I was thrilled to receive my certificate from the British College of Journalism the other day. I have been doing a distance learning course for the last six months with the college and have learned so much as a result.
Before I started the course I was really playing safe with my article ideas and would only attempt to pitch an idea to an editor if I knew a bit about the subject I was writing about. ( in my case it was chickens) I just couldn't move on from the the poultry magazines, although it has been great to have some success with them, I now feel confident to approach a wider range of publications with my ideas, which I hope will increase my chances of publication in the future.
The course made me step out of my comfort zone and tackle new subjects ranging from travel writing to approaching celebrities for an interview, though I did get a ticking off from my tutor for not spelling a celebrity name correctly. I had assumed that it would be the normal spelling and she pointed out that I should always check before submitting. Details like that are so easy to avoid and that mistake would have probably cost me the interview if it were for real as it would have appeared most unprofessional.
I have learned so much from the feedback from my tutor who also motivated me to send things off. I am bursting with ideas for 2012 now and have one article pending publication as a direct result of this course. I also had an acceptance from a local newspaper but at the last minute they said they had no space which was disappointing but it has not deterred me in trying again.
If anyone is thinking about doing a course, I would certainly recommend this one. For me, distance learning is a great way to learn if you have to juggle time with daily life and work. It's also suitable for different types of writers. For those new to writing, you get to learn all sorts of techniques such as how to use quotes and finding new angles and for the more experienced writer, it could be the chance to try something new if journalism is something you haven't done yet.
I now want to put everything I have learned into practice and stay motivated even though I may meet a few barriers in the future. I am determined that even when I do get a rejection, I shall look at my certificate and remember that I am competent, it's not that I can't write, it's just sometimes not the right time or place for what I am writing.
That can only be achieved by trying time and time again, which is something I am prepared to do.