My blog post live on the WE ARE OCA Blog

Thrilled that the Open College of the Arts have featured my blog post on the latest WE ARE OCA.  All about entering Writing Competitions; beginning with a New Years’ Resolution.


  1. I’ve read your blog post with interest Debs. I have just got started on the ‘Life Writing’ course and there are two competitions underway at the moment where creative non-fiction pieces could be suitable. I am more or less resolved to have a go at one at least.

    It looks as if you are starting to make some headway as a writer – well done!

  2. Thanks John, I think it helps getting e couraging feedback from the tutors; it’s a solitary life this writing malarkay and it’s not the same when your spouse or daughter or cat says ‘yeah, that’s good, send it off’, sometimes you need the validation of a professional. I’m glad you’re going to have a go, there’s really nothing to lose except an entrance fee – and who knows? As Del-Boy was fond of saying: “who dares wins”. Mange Tout, my friend 😉

  3. Debs – I agree about professional validation being good. If your friends and family say good things about your work you feel they are being nice to you, if they say bad things you believe they are understating how bad it is. Formal assessment at the end of a course is useful, as I got on ‘Writing Skills’.

    I was not happy to find from OCA that I can’t have formal assessment on ‘Life Writing’ as I am on the ‘personal development’ route. I have gone to a level 2 course without doing all the level 1s, so I can not be on the degree pathway

  4. Oh no, John, that doesn’t sound fair. Did you say from the outset that you weren’t going for the degree pathway do you remember? Perhaps all they need is clarification from you that you would like to take this route if it means getting all your hard work assessed. I don’t think I’d be happy either – does seem a very poor attitude to take especially after you’ve done so much towards it.

  5. I was on the degree pathway for ‘Writing Skills’. When I enrolled on ‘Life Writing’ they made it quite clear that this could not continue and I could’t be formally assessed. It’s a ruling by the body that accredits OCA degrees, not the OCA themselves. I was going to make a formal complaint but gave up at that point. The Open University doesn’t have this rule, OCA explained they award their own degrees so can make up their own rules.

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