There are the obvious reasons for taking a course in creative writing. Learning about point of view, voice and character all helped make me a better writer. The course materials were good and with the tutor feedback on my assignments you get good pointers to where you need to develop. I have no complaints about the structure or content of the courses but I think that was not the most important aspect for me.
I learned a lot about self-discipline. There isn’t anyone looking over your shoulder asking where your latest story is. I’m lazy. I admit that. I get distracted by shiny things and sport on television. You pay your money for the course and the parcel arrives containing a thick book about writing. Week one is approaching fast and you’ve got all this work to do.
You need the self-discipline to do the work and even when you’re tired you need to read the next few pages of the book or do some of the exercises. I set aside my studying time, found a quiet place to write and managed to avoid the evil television for long enough periods to do that.
I also like a deadline and work better when the pressure is on. It helps me focus and get the creative juices flowing. For the OU Creative Writing courses you know from the start what the assignments are and when they are due. I could plan the work and make sure I got a draft finished in time to edit it properly before the final submission.
On work days, I used to struggle to have the energy to do anything in the evenings beyond watching television. I read about people who would work all day, six days a week and then write all night as well as raising 15 kids and running a business. Were they machines? Did they not sleep? Or even eat? I wondered how they managed to do it all. Now I seem to have rekindled my passion for writing the energy has returned.
So what did the OU do for me? They enabled me to get into a routine with my writing. I have a number of short stories, life writing and script ideas to work on and submit. More importantly, writing is back to being my main focus. The day job is something I do to pay the bills. My notebook goes everywhere with me and I’m always scribbling ideas, characters and dialogue for my writing time.
Give studying a chance. It might be one of your better decisions.
Thanks for reading.