November newsletter: A grand new writing year beckons – with everything you asked for 

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

It’s been another difficult year and, if I have any advice, it’s not to dwell on what you haven’t done. Celebrate what you’ve managed and look ahead. 

Your frustrations and difficulties haven’t gone unnoticed. We at All About Writing have heard you. We’ve seen you all struggle. So, in our 2022 offerings, we’ve focused entirely on your needs and requests.  

Our 2022 offerings – here’s what you said you wanted 

You said you needed more companionship on your writing journey. We’ve created a brand-new Writers’ Circle and, because you said the last two years drained you financially, we’re offering it at a price almost everyone can afford. You can sign up now for our January launch. 

Some of you said you needed to get away – from home, from drudgery, even (we won’t tell) from loved ones.

So in 2022, we’re celebrating not just a return to our annual Venice Retreatfrom 5 to 20 September (so rudely interrupted by Covid), but we’re offering our UK community another creative foray to Stow-on-the-Wold, and we’re spiriting South African family members to the quintessential Karoo village of Barrydale for a long weekend, from 18 to 20 March, focusing on Memoir – because that’s what so many of you are busy with. 

And … we have a brand-new adventure lined up for you next year. We have the pleasure of inviting you to join internationally best-selling author, Tony Park, and me, Jo-Anne, on a Writing Safari from 9 to 16 June, at Victoria Falls and Nantwich Lodge in Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe.

You told us you needed more flexibility in learning the skills to write. We’re offering our “life-changing” Creative Writing Course in three different ways – to suit the way you learn, and to fit around your busy lifestyle. Our exclusive real-time version starts 31 January, but you can start either of our online options on any Monday. More about this below. 

Then there’s the Hero’s Journey®Courselaunched this year, licensed and approved by the Joseph Campbell Foundation, an essential for anyone interested in storytelling, no matter what form your creativity takes. Start on 27 January. 

Book for either Hero’s Journey or the real-time Creative Writing Course now, and you’ll qualify for a 10% Early Bird discount. Use the discount code earlybird10

And because we shouldn’t fix what’s not broken, we’re still offering an old favourite of yours: our introduction to creative writing, the Power of WritingSome of you enjoy building skills and writing discipline in a self-guided programme, so here are two (very affordable) options: our Thirty Day Writing Bootcamp and Indispensable Guide to Creative WritingAnd for the screenwriters among you, there’s our Screenwriting Crash Course Start any of these courses on any Monday. 

We’re accepting applications till the end of November for the six-monthly cycle, starting January, of our sought-after Mentoring Programmein which we hold your hand through a writing project, offering encouragement, guidance, brainstorming, and ongoing feedback. 

And if you’re unsure of its benefits, Lisa-Anne Julien, whose novel If you Save Me was released this year, says: ‘I shudder to think what my manuscript would have looked like without the Mentoring Programme and Jo-Anne and Richard’s brilliant editorial pens. More than saving me from a propensity for verbosity, exposition and purple prose, they saved me from myself.’ 

I’ll talk more about our new offerings below.

You can also join our informative and fun Black Friday Webinar on 30 Novemberwhere we’ll talk about our new offerings, and give you the chance to ask any questions about writing still weighing on you.  

We intend it to be something of a party, so bring along your favourite party tipple and join us for a celebration of writing – and prizes, prizes prizes!  

We’ve seen you struggle – Black Friday is our helping hand  

It’s been a tough couple of years, but you’ve stuck with us. It hasn’t gone unnoticed. We’re deeply grateful to you, our community, for your support and interaction. This is our way to give something back. 

Our Black Friday jamboree, from 26 to 30 November, will include: 

 - a massive 50% discount on all online courses if you pay in full in advance  in either our UK shop or our South African shop.  Use the coupon code bf50. Offer expires at midnight on 30 November.

 - a fun webinar at time on 30 November – with prizes, prizes, prizes.

And to make it all even more worthwhile, everyone who shops on our Black Friday Sale will stand a chance of winning a place in our new Writers’ Circle. 

More about our spanking new 2022 offerings 

Our brand-new Writers’ Circle: Now you can experience the companionship of a writing community and have access to an exclusive library of writing resources.  

At our monthly online Writers’ Circle meeting, Richard and I will hear your writing and offer feedback, answer your writing questions – and you’ll have the chance to share your problems and triumphs with like-minded writers. 

Our Creative Writing Course changes lives. We know this because we’ve been told so many times. It will teach you everything you need to know to write fiction or creative non-fiction – everything we wish we’d known 20 years ago. 

But people have different styles of learning, and different life pressures, so we’re now offering this course in three different ways: 

Learn in real time, every Monday and Thursday evening for five weeks, in an exclusive group of only six. We’ll teach and discuss with you, answer your questions, explain where you’re confused. You’ll get personal attention and feedback – and back-up notes, so you don’t have to scribble your own. And don’t forget the Early Bird discount – still in place for another month.  

Our online version allows you to work through notes at your own speed, with plenty of film clips and links to make them interesting – backed up by monthly webinars where we’ll answer your questions. 

Each module can be released either weekly, or monthly, depending on your work and home pressures. It’s up to you.    

And then there are our writing breaks – real and in-person.  

Join our The Art of the Memoir weekend writing workshop in Barrydale, South Africa, from 18 to 20 March, at which the two Joannes: Joanne Hichens and me, will get you started on your own story. 

You’ll be able to live and work in the Karoo Art Hotel – the quintessential Karoo country hotel. It is a classic, artistically driven place of elegance and ease, where everything is done in the proper way. We can promise you the art of a Karoo country kitchen: local organic sourcing, farm to fork, smoked meats, preserves and a focus on Karoo lamb. Vegans and vegetarians will also be well catered for.  

Non-writing partners are welcome, and there will be plenty of activities for them, 

Our brand-new Writing Safari is a writing retreat with a difference, run in association with best-selling international author, Tony Park, at Victoria Falls and Nantwich Lodge in Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe, from 9 to 16 June. Tony and I will offer one-on-one advice. 

After two nights at the awe-inspiring Victoria Falls, you’ll be cosseted in Nantwich Lodge, with all your needs taken care of. Set on a commanding hill, Nantwich’s nine suites each have stunning, uninterrupted views of Hwange’s wilderness. Meals, with drinks included, are served on the long, shady veranda of the main building, a renovated retreat from a bygone era overlooking the water hole. It’s also a perfect place to write. A game drive per day is included, to stimulate you.  

So now, you’re spoilt for choice. We’ve tried to cater for every need, and every pocket. Look forward, not backward, with us, to a creative and fulfilling 2022. 

Winners of the August/September Writing Challenge 

Saving a surprise for the most dramatic moment is devilishly difficult. One film-maker who’s managed it is M Shaylaman Night, most notably in his breakout movie, Sixth Sense. The longer you delay, the bigger the surprise. But there’s an equally strong case to be made for foreshadowing the surprise – without letting the cat out of the bag. 

So you can play with the device to your heart’s content, as you did in the writing challenge we set you in August.  

Here’s our winner: for her cheeky, economical, funny piece, Angela Martinescu wins gold – translated, in this context, as a literary assessment of 5000 words of writing worth R 2750/£150 or a voucher to the same value to use on one of our courses or programmes. Congrats, Angela! 

Runners up are: Diana Blaker, for her entry, which she called Last of the Summer Wine. Like Angela’s, her surprise was a homicidal one, executed (both in the act, and in the writing) with finesse and elegance.  

Patti Carter for her story of an apparently sober headmistress revealing her true colours. I particularly liked the image of her character using her library card to cut her cocaine.  

And Derryn Lynn Fuller for the sting in her tail. 

Remember, it’s not the trophy that drives writers, but the getting to the finish line. Well done to everyone who entered. Don’t forget to try again in the October/November Writing Challenge. 

Happy writing

Jo-Anne and Team All About Writing

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