Do Writers Need to Study Professional Writing Courses to Become Professionals?

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In 2007, I was studying the final subject in my master’s degree in writing at Swinburne University. The subject was The Writerly Self (don’t ask, I have no idea, not sure if I even understood exactly what the subject was about when I was studying it) and the major assessment piece was a writing journal reflecting on my development as a writer. I really didn’t want to do it. It seemed self-indulgent. It seemed like a waste of the 3,000-5,000 words required.

I proposed, was given permission for and began writing several alternatives including an article with the title, “Can Writing Be Taught?” It was and still is a question perpetually asked in relation to professional writing courses.

At the simplest level, of course writing can be taught. We teach writing to children all throughout their schooling years. But the focus of my article was going to be undergraduate and postgraduate writing studies. What better way to reflect on my development as a writer than to look into the proliferation of bachelor-, graduate certificate-, graduate diploma-, master’s- and PhD-level writing courses, their necessity and their usefulness. Continue reading

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The Five Types of Writing

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These days it’s on everybody’s bucket list – to write a book. But regardless of whether that bucket list item is a novel, non-fiction or memoir, the world needs more than just book writers. Content is a vast industry in itself and despite the resistance to paying for it, it is continuing to grow.

But there are actually five different types of writing, all requiring vastly different skill sets. So if your heart is set on it, it’s worth considering where your talents and your best chance of getting read lie. Continue reading

The Myth of Equal Opportunity

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In Australia and many other Western countries, the concept of equal opportunity is enshrined in law and embraced by employees as well as most employers. These laws cover protections that, while considered basic rights now, have generally been a result of hard-fought battles in past decades.

These rights include bans on discrimination on the basis of age, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy, race, religion, disability and probably a few others I’m forgetting. While they don’t guarantee that discrimination doesn’t happen (that’s an impossibility in a workforce populated by fallible humans – as we all are – and a world that seems to struggle more and more with intolerance), they provide assurance that victims have recourse and perpetrators must answer for their actions.

But sometimes equal opportunity is incorrectly equated with equal ability. Just because employees are equal doesn’t make them the same. So here’s a rather unfortunately lengthy list of things that can make the playing field of employment opportunities more uneven than we would like. Continue reading