Delving into creative writing (@EasternRegional @cae_melbourne)

Logo: Centre for Adult Education in Melbourne

The Eastern Regional Libraries recently presented the “Introduction to Creative Writing” event with the Centre for Adult Education (CAE) in Melbourne. The online session was for anyone interested in creative writing who is unsure how to get started.

The instructor, Beverley Eikli, teaches “Introduction to Creative Non-Fiction”, “Beginning Creative Writing” and “The Short Story” at CAE. To this reviewer, the session seemed to highlight creative writing courses as a resource, rather than the writing process itself.

According to Beverley, writing courses are designed to help aspiring writers unleash their creativity. While some may want to compose personalised stories for their loved ones, others may be interested in blogging or recording family history. Still others may want to compile a book of poems or daily musings.

Depending on each participant’s chosen project, writing courses help them find the “entry point” where they can begin to envisage and shape their stories. It’s a matter of overcoming barriers and making progress, until they can get their first draft on the page.

Some of these barriers include the so-called “writer’s block”, “internal editor” and even “imposter syndrome”. Many aspiring writers worry how their contents, styles and even themselves may be judged when others find out they are trying to write. This is where writing courses come in handy because no one is put on the spot.

In other words, writing courses are designed to encourage and inspire, to help participants have fun creating what they intend to create.

According to Beverley, people often lament that they want to write but lack someone to share it with. That “someone” can be a critique partner who helps you explore various possibilities and polish certain specifics while providing you with enough incentive to keep going.

A pair of fresh eyes can help writers check what is well done, what has potential, and what needs a bit more work. Editorial feedback and opportunities such as writing awards, competitions and grants are among the useful resources that writing courses provide.

Exactly what do you want to write, who do you want to write for, and what do you hope to achieve? Having ascertained your unique ideas, writing courses use prompts and exercises to help you brainstorm the “goal, motivation and conflict” that make your characters compelling.

Whether you are a “plotter” or “discovery writer”, whether you want to write romance, thriller or magical realism, and whether you encounter obstacles at the beginning, middle or end of the process – writing courses help you find the questions you want to ask to help get the story going.

At the end of the session, Beverley answered some important questions from participants, such as “what’s the best exercise to unlock creativity”, “how to overcome the tyranny of a blank page” and “how do you know when to stop editing”. These keen, in-depth inquiries demonstrate how writing can excite the heart, exercise the mind and soothe the soul.

Readers are advised to check with their local libraries regarding the availability of future creatively writing courses.

Note: This review was originally published under the title “Delving into Creative Writing” by Rangers Trader Star Mail, November 23, 2021, P.11.

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