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Season of Inspiration [9-week online writing course]

Season of Inspiration [Helen Whitehead & Sharon Rundle]

Multiple Dates

Season of Inspiration [9-week online writing course]

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Event Details

An entirely online writing course, taking up about 4-5 hours per week for 9 weeks.  Join in with our supportive learning community at any time to suit yourself.  We offer inspirational exercises and prompts plus a chance to concentrate on a piece of your own work and get feedback.

Season of Inspiration is back again with our trademark supportive, friendly, online writing community and all-new inspiration!

Start any time in the week 20-26th June 2011.

Yet again we will be dipping into a variety of sources of inspiration, from nature to music to landscape. From mesostic poems to mystery stories, there’ll be formats and genres to experiment with. We aim to provide inspiration for writing that’ll see you through 2011. We offer support, exercises and creative bolstering. Come whether you’re bursting with ideas to try out or whether you want to rediscover your creativity. Designed so that you can work at your own level (whether you’re starting out as a writer or seeking inspiration for your next publication) with the support and encouragement of a writing community and two tutors. This is the online equivalent of a writers’ workshop, not a lonely self-study course. Students are welcome from anywhere in the world (the course is run in English).

The tutors

Sharon Rundle and Helen Whitehead

Sharon Rundle Sharon Rundleco-edited Fear Factor Terror Incognito, Indo-Australian short stories, Picador India (2009) Picador Australia (2010). She has published and broadcast stories, essays and articles in Australia and internationally including in: Modern Australian Short Stories and Desert in Bloom – Indian Women’s Fiction in English. She co-authored Round Table Writing, a Workbook for Writers and Writing Groups. Sharon edits the UTS Writers Connect and coordinates the UTS Writers’ Network. She lectures the Bachelor of Education subject Using IT For Learning at the University of Technology Sydney. She has taught English and Writing subjects for Higher Education institutions in Australia and the UK for over fifteen years. She was awarded a Commonwealth Short Story prize, UTS SMSA Medallion for Superior Academic Achievement and Adult Education Practice and the Central Coast Community College Award for over 15 years Service to the Learning Community. She has been presented with two silver medallions by the University of Delhi. Sharon is based in the Hunter Valley, Australia. Website:  

Helen WhiteheadHelen Whitehead is a writer and editor who has been working with online media since 1985. She explores science, family and spirituality and is particularly interested in writing at the interstices where these themes meet and intertwine. She has led collaborative webwriting projects and has taught writing and the Internet to a variety of groups, from 6-year-olds to attendees at the Arvon Foundation residential writing courses in Yorkshire, UK. In 2000/2001 she was the recipient of a UK Year of the Artist Award to create a website Web Warp & Weft, based on stories from textile workers and the many correlations between textiles and computers from the Jacquard loom up to date. She holds an MA in Writing from The Nottingham Trent University, where she specialised in hypertext fiction on the web. She was website editor and project developer for the trAce Online Writing Centre, and Manager of the trAce Online Writing School from 2000-2005. She is a learning technologist for a local University. She lives in Nottingham, UK

What previous students have said:

“Though I am a published writer (I have an anthology of Short Stories in my name) I must say I have benefitted from the Season Of Inspiration course in a big way. Can creative writing be taught? It is a much-debated question. Story telling, they say, is a gift, not a skill which can be learnt. Helen and Sharon have proved this wrong.
Having participated in Season of Inspiration I feel there is neither a magic moment nor a magic wand which can transform you into a writer. A story teller however gifted she or he may be must also be a wordsmith. You may have most original and inspiring ideas. But all stunning ideas do not end up as stunning stories or a stunning poems. Why? It is here that a course like SOI can come to your rescue. Perfectly and comprehensively structured, SOI gives– as it should– equal importance to concept and technique. I particularly liked the way Helen and Sharon used images and visual metaphors as prompts to get you set on a narrative. This is a subtle but extremely effective device or a ploy on the part of the instructor, which urges you to go beyond and beneath the surface and arrive at insights and epiphanies which, incidentally, is the dream of every writer. SOI is a road map to aspiring writers.
It is a truly inspiring course. I felt the nine weeks I spent with Helen and Sharon and the fellow participants in SOI were over too soon. Though hectic and demanding it was a refreshing and enjoyable experience.”
Sujata (Haryana, India)

“This was the best online writing course I have ever done. Writers were given the freedom to be creative without the unnecessary restrictions of other online courses, but whilst also respecting the feelings of other course members (and the instructors). The feedback was useful and constructive - I was praised for the aspects of my writing that worked well whilst being given advice on how to improve my work (exactly what I expect from a top notch course). The technical aspects of the course were excellent in terms of layout, ease of access to lessons and general use of the forums. The other students were amazing. I loved the chat sessions and the terrific effort by Sharon and Helen to accommodate all students’ time zones. The support I received from everyone when I experienced major technical problems with my computer was fantastic and really made me feel part of a community of writers. Lastly and not of all least, the exercises we were given each week were fabulous and very much encouraged my creative spirit. I have learned so much from this course.”
Julia (WA, Australia)

“I have found Season Of Inspiration better each time I took part. Both students and tutors were keen and enthusiastic. The interactions have been helpful, stimulating, forthright, and most importantly, honest. The materials were more than ample and well diversified to cater for different students’ individual needs. There was no pressure but a lot of pleasure and fun to be in the SOI course. It has been very productive for me even when I was away overseas for 4 weeks. As a bonus I have improved my English through
interacting with the others. I would strongly recommend it to anyone who aspires to be a writer and to writers who want to be better writers. I certainly would recommend it to potential students who are not born with English as their mother tongue.”
Andrew (NSW, Australia)

The course really was inspiring. The tutors were knowledgeable, supportive and flexible and I enjoyed communicating with other writers from around the world. I would wholeheartedly recommend a Season of Inspiration course to anyone looking for prompts and encouragement to explore their own writing and develop their critical faculties, particularly if the time they have available to write is limited or variable, or they aren’t sure how to get started. Season of Inspiration gave me a whole lot of new beginnings.”
Mazzy (Bath, UK)

The aims of this course are:

  1. to explore inspiration in our environment
  2. to investigate your own creativity
  3. to develop regular writing habits, exploring freewriting and journalling
  4. to generate a collection of ideas and drafts that can be built into finished works in future

Indicative content (from previous courses)

  • Writing journal and blog prompts
  • Freewriting and journalling
  • Nature and landscape
  • Writing from place and time
  • Inspiration from colour
  • Haiku and mesostic poetry
  • Short stories
  • Playing with words
  • ANimals and mythical beats
  • Fantasy and the imagination
  • Choosing a form in which to write
  • Turning inspiration into a finished work

Note that the course will be flexible to respond to the particular needs of the group, so topics may vary. (If there's something you'd particualrly like to cover, let us know!)

Typical reading (not obligatory)

Julia Cameron: The Artist’s Way
Natalie Goldberg: Writing Down the Bones
Patti Miller: Writing Your Life
Robert Olmstead: Elements of the Writing Craft
Stephen King: On Writing
The Dawn Quilt
The Noon Quilt
A varied reading list of material available online will be provided

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course you should be able to:

  • Nurture your creativity and maintain regular writing habits
  • Look for inspiration in a variety of places and situations
  • Identify a form or genre you enjoy writing in
  • Be ready to take a piece of writing onto a final draft

Typical assignments

Students will be expected to keep a writing journal and post an extract at least once a week of 200-500 words. One piece of writing of up to 1000 words (or 10-20 lines of poetry) should reach first draft stage by the end of the course. Students will be expected to comment on one anothers’ drafts.

Pre-requisites for this course

You will need to:

  • be able to use Word, Open Office or other word-processing program
  • be familiar with use of a browser
  • be able to use search engines
  • be able to write and understand English reasonably fluently
  • be prepared to write something, however brief, most days

This course is not a self-study course but takes place in the context of a friendly, supportive online community - a typical writers’ workshop - so you should expect to log on to the forums at least 2 or 3 times a week and will receive feedback from other students (as well as tutors) and be expected to provide it to other students. If you have any queries about the format please contact us.

Have questions about Season of Inspiration [9-week online writing course]? Contact Season of Inspiration [Helen Whitehead & Sharon Rundle]


(This course takes place entirely online)

Multiple Dates

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Season of Inspiration [Helen Whitehead & Sharon Rundle]

Season of Inspiration  runs approximately twice a year with tutors Helen Whitehead (UK) and Sharon Rundle (Australia). Participants are welcome from all over the world and benefit from an international as well as inspirational perspective.

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