Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed this course at the weekend and to congratulate Mumsnet Academy on partnering with the Faber Academy for creative writing - high quality provider, excellent choice! Yes, £299 does seem a bit steep and I admit I was very lucky and won my place but having been I do think it's worth it and will happily pay for another course at Faber, when I reach the appropriate stage.
This course really is for beginners and I was very relieved to find everyone in pretty much the same situation as me - having wanted to write for a long time but produced very little (or nothing), not knowing where to start and needing some encouragement and advice.
Joanna Briscoe is an excellent teacher as well as author and was warm and not at all intimidating. I was hoping I might be able to hide behind lots of more confident people but it turned out to be a small group of 7 and was all the better for it. Great set of ladies, nice to get to know them over the two days. On the first day there were lots of practical writing exercises to really get the ink flowing (surprisingly everyone brought pen and paper, rather than laptops) and we were encouraged to read our work to the group - don't worry, you're not forced to do this but it's really worthwhile feeling the fear and doing it anyway ; gives you a huge sense of achievement in itself.
The second day was slightly more relaxed with more emphasis on discussion - so interesting to hear other people's ideas, opinions and preferences...remember, they could be your reading public! Especially intriguing to hear the ideas for their own novels - there wasn't one I didn't want to know more about.
Joanna had some really useful tips and exercises which I know I will continue to use ('interviewing' your characters! genius!) and I left with a renewed sense of determination to actually complete a novel. I have now set myself a target number of words to write a week and will remember the key message - when the going gets tough, keep going.
Tip - to get the most out of this course I would try to go with a firm-ish idea of what you want to write (even if you have no idea how) because then you can use the exercises to 'draw it out'.
Hi Mel, I really enjoyed the course too, especially Day 2 when we got to know each other and voice our ideas a bit more. I've done some writing everyday since and although it's a bit daunting, I don't feel like writing is such a ridiculous aspiration anymore. I'm determined to overcome any barriers - time constraints, creative block and plot difficulties - and make a proper job if it.