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What It’s Like Being a Professional Writing Major

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When I changed my major from journalism to professional writing during my junior year of college, many that I told were confused about what the program was about and what I would be doing.

 

Writing, duh.

 

Of course I explained it better than that, but it’s the truth. We do write a lot.

 

Professional writing is a major that has been at Gaylord College of Journalism within OU for over sixty years now. Professional writing majors utilize fiction and nonfiction skills— writing for publication, narrative development, editing, argumentation, grammar, collaborative writing, and traditional and independent publishing business options.

 

Rather than creative writing or personal stories, the major works on genres like fantasy, horror, mystery, suspense, romance, and other popular fiction genres like screenwriting and commercial nonfiction. By exploring multiple genres, our major gets to see a bigger picture of what kind of writing is out there. It also helps students like me find what they are really passionate about.

 

I changed to professional writing during my junior year of college, not entirely sure of what I’d be getting myself into. I met with a few of the professors and sat in on a few classes of theirs which helped shape my understanding of the major to an extent. I signed my paperwork and officially changed after that.

 

The professional writing major consists of instruction, where we get to learn the basics of plot, character development, and how to write stronger narratives. Sometimes we share something we’re working on or pitch an idea to our professor or the class. Other days in class we read our classmates’ works and give feedback to them. We read a lot of books and have great discussions about our writing. We also have significant writing days.

 

The major is intense. But it’s been well worth changing my major. I’m doing something I’m passionate about. A lot of days, I’m just writing at coffee shops or in a classroom. There are a lot of days that I am in my professor’s office going over my plots and making my writing stronger.

 

There are perks to writing over one thousand words a week. We have a lot of extra face time with our instructors. Without having this time, my writing would not be strong. Our professors meet with us frequently and walk us through step by step on writing. Having someone mentor me and my writing, has made such a difference.

 

While the major isn’t for everybody, professional writing has shaped me. I’ve met a lot of students through the program who share a love for writing, books, and coffee. I’ve met people who have cheered me on and I’ve gotten to work with some of the most talented writers I could ever imagine working with.

 

I’m a professional writing major and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Meagan Loyd is a senior at the University of Oklahoma studying Professional Writing at Gaylord College of Journalism. She loves Target, Starbucks, quarter-zip sweatshirts, Chicago Cubs Baseball, Sooner Football, and all of the books!
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