Not All Writers are Born, Some are Made in Writing Courses
I find the current TAFE arts funding cuts and fee increases so sad and disappointing.
Fifteen years ago, I drove past a sign down on the Mornington Penninsula with a screaming headline, DO YOU WANT TO BE A WRITER?
Yes, yes, yes, I had always wanted, dreamed, aspired to be a writer, but I’d always believed that writers were somehow born – not made, taught, trained. The poster provided a website to a TAFE Diploma of Professional Writing and Editing course and to my absolute excitement told of a program that was hands-on, learning to write for publication and at an accessible fee rate. (At the time I was working one day a week to help supplement the family income and busy with three young children and what seemed then a hefty mortgage.) Uni was out of the question for me financially. Besides I wanted to write and be published. Theory was a luxury I could not afford to pursue. Not then.
I feel a deep sadness for all those with a writing dream and unfostered talent that may now not get to explore their creativity or potential to produce publishable work. (Many writers need such a supportive, encouraging environment to get started and gain confidence not to mention learn crafting techniques.) The destruction of TAFE is short-sighted on so many levels and destroys so many employment pathways that I won’t attempt to go into here.
I thank God that I saw my future on that billboard and raced to chase the call. It screamed to me and I feel so sad for all those who will not hear the cry, because without it some will never have the confidence, craft or encouragement to answer.
So many of my writer friends and colleagues graduated through the TAFE Professional Writing & Editing Diploma. Many like me believe it was a fantastic grounding and beginning to our lifelong writing apprenticeships. I’d love anyone reading this to leave a comment and let me know how they and their writing careers benefitted from TAFE or any formal writing courses.