Dereck is the proud owner of a Gold Card and working part-time at the University of Canterbury in Transition Programmes helping students who either do not have UE or are mature students and have been in the workforce for a while and want to come to university. Dereck’s job is to teach academic communication and study skills. This involves mainly academic writing in the form of essays.

This is Dereck’s third career as he’s been a communication technician and had his own handyman business before going into teaching. He’s also travelled a lot, mainly with a pack on his back, and seen a lot of the world on a shoestring budget before mobile phones were invented. In fact, his 4-month OE to the UK ended up being two years!

Dereck’s always loved reading, and he and his wife have passed that common trait on to their children. His eldest son worked in publishing for a while in Auckland and London and his daughter is also an aspiring writer.

I’m sure you cannot be a good writer if you are not a reader.

The two skills go hand in hand. My reading genre of choice changes from time to time, but a good mystery is hard to beat, and I also love non-fiction including biographies and adventure.

I had been looking for something to do when my time at UC comes to an end and had considered a proofreading course as something that I could do from home and in my own time. A friend was doing the NZIBS Proofreading course and while looking at the different courses available on that website, the short fiction writing one seemed a more appropriate choice for me at this time.

Academic writing is full of dos and don’ts, and I wanted a complete change to develop my writing in a ‘freer’ environment in the form of fiction writing. I know there are still rules that apply but not to the same extent as in academia.

Like a lot of people, I thought I had a story in me, and short story writing seemed a good place to start.  Surely that couldn’t be too difficult. Then the learning curve started. When I sent off my draft of the first story, I had hoped to get a big tick for it, but that didn’t eventuate. I’ve developed a thicker skin and appreciated the constructive criticism from Tina Shaw. All her comments were right and changing the text in line with her directions meant that the finished story was much better than my first effort.

Find Your Passion and Create Your Path-NZIBS

I’ve enjoyed putting words on the page and I’m proud of my first effort, New Friends, that has just been published on Amazon.

NZIBS Graduate Dereck Porter has just published his first book on Amazon, New Friends.