In April I enrolled in a creative writing course at the Cardiff University Continuing and Professional Education centre on Thursday evenings and it’s turned out to be a great way to destress and forget about the pressures of music and exams while getting away from staring at a screen every evening for entertainment. It’s a 10 week course and sessions last for two hours; the other people on the course are from a mix of backgrounds, but there are no other students apart from myself, so it’s been a great opportunity to mix with people beyond the student population.
The first four weeks of the course were focussed on everyday experiences such as the journey we took from our front door to the class, or various other seemingly boring things. The great thing about this is that after writing about these experiences we found that these very ordinary things were also very beautiful in many ways because each experience was so unique to each person, and details that students picked up on varied a lot which meant that each story was very different. The idea of writing about everyday experiences was to get the class to write about things they already knew about. In creative writing, or anything creative really, the further we stray from things we are familiar with and know about, the more likely we are to become clichéd in our creative activities because we don’t know anything else. By writing about our own experiences, it became easier for the class to write with original detail, making the writing more realistic and exciting.
For weeks five through eight we’re starting to practise writing fiction, using the first four weeks as foundation for our writing skills. The fifth session took place last night and started with each of us choosing a picture from a range of photographs scattered across the tables. Over the course of the two hours we then invented a character based on the person in our chosen picture: where they live, what colours they like and finally we had to come up with a name, and describe how the character felt about their given name. The last exercise was particularly interesting because giving the character an opinion about their own name brought life and personality to the writing, and many of the examples read out had layers of plot emerging already! We will continue along this line for the next few weeks and finish with a lesson about plot before submitting a final portfolio in week 10. Maybe if I’m feeling brave I will post an extract on here for people to read….
So far I’ve enjoyed the course immensely and will probably look at doing more courses next year (if dissertation doesn’t turn me into a complete hermit that is).It’s worth looking at the website to see all the different courses (and I think more are waiting to be posted for September):http://www.cardiff.ac.uk/learn/
Students can also get discounts on the course fees, although the prices range depending on the subject. The creative writing course wasn’t very expensive but some of the science courses are a few hundred pounds, so it’s worth having a look around everything and working out what discounts you might be entitled to.