What others say:
I absolutely enjoyed every second of this course, every week the faces of my fellow students became less blurry as I got to read their writings. I loved the fact that we were encouraged to give feedback, as that made me more critical of my own work too! The dynamic is great, the bookshop is dreamy, and while I sat there I felt like a true main character while holding my cup of tea and reading so many ideas in just one evening.
This was my 2nd Level 1 course (as recommended by IWC) and when I finished the first time level 1, I didn't see the point of repeating a level, and now I would gladly recommend people doing it again. I reread my exercises from the first time to compare, when I finished, and I could see how I used the second time to really explore the (different) exercises and get out of my comfort zone. I would tell, the first time you learn, the second time you take risks.
The exercises covered always change from one class to another which also keeps me motivated and keeps me reading and expanding on my style inspiration. It’s essentially not possible to stay in your comfort zone when approaching so many different types of writers. I also appreciate that the writers chosen are from all over the world and not just American/British. The atmosphere is relaxed yet intellectually challenging. I get to learn from the instructor as well as colleagues from their wealth of experience as writers and as readers.
In summary, the primary benefit of this and other courses at IWC is structure: the weekly assignments, the focus on specific techniques and forms, the accountability and camaraderie that students feel toward one another. For me, this structure allows me to orient myself in my exploration of myself as an artist. Without it, one can easily get lost or feel like there is no way to measure progress.
I can't believe how much I've learned about writing and reading during this course. The material and exercises were challenging (in a good way) and incredibly inspiring. I would absolutely recommend this course to a friend! I would tell them that taking a course with the Collective will definitely kickstart their creativity.
Our poetry instructor was extremely generous in her critiques, which were invariably thorough and thought-provoking and always contained links to other texts and poems for inspiration. She is a knowledgeable and patient workshop leader who has a knack for creating a safe atmosphere and drawing people out.
This was a really great course with a very practical approach to helping you define and write your novel as well as start to get a good understanding of the publishing process. The teacher also gave great and very practical feedback on the exercises and the course was really able to break down the various elements that you need to be aware of while working on your novel.
It is the first time I have been writing forward on a longer piece and I would never have been able to do so without these L2 lessons. I need to write more on the same piece and to structure the rising action, climax, falling action, denouement. I find this more difficult than writing according to the different sample pieces although I like the push it gives me to write different stories too. I am grateful for what I learned and for everyone critiquing my work.
I really enjoyed the new format (Level II vs. I) of staying with one story for longer. I also liked the small class exercises of writing quickly in class, even more so than I had expected to like them. The sample pieces are always fun and inspirational, and I enjoyed discussing them with the teacher and my fellow students.
I really liked the format of this Level II course. Having to write forward the same piece was a big challenge for me and that was exactly what I needed to get better at writing. The handouts were also very useful as accompanying material. The little exercises that we did during the class were fun and also helped - they were a welcome novelty for me. The atmosphere was great, as always in my experience.
I thought the Lyric Essay class was extremely well-structured. The reading materials were all very meaningful entries into the topic of lyric essays, and I appreciated the depth of the accompanying handouts that the instructor prepared. I suspected this is a type of writing that I would feel very much at home with, and the course has confirmed that.
The teacher provided us with a lot of extra material and tips, during the course and on the discussion forum in a very proactive way. I especially liked her calm manners which had her love and passion for literature shine through in every instant, together with a great knowledge about it.