Saturday, October 4, 2008

The Diploma

Firstly, David, yes - it does suck up a lot of time you could otherwise be using for writing.

I allocate two nights a week to doing assignments and occasionally have to use a third.

But it depends on what exactly you want to accomplish with your writing.

If you only want to write fiction, then you'll only gain benefit from half the diploma. I'm sure there are shorter courses that could teach almost as much.

If you want to have fiction and freelance writing as strings to your bow, then this diploma is a good thing.

This first year I've learned little bits through doing the diploma. I've learned far more from crit groups and friends over the previous year in regards to fiction writing. Next year, I'll be beginning electives which will help me write my book. I'll gain one on one mentoring with someone who has written in a similar field and been published.

Through this first year, the diploma has inspired me to write three new short stories that started out as assignments and grown to marketable pieces, so I guess it hasn't really stopped my writing short fiction either.

But like I said earlier, it's the freelance side of things where I've learned so much more than I knew before. Through the diploma I now write articles for SA50s+. The editor of that publication has said she will let me know if paying opportunities come up because she knows I'll continue to write for her anyway. It's a foot in the door and allows me to grow my clips.

It's given me the confidence to apply to HorrorScope to do reviews which has led to a paying gig with Black magazine. I'm guessing we've all wanted to be able to watch movies, read books, and play video games and get paid for it - well this is the first step in that direction.

Year 1 is tough on time and you won't get a whole new understanding on writing fiction, but you will learn something about the freelance side of things. The following years will be tougher on time but I'll be doing what I would be during that time anyway - writing.

Time consuming - yes.

Worthwhile - yes.

Being on the Eastern seaboard, I think it'll be even more beneficial for you if you want to move into a writing job. I scan the job boards everyday and all of them are based over that way.

If you can afford it and can organise the time needed to do the course justice, then I'd wholeheartedly suggest you go for it.

Hope that helps.



  1. A very comprehensive answer (as usual)!

    I'm not that interested in writing reviews so I guess that side of the course would be less useful.

    I do like the idea of having deadlines attached to my writing. I seem to work better under pressure.

    Food for thought - a virtual feast.

  2. Writing reviews isn't part of the course, but doing the course led me to believe I had enough skill and gave me enough confidence to apply to HorrorScope - which led to a paying gig with Black.

    I get books sent to me for free to read and offer my humble opinion on - not a bad deal really.

    If you like deadlines... then there are plenty of those.

    Let us know if you do a course and how you go. If nothing else, it gives you something to blog about ;c)