The Writing Lobe

By Eileen Kennedy   Scientists say there’s a specific region of the brain dedicated to writing. Somewhere between the prefrontal lobe and the hippocampus is the writing lobe. Everyone has a writing lobe. I like to think when I use mine, my brain is flooded with sane chemicals and that’s why writing is a hobby I’ve never been able to give up. I’m only 19; nevertheless, I have a story to tell about writing and me. Naturally, at first I was illiterate. I

My Six Favourite Short Story Competitions – by Trish Nicholson

Writing courses

Competitions don’t just develop your skills. They can be a source of inspiration and motivation to keep going with your writing. Here is a collection of credible competitions to enter this year. Plenty to Choose From There are masses of writing competitions: from the questionable ‘ads’ asking for entry fees but not mentioning judges or prizes, to the internationally prestigious big winnings like The Bridport Prize. The latter attracts thousands of entries from established writers, so the most we beginner writers are likely

Five Apps to Kick-start Your Magazine Journalism Career – by Fatima Bheekoo-Shah

  While your Moleskine may never go out fashion, technology changes at a rapid pace. These five apps get you to work more effectively and can give you a head start in your writing career. 1. App for jotting down journalism ideas We all know that story ideas can pop up by just about anywhere. And the worst is not having a pen and paper when this happens. Not a problem, make a note of it on your Evernote app. The app stores

5 Ways to deal with Writer’s Block – by Helen Brain

  You sit down to write, and the words just can’t come out. When they do they seem flat and empty. You fear you’ve lost your touch, and the more you panic the worse it gets. You’ve got writer’s block.   How Does Writer’s Block Feel? One well known writer describes it well: “When I wrote my first book, I had no expectations, nothing to compare my work to. If it bombed, it bombed. If it did ok I would just be grateful. But when

What past students say about our writing courses

  Course reviews from graduate students at The Writers College        Click on the link below to read course feedback from our students worldwide, after they had completed their courses. Apart from the occasional spelling mistake that has been corrected, these writing course reviews are unedited.  

The Writers’ College Student Success Stories

Some of our students have gone on to occupy full-time jobs in the magazine and/or publishing industry. You can read short interviews with past-students here. If your story, manuscript or article was accepted for publication after completing one of our courses, please do let us know: Here are a few writing success stories from our students from around the world. Glenn McGoldrick, who has had a story "A Little Drama" accepted for online publication by Glenn was a student on the Writing

Magazine Journalism Course Success: Ansie van der Walt

Ansie van der Walt completed the Magazine Journalism Course at SA Writers College. Apart from working at her new job as assistant editor at an Australian publishing house, Ansie is the owner of the blog She's also the originator of the African Flower Chain Project, where she ‘planted’ 30 hand-made African flowers across South Africa and elicits inspiring letters from around the globe.  Ansie has turned writing and needlework, both hobbies and passions of hers, into a full-time career. 1. What writing successes have

Graduate Success Story: Short Story Writing

  Trish Nichsolson completed the Short Story Writing Course at NZ Writers College in 2010. We tracked her progress in the literary world.      An Interview with Trish Nicholson   What writing successes have you had since completing your course? I was a finalist in the Winchester Festival 2010 from 3000 entries. I came fourth in the Flash 500 Writing competition, out of entries from 16 countries. Apart from being shortlisted in the NZ Writers’ College Short Story Competition, another story of mine was recently shortlisted in the

Writing Tips: How to Stop Procrastinating and Start Prioritising

- by Sam Moolman   Wikipedia defines procrastination as “the act of replacing high-priority tasks with tasks of low-priority, and thus putting off important tasks to a later time”. Tasks of low-priority could be anything from checking your Twitter and Facebook feeds, happily running errands for other people, or convincing yourself that you're famished (which leads to wasted hours building the perfect sandwich). Procrastination means you’d rather walk over hot coals than start tackling the task which needs to be done. Here's how

Grammar Don’t Matter (And Other Online Writing Myths) – by Greg Walker

  You’ve read it before, probably on multiple occasions: Perfect grammar is less important when writing online content than it is for other types of writing. Not so. Grammar does matter. It always has done, and it always will do. Wherever writing is used to communicate ideas and thoughts, grammar will be essential. Because in the end that is what grammar does: It clarifies exactly what you mean to your readers so that they can understand what you are communicating with as little

What is a memoir, and why write one? – by Lisa Lazarus

"Given motivation and time, anyone can write a memoir – the waitress at your favourite coffee shop, the adventurer who has dedicated his life to wandering, the neighbour who has lost a child, or the accountant who wants to understand his family’s history." Karen Ulrich, author of How to Write Your Life Story Everyone has a story to tell, even if it is sometimes difficult to find the thread of that story from beginning to end in the thousands of memories that

10 reasons to do an NZ Writers’ College Writing Course

If you've always wanted to be a writer - whether for pleasure or as a career - our writing courses at NZ Writers' College can help make your dream come true. Here's how....     1. You work with a well known writer as you write your manuscript from the comfort of your home. 2. Our writing tutors are award-winning or award-nominated writers – leaders in their industry. Our tutors have collectively accumulated or been shortlisted for more than 60 international writing awards, including many

5 Key Ways to Generate Sustainable Traffic to your Website

Getting sustainable traffic to your website is hard work and it doesn’t happen overnight. So ignore all the pop-ups that promise you Number One Google results or gazillions of links to search engines because most of them are just hocus-pocus smoke and mirrors. The only real way to get sustainable traffic to your website is to abide by the basics.   1. Use good website/blog architecture. Don’t try and build anything from scratch yourself unless you know what you are doing. Use something solid

How to Master Flash Writing – by Trish Nicholson

  Want to produce really flash stories? Sharpen your writing skills with flash fiction. Sometimes called micro or short-short fiction, flash fiction has been around since Aesop wrote his fables around 600BC. Here is one of my favourites: “A vixen sneered at a lioness because she never bore more than one cub. ‘Only one,’ she replied, ‘but a lion.’”  That line could make a good comeback for a one-book author. Flash fiction has become so popular that it is now a distinct literary form.

Marketing Yourself as a Writer: How To Make a Good Impression

  JUST as money doesn’t grow on trees, neither do work opportunities. Unless you’re lucky enough to already have an overflow of clients commissioning you for work, you’re going to have to put in the effort to market yourself. Also, there is no guarantee that your existing clients will be able to afford you indefinitely, which means that it is important to keep your feelers out for potential contacts at all times. The fact is, if you’re writing on a full-time basis you probably

Writing Scholarships for 2015 at SA Writers’ College

We have opened our scholarship applications for 2015 for promising aspirant writers who cannot afford the course fees. Bursary Placements offered at SA Writers' College for 2015 We offer placements on our Basics of Creative Writing Course and the Basics of Feature Writing Course. Teens can apply for the Basics of Creative Writing Course for Students at High School. Your application To apply for a bursary, please send a motivation letter and two samples of your writing (minimum total word count 2000 words) to

Spotlight on Rosemary Hepözden

Rosemary Hepözden has three decades of editing, writing and teaching experience. She is the author of three nonfiction books, and has a fourth book due to be published by New Holland Publishers in June 2014. As an editor, she has worked as a freelancer and also in-house for book publishers in Canada and New Zealand. She also has 14 years’ experience in magazine publishing, as an editor, sub-editor, proofreader and staff writer for a range of consumer and trade titles. Rosemary

Finding Story Ideas and Article Angles in Your Day Job – by Debra Bradley

  One of the toughest aspects of getting started as a magazine journalist is coming up with original ideas that you feel confident enough to write about. Your job could be an excellent starting point. Use your job for article ideas One of the perks of using your day job as a source of ideas for a magazine article is the wealth of information you have access to. From office politics and office gossip (women’s magazines and management magazines) to insider knowledge of the

Publishing your novel: writing tips from Hamilton Wende

Only the Dead is South African born Hamilton Wende’s latest novel, released by Penguin Books in October 2012. What inspires this author and how did he tackle the task of hunting down a publisher? By Leoni Cohen-Velida Q: Your experience is extensive in freelance journalism and TV production. What sparked your passion for writing? A: English was my favourite subject at school but I started doing Building Science at Wits University.  It was only when I was about twenty did I realize I wanted to

Louise Thompson: Life Coach, Yoga Instructor and Wellbeing Writer

  If you read the New Zealand Herald’s weekly ‘Bite‘ magazine, you may know Louise Thompson as the woman who helps get your life on track as you sip your Monday morning coffee. Originally from the UK, Louise spent nearly 20 years working in senior commercial roles in the magazine/newspaper industry. After relocating to NZ in 2004, her life changed course. These days the 42 year-old is a self-proclaimed “corporate escapee”, and a successful life coach, yoga instructor, and wellbeing columnist/author. Louise

Time Management for Journalists: from an Ayurvedic Perspective – by Malaika Davies

  Life as a freelance journalist can get a little hectic. There is a lot to juggle between sending out query letters, researching, interviewing, writing, and keeping track of the invoicing. If we’re not careful we can end up chained to our desks trying to hammer out an article when, perhaps, larger forces are against us.   Ayurveda is a Sanskrit word for ‘life-knowledge’. It is an ancient Indian form of natural medicine and has been used for thousands of years. One fundamentalpart

10 Ways To Please Your Editor (Through Good Web Writing) – by Esta Chappell

  If you are starting a career in freelance writing or journalism, here is some advice to scribble down and paste on your wall: Always keep your editor happy. After all, it is your editor who decides if you get published and therefore paid. But keeping them happy doesn’t mean sending flowers or opera tickets. Instead, just write what they want, how they want it, and when they want it. Here are ten simple steps to keep your editor happy - and keep you

Magazine Journalism Student Success Story: Janet Hart

Janet Hart from Nelson, New Zealand completed the Magazine Journalism Course at NZ Writers' College in 2012. After 28 years of school teaching, we find out how catching the writing bug has changed her life.   1. What made you decide to start writing? It sounded like fun!  Two years ago, at a September breakfast, I read a piece in the Sunday Star Times about magazine journalism. It set off a spark because by dinner that day I’d decided to ‘do it’ and

Travel Writing Course Success: Ann Huston

Ann Huston completed the travel Writing Course at NZ Writers' College in August 2012. Since then, she had her travel piece on Woodville published in the Manawatu Standard. Her article 'You can lead a teenager to a volcano but you can't make him climb it' was published in the Herald on Sunday. They have also agreed to use another article by her. The summer edition of Que will also be publishing her piece about traveling with children. We ask Ann how

Grooming Tips for Manuscripts – by Nichola Meyer

First impressions count. Psychologists say it only takes 10 to 30 seconds for us to decide, with reasonable accuracy, whether we like someone or not. It’s a rule that could apply to any first encounter, even the first time an editor holds one of your manuscripts in his/her hands. If employers hire people whose skills, qualifications and “look” seem to fit with their business, then editors hire writers whose skills, quality and “look” of their writing seem to fit with their publication. And just