I live in Australia and want to study Creative writing?

christopher-hitchens-everybody-book

I am 48 years old and want to write this novel I KNOW I have in me …..has anyone any suggestion? Thanks

There are plenty of ways to learn to write, the primary way being to write.

Most writers’ festivals have short half-day courses on aspects of writing that are worth attending. Writer’s festivals | australia.gov.au

Most states also have writers’ centres that run events and courses. Writers’ Centres

Several universities run creative writing courses. My friend and author, David Whish-Wilson (read his books, they are great), teaches creative writing at Curtin University in Western Australia. There are plenty of courses available via Open Universities online.

Another option are centres like the Australia Writers’ Centre who run various courses year round. I’ve done a course with them myself. My friend and author, LA Larkin, also teaches a course at the AWC.

But when all said and done, the primary way to learn to write is by doing it. But before you do remember the above sage piece of advice from the late, great, Christopher Hitchens.

More advice from some of the most prolific authors in this article from The Atlantic.

This post originally appeared on Quora.

The header image quote is discussed in more detail here.

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Writing program scams

scam

On the internet there is a scam born every minute. Whilst I love to receive email from Nigerian royalty, ads for another penis enlargement (the first one was enough, thanks), and fat loss supplements that promise not to kill me, there is a line I have to draw in the sand: scamming writers.

Most writers are hobbyists, writing because they love it. The handful that do get paid enough to be full-time writers are few and far between. So targeting writers with scams means that somewhere a monkey at a keyboard is not being fed today.

Yesterday in a writers discussion group a question was raised about whether a New, Amazing, Adjective, program that promises to give you the tools to write a 400 word article in 7 minutes.

Dear Fellow Article Writer (TA: read as mark or sucker),

Did you watch the video above? It’s hard to believe so many people would send me such raving, unsolicited testimonials about my product, “How to Write an Article in 7 Minutes or Less“. (TA: Testimonials!? Wow! I’m sold!)

If you did watch the video, you saw with your own eyes how I was able to take people who spent more than an hour writing an article down to as fast as 5 minutes per article! (TA: 5 minutes? I thought you said 7 minutes. Does this mean I get a 2 minute abs program as a bonus?)

….. (TA: edited out promotional garbage about money back guarantees and how only the scammer found the secret or developed it or whatever)

Here’s how it works.

  1. Open my 3 special research sites. (TA: Wikipedia?)
  2. Use my “skim and grab” research technique to find your
    3 main points (Takes about a minute).  (TA: Yes, because reading comprehension is for suckers.)
  3. Outline each main point with two “sub points.” (another minute here). (TA: What if there is only one point?)
  4. Use the “opening paragraph” template to quickly create the first paragraph (About 30 seconds). (TA: Insert generic filler paragraph, got it.)
  5. Use the “main point” template to write paragraphs for each of your three main points. (2-4 minutes total time) (TA: So, standard writing….)
  6. Use the “conclusion paragraph” template to quickly create the conclusion. (another 30 seconds). (TA: Insert generic filler paragraph at the end.)
  7. Proof read your article, and then submit it to the appropriate directory. (1-2 minutes) (TA: Click spellcheck and hope it doesn’t miss anything.)

The cool thing about using these templates is you never have to pause to think…but… you also enough leeway so each article remains 100% unique, and of the highest quality. (TA: Yes, why would you want to actually put any thought into your writing. Highly overrated for quality content.)

Don’t worry: My method has nothing to do with plagiarism! (TA: Of course not, copy and pasting clearly takes too long.)

Anyway, you can learn all about my 7 minute article technique by reading my special report, “How to Write an Article In 7 Minutes”, and by watching the videos I made showing step by step how I do it.

But that’s not all… (TA: Steak knives?)

My first thought upon seeing the claim that you could learn to write an article in 7 minutes was that it was bullshit. The fact that people would question if it would be possible left me a little stunned, a little thirsty and thinking about having a nap. Clearly some people are going to be taken in by these kinds of scams. So I want to just illustrate my critical thinking process and how I avoided being scammed for $37 (I know, huge amounts of money).

Drawing from personal experience, I know that I’d spend more than 7 minutes just copying in the links to the research I’d be citing, let alone reading those articles. So the first check is to understand just how long certain tasks actually take you. This scam works on the idea that you don’t really measure the time it takes for common activities. You may know how long you spend on a full article or day’s writing, but not on the little parts, like one paragraph or one sentence. So when someone presents you with some figures, you are bound to think, “Well, I do spend a lot of time staring at the screen and checking my Twitter feed.” Suddenly you are partly receptive to the con.

Let’s have a look how long writing actually takes the average person. Being a science nerd, I like to have a few figures around on writing, reading, average number of Facebook posts per hour; you know, important stats. The average person has a typing speed of 60-100 words per minute, which gives you 400-700 words written in 7 minutes. The page claims a 400 word article with 5 minutes actual writing time, which is 300-500 words written. So unless you are setting world speed records, then you won’t have time to do anything other than write.

What about editing? Nothing is perfect on a first draft, nothing! So even if this is a 400 word article written in 5 minutes, you still need to edit. Reading speed is not the same as proofreading speed, with average speeds of 180-200 words per minute. That’s another 2-3 minutes.

This program is essentially promising that you will achieve touch-typing dexterity and speed that will allow you to write fast. It is also promising that you’ll have fantastic reading comprehension skills at skim reading speeds. And yet you will also somehow acquire a time machine to allow you to also plan, research and create a concise article at the same time. The fact that the scam makes no mention of boosting your reading and writing speed and giving you keys to the Deloren, shows that someone is wanting your money and your credules.

In the meantime, send me $40 and I’ll send you some templates that I guarantee will add inches to your penis and bust size, whilst making you an awesome writer and friends with Nigerian royalty. Trust me, no-one lies on the internet.