So what did the OU do for me?

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.

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About Pete Denton

I'm a writer working my way through the redrafts of a British crime novel. I also write short stories, flash fiction and some screen writing. Check out my blog for more.
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3 Responses to So what did the OU do for me?

  1. mutantbee says:

    Hi Pete,
    Thought I’d check out your blog after you liked a post on mine. I’ve got a couple of questions about the OU. I’m thinking about applying for my BA in English (with a focus on creative writing) with the OU and was wondering if you could tell me the process of how a course through them works. How do you communicate with the tutors/send in assignments etc.

    I will definitely be following your blog from now on 🙂

    -Heather

    • petedenton says:

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Both creative writing courses follow the same type of process. You get everything you’ll need upfront before the course starts: A thick workbook with exercises, readings etc and a study guide taking you through what you’ll need to do each week including details on each assignment and the end of module assessment.

      The interaction between yourself, your tutor and fellow students starts through a secure forum that only your course has access to. Your tutor will introduce themselves and there was an optional face-to-face tutorial in the first couple of weeks where you can meet and greet. The forums were a good place to post drafts of work and ask questions.

      The assignments are uploaded through your account on the OU website, which is really easy, and you get your results and feedback the same way. I had a few email exchanges with my tutor and I know some others spoke to them on the phone about issues.

      I thoroughly enjoyed it and being distance learning suited me as I had the interaction I needed but could keep my distance the rest of the time!

      Let me know if you have any more questions I’m more than happy to help.

  2. Kieron says:

    Hi Pete,

    Would you mind dropping me a quick email when you have a moment?

    I tried to find your email address but wasn’t able to unfortunately

    Many thanks,
    Kieron
    The Open University

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