I enrolled into a writing course with the University of Oxford part-time and online, and over the span of a couple of months I’ve been getting insight into writing styles and methods, in particular for Young Adult fiction. Although I wasn’t able to dedicate as much time as I wanted to, the time I did set aside was invaluable. And here’s why:
Being “forced” to read outside my preferred genres
Most of the time I read for pleasure or to explore the range of fiction within the genre I’m writing — meaning I limit myself to one or two genres. The course led to go outside my comfort zone and explore fiction I would never have chosen to read myself but definitely added a dimension to a holistic writing approach.
Reading with experimental exercises
Generally I read and write short stories or novels as separate efforts. I don’t take the time to read a section and then interlink the text with an experiment of my own for the sake of learning. Too eager to write my own stories, I forget to set aside time for experiments and reflections.
Interaction with other aspiring authors
The expectation for the course is an interaction with other students on the online platform. At first, I complied out of obligation, but eventually I sought out their thoughts and opinions because they added depth to my knowledge with their interpretations of texts and exercises. Diversity in thought allows for broader learning.
The course finished at the end of November, and I’m eager to continue with the next course but I don’t have adequate time and focus to maximise learning. Instead, I’m taking a break from my studies and use the limited time to continue experimenting and writing. Once my schedule opens up again, I’m jumping on the nerd wagon and enrolling onto the next writing course!