July newsletter: Help for your writing is just a click away
How to fight your way out of a writer’s block: Free, live webinar
Douglas Adams, whose star shines brighter today than ever, is famous among writing and publishing communities for declaring that he “loved the sound of deadlines whooshing by”. In short, he was a victim of that most dreaded of maladies: writer’s block.
By contrast, Nora Roberts regards writing as not very different from plumbing, and says that there’s no reason that writers shouldn’t follow the work regime of plumbers. She sits down at eight every morning and writes until five, with a break for tea and lunch. She writes ten or so novels a year.
Hemingway believed in the romance of writing, and luxuriated in a very writerly culture. He believed that writers, unlike plumbers, require inspiration to do their best work, but deemed himself fortunate that “inspiration strikes at nine o’clock every morning”.
But of course many of us struggle to start a project, or to sustain a project once it’s begun. We lose confidence in our skills and our ideas and we freeze.
What can be done about this? Well, there are strategies and there are tricks that Jo-Anne Richards and I, Richard Beynon, will be exploring in our free quarterly webinar on 13 August at 6pm (GMT+2). So if you need a way out of a writing cul de sac, why not register now to secure your place on the webinar?
Fighting for the survival of independent bookshops
We believe in independent bookshops. They are an integral part of the reading, writing and publishing environment. Lose one, and we will lose not just another outlet for books, but a valuable, possibly quirky and always idiosyncratic outpost of the writing and reading world.
So every week, via social media, we promote an independent bookshop somewhere in the world, with pictures and words to celebrate it.
We invite you to send us a couple of recent pictures of an independent bookshop that matters to you. You can include yourself, with or without a book you are buying, in one of your pictures, if you like. And then, in a few sentences, tell us why you love this particular shop.
Mail your photographs and words to us – firstname.lastname@example.org, and let us have the links to your social media accounts so we can credit/tag you.
Why entering writing challenges is good for you
Every two months, All About Writing issues a flash-fiction writing challenge. (Click here for our current challenge.) The word-count might be limited, but the value to those who take up the gauntlet is not.
Writing short stories, of whatever length, helps you develop your own voice, learn the fundamentals of narrative structure, and work to a deadline. These disciplines are essential to every writer – so we urge as many of you as possible to enter this and subsequent challenges. They really are good for you…
And of course, there’s the prize on offer – a substantial sum to use towards the cost of one of our courses, or a thorough assessment of 5 000 words of a writing project you’re busy with. Again, we can’t emphasize how useful this can be to a working writer. It can help you solve narrative problems, it can help define your voice and it can identify weaknesses of character – to mention just a few of the functions a good assessment plays.
Three spaces have opened up for our annual Venice Writing retreat
It’s an ill-wind that blows no one any good. Two writers, one of whom was accompanied by a non-writing partner, have developed back problems that have forced them to withdraw from their planned Venice retreat in August and September this year. We commiserate with them – but hope we’ll see them next year.
But their loss is someone else’s gain. If you’re interested in spending a week (or two) working on a writing project with daily doses of advice and encouragement, in arguably the most beautiful city in the world, then find out more here, or contact us via email to reserve a place. You are welcome to call or WhatsApp Jo-Anne on +27 82 453 2591 to discuss how the retreat could work for you.
Learning opportunities for the balance of 2019
Here are the courses we will be running during the second half of this year:
Cape Town Creative Writing Course: Eight weekly sessions beginning on 7 October 2019. This course is filling up rapidly. Book now to ensure a place, and to take advantage of our early bird special.
Johannesburg Creative Writing Course: Eight twice-weekly sessions beginning on 4 November 2019. Places on this course, too, should be booked early to avoid disappointment and to take advantage of the early bird special.
We only accept eight writers on each face-to-face programme, and we always fill up.
Online Creative Writing Course: The next ten-session course begins on 7 October. The current course is going fabulously; a true writing community has been established among the participants. If you’d rather not wait until 7 October to start, you can join the current group today.
Crash Course in Screenwriting: The next programme kicks off on Monday 16 September. This is an introductory coaching programme that equips writers with all the basic skills demanded by script and screenwriting.
Kickstart Your Screenplay: This more advanced, professional-level programme also starts on 16 September. It is designed to help you write a complete outline of your screenplay for presentation to producers or broadcasters.
Venice Writing Retreat: As we noted above, there are just a couple of (unexpected) places available for writers eager to spend time writing, and talking writing, in La Serenissima.
And if you’d simply like to test the waters then you can join our very affordable introductory Power of Writing course today.
One last thing…
It’s always possible to improve the quality of your writing and to write stories with which readers will engage. We at All About Writing are dedicated to helping you achieve these twin goals. Each of the courses and programmes we’ve mentioned in this newsletter is designed to do precisely that – as are our writing challenges, our Monday Motivations and our Wednesday Writing Secrets blogs.
Now it’s over to you.