Tag: short courses (page 1 of 9)

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.

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.

 

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.

Study Skills – How to Study Effectively as an Adult Learner

With Lifelong Learning still firmly on the government’s agenda, Short Courses and Continuing Professional Development has become increasingly valued. But what happens if it’s been a while since you studied as an adult? What if the last time you were being taught you were still at school? What if you’ve never been taught how to study effectively?

Because it’s not just what you study, it’s how you manage your approach to study that maximises the educational impact. That’s where Study Skills come in. Read on for our top seven tips.

  1. Time Management

You can’t do everything all at once. Planning is essential. Make a timetable or use a digital calendar to block out specific parts of the day for studying each day or week.

  1. Set Goals

Work smarter not harder. Make sure you have clear, achievable goals for each study session and for your overall learning objectives. If you have exams coming up, or a dissertation, or an essay due, break the goal down into smaller, more manageable tasks. Regularly review and adjust these goals as needed.

  1. Note-Taking:

Effective note-taking is essential when listening to lectures or studying texts. Use short hand and abbreviations, summarise key points and organise your information logically. Highlighting key words can help to make your notes more useful when you revise.

  1. Critical Thinking:

The ability to analyse and evaluate information critically is a crucial party of studying well. Always ask questions, challenge assumptions, and seek evidence to support claims. Try applying critical thinking skills to real-world situations and academic tasks.

  1. Strategies for Effective Reading

When faced with multiple text books to read, the task can seem overwhelming. But if you can break down your reading assignments intop smaller sections and set specific goals, things become more manageable. Skimming texts initially to get an overview before reading in detail is also a very useful skill. When reading in more detail, highlight important passages, make notes, and summarise the main ideas in your note book.

  1. Utilise Resources:

Take advantage of all available resources in your place of study, such as textbooks, online courses, academic journals, and library resources. If you need support or want clarity on a particular subject, ask your tutors or seek advice from relevant online communities. Your university or college may have additional learning tools and technologies available so always find out what’s on offer.

  1. Keep things in Perspective

Studying can become very time-consuming. Make sure you also get enough sleep, eat well and exercise. Meditation or mindfulness techniques can also be very beneficial. Take reguar breaks and allow yourself time to recharge to prevent burnout and maintain your overall well-being

By developing these study skills you will enhance your effectiveness as an adult learner and make the most of your continuing educational journey.

 

 

For anyone interested in our short courses, we are running a free Open Evening and Taster Sessions on March 26 from 6-7.30pm. Register HERE.

 

 

Short Course Taster Evening 26 March 2024

 

Join us this March 26 for our free taster event, where you’ll have the chance to speak to the team, find out more about our courses and ask any questions.

You can even take part in a free 45-minute taster session to get a flavour of what it’s like to learn with us.

We will have a choice of tasters available, including:

There will also be a Novel Studio enquiry desk for anyone who wants to find out more about how to apply for our flagship year-long novel writing course.

And as a bonus, we are also offering a 10% discount on all our short courses for anyone who attends the open evening and enrols with us on the night.

Attendance at City events is subject to our terms and conditions.

City Writes Spring 2024 Competition Open for Submissions

By Rebekah Lattin-Rawstrone

 

City Writes, the showcase event for all the wonderful writing coming from our Creative Writing Short Courses at City, is only weeks away. This term’s City Writes is Wednesday 27th March at 7pm and we’re delighted to have two Novel Studio alumni, Laurence Kershook and Katharine Light, as our headline double act.

For your chance to join Laurence and Katharine and read your work on the online stage, the City Writes Competition is open for submissions and you need only send your best 1,000 words of creative writing (fiction or non-fiction but no poetry, drama or children’s fiction) to rebekah.lattin-rawstrone.2@city.ac.uk by midnight on the 1st March 2024 along with details of your current or previous Creative Writing short course. Full submission details can be found here.

The Broygus by Laurence Kershook came out in March 2022 and is an evocative exploration of the history of a Jewish East End family not to be missed. Katharine Light’s Like Me came out in November 2023. Her novel turns an adult school reunion into a possible rekindling of teenage romance. You can find out more by reading fantastic blog articles for Katharine and Laurence – simply click on their names. This will be a fantastic night full of tantalising tales and excellent writing advice.

Book your ticket here and send us your work. We look forward to your submissions!

Novel Studio alumna Katharine Light’s path to the publication of her debut novel, Like Me

Katharine Light’s debut novel, Like Me

When I was a young girl, my dad used to make me little books of paper and I would love to write in them. In my teens these became stories I wrote for my younger sister about a girl who falls in love with the bass player of a pop group. Absolutely not based on John Taylor from Duran Duran.

Later on I tried my hand at writing a Mills & Boons. At around 50,000 words it was great practice, but not quite the right genre. When my children were small, I did a year long creative writing course with the Open University. Two years later I did the advanced version. Then, working full-time and a busy family life meant I kept writing only sporadically until 2018 when I started The Novel Studio at City, University of London. It was a brilliant year with excellent tutors in Emma Sweeney, Rebekah Lattin-Rawstrone and Kirstan Hawkins. Fourteen of us completed the course, meeting twice a week and sharing our lives through writing. They are a very supportive and talented bunch.

At the end of the year, I had interest from three agents, and signed with one at A M Heath. This is it, I (naively) thought, on my way to publication… Sadly, during lockdown, having worked on this first novel, Like Me, (her suggestions definitely improved it), she said she wasn’t the right person to take it forward. This was followed by a dispiriting lack of response from several agents she recommended as well as the two who had previously shown interest.

Throughout the pandemic, the Novel Studio cohort kept in touch, via a WhatsApp group. Before covid, about half of us carried on meeting in person, and carried over onto zoom. Laurence Kershook published The Broygus to Amazon in March 2022. Fellow alumna Lara Haworth’s book Monumenta will be published by Canongate in 2024.

On publication, I bought Laurence’s book in paperback and was very impressed. It’s a high quality, professionally produced book, as well as a terrific read, and I began to think maybe I could do that too. Independent publishing seeks to emulate the traditional publishing route, with a professional book edit from the wonderfully talented Emily Pedder at The Book Edit, and a great book cover from designer Simon Avery of Nice Graphic Design. Caroline Goldsmith of Goldsmith Publishing Consultancy ensured the manuscript was print and eBook ready, and Philippa Makepeace of Studio Makepeace created the website. My advice is to surround yourself with people who know that they’re doing!

There was one major hiccough. The book has always been on the long side, and when it was first uploaded to KDP Amazon, although author royalties sounded generous, the print costs on the paperback version were so high, they were almost entirely swallowed up. After a drastic re-think, I cut fifty pages of the book, and added those onto the beginning of book two, which has now become two books. The manuscript for book two has just gone to the editor. The hope is to publish both that and book three in 2024.

There was a point at which I began to feel that the traditional publishing route was becoming less and less likely. Now I’m in my 50s, I developed a sense of urgency, fostered by reading Harry Bingham, founder of Jericho Writers, who is enthusiastic about indy publishing. It has been wonderful to hold the actual book in my hand. We held in person launches where I live in London, and in Altrincham, the fictional Millingham of the series. Lots of kind and lovely people came. As the book is about a group of teenage friends who meet up again twenty years later in their late thirties, the events have been the perfect excuse to reconnect with old friends from the past. As we said, life is now imitating art. We’re doing the fictional reunion for real, just many years later…

Katharine Light took City’s Novel Studio course, a year-long programme for aspiring novelists.

Katharine’s debut novel, Like Me, is available HERE.

Author Katharine Light, photography by Alexandra Vanotti

For more on all City’s writing short courses, visit HERE.

 

 

How I Navigate Imposter Syndrome as a Non-Native English Writer

Author Dominik Jemec Photo by Marcel Kukovec

By Dominik Jemec

“You’ll never be good enough because you’re not a native writer.” That’s what a professor of translation studies at my university in Austria told me when I said my dream was to be an English writer. That was five years ago.

I’ve had many awful jobs since graduating, from delivering mail in sweltering heat to fielding daily insults while working in a call centre. Then in 2021, I got my first writing job: creating customer care-related content about cryptocurrencies. After a mass layoff in the summer of 2022, I joined a travel company called TourRadar as a content specialist, where I work on creative campaigns.

But I’m not complacent. My impostor syndrome leaks out of me a lot. If you’re a non-native writer like me, you may be fighting the same demons. Here’s how I keep them at bay.

I split up my writing process

You can’t be a writer without writing. But if you’re constantly questioning your skills, how do you actually get down to writing?

First, research. I use AI tools like ChatGPT 4. They’re just much better than looking things up online. I write detailed prompts because the better my input, the better the output.

Then I write, without overthinking. To stay focused, I put on a timer and just hammer out the text. If I have writer’s block, I ask ChatGPT to write a draft based on the research.

Lastly, I edit. It’s a tough process. Sometimes I have to remove parts I really like that just don’t fit. But I never discard them – I put them in a document with other unused content. Editing is ‘magical’. I might go a certain direction when I write, then turn it on its head when I edit.

I seek feedback

I’ve often been scared to send a piece of writing to my manager for proofreading. I would try to make every sentence perfect, thinking I’d be sacked if I didn’t. The pressure I put on myself took more energy than the writing itself, so I eventually learned to let go.

Every time my manager gives me feedback, I go through it carefully, analysing where I need to improve. All my favourite writers – Kurt Vonnegut, Douglas Adams and Hunter S. Thompson – got edited, so why shouldn’t I?

Outside of work, I get writing feedback from the Sunday WritersClub, and do specialised courses, including City, University of London’s Introduction to Copywriting, led by Maggie Richards. Not only did I learn the fundamentals of copywriting, I wrote a lot of copy and received helpful feedback from Maggie.

I connect with other writers

I listen to writing podcasts like the Copywriter Club, and follow creative writers like Drayton Bird, Dan Nelken and Eddie Shleyner on LinkedIn. If, for example, you love advertising like I do, whenever you see an ad you like, find out who produced it and start following them on social media. The knowledge writers share (for free) is staggering.

I embrace my voice

I used to embellish my writing because I really wanted to prove myself. But I’ve found that such texts are mostly unreadable. I’ve learned that simplicity wins.

There is merit in emulating good flow and sentence structure, but at the end of the day, your voice is your USP. Incorporate idioms, metaphors and storytelling elements from your own culture. Your writing will stand out.

I apply for all writing jobs

Many writing jobs ask for a native writer. After I started my current job, I asked our recruiters how many people had applied for the position. Through one job search platform alone there were over 60 applicants. Many were probably native writers with impressive CVs. So why did I get the job? Maybe because of my unwavering passion for writing.

I truly hope my tips help you overcome any self-doubts you may have as a non-native writer – and inspire you to keep on writing well, no matter what lies ahead.

About the author: Dominik Jemec is a Slovenian working in Vienna as a content writer in his third language, English. You can connect with Dominik on LinkedIn.

Dominik took City’s Introduction to Copywriting course taught by Maggie Richards. As part of the course, students can pitch a blog idea. If successful, the post will then be edited and appear on our site. For our full range of courses, visit HERE.

 

 

City Writes Autumn 2023 Winners Announced

By Rebekah Lattin-Rawstrone

As the showcase creative writing short courses event approaches, we’re delighted to announce the competition winners who will be reading their work at 7pm on the 13th December with the brilliant tutor and author, Caroline Green. With stories of mystery, murder, mayhem, the complexities of identity and the disappearance of all women, this will be a night you won’t want to miss. You can register for the event here.

This term’s winners are: Mike Clarke, Martin Corteel, Cathie Mullen, Emma O’Driscoll, Tunde Oyebode and Vasundhara Singh. Read on to find out more about these brilliant short creative writing class alumni.

Mike Clarke studied the Novel Studio (when it was the Certificate in Novel Writing), Writers’ Workshop and Caroline Green’s Crime and Thriller Writing Course at City University. He also has an MA in Creative Writing from Manchester Metropolitan University. Several of his short stories have been read in different parts of the world by the renowned Liars League. His non-fiction writing on pubs is regularly featured in the national press. He also dabbles in performing stand-up comedy and is just finishing a novel.

Martin Corteel worked as an editor in London book publishing houses for more years than he would care to mention, and during this time he wrote and anonymously had published a number of books of very little substance. The novel he’s writing, entitled Dover Souls, recounts apocryphal family tales of skullduggery set amongst battling publicans at the outset of the First World War. He recently completed several creative writing courses at City University, including the Writers’ Workshop, and lives in North West London.

Cathie Mullen is from Ireland but has lived in Germany for many years. Until recently she was head of an international school. Her writing has been published by The Educational Company of IrelandWriter’s Forum and The Mersey Review. She’s currently working on a memoir. Authors whose work has recently inspired her include Octavia Bright, Claire Keegan and Sinéad Gleeson. Her passions include theatre and swimming (in all seasons). Cathie is an alumna of the Approach to Creative Writing course.

Originally from Dorset, Emma O’Driscoll lives in Brussels where she works as a press officer for the EU. She is currently writing a crime novel inspired by her love of golden-age detective fiction from the 1920s and 1930s. Emma is an alumna of the Crime and Thriller Writing Summer School and a student on the Novel Writing and Longer Works course. Aside from writing, she enjoys running, painting, and walking her border terrier, Karenin.

Writers’ Workshop alumnus Tunde Oyebode is a London-based architect and writer who explores the intricacies of everyday societal dynamics and relationships in his fiction. His work has appeared in Stylist Magazine, Obsidian Issue 48.1 and the 2021 Michael Terrence Anthology and also pending publication in LISP Anthology 2023. Some of his other stories have been shortlisted and longlisted in competitions like Chester B Himes Memorial Fiction Contest, Exeter Short Story Prize and the Bristol Short Story Prize. He aspires to publish a collection of his short stories.

Vasundhara Singh is a graduate of Journalism from Kamala Nehru college, Delhi University. Alumina of City University of London’s Novel Studio programme, she is one of the winners of City Writes Spring 2021.

With writers of this quality reading alongside tutor and writer extraordinaire, Caroline Green, City Writes Autumn 2023 promises to be an evening you won’t want to miss. Register for the event at 7pm on the 13th December on Zoom here. See you there!

Novel Studio Literary Agent Competition Winners 2023/24

Jill Craig

We are delighted to announce the winners of 2023/4’s Novel Studio Literary Agent Competition are Jill Craig, Shere Ross and Linda Wystemp.

The competition is a key feature of City’s flagship short course the Novel Studio, which offers a select group of 15 aspiring novelists the dedicated time and support to hone their craft. The competition is a rare opportunity to bypass the slush pile of manuscript submissions to literary agents, and is run in  conjunction with Lucy Luck, literary agent at C&W Agency.

Jill Craig works as a secondary English teacher in the North West where literature is a constant presence. She loves fiction which investigates and reflects dynamics which are often the foundation of our lives: romantic, friendship, familial. Although she’s studied and now teaches literature, actually writing it is a relatively new – daunting, but exciting- experience. 

Shere Ross is a writer of short stories and other works of fiction. Her work has been shortlisted for several prizes including the Wasafiri New Writing Prize. She is a winner of the BlackInk New Writing Prize.

Linda Wystemp was born and raised in the heart of Germany’s Black Forest before crossing the Channel to study in Oxford and London. She enjoys writing screenplays and short stories and has dabbled in fencing and the violin. Linda is currently working on her contemporary literary fiction novel which explores the moral complexities of parent-child relationships.

Emily Pedder, Course Director of the Novel Studio said: “We were very excited by these three writers; their submissions were strong and distinctive, and we can’t wait to see their novels progress over this coming year. ”

The Novel Studio was established over a decade ago and has a very strong track record of published alumni. Recent bestselling and award-winning novels include Deepa Anappara’s Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line, Anna Mazzola’s  The Unseeing, The Story Keeper, The Clockwork Girl,  and The House of Whispers, and Harriet Tyce’s Blood Orange, The Lies You Told and It Ends At Midnight.

 

Congratulations to Jill, Shere and Linda! We can’t wait to see their novels develop over the coming year!

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