It is a bit of a funny cycle, but there is definitely a seasonal trend when it comes to creative writing. Budding writers appear to become more interested in writing and enrolling onto a creative writing course during the summer months or over the Christmas and New Year period. There is some logic to this. The summer often provides an opportunity for people to take a break, to enjoy the sun and spend some time relaxing and clearing their minds of the stresses and drains of everyday life. Aspirations re-appear, and for creative types, this means the emergence, or re-emergence of a desire to learn how to write creatively. Similarly, Christmas and New Year provides some personal space away from work, and it is often the time that individuals make New Year resolutions and start to plan to achieve things in year that have been sitting on a wish list for ages. Again, for some this includes writing creatively or learning about creative writing.
Fortunately, creative writing courses tend to tie themselves into these seasonal writing peaks. Shortly after the summer holiday period, a new academic year begins, and the New Year brings with it a new term time, and for distance learning courses in particular, courses can be commenced at each new term.
So, if you are one of those individuals who has 'complete a creative writing course' sitting on their 'To Do' list, where do you begin in locating a course? And how do you know if a course will be right for you or not? The list of questions below should help you pin point a course that works for you.
1. How do you like to learn?
Do you prefer to learn in a classroom setting, with peers to chat to face to face, and access to a tutor on a weekly basis? Or are you happier learning at your own pace - taking material that you can study at home at your leisure? Or perhaps you're looking for a course that sits in the middle...where you can attend a summer school or the odd lecture, but that the majority of study is completed by yourself, at home.
Think about this carefully, and also assess how easy it would be for you to study in your preferred way. It might be that you prefer to learn in a classroom setting, but that your work and family commitments would just render this option unachievable. Similarly, you might find the concept of studying from appealing, but you know that you're self motivation is lacking, and so you would need the structure of a classroom-taught course to enable you to successfully complete your study.
2. How much time do you have available to study?
Be realistic and think about how much time you would have to commit to your studies on a weekly basis, and how long you could continue to commit this time. For example, if your workload is lighter over the spring, or if you have packed your children off to stay with their grandparents for the summer, then you might have 2 months of time where you can really commit yourself to a creative writing course. Great! Then a short course, or a summer course would be perfect for you. However, it may be that you only have a couple of hours a week that you can commit to your course each week, but you might have access to this time for the next year. In this case, a home study course might be better, where you have control over your modular study.
3. What courses are available to you?
Finally, you need to think about location. Are their classes, courses or summer schools in creative writing running near you? If so, you can explore studying with them. If not, are you able to travel to the closest course location? If not, an online course or study from home course may be the most practical option.
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