Sarah-Kate's story: Published poet and Creative Writing graduate

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Sarah-Kate finished the Diploma in Writing for Creative Industries just last year, a full-time online programme with courses in scriptwriting, non-fiction, writing for children, poetry, short fiction and editing. Now Sarah-Kate is busy producing pieces for various anthologies and journals, attending open mic and book launches, and entering writing competitions. 

Where did your passion for Creative Writing start? 

I’ve been writing since I was a very small child. I was homeschooled, and my mum was very supportive of my love for writing and reading. She made sure I had the best possible resources to learn from and encouraged me to pursue my dreams. 

Why did you decide to study with us? 

The Diploma in Writing for Creative Industries simply fit what I was looking for. I wanted to study writing, but didn’t want to commit to a full degree.  

How was your study experience?  

I studied full time, online. I overall had a very positive study experience. The website was easy to navigate, and my tutors were amazing. There were also several opportunities during the course to have our writing exhibited, which I loved participating in. 

What does a typical day in your life look like? 

On a good day, I aim to be writing for 1-2 hours every morning, and every evening. Some days I’ll get really into a piece and end up writing for much longer, and other days I won’t have time to write at all.  

For my longer pieces, I tend to brainstorm with music before sitting down to write, which can vary in time from day to day. I’m always on the lookout for ideas, so I’ll often keep a brainstorming session even on days when I do not have the time to prioritize my actual writing.  

I enjoy taking poetry walks, which helps me complete two tasks at once, as I have a four-year-old miniature fox terrier, who is a bundle of energy and needs to be taken for long walks. I will often stop at benches along our route to sit and write poetry on my phone based on what I’m seeing around me, and any feelings or struggles I might be processing. 

Do you have any tips or suggestions for people looking to hone their creative writing skills? 

Practice. Practice. Practice. All the training in the world is useless without the discipline to put it into practice. Set some time aside for writing and turn it into a habit. It also doesn’t hurt to get into reading as much as you can. Classics are great for grounding you, and make sure to check out what’s selling well in your particular genre or form.   

What sort of work do you do in the creative writing and poetry space? 

I am the creative writing equivalent of self-employed and do a variety of different kinds of work. Most of my work is focused on writing and preparing pieces for publications in various anthologies or journals. 

There are many available in New Zealand and overseas, and often they will pay to publish pieces. I will also enter writing contests and prizes.  

On several occasions I have been paid to read my work at writing events, and I will often attend open mic sessions and anthology launches to further promote my work. A significant part of the work in creative writing is marketing yourself, which means attending events and open mics and taking whatever opportunity available to get published and make your name known.  

Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years? 

I hope to be even more widely published, preferably with some novels and poetry collections of my own out there. I’d love to put my training in script writing to good use and branch out in that direction. All writers dream of hitting the bestseller list, and I wouldn’t say I’m averse to that happening either.  

What would you say to someone interested in studying Creative Writing? 

Go for it. It’s such a unique and exciting field to work in, and Whitireia and WelTec is an awesome place to study with. 

Explore Sarah-Kate's work

Sarah-Kate was recently published in the Poetry Aotearoa Yearbook 2024 and the New Zealand Poetry Society's 'white-hot heart'. You can find some of her published poems like At the Professor’s Table and Since I Saw the Ocean online. She recently came third in the Youth category in the Wellington competition 'Poets on The Writers Walk' for her piece Kiss. After entering the Poems on the move competition last year, she also gained first place for Whale Bones in the Open Poetry category, and third place for Growing Pains in the Young People’s Poetry category.

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