March Newsletter: Turn your writing dreams into reality

 In All About Writing, How to write a book, Newsletters

Turn your writing dreams into reality

Dreams are what drive many of us: a dream of holding a real book in our hands emblazoned with our name; a dream of writing the unique story we’ve crafted from the timber of our lives; a dream of having a spikey story accepted for publication in an iconic magazine…

But in these strange times, we’ve deferred many of our dreams and we find ourself drifting along the meandering watercourse of days that follow days that follow… Covid seems, sometimes, to have leeched the urgency, and the hope, from our lives.

But it is precisely during times like these, during the hard times, that dreams, supported by the scaffolding of action, can keep us hopeful and maintain our creative momentum.

We believe that by giving ourselves targets, month by month, we can overcome the inertia induced by the virus and the shutdown of society.

Which is where All About Writing comes into the picture. We provide online resources to help you keep on track, to generate momentum, to keep what Hercule Poirot called our little grey cells buzzing with ideas.

Writing Challenge

Many of these resources are free. Like the bi-monthly writing challenge which gets your writing fingers dancing again. Not only is it free to enter, but the victor wins a literary assessment on 5000 words of writing worth R 2750 / £ 150 or a voucher to the same value to use on one of our courses or programmes. You could start today by writing the opening paragraphs of a novel – one you might not have thought of until this very minute. Try to intrigue us, draw us in, and make us long to read more. For more details of the current writing challenge, click here. Along with the challenge, we give a handful of writing tips.

And while we’re about it, let’s applaud the winner (and the runners-up) of the last challenge, the results of which we recently announced. We dared you to write a spell – for the one you hate, or the one you love, using five ingredients and a method.

The thought of magical transformation clearly unlocked inspiration in many of you. The winner triumphed for her playful and deeply inventive (not to mention spell-binding) exuberance.

So, first prize, and congratulations, to Heather Joyce.

Then the runners up. It was impossible to establish a ranking, so I’ve listed them alphabetically. First, for his mad, loose baggy monster of a spell (and story), Peter Bode’s tale about Basil… Next, Alison Bradshaw whose piece was sweet as honey but with a little astringency thrown in to avoid more than glancing sentimentality. Third up, Sal Carter, whose fable featured a quite M Night Shayalan twist in its tail. Jill Dineen earns her laurels for her lovely witch, her convincing spell, and the lesson she offers to all wannabe dabblers in black magic. Clare Fermont deserves her mention for the felt intensity of her protagonist’s emotions, while Katoji le Roux rounds off the list of champs because we loved the darkness of her vision. This was one of those entries that wouldn’t have worked as well without Covid 19.

Monthly Webinars

We also offer free monthly webinars devoted, over the course of the year, to a wide range of writing skills. You could register here for the next one, scheduled for March 9 at 16:00 UK time, or 18:00 SA time.

We’ll be discussing your questions – which you can send in in advance – on the subject of how you might turn the simple (and sometimes overwhelming) urge to write – into a practical, concrete writing project. We’re constantly approach by people who possess that urge – but have no idea how to translate their desire into practice.

Monday Motivations

Every week we send you the latest in my series of meditations on subjects that concern the writing life – and while they’re intended to amuse, distract and inform you, they’re always wrapped round a hard nugget of practical advice.

In this weeks Monday Motivation, for instance, I explore just how richly rewarding self-imposed limitations can be for writers. If you haven’t had a look at it yet, here’s a link.

Writing Courses

And then, naturally, there are the hard-edged skills-based courses we’ve designed for writers at every level.

From the smallest writing challenge, to the most ambitious writing project (we’re currently helping bring into sharp focus manuscripts running at 150000 words and more), we have the skills and the passion to help you hurdle every obstacle you might encounter.

The beating heart of All About Writing is our flagship Creative Writing Course. The next live version of the course starts on 15 March. The course is led by Jo-Anne and me – although the role of your fellow writers, whose work you’ll hear, together with our feedback, can’t be over-emphasized. Over five weeks, we’ll school you in all the skills you’ll need to start a rewarding writing project of your own – or help you resuscitate something you’ve been working on alone.

And for those of you who have already done the course – or a similar one – you might like to consider applying to join our Mentorship Programme. Month by month we meet virtually to discuss your writing project, as well as giving you detailed and positive feedback on your writing. Click here to download the programme and application details. Deadline for applications 31 March.

Of course, we’re all hoping that 2021 will prove to be a time of recovery and renewal. You could, with our help, turn it into a memorable year of truly creative writing.

Happy writing,


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