Will this course make me a writer?

You are a writer the moment you write with intent.

Most of us write, a little, every day. We write shopping lists and emails, corporate documents and thank you cards. This is everyday writing, the type of writing that is necessary to living in the world. In this sense, everyone is a writer.

But that's not the writing you mean, is it?

Writing with the intention of creation, with the purpose of making, is the true business of the writer. It requires no degrees, no classes, extra materials. It is the act of committing words. And that is all.

Our courses help you write. They guide you through ideas and exercises. Our academic staff provide support and feedback. There is no single qualification that makes you a writer. You are a writer because you say you are a writer. You are a writer because you sit down and write with intent.

What do writers do?

It depends on the type of writing you want to do. Some types of writing, like course development, biographies or textbook writing often require a lot of research and structural work before the writing begins. Journalists may need to research, looking through archives, conducting interviews, and more.

Copywriters are usually given briefs detailing the type of material they need to write. Sometimes, these briefs include research or other necessary information. In these cases, the act of writing may start immediately. Copywriters often write for web sites, public relations firms, corporations, and news or interest sites.

Literary writers, or writers focussed on creating story, often spend a long time planning the structure of their work. Some need to research, while others can write from scratch, with little external input. The best literary writers spend a lot of time reading. Some read in only one genre, while others read across genres, often mixing in news, history, and more.

All writers edit, and spend time on revisions. This is a necessary part of the writing process. Sometimes, you need only a couple of passes. Other times, you'll spend more time on revisions than on writing. Great writers never skimp on revisions.

What should I write about?

If you're a copywriter, follow your brief.

If you're a journalist, follow your story.

If you're an educational writer, consider your audience, the topic, and chat to your editor.

If you're a literary writer: no one can tell you what to write.

Many people will tell you to write what you know – this is a useful way to get started. Literary writing, however, is about story and imagination. Don't let "write what you know" limit you. If you want to write a sea opera but you've never hopped a pirate ship, read, research, and imagine.

An important caveat: if you're writing literary non-fiction, you'll still need citations. Don't make things up, even if it does sound good.

What about membership of professional bodies?

No qualifications are required to work as a writer, but there are many useful professional associations. Membership in an association isn't necessary for credibility – many high-profile writers don't belong to associations. They are useful for networking, feedback, learning the proverbial ropes, and meeting people with similar interests. Many offer courses, publications, and run conferences to help with professional development.

Romance Writers of America (RWA) and the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) run useful events and provide member benefits. Both have useful web sites, with information available to non-members. The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) are an international organisation with events, conferences, and several member resources. Many places also have journalist and investigative reporting associations and bodies. If you're not sure to start, reach out to a writing centre in your area.

How do I get started with ACS Distance Education?

We have a range of study options. If you are unsure, you could always start with a 100-hour module. If that goes well you can upgrade to a certificate or higher qualification later. Browse through writing courses.