Claudia Rose completed the Writing Articles for Websites and Blogs Course at NZ Writers College. She had an article published in Pet Life Magazine, and is the founder of the Facebook Page Pawsitive Tales.
Tell us a bit about yourself. What made you sign up for a writing course?
I’m Claudia Rose, an NZ European/Pakeha. I graduated from school in 2018. Initially, I wanted to go to university to study music, but at the end of that year, I decided that wasn’t what I wanted to do.
After a while, I found that writing was something I quite enjoyed. I had written and published a book in 2017, but it wasn’t until I left school that I actively pursued it.
I didn’t start school until I was about 11 years old because of prolonged health issues that resulted in nine years of hospital stays, procedures, treatments, surgeries and more. When I started school, everything was a bit foreign! Still, I did quite enjoy reading.
Because of a physical disability, I found it hard to find any work once I left school. I applied for over 20 jobs, but to no avail. In 2020, I found some writing opportunities that included people and businesses looking for writers. I jumped at any post that arose, initially without much hope of being accepted.
Then, I was accepted for three voluntary roles as a Facebook Page admin! These were for A Part of Me Project, the Auckland Youth Choir, and Voices of Hope. Because they were all voluntary and I could do them from home, I was able to take them all on. What’s more, each one provided me with a range of different skills, from communication to different writing styles, such as health and wellness, and marketing-related posts.
I had been doing a lot of work for these three pages, and so I wanted to improve my writing skills to improve myself. That’s when I found the Writers College and decided to do one of their courses.
Were you juggling full-time work with the course?
I completed the ‘Writing Articles for Websites and Blogs’ Course at NZ Writers College.
As mentioned, I had taken on three voluntary roles prior to starting the course. There was some juggling, but I’m pleased to say I was able to manage it all.
I did have to prioritise a fair amount! With so many things going on at once, I had to make a timetable to meet all the deadlines.
I could apply a lot of my learning to what I was working on at the time, which was great. So it wasn’t too hard to juggle; it all kind of worked in with what I was doing. I just had to learn how to manage my time better.
What did you find the hardest part of the writing course?
Something that I found challenging, which then became helpful, was all the planning. Before submitting the final articles and pieces, I had to plan, outline and share ideas. Typically, I tend to jump straight into something, but this helped me produce much better writing.
What have you gained by doing the writing course?
I have gained so much from the course, and not just exclusively around web writing.
I learnt about how to engage a reader in our on-the-go society, which is very important. Because we receive information so rapidly and there’s always something to look at, it was very interesting and helpful to learn about engaging your audience.
Not only have I learnt web writing skills, but also general writing skills that have been helpful: this includes even the smaller, finer details such as knowing that you write out numbers one to ten, then the numeral for anything above ten. I’ve learnt so much.
As well as learning skills, I feel that doing the course re-ignited my passion for writing. My tutor, Fiona Walsh, encouraged and challenged me to improve my writing. It really helped me to rediscover my love of writing and literature, for which I am so thankful! An added advantage is that the course has been something I could work on at my own pace from home.
How are you using what you learnt in the course?
In late August of 2020, I began my own page called ‘Pawsitive Tales’. So I have a few things on the go!
‘Pawsitive Tales’ is a Facebook Page I started during the Covid-19 pandemic. Animals hold a special place in my heart and always make me happy. (We have three cats and a dog!) They have had such a huge impact on me.
At the start of lockdown, my dog, Wren, sniffed out a very unwell stray kitten. We took her to the vet to be treated and were told she had sustained permanent injuries. I shared this story with friends and it made them happy. And so, I had the idea to write and share stories about animals and their humans.
With the course, I have improved my own writing skills for these different pages, and it’s had a positive impact on my own page. It had been slowly gaining interest, but with the help of what I learnt from my course, I’ve managed to gain quite a few followers!
Shortly after completing the course, I got in touch with Pet Life Magazine. They accepted an article I wrote on my story and ‘Pawsitive Tales’, and I’m very excited to say it was published in their September issue! I was so thrilled to have had that opportunity but more so the confidence to make a go of it.
What advice do you have for anyone considering doing a Writers College course?
My advice for someone considering doing a course with the Writers College is simply to do it! There are so many different courses that could help anyone flourish, whether you’re looking to become a writer or just want to work on your writing for any other reason.