"A word after a word after a word is power" - Margaret Atwood


A blog for readers and writers

A blog about the stories we tell each other and how we tell them...

Friday, 30 July 2010

How to find an Irish agent and the questions to ask before enrolling on an online writing course

Click on the title of this post and you will be taken to a pretty comprehensive list of publishers and agents in Ireland - one of the great book reading nations of the world.
You may also want to take the opportunity to wander around the Creative Writing Ink site. It offers an international peer feedback service on its discussion forum.  Might be worth dipping a toe in - especially if you can't get to a regular face to face writers workshop.

I see they also offer online courses in creative writing as well as more conventional taught courses in and around the city of Cork.  I'm not able to make a recommendation, but I taught on the the Open College of the Arts fiction and memoir courses for a couple of years. Despite excellent student support and great resources, the drop out rate was high. I've been thinking why that was and come up with these questions to consider before enrolling.
  1. Do you really want to write - or is it a toss up between short stories and Shiatsu? If you are dabbling, don't dabble at arm's length. You need the enthusiasm of an inspiring tutor and the camaraderie of classmates  
  2. Can you meet a deadline without being nagged? Really? Is the date on the calendar enough to get you going even when you're tired, overworked at the work that actually pays, there's a good film on TV, the baby is crying, next door's baby is crying and you are absolutely convinced that every word you have written since age six is absolute rubbish. 
  3. What's stopping you from attending 'real' classes on a regular basis? Right answer is because work or home commitments make conventional day or evening classes impossible. Or because disability or location are a real barrier to fulfilling your writing ambitions. Wrong answer is because it's easier. It's not. Another wrong answer is because you don't fancy going out to class on a cold, damp winter evening.  You don't have to starve in a garret to be a writer but you do have to put some effort in. Or at least most of us do. I met Farahan Zama at a literary conference last year and discovered that he wrote The Marriage for Rich People in the 35 minutes his train journey took every morning. The rest of us have to stuffer just a bit.

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