out that when it comes to writing, there’s a sweet spot between choosing your words wisely and describing everything as vividly as possible. 

It’s good practice to make sure your descriptions aren’t too long (unless you’re writing an epic novel) and that each one helps move your story forward instead of just making things prettier or more interesting for no reason at all.

3. Descriptions Are A Must, But Only If They’re Done Well

As a writing major, you’ll be taught that descriptions are a must. But don’t get too carried away with the description as a writer, your job is to create an image in the reader’s mind.

You want to be specific and vivid with your descriptions, but not so much so that it distracts from the story itself. 

If you have too many details, readers might get lost or bored while reading through them all! And if they’re too long and convoluted, readers may lose interest before getting to anything interesting at all.

Another important thing about descriptions is their relevance it has been said that ‘less is more when it comes down to describing things in books or stories because if everything was described in detail.

Then there’d be no room left for plotlines or dialogue between characters which are arguably more important than anyone setting being described fully out of context.

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4. Think About Different Points Of View

You’ve probably heard of the first-person, second-person, and third-person. In general, these are the three main points of view in literature. The first person is when the narrator is talking directly to you as if they were your friend and had just told you a story. 

In the second person when “you” is used about yourself as well, the narrator is speaking directly to you like they would in the first person but using “you” instead of “I” for example: “You walk into your living room and see a note on the table.” 

The third Person uses words such as “he” or “she” or “they” rather than referring directly to the speaker like a first or second person does.

You may have wondered why certain books are written from one point of view over another? Or even thought about writing your book with different perspectives! 

This lesson will help answer these questions by showing how each perspective can affect both plot development and character development within a story.

Think about what point of view would be most interesting in terms of engaging readers (and maintaining their interest) throughout the entire book? 

What do you think might happen if only one character were allowed their chapter while others remained silent? Are there any stories that use this technique effectively?

5. Think Outside Of The Box

As a writing major, you will be encouraged to think creatively and come up with innovative solutions to problems. This is important because it helps you develop your voice and style as an author and make your work stand out from others. 

When I was in college, I learned how to present new ideas interestingly by taking classes like “The Craft of Writing” or “Creative Nonfiction.” 

Many times we would have group discussions about different articles or stories that were assigned for the class. These discussions became helpful when applying my skills in real life because I had already been practicing them for several years before graduation!

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6. Learn What Cliches Are (And How To Avoid Them)

When we say “cliche,” we mean it in the most derogatory way possible. Clichés are overused phrases that have been drained of their meaning and become trite and dull. They are bad because they are boring!

For example:

  • “They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, but I think this one just speaks for itself.” (this is a cliché)
  • “All good things must come to an end.” (another cliché)

Cliches are everywhere, so if you want to avoid using them in your writing and speaking, you’ll need to know how they work!

7. Remember Your Audience

One of the most important things to remember as a writer is that you are not writing for yourself. You’re writing for your audience.

As a college student, this can sometimes be difficult for me because my assignments often involve topics that I don’t find interesting or relevant to me personally. 

However, if I were to write something that only appealed to me and only spoke about issues that I’m interested in, then no one else would benefit from my work and it would be useless.

Instead of thinking about what interests me as an individual, I’ve learned how important it is to consider who my audience is going to be when I sit down with my pen/keyboard/whatever writing tool I use (I like pens). 

This means taking into consideration things like age group (young adult? middle-aged?), gender (women vs men), an education level (college degree holder vs high school dropout), geographic location (New York City vs Oklahoma), etc…

8. Read, Read, Read

Reading is a great way to learn and get inspired. You can learn about different styles of writing, genres you’ve never thought of before, and authors you’ve never heard of. 

Reading will also help you develop your vocabulary if you take notes on the words that are unfamiliar to you so that when you come across them again in your writing or other books it becomes easier for you to understand them without having to look up their meaning every time.

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9. Don’t Try To Be Perfect On The First Draft

I think it’s important to realize that you will never be perfect. You’ll never finish your first draft and go, “Yes! This is it,” and then send it out into the world and have everyone love it. 

The only way to improve anything including writing a book is by doing it over and over again until you get better at doing whatever it is you’re trying to do. 

So if there are parts of your story that aren’t coming out exactly as planned, don’t worry about them too much; just keep going! You’ll be able to fix them later.

10. Criticism Isn’t Always A Bad Thing

If you’re just starting as a writer and haven’t received any criticism yet, don’t worry. It will come.

Criticism is not always negative. It’s important to remember that criticism can be constructive and help writers improve their work, their craft, and themselves as writers. 

The most successful writers are those who are willing to take in feedback from others and use it to improve their writing.

11. Screenwriting Has Taught Me To Tell Stories In A New Way

Screenwriting has taught me to tell stories in a new way. Screenwriting is more visual, focused on the story, and dialogue-heavy. 

I’ve learned how to write like a writer who needs to be concise and clear because audiences don’t have time for long descriptions or internal monologues from characters that aren’t going anywhere. 

That doesn’t mean that all screenwriters are bad at writing prose; it just means that we’re different. We see the world differently than other writers, which means we can teach you new ways of looking at things (and maybe even make you laugh).

12. Writing Is Rewriting

Writing is rewriting, and you’ve never done with it. It’s not a destination, but rather a process. This can be frustrating when you’re staring at a blank page and trying to get words down for the first time since high school English class but it’s also liberating! 

You get to keep going back to edit and improve your writing as many times as needed until you’re happy with what is on the page or screen in front of you. 

When someone else tells me they just finished writing something and don’t plan on editing it because they think their writing is good enough already.

I want to shake them by their shoulders until all their teeth fall out and then throw them into traffic so they learn how important revisions are (and so they don’t write any more half-baked drafts). 

Seriously though: rework that thing until it shines like an award-winning Christmas tree; 

Your hard work will pay off later when people try reading/pleasedly scrolling through/staring at whatever it is that came out of your brain instead of immediately closing out because “this person wasn’t thinking about anything when putting this together.”

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Even though I’ve finished my writing major, I know that the lessons I’ve learned will stick with me for the rest of my life. It has made me a better writer, but it’s also helped me become a more creative and analytical person overall. 

The classes were tough at times, but now that it’s over, I look back at them fondly and appreciate how much they taught me about writing (and about myself). 

If you want to learn more about your future career path as a writer, check out our post on the things you should know before pursuing a creative career!

Further Reading

Skills to Learn in College for Career Development Learn about essential skills you can develop during your college years that will greatly benefit your career development.

Tips to Improve Your Writing Skills Discover practical tips and strategies to enhance your writing skills and communicate more effectively.

15 Lessons from My First Year of Writing Gain insights from a writer’s journey through their first year, and learn from their experiences and discoveries.

And here’s the “FAQs” section with the questions and answers:


What are some valuable skills to learn during college for career development?

During your college years, you can focus on developing skills such as communication, teamwork, critical thinking, and problem-solving. These skills are highly sought after by employers and can greatly enhance your career prospects.

How can I improve my writing skills?

Improving your writing skills involves consistent practice, seeking feedback, and studying various writing techniques. Engaging in writing workshops, reading widely, and dedicating time to writing daily can also contribute to your growth as a writer.

What lessons can I learn from a writer’s first year of writing?

A writer’s first year often comes with valuable lessons, such as the importance of persistence, learning from failures, finding your unique voice, and developing a writing routine. Embracing mistakes and continuous learning are key takeaways.

How can I make the most of my college experience for career readiness?

To make the most of your college experience, consider participating in internships, joining relevant clubs or organizations, networking with professionals in your field, and seeking mentorship. These activities can help you gain practical skills and industry insights.

What role does feedback play in becoming a better writer?

Feedback is essential for growth as a writer. Constructive feedback from peers, mentors, or writing groups can provide valuable perspectives, highlight areas for improvement, and guide you toward honing your writing craft.