In 2011 do you want to be published? Do you want to learn how to be a better writer? Do you want to receive individualized teaching? Do you need an accountability partner to keep you on the creative track? Then consider taking a correspondence course!

With a correspondence course, which is a form of distance learning, you learn your lessons via email and/or snail mail. Correspondence courses are in fact older than our country. The first one started as a shorthand course originating from Boston in 1728.

I got my feet wet in the writing world I’m now a part of by taking two UNC-Chapel Hill Friday Center correspondence courses nine years ago. Today, I want to give back to writers by offering my own set of correspondence courses in poetry and memoir that provide individualized feedback, coaching and encouragement. [Note: my poetry correspondence class is open to new students this month and my memoir correspondence class starts up again this October.]

After my son was born in 2002 I took a Beginning and then an Intermediate Fiction Writing Course through the Friday Center at UNC-Chapel Hill. My goal was to attend graduate school at NC State in English, but I had a problem. My undergrad was in Finance and although I loved to read and write, I didn’t possess the necessary experience or coursework needed.

In the Friday Center courses students were required to purchase the Norton Anthology of Short Stories along with a course manual. I did the lessons from the course manual and then mailed them in to my instructor. After about two weeks, she mailed them back to me with feedback. Since this class happened way before the iPhone, all of the class interaction occurred via snail mail. I got A’s in both correspondence classes and was able to attach the transcripts to my graduate school application. 

Through this UNC Friday Class I gained valuable knowledge in writing fiction and a few years later I signed up to take a poetry correspondence class, hoping for the same results. In fact, a poetry book later and after having won several poetry contests I owe much of my good publishing fortune to my poetry correspondence class teacher I met while taking her poetry class at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival.

I knew correspondence classes work and last year when I held my first class I wanted to reach students who live out-of-state or who can’t attend my in-class workshops due to family and work schedules. Correspondence classes also give offer a personalized touch you may not receive in an online class. After a successful first year, I’m now looking forward to forming a new group of correspondence class poets this month.

From Barry, a 2010 Poetry Correspondence Class student from Ferrisburg, VT:

“Taking Alice’s correspondence course has helped me dig deeper, work harder, revise more and like what I write more. I know that I wouldn’t have written any of the poems that came from the monthly challenge of her prompts. Alice’s input has helped me see my poetry in a different light, expanded the subject matter for poems beyond emotion and encouraged me to do research just to write a couple of lines.”

From Patty in Bonlee, NC:

“Alice Osborn’s correspondence course in poetry is spot on. Her monthly prompts are imaginative, well thought out, and cover a different form of poetry every month. I’ve truly grown as a writer and a poet by participating in Alice’s classes and workshops.”

I issue you a prompt via email, then you send me your poem via email and then I print it out, handwrite my feedback and then snail mail it back to you. Postage is included in your class fee.

A Few Spaces Still Open!

If you want to be a better poet, consider enrolling my 2011 Poetry Correspondence Class, which starts this week. It is $295 for the entire year (which is less than $24 a month!). There are a few spots still available. By keeping up with your monthly prompts and improving on your feedback, you’re only a few months away from possible publication. Click HERE to begin your journey today!

Your Turn

I’d like to know if you ever took a correspondence course and what you got out of it!