With retirement fast approaching, Andy Tyers yearned to achieve his aspiration of becoming a writer. We took a moment to see how an MA in Creative Writing, at Birmingham City University, helped him to make that dream a reality.
Can you tell me why you decided to join the course and why did you choose BCU?
I had already had a successful career as a photographer and film maker, finally taking to lecturing in Media Production. It was when I saw the inevitability of retirement looming I decided to fulfil a lifetime ambition and become a writer. I had already drafted out a novel but I needed to be able to write with skill and confidence to take it to the next stage. I looked at various courses but it was the MA in Creative Writing at BCU which fitted the bill. As I had graduated from the Birmingham Polytechnic many years ago it felt like I was coming home.
How did you find the course and what is the main thing that you will take away with you?
The course is structured in such a way it gives you options in writing disciplines which are new and challenging but contribute to your overall writing skill. The main thing I will take away is the understanding that to be a writer you must be a reader. Every module I studied exposed me to different writers with their many and varied styles all of which I can now draw upon.
What are your aims for the future and how has the course helped you with this?
My initial aim for the future is to complete my novel and get it published. The excellent connection with the Institute of Creative and Critical Writing gave me the opportunity to meet published authors, some of whom gave masterclasses using students’ work. I was also able to meet some of the top literary agents and publishers giving greater insight into the world of publishing.
How did it feel coming back to study as an MA student?
Coming back into education after any gap is daunting especially when you are taking on a new subject at a Masters level but when I met my fellow students and the staff I felt immediately comfortable.
What advice would you give to people who are currently thinking about joining the course but who are unsure?
If anyone is thinking about coming onto the course but is feeling unsure I would say if you really want to be a writer there is no better place to study and this course will give you skills you need. The help and guidance you will get is second to none. The feedback is constructive criticism not often ego boosting but always honest and helpful. I believe I have graduated with the confidence to call myself a writer. It has not been easy and often challenging but the sense of satisfaction is immense.
How have the lecturers supported you through your development?
Any course is only as good as the staff delivering it. The lecturers with their support and enthusiasm for their subject were inspiring. For the Final Project we were assigned a personal mentor, a published author in my case, who challenged me to write better and draw upon all the knowledge I had gained throughout the course.