There are a number of writing courses out there. What makes the Writers’ Studio different?

There’s an old writing saying: You can’t be taught how to write, but you can learn.

In other words, it is one thing to sit in a room and listen to someone dispense information and do a few writing exercises. It is another to experience a learning environment where you go on a carefully crafted creative journey where you learn how to make your writing come alive on the page and tell a story in a dramatic and emotionally powerful way.

In order to achieve this group experience, we break the process of writing down into simple, manageable bite sized chunks that will:

  • Keep you inspired
  • Keep you accountable
  • Give you a practical process that enables you to learn by doing
  • De-mystify structure and the story telling process

The courses are designed for people working full time and are designed to help you make writing a part of your life.

When I founded the Writers’ Studio in 1992, I wanted to ensure that in every course, every participant has a unique and profound experience and leaves the classroom feeling inspired.

Pia Riley, who completed our 10-Month First Draft Novel and Script course wrote at the end of the course,

What a trip! Ten months ago I never would’ve imagined my story would emerge with so many surprises, so many characters I’d never heard of, themes that slowly revealed themselves and the embryo of a final battle that was ridiculously exciting to write.

I certainly didn’t anticipate the wonderful impact listening to classmates stories and feedback would have on my own writing. The encouragement and camaraderie of the class through our stories revelations, highs and lows was a real highlight of the course for me.

I never imagined how the structure and the course processes would provide such guidance and direction and I never imagined that the process would allow an unleashing of creativity that was of itself pure joy.

Misconceptions about the writing process:

Number 1: If I have talent, I can attend a five or six-week workshop, write a great novel and get it published?

If people want to play an instrument or learn how to paint, most people realise they need to start at the beginning and learn the craft. Yet there is a notion that because someone can speak and write, that they don’t need to learn very much. If they are talented enough a story will come pouring out of them as if channeled by God. This is a fantasy of the uninitiated.

Writing is a four-part process – planning, writing, re-writing and editing.

Writing is an art and a craft that takes time to master. And if you want to write a novel or screenplays it will usually take a number of drafts, potentially over a number of years.

There are no shortcuts. You can’t sprint in a marathon.

Number 2: That some lucky people are blessed with talent and they are the only ones who have what it takes to get their work published? And that talent is all you really need.

This is from the fantasy novelist, Sara Douglas:

I don’t know how many times I’ve had someone say to me, “Oh, I’ve always wanted to write, but I don’t have THE TALENT. Not like you.”

This kind of comment always makes me irritated, firstly because in one fell swoop (“You find it easy to write, because you have THE TALENT”) all the years of labour and work and sweat I’ve put into developing the skill of writing have been brushed aside, and secondly because that kind of remark is such a cop out … the person twittering on and on about how they’ve always wanted to write but they don’t have THE TALENT is merely announcing to the world that they don’t have the energy and the courage to actually do so.

Writing is not a talent; no-one is born with WRITER stamped across their forehead. Individuals who write successfully have managed the feat because they have spent years developing the skill associated with the craft of writing.

When should you start sending your stories to editors and agents?

The publishing industry is a highly competitive business. Publishers and editors are strapped for time.

In most cases, they will only read your submission once. We believe you should only put your work out there, when you’ve spent time mastering the craft of fiction writing taken your story as far as you possible can.

Most people will need to write a number of drafts.

The good news though is that they are all desperately looking for that next bestseller. So if you can write a good story they will want it.

As Robert McKee says: “There are no unrecognised geniuses. For a good story well told, it’s a sellers market. Always has been, always will be.” So when you are starting out, focus on what you have control on, your writing and learning the art and craft of storytelling.

If it is so challenging to write a story, let alone get it published, why even bother writing?

If writing is the way you enjoy expressing your creativity, we believe it will nourish your spirit and enable you to have a better life.

As the inspirational author, Anne Lamott said:

I encourage anyone, who feels at all compelled to write to do so. I just try to warn people who hope to get published that publication is not all that it is cracked up to be. But writing is.

Writing has so much to give, so much to teach, so many surprises. The thing you had to force yourself to do – the actual writing – turns out to be the best part. It’s like discovering that while you thought you needed the tea ceremony for the caffeine, what you really needed was the tea ceremony. The act of writing turns out to be its own reward.

To be engrossed in something outside ourselves is a powerful antidote for the rational mind, the mind that so frequently has its head up its own ass – seeing things in such a narrow darkly narcissistic way that it presents a colo-rectal theology, offering hope to no one.

And playwright Romulus Linney said:

You must simply love to write. Then, when there’s interest in one of your stories, it’s a bonus. There’s a lot of giving yourself up to it than being so much in command of anything. It’s like giving yourself up to something that’s going to take you along with it. And that you’re going to go wherever it goes. It may work out, it may not, but you’re going to go there.

Where should I start at the Writers’ Studio?

We aim to provide a pathway to enable you to create your novel or screenplay.

The first step in the journey is our pre-requisite 4-Week Unlocking Creativity course. Whether you are a seasoned professional or a complete beginner this is the ideal starting point. As it is a great process, it will connect with you wherever you are at on the writing spectrum. One of the goals of the course is to not only help you improve the quality of your writing, but to give you an introduction to story structure and help you find out whether writing is a creative journey you wish to embark on.

If you know you want to write a novel or screenplay, you can join the 10-Month Novel and Script First Draft course and undertake Unlocking Creativity as a complimentary course.

The key point is if you want to write, start the journey and keep on the path.

When asked what is the best advice you would you give another writer, crime writer Michael Connolly replied, “Write every day even if it is just a paragraph.”

The experience will have a profound effect.

Owen Ryan, one of our Novel & Script writers said,

Over the last ten months my own character arc has been simple. One from being fearful yet determined to write only one draft before publishing to great acclaim. To trusting, happy to let the process guide me …

It has been a liberating, nourishing and hugely rewarding process in all aspects of life and work have benefited from it. I can no longer imagine a time when I won’t be writing something.

Write about something that will change your life, it is the best gift you can you give yourself.

And for more feedback about our courses from recent course participants – click here

Common Questions About Writing -

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