Could you first introduce yourself for the reader?
Budding Writers is a non-profit organisation set up by a husband and wife team, Susie and Phil Busby. Our aim is to help young writers develop confidence and ability in their craft through online training and face-to-face projects.
Phil Busby is a playwright, singer-songwriter and author and works in course development for The Writers Bureau, Manchester. Originally a psychiatric nurse, he studied Theatre at Dartington College of Arts before working across Europe for ten years as a performer, writer and workshop leader.
Susie Busby, Principle of The Writers Bureau, has been involved in creative writing training for 30 years. She is an experienced writing competition adjudicator and has a passion for literature, art and photography.
What happens at the organisation?
Budding Writers provides online courses in creative writing which are specially written for young people and runs a Saturday Creative Writing Club for young writers at Marple Library.
What do you offer to young people?
We help young writers work out what stories they want to tell and then support them through the development of technique and craft, so they can tell stories exceptionally well.
What activities are most popular for young people and why?
As we are newly established, we have yet to find out! The Saturday Creative Writing Club has been well-attended by young writers still in primary school. We’ve only just launched the online programme but we anticipate this will be popular with teenage writers.
Could you give an example of a recent project you have run, and the impact it had?
Even though we’ve only just launched, we’ve already made a fundamental difference to one young person in particular. This individual is autistic and finds joining new groups particularly stressful. However our online platform, and option to be tutored by email, has given her the opportunity to participate in Arts Award in a way she finds comfortable.
Have you seen any change in the industry over the last few years? Is it positive or negative?
There have been lots of changes in the publishing industry over the last decade and this change is not yet finished. The writer is expected to be much more entrepreneurial than in the past; they are expected to do a lot of the marketing and promotion themselves even if they are signed with an agent or publisher. This reduction in support for writers – especially new writers – isn’t very positive.
That said, writers now have a lot more control over their work. It’s easier to self-publish than ever before - the writer doesn’t have to pay lots of money upfront. Writers can also gather a following on various writing platforms. We think this is especially positive for young writers, who can now reach a wide audience without having to jump through all the hoops of the traditional publishing industry. It’s good for diversity too!
Although the downside of this perhaps means the market is flooded with poor writing, on the upside, it does mean that good writers can develop a following which makes them more attractive to agents and publishers. It’s getting more common for self-published writers to be signed-up to publishers having proved there is a market for their work.
There’s still plenty of work for writers of non-fiction, which is the easiest place to get started if you want to earn a living from writing. Blogs posts, reviews, webpages, articles, news items and non-fiction books are just some of the opportunities available.
Do you run Arts Award or offer a Trinity College qualification? If so, what do you offer and how can young people get involved?
Yes, we are offering Bronze Arts Award focusing on creative writing. Our programme is run entirely online so young people can study from anywhere in the UK as long as they have access to the Internet.
It’s a really flexible system making it ideal for people who can’t commit to specific times, don’t have local access to a face-to-face programme or who prefer to study by themselves rather than in a group. Plus, there’s no fixed enrolment date so people can start as soon as they are ready.
Once enrolled on the programme participants watch videos, complete exercises and worksheets and liaise with their adviser by phone or email – whichever they feel most comfortable using. For more details on how the programme works visit: https://www.buddingwriters.co.uk/courses/bronze-arts-award-part-one
Do you publish any online resources that young people doing Arts Award or Trinity College qualifications could use?
As well as our Bronze Arts Award programme, we have a free course ‘Write Better Stories’. Once enrolled, people become part of the Budding Writers community where they can be in touch with other young writers. People can sign-up to our monthly newsletter which has news about writing events and competitions relevant to young writers as well as hints and tips on writing.
Is there anything you particularly want to promote to young people at the moment?
There is the online Bronze Arts Award programme we want to let people know about. There is no fixed enrolment date so people don’t have to wait or can sign-up as soon as they are ready to start. https://www.buddingwriters.co.uk/courses/bronze-arts-award-part-one
Where can people find out more about the work you do?