Bringing your inner writer out of isolation

Dr Alan Hancock is taking his writing workshops online.

WITH everyone a little house-bound, local author Alan Hancock wants to help people unleash their inner Charles Dickens – and keep Jack Torrance from The Shining at bay.

Dr Hancock, who spent 10 years lecturing in creative and professional writing at Curtin University and runs courses at the Hamilton Hill Hub and Spearwood Library, has gone online to help people tap into their creativity.

“Now that so many of us are at home most of the day, it seems like a good moment to use that down-time to do something creative – like an online writing course,” Dr Hancock said.

Participants will need a basic understanding of the free video conferencing service Zoom (it’d be a good idea to get clued up on their privacy settings given some recent criticism), an email account and an interest in writing.

Dr Hancock says he teaches only what he uses in his own writing, an approach that helps the writer get out of the way of the words and story, rather than striving for perfection.

The process is known as Freeflow.

“It’s all about tapping into intuition, and opening up to imagination and memory. And having fun in the process,” Dr Hancock said.

“Writing then becomes an adventure, albeit one that involves some hard work.”

He reckons his system can overcome writer’s block in a few minutes.

His workshops include advice on story-telling, characterisation, finding the right form, and getting published. 

He says it’s also a chance to meet and talk with other aspiring wordsmiths.

“We’ll look at extracts from the work of top fiction authors, which will inform or inspire our writing.

“Through this we’ll learn how stories work, and how you can craft stories that engage a reader.”

Dr Hancock says after the workshops, participants will have the chance to join an online writers’ group.

He says there’s plenty of easy online tutorials about using Zoom.

“Even I found it straightforward – and I am definitely no computer whiz,” he said.

“Using Zoom you’ll be able to discuss and share ideas in pairs, small groups and as a whole class. It’s as close as we can get to the experience of a face-to-face workshop.”

The six classes will run on Sundays from 2.30pm – 4pm from May 3 – June 7 and will cost $99 all up. For bookings head to and search for Dr Alan Hancock. For more information email


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