I’m suggesting a new module at the university here where I teach. It is a very hands-on one for students who wish to become published whilst still at university. Students on the course will be asked to keep a portfolio of work they wish to submit, of work they are in the process of submitting and of submissions they have already made.
The course will equip them with their own personal strategy for maintaining a future portfolio of submissions and for maintaining a full-time or part-time writing career. It will also show students how to submit effectively.
There will be lectures about ways of submitting, including all the ones that the new technology affords and performance as an alternative form of submission. There will be a seminar on creating the portfolio that will be assessed in the course. There will be two one-to-one tutorials. The first will discuss strategies for the individual and the second will discuss the current portfolio. Alongside these, distance learning components with formative assessment will be offered on submission strategies, submission methods, entering competitions, networking and coping with rejection. A wiki and a discussion forum will also be offered to the students.
Many Creative Writing programmes offer these sorts of modules as compulsory components. And the students hate them – either because they have decided they don’t after all want to become writers or because they are forced to face one of the realities of the writer’s world. This module offers some guidance and mentoring to those who are really keen to get their work published.
There is still a vocational element for others: others not taking this as credit-bearing course will be able to attend the lectures and have access to the on-line materials.