Gympie grandmother will now write a novel future
CAROLYN Wyrsch always dreamed of being a author, but there was just one thing standing in her way - she struggled with literacy.
Proving it is never too late to follow your dreams, the 68-year-old grand- mother is not only in the middle of writing two novels and a picture book, she's even sent a manuscript to a publisher.
It is a remarkable achievement which she said would not have been possible without the past year she spent at the Gympie TAFE.
"It wasn't that I couldn't be taught, it's just that I never knew it; when I was at school, they never really taught grammar as a subject,” Ms Wyrsch said.
"I've always wanted to write, but I knew in order to be taken seriously I would need to master the English language first.
"I heard somewhere that publishers receive around 3000 manuscripts a year and only publish three or four a year, so if it wasn't perfect I knew they'd never even look at it.”
Putting her dream on the backburner while she raised her two sons, it was eventually revived when she retired and visited New York, where she met published writers.
Yet after returning to Australia and moving to Gympie, she still lacked the confidence and writing knowledge to take the leap herself.
"I wanted to enrol in an online creative writing course but I couldn't understand what they were referring to when it came to sentence structures and grammatical elements,” she said.
"Then one day I was driving down the highway and I saw a sign for TAFE Queensland next to the road where I needed to turn off, so I decided to give them a go and see if they could help,” she said.
It was then that Ms Wyrsch met TAFE Queensland's teacher Libby Salmon, who worked with her to devise a program that would teach her everything she needed to know about literacy and grammar.
Ms Salmon teaches Essential Skills courses at the Gympie campus, helping members of the community looking to improve their literacy, and develop their reading, writing and speech abilities.
"That woman was brilliant,” Ms Wyrsch said.
"In fact, I can't praise the whole team at TAFE enough - they specifically put together a plan that suited my needs, and they didn't treat me as if I was stupid for not knowing this stuff already.
"They genuinely cared whether I succeeded and whether I understood.
"I learned everything from basic grammar, punctuation and sentence structure to narrative perspectives, phrasing and tenses, and they gave fantastic feedback so I knew where I needed to improve.
"But what the experience really gave me was confidence; I'm now even picking up errors in other people's writing.”