You can achieve your writing dreams

 In Newsletters, Tips for Writers, Writing Competitions

Welcome to this month’s newsletter!

What does every would-be writer need to achieve their dreams?

You would probably say: time and space. Yet writers have created great literature in half an hour a day, at the kitchen table, between the dirty dishes and the ironing.

Writers can have all the time in the world, but still get stuck.

What writers need most, we believe, is guidance. They need to understand why they’re getting stuck. They need to know how a story works, how to construct powerful scenes, where to begin and how to keep going.

Above all, they need to realise they can do it, and need not be scared.

That’s exactly what All About Writing is here for. Whether you do one of our courses or not, we offer you guidance and support all year round.

Our Monday Motivations and Wednesday Writing Secrets blogs aim to do this every week of the year. We’d be delighted if writers used the All About Writing website as a resource. We invite writers to engage with us, to discuss aspects of writing that interest you, and ask us questions too.

Our Twenty Essential Aspects of Creative Writing serves both as an introductory guide to creative writing and a refresher for more experienced writers. If you don’t have a copy please click here to receive one. We also post daily advice and encouragement on our Facebook page.

Change your life by joining a creative writing course

We designed our flagship Creative Writing Course to provide a map; a path through the minefield. If you can create the time, no matter how small, we’ll give you the practical skills to set you off on your writing expedition – without fear.

On February 5, we’ll begin the journey with a brand new group of writers, some complete newbies, others writers of some experience. We’ll take them through the process of writing fiction or creative non-fiction: by providing the focus, we ensure they never have to feel overwhelmed.

If you haven’t yet done this course, there is still space for you. It runs online, so you can do it wherever you are, in whatever time you have available.

Over the past six years, more than 30 books – both fiction and non-fiction – have been published by past participants. The course, though, is not only aimed at those who want to publish. Some people take it to enhance their experience of writing for family, and others to expand their creativity after years of having it stifled by jobs and life.

I’ll leave the last word to a past participant:

“This course has changed lives,” says Ingrid van den Berg. “There are few things in life that can lay claim to this honour.

“We all sit with ‘that book’ lying deep within us, though most of us remain too daunted, embarrassed and just plain inept to even get the first line down.

“Jo-Anne and Richard have (almost … they can’t write the whole book for you) all the answers in their wonderful, warm, nurturing and ‘growing’ writing courses.”

Community News

Please don’t forget that these newsletters are there to share your writing news and what you’ve achieved. Please let us know what’s happening in your writing lives so that we can all share in the glow of your accomplishments.

Lisa Anne Julien has just had a beautifully crafted article, The Telling Past, published in Sauwbona magazine. Do pick up a copy and have a read. Gail Gilbride, author of Under the African Sun chatted to Nancy Richards on SAFM Literature. Click here to listen. A couple of writers have finished drafts in the last few months. Congratulations to Penny Castle and Marilyn Cohen de Villiers. And good luck to those of you who are in sight of the finishing line.

Congratulations are also due to Alissa Baxter on the publication of her third Regency romance (and fifth novel) A Marchioness Below Stairs, and to J.T Lawrence for The Stepford Florist: A Short Cyberpunk Conspiracy Thriller. Get it for free on your Kindle today.

We invite anyone that has done any of our courses, retreats or workshops to join our All About Writing alumni group. This is a place where writers can support, encourage, and keep up with the broader All About Writing community, brag about writing successes and ask each other for advice.

Writing Challenge

There is still time to enter our December-January Writing Challenge. We’re offering a fabulous prize for this one: a full literary assessment of a piece of writing of up to 1500 words long. It could be a complete story, or it could also be the start of a project, or a chapter.

Our challenge involves a monkey wrench, a fit of depression and a first edition of Bleak House. Combine all three as cunningly and naturally as possible in a story of 250 words long. The closing date is midnight on 31 January. Paste your entry into the body of an email and send it to

Click here for seven tips for writing story.

Writing Advice

I’ll finish with some writing advice:

  • Give yourself time to be bored. Everything else in our lives works against this, but creativity requires that you resist filling every minute with activities or focused thought. Allow yourself time to dream, for your thoughts to flow randomly, for your story to play out in your head. Give yourself the gift of time – when you are not making lists/completing admin/on your phone.
  • Set a time for writing and stick to it. Ring-fence it. Don’t allow it to fritter away because you forgot to phone the plumber or do your accounts. Lie to people if necessary. Other people won’t respect your writing time, so you need to protect it.
  • If you sit down to write, be strict. Don’t think: Oh, I can’t do this today, I’m not inspired. Allow yourself to make one cup of coffee, but apart from that, force yourself to sit until a word comes out, and then another.
  • Keep a notebook handy. Notice people about you: find the specific details which will allow us to picture them. Watch their interactions, their gestures, and body language. Eavesdrop shamelessly and become used to the cadences of real speech.

From all of us here at All About Writing, we wish you your most creative year yet. Banish the fear. Throw yourself in and try something. If it doesn’t work you can always delete it. Nothing is irrevocable.

With our warmest new year wishes,


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