Trying To Get My Groove Back.

OK, got it. Turning back now. Photo from stock.xchng.

I’m a working writer. My life is shaped by deadlines, guidelines, headlines, bylines, and lines. But when it comes to my personal writing projects, I’m stuck in a dreadful years-long creative rut.

A few weeks back, I “finished” writing my first short story in seven years. I still think some parts need to be redone, but for now I’ll leave it as is. It felt real nice to do what I’ve loved doing before I started working, and it sure made me happy. But it also frustrated me; writing was never this hard for me back then. In my most recent effort, I was self-editing before closing paragraphs, doubting in the middle of outlining, overhauling while writing, and comparing and recalling similar stories as I typed. The ideas sound great in my head, but look shitty on paper and on screen.

As for creativity sparkers, writing prompts, etc., I think I’ve gone past that point. I also made the “mistake” of reading my old work, and… let’s just say it yielded the same reactions I had when reading old diaries: cringe, shiver, mentally rewrite, and hide so that Future Kids can read them and laugh at Mommy.

The next alternative: getting schooled again. For the past few years, I’ve wanted to enroll again — amazing, considering that all I wanted to do during my five years in college was to get out of there. However, things never really lined up right; had no time, no money, no drive/confidence, or all of the above.

So I’ve been doing a bit of research on free and paid online short-/long-term creative writing courses and workshops, and courses on other topics I’m currently interested in. The point is that if I can’t be back in the classroom right now, at least I could pick up needed tips and lessons at my own convenience. I can always revisit this list once I’m ready. And since many readers are also writers, I thought that the list I have right now can help you out as well.

Let me know if I missed anything, or if you can recommend a company or group. I’m leaning toward the academic/distance learning side, and I haven’t attended that many local writing workshops (two, at last count). I’ll edit this list if/when I find more.

I also strongly advise you to review all requirements and parameters for each workshop/course/program before applying or submitting anything. I’m not eligible for some of these programs (thanks to my two-year “siraan ng buhay” mode back in college; hello, GWA!), but maybe you are, so have a look-see.


De La Salle University – Manila
Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Creative Writing Program

University of the Philippines
Master of Arts in Creative Writing

University of Santo Tomas
Master of Arts in Creative Writing

Storywriting 101: Stories by Design
Instructor: Dr. Joem Antonio/Blue Backpack Events
Duration: September 7, 14 and 21, 2013
Fee: PhP3,800 (PhP7,000 if also taking Storywriting 102)
This starts tomorrow, so get moving and enroll now. This workshop was also called Inkblot: The Essentials of Writing Fiction, which I attended and wrote about last year.

Storywriting 102: Storytelling
Instructor: Dr. Joem Antonio/Blue Backpack Events
Duration: November 2013
Fee: PhP3,800

Fantasy and Science Fiction: The Human Mind, Our Modern World
Instructor: Eric Rabkin, Coursera/University of Michigan
Duration: October 7, 2013 (11 weeks)
Fee: Free

Comic Books and Graphic Novels
Instructor: William Kuskin, Coursera/University of Colorado-Boulder
Duration: September 23, 2013 (7 weeks)
Fee: Free

Creativity, Innovation, and Change
Instructors: Dr. Jack V. Matson, Dr. Darrell Velegol and Dr. Kathryn W. Jablokow, Coursera/Pennsylvania State University
Duration: September 1, 2013 (8 weeks)
Fee: Free / US$39 for Signature Track (PhP1,800)

Novel Writing
Institution: The London School of Journalism (LSJ) Distance Learning Program
Duration: 9-15 months
Fee: Est. GBP 365 or 380 – PhP25,000 – PhP27,000

Writing a Personal History
Institution: The London School of Journalism (LSJ) Distance Learning Program
Duration: 9-15 months
Fee: Est. GBP 365 or 380 – PhP25,000 – PhP27,000

Writing for Children
Institution: The London School of Journalism (LSJ) Distance Learning Program
Duration: 9-12 months
Fee: Est. GBP 315 or 325 – PhP22,000 – PhP23,000

Short Story Writing
Institution: The London School of Journalism (LSJ) Distance Learning Program
Duration: 9-15 months
Fee: Est. GBP 365 or 380 – PhP25,000 – PhP27,000

Online Novel-Writing Course
Agencies: Curtis Brown Creative UK / Conville & Walsh
Duration: September 25 to December 17, 2013 – APPLICATIONS CLOSED
Fee: GBP 1,300 (PhP90,000)
Missed the application deadline by a day, and didn’t have a 3,000-word manu or synopsis, or even money. But maybe if they offer this again in 2014 I’ll have something to turn in. 😉 Still including this in the list so you know what the agency offers and what it requires from participants.

Singapore Writers’ Festival: Writing Your Novel – to the End and Beyond
Organizers: Curtis Brown Creative UK/National Arts Council of Singapore
Duration: November 4 to 7, 2013
Fee: SGD 300 – PhP10,500

Getting Started in Creative Writing (Online)
Institution: Department for Continuing Education, Oxford University
Fee: From GBP 495 / PhP 33,000

Writing Fiction (Online)
Institution: Department for Continuing Education, Oxford University
Fee: GBP 495 / PhP 33,000

Writing Lives (Online)
Department for Continuing Education, Oxford University
Fee: GBP 495 / PhP 33,000

Stanford University – The Online Writers’ Studio


No, this isn’t a sponsored post.