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Shut Up & Write! (Online)

Course Times & Enrolment

Wednesdays from 17th January 2024 (Code CW106-201) Wednesdays from
17th January 2024 2:00pm - 4:00pm • (10 classes)
Online • Tutor: Catherine Dean (MacKenzie) MA(Hons) MSc
This course is now closed for enrolments

Course Summary

Concentrating on prose fiction, we will explore common problems that writers experience, such as fear, lack of inspiration, perfectionism and the inner critic. This course covers practical methods for dealing with these issues and ways to stimulate inspiration. It is ideal for beginners who wish to explore their creative process.


Course Details

Pre-requisites for enrolment

Students will need to be able to confidently use videoconferencing software and be comfortable with using websites.

Special Information

In order to participate in this course, you will need access to a computer with a speaker, microphone and a good internet connection. An internet browser is required to access the online learning platform. Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox are the recommended browsers.

Content of Course

1. Developing writing practice - exploring ways to make writing habitual and why it matters.

2. Keeping a journal - introducing ways to help students get the most from their journals, which they will be using throughout the course.

3. Fear & the subconscious - exploring the effects of anxiety; how to reduce it and how to harness its power; accessing and using the subconscious.

4. Perfectionism & the inner critic - examining our expectations and how this affects our work; that little voice and how to silence, at least for a while.

5. Finding inspiration inside ourselves - focusing on memory and the five senses.

6. Self-reflection - students will make journal entries about their own development every week; this session reflects on the journey so far and anticipates the next half of the course.

7. Finding inspiration outside ourselves - such as music, photography, the media and history.

8. Writing as a physical act - examining the physical nature of writing and the effect of the physical environment.

9. Developing further - students will develop a journal entry into a short finished piece of work; we will consider how to best go about shaping and developing a piece of work.

10. Are we there yet? - exploring the final editing stage & a collaborative critique session.

Teaching method(s)

This course will be delivered via live online sessions.

This is a tutorial-based, practical course, with the emphasis on students writing in class. It will include writing exercises, discussion and collaborative critiquing of work. Students are expected to make journal entries between classes.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  • Employ a variety of techniques for writing and generating ideas;

  • Understand what helps and what hinders their individual creative process;

  • Develop a short piece of writing from a journal entry;

  • Maintain a writing practice.


Core Readings

Students should not purchase books until the course is confirmed to run, and their teacher instructs them to do so.


  • Brande, D., 1996. Becoming a Writer. 2nd ed. London: Macmillan.


  • Cameron, J., 2000. The Right to Write. London: Pan Books.

  • Lamott , A., 1995. Bird by Bird. New York: Anchor Books.

  • Keyes, R., 1995. The Courage to Write. New York: Henry Holt & Co.

Web Sources


If you have questions regarding the course or enrolment, please contact COL Reception at Paterson's Land by email or by phone 0131 650 4400.

Student support

If you have a disability, learning difficulty or health condition which may affect your studies, please let us know by ticking the 'specific support needs' box on your course application form. This will allow us to make appropriate adjustments in advance and in accordance with your rights under the Equality Act 2010. For more information please visit the Student Support section of our website.