This is from an article published in the local Sydney magazine, The Beast, in September 2022. Click to see the original or see below.

Do you have an urge to write a novel or screenplay but need a bit of support to get your creative juices flowing? It might be worth starting the journey by looking into a four week course called Unlocking Creativity run by The Writers’ Studio in Bronte.

Novel Writing and Script Writing Course Workshop in Sydney“The course takes people through a step-by-step creative process and is suitable for everyone from experienced writers to complete beginners,” says founder Roland Fishman. “It will get you writing from the very first session and dramatically improve the quality of your writing and understanding of character development and story structure.”

The idea, says veteran writer Roland, is to throw away any preconceptions of writing being a painful process. “Dorothy Parker once said ‘I hate writing, but I love having written.’ In other words, the act of writing creates a natural high that nourishes the writer’s spirit.”

For the Unlocking Creativity course and other courses run by the Studio, writers break into groups of three or four where they exchange ideas and give each other feedback. Roland says: “Everyone is their own harshest critic and that can stifle creativity. It helps when you share the journey with like-minded people.”

Talking of journeys, Roland and his Writers’ Studio tutors get writers’ imaginations working by suggesting they write about something that will take them on an emotional journey they need to go on.

He explains: “We tell our writers, ‘Write about something that could change your life. It’s the best gift you can give yourself. Fiction isn’t about what happened, it’s about connecting with universal emotional truths.”

Once you’ve got that first draft in the can, it will be time for your second draft, followed by your third. Yes, that’s how many times you should rework your novel or script.

The Studio runs specific courses on writing successive drafts to make sure your story reaches its full potential. “The biggest mistake many writers make is sending off work prematurely to agents and publishers or self-publishing without making sure it’s their best,” Roland says.

He has been writing professionally since 1980, when he joined the staff of the Australian Financial Review as a cadet journalist. A year later, he switched to the Sydney Morning Herald. There he covered both general news and sport. A love of cricket sparked his first book, a biography of spin bowler Greg Matthews published in 1986, as well as his next work, Calypso Cricket, which hit the book stands in 1991. Earlier that year, Roland had accompanied the Australian cricket team on tour of the West Indies.

His latest book is a thriller, No Man’s Land. Its central protagonist, Russell Carter, has been compared to Lee Child’s hugely popular character, Jack Reacher. Roland is currently part way through a second Russell Carter novel.

Roland ran his first writers’ course in 1992 from a flat on Campbell Parade, Bondi. It was a success and since then The Writers’ Studio has gone from strength to strength, with thousands of people going through the courses both live, in the roomy studio premises, a converted church hall in a quiet Bronte laneway, and online.

This year Roland and his life partner Kathleen Allen are celebrating the Studio’s 30th anniversary. Roland says: “The great gift of The Writers’ Studio is seeing the pleasure people receive from getting in touch with their imagination, receiving feedback, being part of a creative community and seeing their writing and stories come to life.”

Thirty Years of Creative Writing Courses -

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