How to learn and stay connected from home

If you find yourself stuck at home, we have good news. Now is the perfect time to start an online course. You can learn a new skill without leaving the house.

We live in a golden age of online learning. You can learn how to crochet on YouTube, study financial accounting on Coursera, and pursue your writing dreams right here with us at the Australian Writers' Centre. You'll learn new skills and connect with other passionate people right from the comfort of your home. You don't even have to change out of your PJs.

What can I study online?

If you're new to online learning, you might be surprised by what you can study online. Through the AWC's online learning hub, we offer courses covering every aspect of writing. 

If you're keen to explore short stories, kick off your writing journey with Short Story Essentials. Developed by Cathie Tasker, one of the biggest names in Australian publishing, this course teaches you the fundamentals of short-form fiction, such as structure, themes, characters, and how to hook your reader. At the end, you'll have the opportunity to submit a 2500-word short story to Cathie for feedback. And then you'll be ready to start submitting to competitions and journals!

Or to kickstart your creativity and meet other aspiring writers, join our five-week Creative Writing Stage 1 course. You’ll gain the foundations of fiction writing, receive weekly feedback on your work and make new writing buddies!

We also have the Fiction Essentials collection of courses – ideal if you’ve been writing for some time but would love to hone your skills in specific areas. Learn to create perfect characters, improve your dialogue, nail your grammar and punctuation, master your point of view, and self-edit your work.

Start a new career

Or why not use your time at home to kickstart a whole new career? If you'd love to see one of your articles in a magazine or online news publication one day, then Freelance Writing Stage 1 is the perfect place to start.

Freelance writer Jo Hartley hadn't done any writing before doing the course. She had been working as a recruitment officer before becoming a stay-at-home mum, and doing Freelance Writing Stage 1 online totally changed her life.

“I'd never done any kind of content writing or copywriting and definitely nothing for magazines or articles but now thanks to Australian Writers’ Centre, I am writing for multiple publications online and in print,” Jo said. “It’s part of who I am and it’s given me a definite outlet from being just a mum. If it wasn’t for the Australian Writers’ Centre I don’t know what I would be doing now – probably working in an office and certainly not as happy as I am now.”

But isn't it lonely?

Studying online can be just as interactive as being in a real-life classroom. Depending on what course you do, the AWC's online learning hub has forums where students talk about the week's topic. You workshop each other's work, provide feedback, and become part of a welcoming community of writers.

For published author Tania Blanchard, that was what transformed her writing from a hobby into a career. As a mum, getting to evening classes simply wasn’t going to work. So she jumped at the chance to get the same classroom experience from one of Australian Writers’ Centre’s online courses – complete with online tutor and other classmates.

“The feedback on each assignment was gold! I think that’s when I learnt where my writing was really at and what I needed to do to improve. It was both encouraging and positive and it always got me thinking about what I needed to do with my story to get it to the next level,” Tania said. “It was after these courses that I decided I wanted to write as a career.”

You join a real-life community

We also have an amazing online community in our Facebook groups. Our So you want to be a writer: podcast community is free to join and a place where fans from across the globe share their love of words and writing. It's a really positive community where you can interact with like-minded people. It's not just novice writers in there, either; many established and published authors are part of the community and frequently pop in to answer questions or provide support. People ask for advice, find test readers and critiquing partners, share their favourite words and books, and even arrange to meet up for coffee in real life.

If you're a graduate of one of our courses, you'll be invited to join our private Facebook communities. These are smaller and more specialised groups focused on either freelance writing or creative writing. Everyone in these groups is an AWC graduate, so you already have something in common. If you have a burning question about your story, editing, publishing or anything else, there's always someone ready to help you find an answer.

How do I study online?

At the Australian Writers' Centre, we offer online courses in two modes: self-paced and tutor-led. 

Learn from expert tutors and study alongside fellow students

With a tutor-led course, you join an online class with other students. It's just like attending a real-life course except that it's all done via the internet. Unlike online classes offered through universities and other learning platforms, each classroom has a maximum number of students so it's not overwhelming. Through the course chat, you meet your fellow students and there's always a wonderful feeling of camaraderie. Time and again, people who meet in our online classes become firm writing friends and stay in contact for years after the course ends.

Each week, you work through the material when it suits you, which is perfect for busy lifestyles. Even when the course is over, you have access to the material for a full 12 months, so you can go back and relisten, reread and refresh your knowledge!

Business book writer Heather Smith loved the audio aspect of her freelance writing course. 

“The audio lessons in the course were excellent, I would even listen as I walked the dog. In fact, I've been through the course in its entirety three times now,” laughs Heather.

Learn at your own pace

In a self-paced course, you work through the material in your own time. You can binge the lot in one long session, or spread it out over several weeks or months. There's no one-on-one tutor, but the courses have been created by experts in the industry and you'll find our online learning hub very intuitive to use. If you ever need help, our support team is always just an email or phone call away. And if you're ready to connect with other writers, you're always welcome in our Facebook community.

What do I need?

If you have a phone, an email address and an internet connection, you can study online. That's all you need to listen to audio lessons, watch videos, and read handouts. However, you'll find it easier to do assignments and chat in forums using a computer or laptop. 

You don't need to be any sort of technical whizz. You just need to know how to get online. 

Your internet doesn't need to be lightning fast. If you have a slow connection, you can download audio lessons and listen to them later.

If you're submitting stories for review in Novel Writing Essentials, Short Story Essentials, or the Write Your Novel program, you'll need to have access to Microsoft Word. If you don't have Word on your computer – and you don't want to pay for it – the online version is free to use.

Get started now

With so much fabulous material available online, now is the time to start learning from the comfort of your own home. You can finally take up crocheting or conquer financial accounting. Or for something less frustrating and more rewarding, follow your dream of becoming a writer.

Discover how the online Creative Writing Stage 1 course helped Joanna Nell become a published author.

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