Student Profile

Gerard O'Brien - Creative Writing

Gerard O'Brien - Creative Writing

“When I was young I wanted to be a writer but then life happened and it becomes hard to make it a priority, so I decided to do a writing course to dedicate some time to it. I was living in Mexico at the time, liked distance education, and wanted to study with a New Zealand Institution so enrolled for the NorthTec level 5 course. I liked that this was a full programme leading to a diploma.”

“I had done a lot of technical writing with my IT career but I was keen to explore creative writing so I really enjoyed the broad and different applications like script writing, poetry and short stories that the course introduced us to. The tutors were really responsive and I saw how they gave people confidence but were still realistic showing us where we need to improve. The structure was easy to follow and posting our work-in-progress then giving and receiving feedback was really motivating. The course gave me the dedicated time to develop my skills and to build a body of work.”

“I returned home to see family during my level 5 study and then covid happened so I decided to continue study to level 6 as a pre-requisite to doing a major book project for level 7. Meanwhile, one of the NorthTec tutors suggested I apply for the Master of Arts in Creative Writing programme at the International Institute of Modern Letters which is a well-regarded study programme in Wellington where I live. For my application portfolio I was able to use some of my NorthTec projects that had been critiqued and edited, and the course work had prepped me well enough to get accepted.”

“I’m now studying here full-time with a high workload and intense weekly workshops and, while I started writing for personal growth, I now realize I have talent for it so may write a book or two.  Writing can be hard work and frustrating but it also brings me joy and has taught me that we need to focus on what brings us joy, rather than just on what life pressures us to do.”

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