It’s half past two on a Friday and I still haven’t written my blog. Normally I would be panicking, but today I’m not. You see, the reason I am late with this week’s missive is that I have been buried in some ‘stuff’. Not literally, obviously, although the pile of books next to me is looking precarious.
I’m about to embark on a new course and I’ve been reading a very interesting book on screenwriting to get me in the mood. Tomorrow I start the Open University A363 Advanced Creative Writing course.
I’ve emailed my tutor (seems like a lovely chap), checked out the books and have occasionally scribbled in my ‘writer’s notebook’ in the hope that something, anything will come to me as inspiration for a story or two. I’m excited but also very scared. Very, very scared.
But what has this got to do with career development I hear you mutter?
It’s true, I’m doing this for fun, just as I did A215 Creative Writing for fun. But fun can also be useful. This last academic year I completed A215 with a distinction, and also carried out some CPD in the shape of a fiction editing course (not at the same time though, there are only so many hours in the day! A215 came first). The two complemented each other, and while I was having fun I was also honing my skills for work. By the end of the summer I had a better understanding of both fiction editing and fiction writing. I can now see things from both sides, which not only makes me better at my job, but a more empathic editor.
I’m now about to start the next level and hope that it will further enhance my writing and editing skills. Along the way I also hope to write a play (well it is part of the course), and perhaps it will be good enough for some theatre company to stage. That’s jumping the gun a little – I have to get through the course first. Time spent in our theatre will be useful though, in helping me understand what makes a good play. So my years in the theatre feeds into my time spent on my writing course, which in turn will feed into my working life. So although I wasn’t aware of it, all the time spent reading scripts and producing and occasionally directing plays, and all the fun I was having (even though it’s bloody hard work), was actually a form of professional development. I can edit scripts, any editor could probably edit scripts, but having the hundreds of hours spent in the theatre behind me, I know what makes a good script and know what an actor needs from a decent script. And that will feed into my writing, and also my work.
So, taking a creative writing course and spending all my free time in our local theatre has been, and will be, a form of career development. Things I can transfer from this type of non-official training:
- A better understanding of the writer’s craft
- A more empathic view of a manuscript
- A clearer view of what works in a narrative
- A clear view of what does and doesn’t work in a playscript
- An understanding that career development shouldn’t be boring.
There are probably many more positive points I could note, but you get my drift. Career development isn’t all about work, it’s about doing something you love and taking the lessons learned then applying them to your working life.
So it’s your turn … comment below and let us know where you have found career development opportunities in your free time. Have you found any unusual ways of adding value to your work?
And if you need an editor, contact me. I’d love to help you.