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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

How many people studying creative writing have been told that ‘they’re not doing a “proper” degree’? How many art students have worried that they won’t be able to get a job in their desired field when they finish uni? How many creatives have been too embarrassed to share work or had friends completely disregard something which was extremely meaningful to share?

I wish we could change these perspectives. I live with mostly economic students and let me tell you right now that I, as an English Literature and Creative Writing student, work far more hours than any of them! I always have more reading to do, and they would cry at the length of the essays I have to submit! Whilst they boast that they have a difficult exam season which I don’t have, I am being constantly assessed all year whilst they can just cram at the end. We study theories and techniques and critique work whilst creating our own work and yet they still tell me that my degree isn’t a “proper” degree! 

People need to start recognising just how important creative people are for our lives. Most enjoyment in life is supported by creatives! Have you recently been to a show, or admired a piece of art, or listened to a song, or considered the architecture of your town? Everything around you is art! What fun would the world be without people using their imaginations to create magic in the world around you? We are coming close to towns turning on their Christmas lights and, yes, I am very glad that people out there understand the physics of electricity and all of that, but it was a creative who has allowed these lights to create the real magic which we will be enjoying each time we walk beneath the swirling images of reindeer and sleighs for the next couple of months. 

Whilst many may consider themselves to never enjoy literature, it is around us all in ways we don’t always realise and will be taken for granted at times when it is needed. Often poetry is read at funerals because it can often concisely sum up and draw out emotions helping you to process the grief, whilst music is seen as one of the big decisions when planning a wedding – there is a reason these art forms, which are filled with powerful words, are so important in our lives. And it is around us in our daily lives too: have you considered how you are influenced by a tag line drawing you into a shop? Or, at the end of the day when you need to relax you turn on your favourite TV series, do you consider the amount of work which had to go into those scripts? We are constantly living our lives through literature and enjoying the work of a wordsmith in so many different forms!

When I was ranting the other day about the lack of money in the arts, and specifically about the average payment you may receive for writing a poem, my friend said “Well, £100 would be pretty good for a poem because you could write one in a day”. This reminded me of a story about Picasso who was once approached at a market in Paris by a lady desiring him to draw something for her on a napkin. He agreed, quickly drew a little image, and then, before handing it back, asked her for a payment. Now there are many sources retelling this story differently all claiming he requested different amounts of money, but the crucial part of the story is that the woman refused to pay exclaiming that it “Only took you 5 minutes!” to which Picasso is said to have responded “No. It took me 40 years to draw this in 5 minutes.”. Whilst this exact interaction may not have taken place, it conveys such an important point: creatives hone their skills their entire life and dedicate much of themselves to their work which is so often taken for granted and not appropriately appreciated.

So, the next time you want to illegally download a book for free or stream music in ways to avoid paying for it, please consider that a person put their soul into creating that work and will have to give up their full-time passion if they are unable to make a living from it. Also, please be supportive the next time someone shares their work with you and please do not consider a STEM degree to be of more importance than a creative one. Recognise where your enjoyments in life come from! 

Hi, I’m Sophia and I’m studying English Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Warwick. I love writing, travelling and plenty of socialising!