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Learn how to capture an audience with a creative writing short course

  • Written byCarys Thomas
  • Published date 21 June 2023
Image: Ron Lach via Pexels

At UAL Short Courses, we offer a range of creative writing short courses for aspiring writers. For those interested in narrative non-fiction, our Life Writing and Writing Life Short Course is a great place to start.

To find out more, we caught up with short course student Delnaz Mahmod to hear about her experience. Delnaz tells us about her passion for writing and discusses how the course proved to be a valuable source of inspiration for her.

I was lucky to be with a group of writers who were very supportive. Together, we created a safe space for everyone to share their work and help each other grow.

— Delnaz Mahmod, Short Course Student

Delnaz Mahmod is currently studying to become an English teacher at the University of Applied Sciences in Utrecht. As part of her studies, Delnaz was required to travel to an English-speaking country to build on her knowledge of the language and culture.

“It’s important for me to not only teach the language but also to understand where it came from and the culture that comes with it,” Delnaz explains. “That’s why I chose to come to London to do a short course at Central Saint Martins.”

Delnaz Mahmod

A love for literature

Delnaz has always been passionate about the written word and recalls a love for literature from a young age. “I would go to the library every Wednesday to get a new stack of books,” she says. “I live in a small town and the library wasn’t big so after finishing most of the Dutch young literature books I moved on to the English section.”

“I’m lucky enough to have had opportunities where I could put my love for reading to use,” she tells us. “I was chosen to be the representative of our province (Utrecht) to rate books in a children’s book jury on behalf of children in the Netherlands in 2016. After that, I started dreaming about writing a book that people would love as much as I love my favourite books."

Mastering the art of life writing

On our Life Writing and Writing Life Short Course, students try their hand at writing different types of narrative non-fiction, such as personal essays and memoirs, profiles and interviews, nature and travel writing, idea-based essays and literary journalism.

This style of writing appealed to Delnaz, who felt that others may relate to her experience of growing up between two cultures. “I have a lot to say and a story that lots of people can relate to,” she tells us.

“It can be hard writing about yourself or your personal experiences without feeling like you’re self-centred,” says Delnaz. "I wanted to learn about that balance and get my story out there.”

Finding inspiration

Delnaz found that the Life Writing Short Course gave her the confidence she needed to stop fearing the blank page and start writing. “As a writer, I think the hardest thing is getting started,” she explains. “I learnt how to get over that and just start somewhere, because there is no perfect beginning or ending. Now, I just think of my work as a draft that I can edit later."

Looking at examples of effective life writing was also particularly helpful for Delnaz, who found the group discussions useful. “The course inspired me in so many ways,” she says, “we read a lot of work from other authors to give our opinion on, use as examples and discuss.”

The course structure and opportunities for further study also helped Delnaz keep focus. “At the end of each session, we got to take all the handouts and chapters home to analyse and were set a homework assignment," she says. "This helped me stay motivated to spend a set amount of time on writing each week.”

Making connections

The supportive and inclusive environment on the Life Writing Short Course meant that Delnaz was able to share ideas and offer feedback to others throughout the course.

“I learnt so much during the 5 sessions we had at Central Saint Martins,” Delnaz tells us. “I was lucky to be with a group of writers who were very supportive. Together we created a safe space for everyone to share their work and help each other grow. The tutor (Joanna Pocock) was also incredibly supportive.”

“The course has motivated me to continue writing and spend time on it regularly,” says Delnaz. “On a personal level, it has also given me comfort to write about myself. It has given me a sense that what I have to say is important.”

Feeling inspired? Read more about the positive power of creative writing or explore our full range of creative writing short courses.

Check out our upcoming short courses to find out what's coming up.

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