Newest Review: ... be good at). The WB course is ideal in this situation because it gives you the chance to try writing readers' letters, articles, non-fictio... more
Writers Bureau Writing Course - a good foundation
The Writer's Bureau Writing Course
Member Name: Tiddlywink
The Writer's Bureau Writing Course
Advantages: Critiques and support of tutor throughout course
Disadvantages: You have to be willing to work hard
I sent off for the Writers Bureau (WB) correspondence course after reading an advert in the newspaper. What I liked about it was the fact that it offered a full refund if you were not able to earn back your fees with your writing. It seemed like a win-win situation!
To get a refund of your fees, you need to show that you did make a reasonable effort to get published.
Another reason why WB can offer such a good money-back guarantee is because many people don't finish the course. Often, people like the idea of writing but give up when they discover it's not as easy as they thought.
Now, I was in the position where I wanted to write, but had no idea what kind of writing I'd enjoy (or, indeed, what kind of writing I might be good at). The WB course is ideal in this situation because it gives you the chance to try writing readers' letters, articles, non-fiction books, screen-writing, writing for radio, short stories, and novels.
The course itself consists of a set of booklets covering the different aspects of writing. These give you the information. You will be given assignments (20 altogether). You don't receive another assignment until you've sent in a completed one. The assignments give you choices. For example: Write an article for a magazine of your choice (saying which magazine you've chosen), so it's easy to find one you're comfortable with (most of the time!)
And you are given a tutor who will comment on your assignments, and give you support and advice.
The course covers fiction and non-fiction and you can choose which you wish to start with.
To be honest, to earn some money fairly quickly (without taking years to write a book) you are looking at writing articles or short stories for magazines.
I was hopeless at writing short stories, but I had some success with articles and managed to earn my fees back (helped a lot by getting an anecdote accepted by Readers Digest). It felt incredibly good to actually have my writing published, and get paid for it.
The course is pitched just right as far as difficulty is concerned. WB begin with fairly easy assignments and work up to something more challenging. Also, the tutors go easy on you at the start because they understand that you don't know much until you're further into the course.
Looking back, I would have liked a suggested reading list for some of the types of writing. I was already interested in writing, so I had read many articles on the Internet and had several books about writing. However, if I'd gone to WB first without having read around, I think I'd have found it more of a struggle.
In the end, you get out of it what you put into it. Sadly, there are no short cuts. If you want to get somewhere, you will need to discipline yourself to do the work to the best of your ability, complete the assignments, act on your tutor's comments, and ask lots of questions.
This course is not an easy way to get into writing. Rather, it teaches you by experience the kind of work you need to put in if you want to see your writing published. But it is a very effective course if you are willing to push through to the end.
Summary: If you're interested in writing, this is an effective foundation course.
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