Author: Emily (page 1 of 15)

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.

Empowering Change: How Women are Shaping the Future of Business

 

In the evolving landscape of business and entrepreneurship, the role of women is not just significant, it’s transformative. In 1984, there were 646,000 self-employed women in the UK. Today, that number has more than doubled to 1.6 million; women are now running more than 40% of UK micro-businesses; while 42.6% of FTSE100 directorships are now occupied by women. Read on for how women are driving change, fostering diversity, and reshaping the entrepreneurial landscape.

  1. Leadership Redefined: From boardrooms to startups, women are challenging traditional leadership norms and championing inclusive leadership styles. By fostering diverse teams and empowering individuals from all backgrounds, women leaders are creating environments conducive to innovation and growth.
  2. Entrepreneurial Trailblazers: From technology and finance to healthcare and sustainability, female entrepreneurs are driving innovation and addressing pressing global challenges. By leveraging their creativity, tenacity, and vision, women are reshaping industries, disrupting industries and creating new pathways for success.
  3. Diversity and Inclusion: Diversity is not just a buzzword; it’s a cornerstone of sustainable business practices. Women bring diverse perspectives, experiences, and skills to the table, enriching decision-making processes and driving organisational performance. Companies that prioritise diversity and inclusion reap benefits, including increased employee engagement, enhanced creativity, and improved bottom-line results. Women-led initiatives focused on promoting diversity and inclusion are paving the way for more equitable and inclusive workplaces.
  4. Social Impact and Sustainability: Female leaders are at the forefront of driving positive social change and environmental sustainability. From launching impact-driven ventures to advocating for sustainable business practices, women entrepreneurs are integrating social and environmental considerations into their business models. By prioritising purpose over profit, women-led businesses are not only driving financial returns but also creating meaningful societal impact and contributing to a more sustainable future.
  5. Mentorship and Empowerment: Mentorship plays a crucial role in nurturing the next generation of female leaders and entrepreneurs. Women mentors serve as role models, providing guidance, support, and encouragement to aspiring professionals. By sharing their knowledge, experiences, and networks, female mentors empower others to overcome challenges, seize opportunities, and achieve their full potential. Mentorship initiatives aimed at bridging the gender gap and promoting women’s leadership are instrumental in fostering a more inclusive and equitable business landscape.

Women are not just shaping the future of business; they are redefining it. Through their leadership, entrepreneurship, advocacy, and mentorship, women are driving meaningful change, fostering diversity, and advancing innovation across a range of industries. The contributions of women in business serve as a reminder of the importance of continuing to champion gender equality, embrace diversity, and create environments where all individuals can thrive and succeed.

To find out more about how a short course could help you develop your skills, gain confidence, and even start your own business, visit our full range of short courses HERE.

Summer Term 2024 at City Short Courses

 

Thank you to all who attended our Short Courses Open Evening last week. We had a great time meeting new students and introducing them to what we do here at City Short Courses. Many students took advantage of our free  taster sessions, which ranged across our six subject strands:  Business and Management; Computing; Creative Writing; Creative Industries; Languages; and Law. There were tasters in everything from Learning Python to Italian, Business Writing to Major Event Management.

If you didn’t have a chance to join us, never fear! There’s still time to browse our full range of 120 courses and book on for the summer term. Why not try Presentation Skills, or brush up on your French in time for holidays. Or you could consider applying for our year-long Novel Studio programme and finish that novel you’ve always wanted to write! Whether it’s personal development or adding a new skill to your CV, we have something for everyone here at City Short Courses.

If you’d like further information before making your decision, just email our team at shortcourses@city.ac.uk. If they can’t answer your questions, they’ll contact the relevant tutors and make sure you get the answer you need.

Your short course journey starts HERE. We can’t wait to welcome you.

 

City Writes Spring 2024 – Celebrating City’s Creative Writing Short Courses

Essential Business Skills for Startups

Whether you’re thinking about starting up a new business or developing your side hustle into something more long-term, there are some key skills you’ll need to develop.

  1. Strategic Planning: Every successful startup begins with a solid strategy. Strategic thinking involves analysing market trends, identifying opportunities, and developing a roadmap for growth. By honing your strategic planning skills, you can set clear objectives, anticipate challenges, and pivot when necessary to stay ahead in a competitive landscape.
  2. Financial Management and Budgeting: Financial literacy is crucial for startup founders. Understanding financial statements, managing cash flow, and budgeting effectively are essential skills for sustainable growth. By mastering financial management, you can make informed decisions, and ensure the financial health of your startup.
  3. Marketing: Reaching your target audience is vital for a successful startup. Marketing fundamentals include SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) digital marketing strategies, content creation, and branding techniques. By crafting compelling marketing campaigns and cultivating a strong brand identity, you can differentiate your startup and attract loyal customers.
  4. Leadership and Team Building:  As a startup founder, you may find that you’re the only team member for some time! But once your business starts to evolve, you’ll need to employ strong leadership skills to help you shape the culture and direction of your business. Effective leadership involves inspiring your team, fostering collaboration, and empowering others to succeed. By cultivating strong leadership qualities, you can build a cohesive team that shares your vision and drives collective growth.
  5. Networking: Building a robust network of contacts is invaluable in the startup ecosystem. Networking allows you to gain insights, forge partnerships, and access resources that can propel your startup forward. Invest time in building meaningful relationships with mentors, investors, and fellow entrepreneurs to expand your reach and unlock new opportunities.
  6. Adaptability and Resilience: Startups operate in a dynamic and unpredictable environment. The ability to adapt to change and navigate through challenges is essential for survival. Cultivate resilience by embracing failure as a learning opportunity, staying agile in your approach, and maintaining a positive mindset during setbacks. A good sense of humour doesn’t hurt either!

Mastering essential business skills is essential for startup founders and side hustlers looking to turn their vision into reality. By honing strategic thinking, financial management, marketing, leadership, networking, and resilience, you can position your startup for long-term success in a competitive marketplace. Embrace the journey of entrepreneurship with a commitment to continuous learning and growth, and you’ll be well-equipped to tackle the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

Our next term starts at the end of April. For our full range of business and creative industry short courses, visit our dedicated page HERE. Taught by experts in their field, a short course is an excellent way to begin to develop your essential business skills.

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