Colleges and universities may hire a creative writing lecturer to instruct students in classes designed to improve creative writing skills and techniques. The lecturer is not a tenured employee, though he or she may work full time at the educational institution. Lecturers, unlike full-time professors, usually do not perform research at the university or college either; the primary function of the creative writing lecturer is to teach writing processes as they pertain to creative output. Lecturers can teach a variety of courses, and some lecturers may focus exclusively on one type of creative writing, such as poetry or creative non-fiction.
Creative writing is essentially the process of creating poetry and prose that is not a documentation of true events, though with the advent of creative non-fiction as a genre, true events and fiction have blended. The creative writing lecturer will instruct classes intended to give students the skills necessary to create fiction or creative non-fiction effectively. Lecturers will either need to have earned a higher education degree such as a master's degree or a PhD, or they will need to have some combination of education and experience that qualifies them to teach at the college level.
Lecturers may also run creative writing workshops, in which the lecturer will lead discussions and offer critiques regarding student writing. Such workshops are useful for improving student writing and recognizing common pitfalls of creative writing. A lecturer may offer students expertise on the publishing industry as well.
Lecturers often earn a Master's of Fine Arts (MFA) rather than a PhD because many schools do not offer PhD degrees in creative writing. This means a candidate with a master's credential can teach at the college or university level, but the job positions tend to be very competitive, so a combination of this educational qualification with other qualifications is usually required. A creative writing lecturer is likely to have many publishing credits to his or her name in addition to a college degree. Regardless of the specific qualifications, the lecturer will need to have a significant background in creative writing, both in practice and theory.
Sometimes a creative writing lecturer is working toward a full professorship, while others may be working as a lecturer as a long term career. Lecturers usually do not get paid quite as well as full professors, though they are often able to receive the same health and retirement benefits, as well as other general perks and privileges.