Writer's Bureau comprehensive creating writing course which covers everything except poetry. This course is the biggest writing correspondance course in the country but I am aware that it is far from perfect. I am sure I would get a better class of education at the Open University or Open College of the Arts, but for me the Writer's Bureau has one or two advantages. Firstly, although still a good chunk of money, the whole thing costs as much as a single module at a more prestigious institute does. Secondly, its emphasis is on becoming a commerical writer. I am not interested in gaining a qualification - I have a degree, I don't need another. My main motivation for taking a course like this is just to have a regular amount of feedback and a little more structure to my writing, rather than to become an academic, and this course will hopefully provide that.
Opinions on the course are somewhat mixed, but I think if you go into it without thinking it's going to make you rich and without hoping for more than you are paying for, then you have a better chance of being satisfied. A lot of people have said that they have been unable to finish the course because of the amount of work set, but it is designed to be flexible so you only have to do the bits of the course you want to do. This suits me very well as I can work around whatever projects I have on and you are allowed to take several years over the course if you need to. I think I could just continue writing and reading as that approach is gradually making me improve anyway, but I am aware that getting that one bit of feedback on the opening to my novel at the end of last year taught me more in 15 minutes than I had taught myself in months. If I am serious about writing then I need to be serious about letting my work be criticised by people who know what it takes.
In other news, I have been working on a short story the last couple of weeks. I was moderately pleased with it, but something wasn't quite right and then yesterday I had a flash of inspiration and tried writing it in a mixture of tenses and so far I like the results. Hopefully I will get it finished today or tomorrow and entered into the ACW competition. I have also had some very good news from other quarters in the last week, but I am waiting for it to be made official before I indulge in a smug, self-congratulatory post! At the moment however, the lure of writing is competing with the lure of the great outdoors. Husband and I spent a wonderful day on the moor on Saturday with just the ponies, wild violets and a particularly persistent cuckoo for company - it's wonderful to be spending our first spring in such a beautiful place. Writing may be about life, but I strongly suspect life is about walking in the sunshine.