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LD Week 2024-05 1

The Write Way?

By Andrew Moodie

Most writers will probably tell you that the best way to learn how to write is to read; and that’s it. I decided to take things a step further and signed up for some online Creative Writing courses. I love to write and wanted to take things to the next level.

The first I did was ‘Start Writing Fiction’ on Futurelearn, which is operated by The Open University. I have to admit to doing this one twice, once in 2020 and then again in April 2021. The course was made up of listening to audio samples of writers talking and then doing small assignments, some of which you were encouraged to post on the course and let other people comment on. I ended up breezing through the course on both occasions. I enjoyed how it kept me focused.

In 2021 I signed up for the ‘Ignite Your Writing’ course with Sian Tower. Like Futurelearn you were expected to do some tasks, which I did. But I was also expected to produce 1,000 words in a week about anything I wanted. I submitted some scenes for what maybe felt like a potential story, but it was always the feedback that I looked forward to and in the end I was left with an encouraging email and a link to Curtis Brown Creative which is where I ended up next.

I actually did two separate writing courses with Curtis Brown Creative. In September- October of 2021 I had six weeks of ‘Start To Write Your Novel’. It mostly followed the same sort of structure as the others with videos and tasks that I got a lot of positive feedback for, as well as some feedback of a more critical nature; but most of it revolved around the feelings or psychology of the main protagonist. It all ended with having to submit a 3,000 word document which for me was made up of some of my previous assignments with a little extra added on. I got a report back and the chance to speak about it with one of the Curtis Brown staff. It wasn’t long after that when my 3,000 words found their way into a manuscript for a novel that I’d started to write.

In 2022 I joined another online writing class. This was the first time on a course where I had no real idea of what it was I wanted to work on. I tried some ideas with the tasks I was given but when I came to the 3,000 words I handed in a detective story set in a village, which I pitched as ‘John Le Carre meets Enid Blyton‘. I held onto the feedback and report that I got and eventually wrote the story up as a novella which brought me to the conclusion that maybe I’d be better off writing thrillers rather detective novels. I didn’t enjoy this course as much as the last one but It was still worthwhile completing.

On something of a sidenote, I did try some Masterclass courses, but was too late in realizing that I preferred the more practical courses than these ones that were just a lot of video watching, but on the plus side I got my money back. It’s good to try things out and find something that works for you.

Now I come to the Online Creative Writing Course that I did with West College Scotland. It began on 1 September 2023 and lasted until about the end of October. It took place on Friday afternoons, and this time I could see the other people on the course via webcam. Most were middle-aged or older, all pleasant. I admit I was a little uncertain at the start, but before long I was showing what I could do. Sometimes I would write something and the lecturer would read it out and the others always appeared impressed. There were some assignments I had to complete to pass the course, like a piece of imaginative writing and personal writing which I did in the form of a Letter To My Younger Self.

I felt I’d sailed through it and the course ended with a pleasing video call with the lecturer. I think she was impressed by the assignments I’d sent her as well as the other work that I’d done during my time on the course. I’d gone from feeling uncertain about it to it more or less becoming the main point of my week.

Some people may not think of online creative writing courses in a favourable light. I like to think that I’ve learned something of value from them. I appreciate the encouragement and confidence they’ve given me which I don’t think I could have seen coming, and I hope to put it all to good use moving forward. “

Listen to Andrew’s blog, as read by Julie McNeill (at Andrew’s request)

Scottish Learning Disability Week celebrates the rich contribution that people with learning disabilities make to society, as well as working to ensure people receive full and fair access to all their rights. The theme for Learning Disability Week 2024 is Digital Inclusion and Andrew has written this blog to share how being digitally included has benefited him. You can read more of Andrew’s work on his website: AndrewMoodie.co.uk

Image shows Andrew Moodie standing relaxed with hands in pocket with the words 'The Graduate' in large writing across, a take on the poster for the movie 'The Graduate'.

#ScotLDWeek24 #MyRight2Digital #BetterIsPossible #SupportingGoodLives

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