In just about a week’s time, I’ll be venturing out onto the path of education once more, a thought that both terrifies and excites me way more than I ever thought it would. I swore blind that I was done with college, but the thing is, I studied things I didn’t have a passion for. At the time, I felt like I had to go to college, and I hadn’t a clue about what I wanted to study. I’m lucky that the Open University is so flexible – I’m going to study Advanced Creative Writing! It’s perfect for me, except for the fact that reading my assignments gives me the fear-poops, but hey, something has to get me back into the swing of things!
Still not quite sure how I’ll balance working full time and studying online, plus the other side-course I’m going to start later in October, and of course, NaNoWriMo in November. And, you know, eating/bathing/general human activities. I’m not crazy-laughing, you are.
All this talk of education made me want to share the brain-lovin’ like some kind of Warm Bodies esque zombie. Unlike the ones in The Walking Dead, who aren’t interested in brains at all. Idiots.
AND YES, I know, it’s Friday! You don’t want to even consider using your brain for tasks more than ordering pizza and marathoning box sets all weekend. I’m with you there, buddy! It’s all good! Bookmark this until you’re feeling a little more cerebral. It’ll do you – and your writing – a whole lot of good.
Here’s my list of five for this week – five free online courses! THAT’S RIGHT, FREE! Free, I tells ya, not costing you a penny, but your TIME, ol buddy ol pal!
So, yes, Serena is doing Advanced Creative Writing, but she then signed up for this one, too. Speaking in third person makes her feel less crazy, because it reads like it’s someone else’s stupidity that made her sign up for two writing courses that basically run at the same time. Where is that crazy laughing coming from?
Anyway, this course looks incredible, which is why she – okay, I! – couldn’t pass it up. It teaches good habits, character creation, how to read like a writer, and through forum participation with other people on the course, essential editing skills. The Future Learn website is super cute, too, in the way it’s laid out. Give it a look!
I haven’t taken any of the MIT Open Courseware courses yet, but unlike the OU, they would have less time-pressure. You really can do it in your own time, because you’re not in an active, live, classroom experience. It has its pros and cons, but I think it definitely has its worth.
The Creative Spark isn’t just about writing, but creativity itself. It discusses voice and character, but also delves into the idea of whether the ‘creative temperament’ exists.
Questions 3 and 4 are a two-parters, students!
We all have experiences in our lives that we can draw from for inspiration. Even if you’re a young person, it’s not a measure of experience. You might not even realise the kind of experience you can bring to your writing, because you’re living your life, not observing it. Consider what your home life is like, or the influence your parents’ relationships or jobs have had on them, or you. Consider where you came from, the colour of your skin, the language you speak.
This course delves into identity, particularly in the multicultural setting of America, where so many people can put a hyphen before their status as an American.
Which leads us nicely to the next link, the topic of writing race in fiction. The course description asks if we live in a post-racial society, something I’m not sure if we’ll ever live in. Those who claim to be colour-blind are essentially ignoring centuries of suffering and important history, something we need to take into account when writing.
Personally, I think both of these courses would be a great benefit to anyone who wishes to write a POC convincingly, but it’s more than likely good for anyone writing anything, if they want to bring some depth into it.
The first link is back to Future Learn, so it’s a live course that you can interact with other people on. It’s a 10 week course, with each week concentrating on one of Shakespeare’s plays. It has an emphasis on historical context, and is in collaboration with the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, which promises to give intimate details that will illuminate the subject of his plays.
The second link goes back to MIT, and has more of an emphasis on the language that Shakespeare used. Although to us it all sounds a bit stuffy, Shakespeare amended his language to suit his audience, so a lot of it would be pretty casual language, practically slang. It might even teach a thing or two about finding your own voice in writing.
This would be an interesting course to anyone who is a little further along into their writing journey and wondering where, exactly, does their story fit. Genre is a sometimes fluid concept, but it’s important to know what you’re aiming to achieve with your writing, and which shelf your book belongs on. At the end of the day, writing is a business. (Disgusting, right?) You need to know what you’re selling, or no one is going to buy it!
That’s enough educational rambling on from me for one night! I’m going to go and turn my brain off for a few days. I hope you found something worth pursuing. Let us know in the comments if you decide to sign up for any of the courses!