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

Sukkel met skrywersblok? – deur Wilna Adriaanse

"There is no rule on how to write.  Sometimes it comes easily and perfectly: Sometimes it’s like drilling rock and then blasting it out with charges." – Ernest Hemingway Alle skrywers vrees die welbekende “skrywersblok”:  wanneer jy die wit bladsy voor jou het, pen in die hand, gereed vir die eerste word, maar niks gebeur nie.  Daar is nie ’n enkele gedagte wat jy op die papier kan neerskryf nie.  Dit kan op enige stadium gebeur.  Halfpad deur ’n manuskrip of

Karakterisering: Hoe om geloofwaardige karakters te skryf – deur Wilna Adriaanse

"If you treat your characters like people, they'll reward you by being fully developed individuals."                                                                                                              - Don Roff Een van die grootste uitdagings vir ‘n skrywer is om karakters te skep waarmee ‘n leser kan identifiseer.  ‘n Karakter kom meld hom of haar as ‘n blote gedagte by jou as die skrywer aan en dit is jou verantwoordelikheid om aan daardie karakter diepte en geloofwaardigheid te gee.  Elke skrywer het sy of haar eie manier hoe hulle karakters skep, maar daar

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

How to Achieve Your Writing Goals – by Nichola Meyer

  After 11 years of teaching writing courses, we've noticed that the students who succeed as writers were not necessarily those who could craft the best sentences or tell the best story. They were the students who wrote often. They persisted. They got the job done. Our Basics of Creative Writing Course tutor, Helen Brain, swears that success eventually comes to those writers who are "most able to keep their bums glued to their seats". So here are seven tips to help you stay

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

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

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

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

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

THE SA WRITERS’ COLLEGE 2014 Annual Short Story Competition

This competition is to acknowledge excellence in creative writing in the Short Story genre. The contest is open to any emerging writer residing in South Africa who is unpublished, or who has had fewer than four stories/articles published in any format or any genre (print or digital). We accept story submissions in two genre categories: Literary Fiction and Popular Fiction. PRIZES: First Prize (Literary Category): R 5 000.00 First Prize (Popular Fiction Category): R 5000.00 Second Prize (Literary Category): R 1500.00 Second Prize (Popular Fiction

Writing Courses at SA Writers’ College for 2014

Become a successful freelance journalist at The Writers College Magazine Journalism Course

We are offering 35 specialist writing courses at SA Writers' College in 2014, tutored by award-winning South African writers. All writing course fees below are in South African Rands (ZAR) and are fully inclusive. They cover the study materials and personal tuition. Many of our courses are offered in Afrikaans, including the Tydskrifjoernalistieke Kursus, Die Basiese Kreatiewe Skryfkursus, Skryf 'n Roman and Skryf 'n Kinderboek Skryfkursus. Browse our SA Writers' College website and contact us if you have any questions about our writing

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

The Writing Life of Author, Annelize Morgan

From heart-warming animal stories, to great desert romances, Annelize Morgan manages to capture the imagination of her readers. And, like a good wine, her stories just seem to get better with age. By Engela Snyman  Despite having no interest in writing when she was younger, Annelize Morgan found a love for it after marrying Adriaan Snyman, author of Siener van Rensburg. She wrote her first book in 1974, a simple farm story with a ghostly twist, and 40 books later,

Q & A with travel Writer Don Pinnock

Don Pinnock tutors the travel Writing Course at SA Writers’ College. Former editor of Getaway Magazine, Don is also the author of 13 books and has written countless travel articles for magazines and newspapers. In 2013 Don won the City Press Non-Fiction Award for his writing on street gangs and was awarded an Honorary Research Fellowship in the Law Faculty at the University of Cape Town. Q.      How did you get into writing – and travel writing? A: I was an engineer but

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

Making Magic – by HM Gruendler-Schierloh

  I have escaped into a vast variety of worlds of my own making for as long as I can remember. Born at the end of World War II in Germany, I was not only lucky enough to survive unharmed thanks to my incredibly resilient mother, but I was also young enough to have absolutely no recollection of the horror of it all. Although food was scarce and I was often hungry during my childhood, there was next to no crime in the

Effective Time Management for Journalists

Most journalists realise early in their careers that even 24 hours in a day may not be enough. From following a lead, digging up a story, interviewing sources, writing the piece to editing and checking facts, they do it all. In addition, they are usually working on multiple pieces at the same time. Effective time management is thus essential. Namrata Nanda talks about ways in which journalists can manage their time better. As a journalist, you will often find yourself chasing