My Writing Journey – International Short Story Competition – January 2017

  Write us a 1000-word story about your journey as a writer. Make it funny, quirky and/or inspirational. We will publish the best story in our quarterly newsletter and on our blog. Plus the winner receives $200 (R1000 or £100). Entry is free and entrants are welcome from all over the globe. Send your story to     Closing date: 12 pm 31 January 2017 Previous winners:    Full Circle by Natalie Swain - winner September 2016 The Hundredth Day by Do Hyun Kang - Winner July 2016 The Writing Lobe by Eileen

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

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

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

Time-management for Freelance Writers: Get off Social Media – by Elzanne Amao

  We've been conditioned to believe that to remain on top of things we need to constantly monitor social media. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+ and LinkedIn are but a few of the sites occupying our precious time. Unfortunately, it's to the detriment of our productivity. Coco Rocha writes on why this is becoming a problem: “What was once a welcomed connection during a break in the day or a mobile moment alone is starting to feel like an obligation. The problem

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

Donna Dailey’s dream job: travel writing – by Candice Stephen

Meet Donna Dailey - an award-winning travel writer based in Cambridgeshire, England. Donna has always loved to read and write since her days at primary school, where she wrote poems in class when she was bored. Like many other writers, she did consider various careers, but always came back to what she loved most - writing. “It was the thing I could do best” says Donna. She also picked travel writing because she loves to travel and see new places and learn

How Your Smart Phone Can Help Your Journalism Career

We live in a fast-paced world where what’s new today is old news tomorrow. It’s relatively easy for a writer to keep up with what’s trending; the problem lies with processing the information overload. The solution? Your smart phone. Nicolette Louw looks at how this clever gadget can make your writing life easier. Information Highway Internet Research 13.0 claims that “…journalism has undergone profound changes as people seeking information increasingly turn to the internet and mobile apps for news and community.” Reading a

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

Bullies In My Pages – by Nthepa Moitsheki

  The three years I spent in high school gave me a taste of what it must be like to do jail time for a crime one didn’t commit. I had to change my routes around the school yard each week in order to lose them: the meanies, the big bad wolves. There were three of them, well, one to be exact, and the other two were her little stooges. Kefilwe (Big Fifi) was the leader of the gang, with the prime figure

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

Magazine Journalism Skills Upgrade: Career-proof Your Future

  Emerging from the bleakest times in journalistic history, what can magazine journalists do to future-proof their career? Beverley Whitehead crystallises an approach for the insightful storytellers of a new era. The mix of digital journalism evokes an image of a rainbow cocktail. Stir together your knack for killer interviews, accurate research and compelling writing. Add a twist of innovation for how digital platforms (mobiles, blogs and online magazines) and multi-media blends (video, audio and images) can connect you to your readers.

Spotlight on Karen Jeynes – by Kyle Keegan

  Karen Jeynes is a well-known, award-winning playwright whose work includes “Laying Blame”, “sky too big”, “Don’t Mention Sex”, “Kiss Kiss”, “The Happy Factory”, “I’ll Have What She’s Having”, “Backwards in High Heels” and the multi-award winning “Everybody Else (is fucking perfect)”. She also writes for magazines, novels, radio, television, film and websites, and tutors the Scriptwriting Course at the Writers' College. Karen Jeynes takes some time to tell us a bit about her writing, and shares some tips for aspirant writers. Q.

Where to Publish Your Short Stories Online – by Hannah Green

  With the rise of technology and an increase in e-zine publications, submitting your short stories online is a great way to gain publicity and confidence as a writer. Don’t send your work to just any e-zine; make sure that it is respected and recognized. The hard work, sweat and tears that go into your writing should be rewarded with good exposure. Here are some of the better e-zines, webzines and online publications available on the web, as well as some tips