It’s not uncommon for an avid reader to feel drawn to writing themselves. Whether you’re writing simply for enjoyment or hoping to send your work out into the world, these resources offer some great opportunities to hone your skills. There’s options for every budget so no matter your circumstances there should be something that fits.
Andrew Wille DIY MA in Creative Writing
Many budding writers dream of being able to quit the day job and commit their time fully to writing, but life often gets in the way. The cost of tuition and the associated loss of income that comes with full time study can be major barriers to undertaking a degree in creative writing. Andrew Wille, who has experience of both working in the publishing industry and teaching writing, has kindly put together a DIY MA in Creative Writing, which he keeps up to date so any reading recommendations are current. This is a super budget friendly option. You might wish to buy a few of the key texts, but most books needed will be available from your local library.
Writers’ HQ is another brilliant, budget friendly resource. They offer a series of free short courses that will get you writing and developing plans and characters. Throughout the pandemic they’ve also been running virtual writing retreats which are brilliant at making you set aside some time to write and connect with other authors doing the same. If you want to spend a bit more you can join their membership scheme and get access to their full range of courses, or pay for lifetime access to a particular course.
Tim Clare’s Death of 1000 Cuts Podcast
Continuing on the theme of budget-friendly resources, Tim Clare’s podcast offers brilliant writing exercises for free. He has run two writing courses within the podcast - Couch to 80k, and the 100 Day Writing Challenge. By following along with each episode you’ll soon find yourself with a notebook full of writing and, hopefully, a solid writing habit. Other episodes include more broad musings on life as a writer and interviews with other published authors.
I discovered FutureLearn quite early on in its history and have been an avid supporter of it ever since (although my ratio of courses started to courses completed has sadly declined in recent years…), Again, you can access the content entirely free, but if you want to keep your access beyond a certain limit there is a payment option for that. Their ever-popular Start Writing Fiction course is brilliant for not only getting you writing but also sharing your work with other learners for constructive criticism. How to Read a Novel is another course that I would recommend for all readers interested in writing as it takes you through different narrative techniques, and looks at the James Tait Black prize shortlist to discuss what you’ve learnt in relation to current fiction. I’ve done this course multiple times for the updated content and enjoy it every time, as well as having found some brilliant books because of it. Keep an eye on the FutureLearn website because they’re always releasing new courses. Other bookish courses include poetry writing, detective fiction, and explorations of the works of famous writers such as Jane Austen, Shakespeare, and Robert Burns.
|Stunning views from Lumb Bank|
For when you want to splash out, Arvon is the place to go. In pre-pandemic days their offering largely consisted of residential courses and writing retreats as well as short courses and one-to-one tutorials. They now have an expanded selection of virtual events and free content that you can hear about via their newsletter. I was lucky enough to go on a week-long course at Lumb Bank a few years ago thanks to their grant scheme. It was honestly one of the best experiences I’ve ever had with writing classes, free time to work on a project, and one-to-one feedback, which I was incredibly nervous about but proved to be helpful and friendly. They also feed you delicious food and have a guest author come in to do a reading on one of the nights. It’s a great way to carve out some time to focus on your writing in beautiful surroundings and get to know other aspiring authors.