Interview with Lara Haworth, author of debut novel Monumenta

Author and artist, Lara Haworth

Lara Haworth is a writer, visual artist and filmmaker. In 2018 she was accepted onto City’s flagship year-long novel writing programme, The Novel Studio. She was also the winner that year of our Literary Agent Competition. Always tipped for success, last year Lara sold her debut novel, Monumenta, to Canongate. The novel will be published this summer. We caught up with Lara to find out more about her writing life and her journey to publication.

 

  1. Have you always written?

Yes. As soon as I was able. I wrote my first story aged four in a small notebook on my mother’s desk. Its protagonist was a knight who comes across three forking paths, and cannot decide which one to take. Goodness gracious, I wanted to him to say, as he realises the choice lying ahead. I spelt it goodness gracars.

2. Which book was the first to have a real impact on you as a reader, and which as a writer?

The first book I read that made me realise there was something other than just a story going on was The Great Gatsby. I was eleven. Much of it went over my head, the unrequited love, the critique of wealth, the disillusion. But I remember Fitzgerald describing the ‘silver pepper of the stars’ and looking up at the sky and actually gasping. So that’s what you can do, I realised. And maybe this, too, and this…

Fast forward twenty-three years, and my life is in some disarray. (This is an understatement.) I was visiting friends in Spain and started reading Deborah Levy’s Things I Don’t Want to Know. About three chapters in I felt an overwhelming pressure, as if a dam was breaking somewhere in my heart, or my throat, or my knees. I started to pace up and down and up and down this beach, gripping the book like it was a hand, pulling me up from a deep well. It gave me a kind of ferocious, blistering instruction to write, properly, seriously, now. It said, There is nothing else for you. When I got back from Spain, I applied to the Novel Studio. I still have the book. It has these white-knuckled dents in the cover.

3. If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Don’t expect anyone to find you, and your writing, without telling them where you are or what you’re doing. Don’t imagine that this is something you can do on your own. Don’t be frightened. (You will also be frightened.)

4. Why do you write and what makes it so vital for you?

When I’m in the excavating, mining stage, it rolls on a scale between because I have to and because I want to. Sometimes, when the I want to is struggling, because I am tired, or frightened, or stuck, or distracted, the I have to engages more fiercely, as more of a grim-faced imperative, shaking its head and pulling me back to my desk, to my thoughts, my subconscious, until the I want to returns in equal measure, to provide a lift. At its best, they both work together, and that is when you’re flying.

When I’m redrafting and editing, things get bigger, wider. I picture the reader: their joy, their woe, their precious time. If I can illuminate something – a feeling, a place, the way a potato slices open in a ‘90s deli – that impresses on a reader a sense of recognition, and a slightly different way of seeing and thinking about the world, then that is also why I write. There’s politics there too. I write to smuggle in difficult histories, strange emotional realities, and I try to centre queer lives, so long obscured in the literary canon.

5. Do you think writing can be taught? And relatedly, can you tell us a bit about your experience of being on writing courses?

When I was a teenager, I was at a friend’s house, whose father worked in publishing. Over dinner, he went on an extended rant about how you couldn’t teach creative writing, how all his authors had always written, and that was the only thing that could possibly matter. Perhaps because I didn’t know anyone else that worked in publishing and I wanted to be a writer, I really took his words to heart. It was a bad decision. From that moment on I avoided creative writing classes, and chose instead to write alone, in secret, thinking: I’m writing, and this is what I’ve always done! Someone will find me and recognise my labour. They didn’t. And the longer I wrote in secret, the more my fear grew about sharing my work. Every now and then I would submit something to a ridiculously prestigious magazine or journal and then be crushed when I was (inevitably) rejected. A pretty sad cycle, that I thankfully managed, eventually, to break. I wish I had done it sooner.

While I do think that there needs to be some ineffable something to your writing to get the best out of a writing course, there are a whole host of things you simply cannot get on your own. Like, learning how to build a novel, which is architecture. Learning how to edit, how to build pace, when to cut, when to trust your reader, when to give them more. This you learn by submitting your work to be read by your peers. And you’re not ready. But then you become ready. And the readiness grows. And that expectation, that deadline, is generative. It makes you a better writer.

My time on the Novel Studio was completely transformative in this respect. Being read. It was such a relief. Even if the feedback was hard, I would still sometimes feel very emotional on the tube home, seeing all those different handwritings in the margins of my manuscripts. And it was a privilege to read my peers’ writing too – to lose myself in their worlds, and bring my sensibilities as a writer to their work. The course also taught me that books don’t live in a blank space. They’re deeply connected to the world, most pressingly, the publishing world. All of the things that I had so studiously avoided for so long: talking about my work, emailing agents, trying my luck, writing pitches – all had to be done. And it was so very helpful to be given the tools to do this, to knock on all those guarded doors.

6. Can you tell us a bit about your experience of getting a publishing deal? Has anything been surprising, in a good or bad way?!

During the Novel Studio, one of my tutors revealed that her first novel did not get picked up for publication. I remember so vividly the shock I felt, as if she’d reported her own death. I glimpsed how painful that must have been for her. Perhaps because it had been such hard work to even get to that point, it was something I hadn’t considered –– even though the evidence, should I need it, was all around me, told again and again by many of my favourite writers (Hilary Mantel!).

A year and a half later, I was telling the same story. I wasn’t so naive that I thought I would definitely get a publishing deal for my first novel, but it did seem like finishing the final draft and working through more rounds of rolling rejections to get an agent might mean I was finally there. I was, of course, wrong. My first novel was not picked up. It was an extremely painful experience. Loss. A kind of grief. By that point I had gone from extreme secrecy about my writing to extreme exposure – and, in the way of all worst nightmares, my failure was also happening on a very public scale. Everyone knew.

Full credit to my partner, who after watching me mooch around in my depression for a while, said, The only thing that’s going to help now is getting back to work. She was right. I had started writing Monumenta in the summer of 2020. I went back to it in autumn 2021, and within two months it was finished. The rejection had actually sharpened my writing, made me care less about failure. I was able to take more risks. I carved a chunk out of it and submitted it as a short story to the Bridport Prize, and actually won. Very unexpected. This was the catalyst for my agent to submit it to publishers.

I’m still surprised Monumenta got picked up. It doesn’t really conform to any of the silent rules of the industry. It’s short. It’s about monuments, and difficult European history. I couldn’t think of any other books to compare it to. In the end, we had two offers and went with Canongate, who have always been my dream publisher. Securing the deal took two extremely nerve-wracking weeks. Sometimes I still can’t believe it’s real. I think what I’m trying to say with this very long-winded answer is that risk and failure are not just part of the process, they are the process, they influence and change the work in rich and strange ways.

7. Which fiction writers inspire you currently?

Mariana Enriquez. Wendy Erskine. Olga Tokarczuk. Jenny Erpenbeck. Colson Whitehead. Deborah Levy. Kevin Barry. Christina Sharpe. Lan Samantha Chang. Anne Enright. Sebastian Barry.

8. Do you have a particular writing process? Favourite place or time of day to write? Any rituals?

I work best when I have dedicated chunks of time. I’m not, sadly, one of those writers that can write for fifteen minutes in the morning and then get on with their day. It’s a whole day / night thing. It’s all or nothing. I have chosen a more unsettling, unstable line of freelance money earning, so that I can work manically for periods and save up, and take time off to write. This functions in some senses, but during dark nights of the soul it can feel fundamentally unsensible and wrong. When I am writing, I have a target word count every day, and that can take anywhere between two hours and a whole day to achieve. I’m lucky to have my own little writing space in our house, which overlooks the street. So I still see a little bit of life, going by.

9. Are you someone who plans and plots before you write or do you write to discover the story? Or both?!

I start with at least one person (who’s already been talking to me in my head for a while), a place, a primary situation, and a sense of its undertows. But I write to discover. I feel quite strongly that that’s my job – to go to that weird place of half dream and subconscious. A dark, dark forest. It’s a constant tussle between being in control of my material and also letting my material have some control. To let it go. I think that plotting it all out at the start would essentially mean executing a plan, and that’s not really the point, for me. It’s not a report. It’s got to be deeper than that. About a third of the way through I start to see what’s happening, where the loops and patterns and connections are, what the characters are wanting to do, and not do, say, and not say.

10. And to finish, what are you working on now?

Lara’s debut novel, Monumenta

I’m halfway through my third novel, which is called Julie Needs Things. All my novels are different, but this one feels harder than the others. It takes place over a long period of time, it’s told in the first person, it’s set in the UK, it contains some autobiographical elements. Yet it is a work of fiction. I wrestle with telling stories from my own life. I feel, instinctively, that it might not be interesting.

Thank you so much, Lara! To pre-order Lara’s novel, visit HERE. And for more about Lara and her work, visit HERE.

For anyone inspired to join The Novel Studio, applications are now open with a 30 June deadline. Please email any questions to Emily.Pedder.1@city.ac.uk

For all our other short writing courses, please visit HERE.

Livable Cities: a unique conference taking part at City this June

Livable City?

This month sees City host this year’s Livable Cities conference, run in association with AMPS (Architecture, Media, Politics, Society), an organisation that brings together academics, publishers, non-profits and universities. Addressing issues affecting life in cities, the conference will explore the complexities of modern urban living. It addresses the interconnectedness of globalisation, gentrification, pandemics, sustainability, and more. The conference is focused on seeing ‘the city’ not just as a physical space but as a construct shaped by various forces, including architecture, politics, sociology, culture, economics, and media.

Key themes will include:

  • Design & Planning
  • Resilience & Sustainability
  • Urban Development & City Economies
  • Technology, Media & Smart Cities
  • Social Justice & the Right to the City
  • Cultural Cities & the Arts
  • Healthy Cities & Public Wellbeing
  • Infrastructure & Transport

By integrating diverse fields, the conference aims to create a comprehensive understanding of what makes cities livable.

The conference will take place from June 26-28, 2024 and we are expecting over 100 delegates to attend.

For more information and to book a place, visit AMPS webpage HERE.

Writing for Social Impact tutor, Ciaran Thapar

There is also a special free Writing for Social Impact taster being offered by City in connection with the conference. It will be run writer and youth worker Ciaran Thapar, who also teaches our one-day Writing for Social Impact short course. For more information on how to enrol for this taster, please email Robert.Lastman.1@city.ac.uk

With huge thanks to the Research and Enterprise team for their support and to Robert Lastman who has tirelessly coordinated City’s part in the conference and who is also helping to head up the short course team, alongside studying for his Phd at Kingston University. If you want something done, ask a busy person…!

Deadline for Novel Studio Applications Fast Approaching!

Calling all budding novelists…

  • Have you always wanted to write a novel?
  • Are you looking for support and guidance to help you develop your novel?
  • Would you like to understand more about the publishing industry and connect with literary agents?

City’s Novel Studio offers an intensive novel writing programme that supports 15 selected students to work on their novels for a year.

From researching your ideas and planning to writing, editing and understanding the publishing industry, the programme provides comprehensive guidance through the complexities of novel writing.

The course has been the starting point for many successful novelists. From bestselling crime writer Harriet Tyce, whose fourth novel, A Lesson in Cruelty, was published with Wildfire earlier this month—and who generously initiated and funded our Novel Studio scholarship for four years—to debut novelist Lara Haworth, whose first novel, Monumenta, will be published with Canongate this summer, the Novel Studio has become recognised as a place to develop and grow as a writer.

The course is taught by established writers and editors, and it includes opportunities to meet with literary agents and publishing professionals.

In addition, we offer a Literary Agent Competition for all successful applicants to the course, run in association with leading agent Lucy Luck at C&W Agency.

And for one talented writer from a low-income household, we have The Captain Tasos Politis Scholarship, providing full funding for the course.

Full details on all these opportunities and information on the course are available here.

Or you can apply directly with 2000 words of your fiction and a CV to Emily.Pedder.1@city.ac.uk

The deadline to apply is approaching quickly. If you’re ready to take your novel writing to the next level, consider applying to The Novel Studio.

Deadline 30th June 5pm.

We look forward to reading your applications!

The Art of Curating and Exhibition Management

What’s Your Vision?

At City short courses, our Curating and Exhibition Management course is run by Renée Pfister, an esteemed art consultant, curator, registrar and business development manager. She was part of the curatorial team at the British Museum, where she was involved in realising major projects such as the Great Court and the Weston Gallery of Roman-Britain. At the Tate Gallery she worked as a Registrar from 1999 to 2005 and was responsible for managing acquisitions and ground-breaking international exhibitions from the Tate’s collection. She also participated in a Registrars’ exchange programme at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York, wrote a chapter for the Routledge publication Understanding International Art Markets & Management, and worked for the late Sir Anthony Caro as an advisor. Since 2010 she has run her own art and gallery consultancy.

Renée Pfister Art & Gallery Consultancy quickly established a loyal portfolio of clients: Whitney Museum of American Art; Morgan Library & Museum, both in New York; the British Embassy, Paris; the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, the Government Art Collection, the German Embassy and Waltham Forest Council, London; the Victoria Museum, Kiev and the Pushkin Museum State Museum of Fine Art, Moscow, providing them with a wide range of collection and exhibition management services. The Consultancy also represents many international artists: Peter Zimmermann, Chris Tille, Alexandra Carr and Elisa Bracher to name but a few. More recently Renée worked with the Serpentine Gallery London,  Torus Torus Studios Tyne & Wear; Detroit Institute of Art, Detroit; National Library Canberra; Islamic Arts Biennale Jeddah and the Manar Light Project Abu Dhabi. Renée  also offers support to gallery owners new in the business and career mentoring services to emerging and mid-career artists.

Renée Pfister condition checking a painting in a private residence in Paris ©Renée Pfister.

As Renee explores in her City course, curating and exhibition management go beyond mere display to how stories are told and emotions provoked, and has the power to foster connections between audiences and artworks. In this blog, we delve into the essence of this process, exploring what it involves and how it shapes our cultural landscape.

Curating and Exhibition Management

Curating entails selecting, organising, and presenting artworks or artifacts within a defined indoor or outdoor space, within a thematic or conceptual framework. Exhibition management encompasses the legal, conservation, logistic and technical requirements of bringing these curatorial  visions to life, from planning and budgeting to installation and promotion. Together, they form one of the core activities of museums, galleries, and cultural institutions worldwide, shaping the way we engage with art, heritage, and our world.

The Value of Curating

  1. Interpretation: Curators interpret the significance of artworks and contextualise them within broader historical, cultural, political or social narratives. Through thoughtful selection and arrangement, they guide viewers on a journey of discovery, fostering deeper understanding and appreciation.
  2. Meaning: Exhibitions are designed to evoke emotions, provoke thought, and spark dialogue. Effective curation transforms spaces into dynamic environments where artworks come alive, forging connections between creators, audiences, and ideas.
  3. Cultural Heritage: Curation plays a pivotal role in preserving and promoting cultural heritage, safeguarding artworks for future generations. By curating exhibitions that celebrate diversity and inclusivity, they contribute to a more vibrant and inclusive cultural landscape.
  4. Innovation and Dialogue: By curating exhibitions that embrace experimentation and a diversity of perspectives, curators foster innovation and stimulate dialogue, driving cultural change.

Renée Pfister in conversation with Peter Zimmermann, discussing his exhibition ‘Colourscape’ at the German Embassy in London ©Peter Zimmermann, Thorsten Schneider and Renée Pfister.

The Curatorial and Exhibition Management Process

  1. Research and Concepts: Curators begin by conducting extensive research on artists, movements, and themes, identifying overarching concepts or narratives that will guide the exhibition.

    Beyond Display

  2. Selection, Collections and Loans: Curators select artworks from the museum’s collections and borrow additional key representations that align with the agreed concept, considering factors such as artistic quality, historical significance, and relevance to the theme.
  3. Design and Installation: Curators work closely with designers, conservators, registrars, and art handling technicians, to realise their vision. Taking care of the exhibits during the installation and exhibition period are of utmost importance. Lighting, spatial arrangement, and signage are all considered in an effort to enhance the viewer experience and to deliver an outstanding exhibition experience.
  4. Promotion and Outreach: Curators collaborate with marketing teams to promote the exhibition through social media and news outlets. Outreach efforts aim to attract diverse audiences and communities, offering physical and intellectual access to maximise engagement.

Curating and exhibition management represent the intersection of art, storytelling, and cultural stewardship. Curators shape our collective understanding of the world and enrich our cultural experiences. Their role remains crucial in preserving heritage, fostering innovation, and creating meaningful connections between art and society.

The next Curating and Exhibition Management short course at City will take place in October 2024.

For our full range of Creative Industry Short Courses, and all our other Short Courses, visit our home page HERE.

 

 

 

City Writes Creative Writing Spring 2024 Showcase Event Opens for Submissions

City Writes guest and Novel Studio alumna, Lara Haworth.

This term’s City Writes showcase for all the wonderful writing coming from City’s short creative writing courses will feature the fantastically talented artist, debut author and Novel Studio alumna, Lara Haworth, on the 10th July at 7pm over Zoom.

Lara’s novel, Monumenta, will be published by Canongate on the 4th July, less than a week before City Writes. Set in Belgrade, Monumenta follows the fortunes of Olga Pavic and her family as her home is requisitioned for demolition. In place of the house, there will be a monument to a massacre, but with three possible horrors to commemorate, which will be memorialised and what secrets is Olga hiding from her children? You can pre-order your copy here.

To join Lara on the virtual stage, all you need to do is submit your best 1,000 words of creative fiction or non-fiction (we do accept young adult fiction but don’t currently accept children’s fiction) on any subject to rebekah.lattin-rawstrone.2@city.ac.uk with details of the City short course you are taking or have taken by midnight on Friday 14th June. Competition and submission guidelines can be found here.

We can’t wait to read your submissions and if you are keen to secure your place for the night, you can register for the event here. Good luck!

Nestle into Your Niche: Three Ways to Start Copywriting

By Maddy T Thomas

Are you a budding copywriter looking for tips on how to get started? Here are three simple steps to help you build a portfolio using your interests as inspiration. Whether you love golf, graphic design or doing good, these strategies will help you on your way to producing top-notch copy.

1: Find your vibe

Start by listing your hobbies, interests and passions. Then, add the things you know about what you’ve written by cataloguing any required equipment, or linked famous faces or historical or annual events. International Women’s Day, for example. Don’t think yet; just write.

When you sit back and look at your list you may well be surprised by the wealth of information you have cached and can use as a basis for further research and writing.

Perhaps you’ve noted multiple dance brands and could put together an informative article on the construction of the ballet pointe shoe. Or a great listicle of five essential warm-up exercises. Start with what lights you up. Enthusiasm married with sharp copy translates into an engaging read.

2: Find your tribe

Look at your list again. Is it heavy in one particular direction? That’s your niche. Seek out any related blogs, magazines, websites and social media sites and look at the stories they publish.

A search on ‘bodybuilding UK’, for example, brings up magazines, blogs, websites and federation information with articles relating to wellness, nutrition and competitions, all designed to educate and inspire the consumer.

As a new copywriter looking to build a portfolio of varied writing, it can be helpful to see what’s already published in your areas of interest. Note the types of copy you’re finding in your research.

Perhaps your area of interest is heavy with ‘how to’ articles and listicles, or has respected blogs sharing well researched copy that enthusiasts can use to enrich their knowledge. It’s a good idea to write your own examples along these lines.

As a novice writer, research can give direction to practice pieces and help you come up with ideas, as well as help build a wish list of editor contacts to reach out to when the time is right.

3: Find your voice

Writing from hands-on experience and a true passion for a subject is a great place to begin persuasive writing.

Perhaps you’re a member of a society, trade union or professional body that has a publication? Members’ magazines can be a good starting point when building a writing portfolio.

You may have an existing magazine subscription that could be a useful jumping-off point when researching and producing copy for your niche. Many accept print and or digital article submissions from their subscribers.

When you write about what you love, there will be someone who loves what you write.

Maddy T Thomas is literary fiction author and creative copywriter.

Maddy took our Introduction to Copywriting short course with Maggie Richards. As part of the course, students have the opportunity to pitch a blog idea for our site. If successful, the post will be edited and published on the site.

The next Copywriting course, which runs monthly, is in May. Maggie also runs our Writing for Business course.

For all our courses, visit our homepage HERE.

Author Maddy T Thomas

Here’s a Novel Idea

Apply to the Novel Studio and join our growing list of published alumni.

The Novel Studio is City’s flagship novel writing programme which supports 15 selected students to work on their novels for a year.

The course has been the starting point for many successful novelists. From bestselling crime writer Harriet Tyce, whose fourth novel, A Lesson in Cruelty, was published with Wildfire earlier this month—and who generously initiated and funded our Novel Studio scholarship for four years—to debut novelist Lara Haworth, whose first novel, Monumenta, will be published with Canongate this summer, the Novel Studio has become recognised as a place to develop and grow as a writer.

From researching your ideas, plotting and planning to writing, editing and familiarising yourself with the publishing industry, the programme will guide you through the tricky terrain of novel writing.

Taught by established writers and editors, with opportunities to meet literary agents and publishing professionals, if you’re ready to take your novel writing to the next level, this course is for you.

As if that wasn’t enough, we offer a Literary Agent Competition for all successful applicants to the course, run in association with leading agent Lucy Luck at C&W Agency.

And for one talented writer from a low-income household, we have a fully-funded scholarship – The Captain Tasos Politis Scholarship.

Full details on all these opportunities and information on the course are available here.

Or you can apply directly with 2000 words of your fiction and a CV to Emily.Pedder.1@city.ac.uk

Deadline 30th June 5pm.

We look forward to reading your applications!

Essential Writing Tips for Accountants

By Maria Sigacheva

Wizards’ of numbers and bookkeeping, accountants also spend time corresponding with clients and tax officials. Here are some tips on how to write well for non-accountants.

“Your reputation rides out with every letter you send,” states co-founder of the Plain English Commission, Martin Cutts. So how can you ensure that your readers understand your communications clearly and easily? Read on for three tips to improve your copy.

1)  Stick to a Simple Structure

An accountant’s letter to the tax office or to your client should be clear and well structured. Clarity can be improved by using a tried and tested three-part structure: an introduction, the main body copy, and a conclusion.

 

The introduction should summarise the purpose of the letter. Whether it’s about missing documents or querying financial statements, make it clear upfront.

The main body copy (two or three paragraphs) should detail your main points in a logical order. Avoid repeating the same information twice. Make sure you order events chronologically.

In your concluding paragraph, let the recipient know if you require a response and by which date. Add your contact details too, so that they can easily reach you for any queries.

2) Ramp up Readability

  • Use plain English, and remove any jargon, if possible.
  • Use active verbs, for example “we thought” instead of “after a careful thought.”
  • Avoid outdated words, like thereof, herein, hereof.

Being concise is a skill. Let’s look at an example of a recent letter about tax affairs. “Your current amount due according to the records held by the tax office is £10,000.” This could be rewritten for clarity as “The total due to the tax office is £10,000.”

In The Journal of Accountancy, business writing trainer Elizabeth Danziger writes: “Strive for an average sentence length of 10 to 18 words.” How? Remove all “as well as,” “but,” “that,” and “which” – and split overly-lengthy sentences. Get straight to the point and clients will praise you for saving them time!

 

3) Perfect your Punctuation

Grammarly is a useful proofreading tool. Just copy and paste your text and the software will instantly highlight any errors. It’s also a good idea to read your copy out loud to check punctuation and flow.

By adhering to these simple tips, you can start to improve your business writing – and relationships – today.

 

Maria Sigacheva is an Indirect Tax Manager at Glencore, and an Association of Chartered Certified Accountants ambassador for early careers.

Maria took our Introduction to Copywriting short course with Maggie Richards. As part of the course, students have the opportunity to pitch a blog idea for our site. If successful, the post will be edited and published on the site.

 

The next Copywriting course, which runs monthly, is in May. Maggie also runs our Writing for Business course which starts next week.

For all our courses, visit our homepage HERE.

Lost and Found: How to deal with Life’s Big Changes

Author Alessandra Lewis with her family

 

By Alessandra Lewis

Feeling lost? Youre definitely not the only one. Alessandra Lewis reveals how overwhelming change led her to finding happiness.

 

In August 2023, I moved from a coastal town in England to Trentino in northern Italy with my parents and my brother. It was the start of one of the most transformative seasons of my life. I just didn’t know it at the time.

The conversations, the planning, the preparation: it all started over five years before. I’m half English and half Italian; growing up I spent many summers in Italy, visiting family and exploring this beautiful country.

After 20 years living in Dorset, we decided to switch the sea for Italian meadows and mountains. A change of lifestyle. A change of pace. Of course, I was excited. But most of all I was in denial. I was holding on so tightly to the last few months of my life

in England – in between working and packing boxes – that I didn’t want to miss anything by thinking too much about the future. By overthinking. By worrying.

I knew the move would bring an incredible amount of change, and I preferred to assume I was ready enough, rather than actually consider how prepared I was. My state of denial was a coping mechanism. And for me, it worked. Am I suggesting this is a good way of coping with life’s changes, big or small? Absolutely not. But, did it enable me to fully enjoy the last few months, before the move, with the people I love most? Yes. Yes, it did. And for that I’ll always be grateful.

You may be wondering why I’m divulging all of this. It’s simple really. At the time, to say I was a bit lost and confused would have been a huge understatement. Is it the right thing to do? What if I’m not happy there? Am I going to regret it? The truth is, even a month after moving, I still didn’t have answers to any of these questions. Everything felt overwhelming.

I was so happy to be in Italy; who wouldn’t? But being away from loved ones and adjusting to a new life here wasn’t easy. So, I took things one day at a time.That’s the thing about life, isn’t it? We’ll always be wondering whether we’re doing the right thing. And the answer will probably always be changing, just as life changes. But that’s okay.

New friends, new places, new ways of thinking. Just a few of the things I wouldn’t have discovered had we not moved. I also wouldn’t have settled on my ideal study path – writing – ultimately leading me to take Maggie Richards’ wonderful copywriting course. August 2023 may have been a month of big changes and doubts, but her masterclass provided certainty. And inspiration.

It’s in these moments – the ‘glimmers’ – when life feels good and things are looking up that we are reminded how important the tough moments are. After all, it’s often only because of them that we find where we’re truly meant to be.

Alessandra Lewis is an aspiring multilingual copywriter with a love for books and exploring new places. Alessandra took Maggie Richards’ Introduction to Copywriting course, which runs monthly. The next one is in May and you can book here. Maggie also teaches City’s Writing for Business course which starts next week. As part of both courses, we offer students the chance to pitch a blog idea which, if successful, will be edited and published on our site. For more information about all our short courses, visit our home page HERE.

How to Write Compelling Motivational Health Articles

By Spela Horjak

Are you currently dipping your toes into health-related motivational writing, but finding your articles just arent getting traction? In this short piece, were going to explore three important reasons why your posts may be failing – and the strategies you can start implementing today to create articles that will leave your readers feeling inspired!

 

Reason #1 – Youre not thinking about your audience

Whether you’re writing for an established audience or building up your blog readership, it’s crucial to consider who you’re writing for – whose attention you’re trying to secure.

For example, writing for Men’s Health or Age Matters magazine will be two completely different gigs. Not adjusting your writing to your audience may result in them feeling alienated and uninspired.

Reason #2 – Your advice is unclear

Remember, the purpose of health writing is to prompt the reader to make positive changes. Explaining concepts with examples helps people apply the advice to real-life situations and reduces any confusion.

For example, instead of just saying “Try having 20g protein per meal”, you could also provide a list of meal ideas, showing exactly what 20g of protein looks like. This allows your reader to implement the advice without further research.

 

Reason #3 – Youre telling the reader what to do

Telling the reader what ‘to do’ and what ‘not to do’ may come across as prescriptive and even leave them feeling hopeless. Try adding a positive spin to your messaging by explaining the likely outcome(s) of specific actions.

For example, instead of saying “Avoid too much salt in your diet”, say “Avoiding excessive salt intake will help maintain normal blood pressure”. This way, the reader can make an informed choice rather than follow blanket advice.

Which tip did you find most useful?

 

Author Spela Horjak

Spela Horjak is a registered Associate Nutritionist and Health & Wellness Copywriter.

As part of City’s Writing for Business and Introduction to Copywriting courses, we offer the chance for students to submit a piece for our blog which, if successful,  is then edited and published on our site. Spela was a student on Maggie Richards’ Introduction to Copywriting course. The next course starts 18 May and you can book HERE.

For all our writing short courses visit our home page HERE.

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