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Briar Wood is an internationally published poet and is an experienced creative writing teacher. She tutors Poetry and Cultural Studies.
The course is all online and the best part of it for me is meeting all the other students with an interest in writing...
“Since high school I’ve wanted to write and illustrate fiction books for children with disabilities because early in my life I was diagnosed with high functioning autism. My mum was studying to be a nurse at NorthTec and found out about this applied writing course, so I came on board and am now I’m in my final year. I’m surprised at how well I’m doing.”
“The course is all online and the best part of it for me is meeting all the other students with an interest in writing. We critique each other’s work and socialize online, and occasionally meet up physically at a hui, but most of our connection is online. This is a break-through for me because I struggled at school to socialize. I think my school classmates would be surprised at what I’ve been capable of doing.”
“The essays are a bit of a challenge because sometimes I find it hard to think in order but the tutors are really helpful and Mum gives me a hand if I need it. I knew the course would be hard and a challenge but that is what I wanted. I’m surprised I’m doing so well because I really thought I’d quit. It’s very satisfying.”
“Doing this course has given me the confidence to know I can write stories for children with disabilities, and maybe help teach them through the stories. I’ll illustrate the writing with my own cartoon images. I’ll have to work hard but I have a stack of story ideas and I’ve already started writing my first one.”
This course is letting my imagination run wild again and opening up new horizons. I knew I could do it but I haven’t...
“The course has made me fall back in love with reading. I used to love reading as a kid then I got into movies and it fell away. I wasn’t interested in English or writing at school.”
“I’ve been working full time with videos, have a passion for movies and video games and was curious about writing scripts for movies. I also have an eight year old and was ready to better myself. The fact that this course is 100% online with full tutor support made study possible for me.”
“This course is letting my imagination run wild again and opening up new horizons. I knew I could do it but I haven’t studied for years so I’m surprised that it’s coming back quite naturally. Because I work a long day and do the study from home, I have to make sure I prioritize it and watch my time management. Deadlines are a good discipline.”
“The course itself is also helping me structure my ideas. When I started I thought I’d feel isolated but we read our classmates’ work online and get encouraged by the tutors. I like that it’s not a traditional school but still has some of the components of a traditional school.”
“Completing the writing assignments is giving me a sense of accomplishment and I realize that bettering myself is more important than the certificate. When I started I thought my ultimate goal was to write movie scripts but studying short stories and novels is broadening the possibilities. Instead of having a definite plan from here, I’m happy to see where the study takes me.”
This course is broadening my horizons as well as extending my writing. I thought I’d write children’s books and...
“This course is broadening my horizons as well as extending my writing. I thought I’d write children’s books and poetry, but now I’m wondering about a novel.”
“It's always been my dream to be a writer and I love both verbal and written communication. After fifteen years in the hospitality industry, I realise the human connection is very important to me and I hope to convey this in my writing. I finally gained enough confidence to further my education and found out that this applied writing course is online. It ticked all the boxes for me because I can do it part time, work part time, and fit the study around the kids.”
“I’m loving the course. I tend to over-write and over-express so the course is helping me address that, and before starting Applied Writing, I did an introductory computer course at NorthTec to update myself around techie stuff. The online tutors are fully available for guidance, suggestions and encouragement. They help us manage time deadlines but are understanding when students' personal circumstances sometimes arise and interfere with study.”
“As students we all critique each other’s work in a constructive way and we communicate socially too. It was great to put names to faces when we met up at a weekend hui at NorthTec earlier this year. There were speakers and a writing panel for discussion and questions, and it was wonderful to be surrounded by like-minded people.”
“This course has introduced me to other genres of writing and I'm surprised at how much confidence it has given me to try writing in other fields. I now realise writing can be more than a dream, but it’s also been a bit of a reality check as to how hard it is to break into this industry and earn money from it. We have also been introduced to where we can place work and how to present it.”
“My next step is to decide how I want to get my work out there. Will I try competitions, in poetry, flash fiction or short story? Or will I push ahead with the novel manuscript or the children's picture book? My dream is to become a household name as a writer. I want to find a niche and make money at it so that I can continue to express my ideas and have people be affected by having read them.”
The Applied Writing course is online, all of the tutors are writers and we have online forums with the other students...
“We came to New Zealand from Fiji when my husband got a job in the lab at Marsden Point. Northland felt like home to me but computers were completely new, so I spent months trying to understand how to use them and feeling really inadequate. That frustration was the motivation that drove me to learn as much as I could so that I would never feel like that again.”
Luisa is now studying Applied Writing full time and working full time. “I realized from my training that a lot of seniors are still vulnerable around computers. I’m doing the writing course because I want to write a how-to manual for computer beginners, especially seniors. Although I’m into the technology now, I really value books in print and a lot of us are still more comfortable holding a book in our hands.”
“The Applied Writing course is online, all of the tutors are writers and we have online forums with the other students. At first I felt different from them but then I realized I just have my own style and I’m enjoying the varied perspectives. I’m improving my own English and learning the basics of formats and punctuation, but I’m also being exposed to the whole history of literature, myths and legends, and the fullness of language and metaphor.”
“I’ve got the bug now so I’ll probably continue to study, and I’m keen on teaching – including teenagers - so I may add that in the mix. I’m surprised at how many people still don’t have basic computer skills. Every child has the potential to do really well in life and I’d love to help that happen.”
In my last year of the course I was offered a place in Level 7 which requires students to complete a major project...
“Professional writing was the easy part for me when I enrolled in this course. My big challenge was attempting to break into fiction in my late sixties. Papers like Myths, Legends and Folk Tales, Short Story, and Novel opened up a whole range of possibilities for me and I revelled in the chance to write creatively.”
“The fact that the course was online was ideal for me because I’m a retiree, and there was the added bonus of several local tutors who I could meet with personally. They kept me motivated.”
“However, I wasn’t an easy student. Because my background is in education, and in curriculum and professional development writing in particular, I was critical of some of the content and structure of the course. The great thing was that the tutors embraced my input, so it was a real win-win situation.”
“In my last year of the course I was offered a place in Level 7 which requires students to complete a major project. It was a perfect opportunity for me to write my 82,000 word novel. It is the story of a young woman being sent to a remote community to teach, who finds that she herself gets an education. We had expert online tutor input plus we were matched with professional mentors and assessors relevant to our genre. I was delighted with the assessment and feel I’ve gone from being a professional writer to a writer of fiction.”
“I’m a lot more secure in my understanding of how to write fiction now, and my confidence in my own creativity has grown enormously as a result of this learning journey. I’m keen to carry on writing creatively, and my dream is to see my novel published.”