20 Literary Quotes About Cats

Saturday is known as #Caturday on the Internet. Writers have always been fascinated by cats and we're celebrating this Saturday with 20 quotes about cats.

Ernest Hemingway and one of his beloved cats.
  1. In ancient times cats were worshipped as gods; they have not forgotten this. ~ Terry Pratchett
  2. Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea. ~Robert A. Heinlein
  3. You know how it is with cats: They don’t really have owners, they have staff.” ~P.C. Cast
  4. An ordinary kitten will ask more questions than any five year old. ~Carl Van Vechten
  5. If animals could speak, the dog would be a blundering outspoken fellow; but the cat would have the rare grace of never saying a word too much. ~Mark Twain
  6. Cats never strike a pose that isn’t photogenic. ~Lillian Jackson Braun
  7. If man could be crossed with the cat it would improve the man, but it would deteriorate the cat. ~Mark Twain
  8. There’s no need for a piece of sculpture in a home that has a cat. ~Wesley Bates
  9. A cat has absolute emotional honesty: human beings, for one reason or another, may hide their feelings, but a cat does not. ~Ernest Hemingway
  10. The smallest feline is a masterpiece. ~Leonardo da Vinci
  11. There are no ordinary cats. ~Colette
  12. If cats could talk, they wouldn’t. ~Nan Porter
  13. A dog, I have always said, is prose; a cat is a poem. ~Jean Burden
  14. Of all God’s creatures, there is only one that cannot be made slave of the leash. That one is the cat. ~Mark Twain
  15. There is no more intrepid explorer than a kitten. ~Jules Champfleury
  16. The cat does not offer services. The cat offers itself. Of course he wants care and shelter. You don’t buy love for nothing. Like all pure creatures, cats are practical. ~William S. Burroughs
  17. If you want to write, keep cats. ~Aldous Huxley
  18. If Pavlov tested his cat he would have failed. ~Patrick H.T. Doyle
  19. Beware of people who dislike cats ~Irish proverb
  20. The cat is the only animal without visible means of support who still manages to find a living in the city. ~Carl van Vechten

 compiled by Amanda Patterson

Follow her on Facebook and Pinterest and Google+ and Tumblr and Twitter. Amanda is the founder of Writers Write. Her signature courses are Writers WriteThe Plain Language Programme, and The Social Brand

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Do you want to write a book or improve your business writing? Do you want to learn how to write for social media? Email news@writerswrite.co.za for more information.

Join us on Facebook and Twitter for daily writing tips

Follow @Writers_Write

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Being There - The Most Important Lesson for Building a Social Media Following

Source for Social MEdia

Social Media is not a real conversation, but it is a way to interact in real time with your customers. Everything you do should be aimed at giving as much as you can to get what you need.

Being There

You have to be committed and that means you have to post content on your major social media platform every day. Consistency is crucial. Even if your clients choose to miss a post, you cannot choose not to post one. People get used to you. They trust you and come to you for information, guidance, ideas, and assistance.  Yes, people come to you. This happens because you have earned their attention. It does not take a genius to understand that this reward is the most valuable pay-off for a business.

Do not ask: ‘What’s in it for us?’ You will fail. People join Social Media platforms to be part of a community. You have to offer something, and wait for a response. 
Rather ask: ‘How can we help our customers?’ By providing valuable content, you create a customer base. These people need to get to know you and trust you before they will buy your product.

If you want to learn more about writing for social media, join us for The Social Brand on 29 August 2014 in Johannesburg.

 by Amanda Patterson (Amanda has more than 240 000 social media fans)

© Amanda Patterson

Follow her on Facebook and Pinterest and Google+ and Tumblr and Twitter. Amanda is the founder of Writers Write. Her signature courses are Writers WriteThe Plain Language Programme, and The Social Brand

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Do you want to write a book or improve your business writing? Do you want to learn how to write for social media? Email news@writerswrite.co.za for more information.

Join us on Facebook and Twitter for daily writing tips

Follow @Writers_Write

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The Five Things I Love About Writers Write

Five Ways A Creative Course Helps Writers Find Their Inner Novelist

Source for Comic: Speedbump

This week we’re looking forward to starting another Writers Write Creative Course. Before a new group of writers come in, I always spend a few minutes looking around the table at the shiny new delegate boxes and neat place settings. Who will we meet? What kind of stories will be shared? What friendships will develop over the next four weeks?

While each group produces its own personalities and stories, there are a few things that stay with me—how the writers are surprised by what they find they can do. Here are just five of them.

  1. Finding the courage to be creative again. One of the fun exercises we do is to dismiss the Internal Critic. This can be anyone from an imaginary demon or a nasty high school teacher.
  2. Finding out just how much you can write in 10 minutes. We believe writers write. They don’t daydream about it, or talk about it. They write about it. When we give an exercise that has a time lock, delegates are amazed at how much they can produce in a short period.
  3. Finding and sharing a love of reading. Some writers are drawn to classic tales, others are inspired by life-changing memoirs and many share their current reading list. Many go on to contribute to our Writers Write Reviews as they learn to study fiction more deeply.
  4. Finding the seed of a story to grow. We explore the idea of the Inciting Moment in a novel, which starts the plot engine and engages the characters in their journey.
  5. Finding the five senses can instantly lift your writing. Whether you are exploring memory or lifting a scene so that it comes alive in the imagination, the five senses are the lifeblood of strong writing.

Curiosity comes alive

The best part of Writers Write is watching writers—whether they are just starting out, or reconnecting with the craft—discover their creativity. 
Creativity is about exploring your curiosity, seeing the world with new eyes and finding possibilities all around you. And then, most importantly, writing it down.

We can’t wait to get started.

 by Anthony Ehlers


Anthony has facilitated courses for Writers Write since 2007. Published both locally and internationally, he was twice a runner-up in the Mills&Boon Voice of Africa short story competition. In 2013, his crime short story was included in Bloody Satisfied, an anthology sponsored by the National Arts Festival SA. As a scriptwriter, he has written three television features. In 2014, his short films were short-listed for the Jameson First Shot competition, as well as the European Independent Film Festival. Follow Anthony on Twitter and Facebook.

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Do you want to write a book or improve your business writing? Do you want to learn how to write for social media? Email news@writerswrite.co.za for more information.

Join us on Facebook and Twitter for daily writing tips

Follow @Writers_Write

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Making Time to Write: Four Tips From a Writing Superstar

Time to Write Clock

It is the act of writing that makes you a writer. Talking about writing, reading about writing, and blogging about writing doesn’t do it. Those are all good extras, but only by putting words on paper, by creating something out of nothing, do you become a writer.

In her book, How I writeJanet Evanovich has great advice regarding time and discipline. Evanovich has sold more than 75 million books. She was the third richest author in the world, after James Patterson and Stephen King, in 2012 (Forbes Richest Authors) She is the best-selling author of the Stephanie Plum series, 12 romance novels, as well as the Alexandra Barnaby series. She is hysterically funny and seriously successful.

Say says:

Write something every day, even if it means getting just a few sentences on the screen. Here are four ways to accomplish this:

  1. Do it by time: Start small, if you want. Start with five minutes and increase the time by five minutes a day. In two weeks you’ll be sitting at your desk for about an hour a day. Add more time as you choose. 
  2. Do it by pages: Start with one paragraph a day and work toward a page a day. If you do only that, by year’s ends you will have written 365 pages. 
  3. Do it by word count: Plan to write a specific number of words a day. Hemingway wrote around 500 words a day – approximately two pages. 
  4. Do it by appointment: Treat writing like any other part of your daily routine. Carve out a place – the corner of a room or the kitchen table – and a certain time of each day for writing. Then show up for work. 

I love this advice. Increasing the time and pages seems like a good idea, because it is like exercise and getting yourself fit instead of plunging straight in and becoming overwhelmed. Word counts and appointments are concrete commitments. Those are good.

And I want to add one of my own:

Do it by hand: Keep a pen and notebook nearby. Somewhere in your day there is a ten minute gap that can become a writing time. The odd break between two meetings, the last ten minutes of your lunch break, the five minutes you wait outside the school for your kids. You don’t have to be at your desk, in front of your computer.

It is easier said than done, but it is definitely do-able. Life is always going to be in the way. Friends and family all intrude with love and the best intentions, but you have to stand firm. I have banned all sentences that contain the words “Can you just quickly…”. I have a harder time with sentences that contain the word “lunch”, but I am trying.

Don’t let anyone, including you, get in your way. Commit to yourself. Send yourself a meeting invite if you have to. Hire yourself as a client (Thanks, Anthony Ehlers, for that one), book a meeting room for ten minutes at the same time every day and go write.

Whatever works for you, do it. Make the time. Fight for it.

 by Mia Botha

If you enjoyed this post, you may enjoy What are the rules of write club? and One habit every writer must have.

Mia Botha facilitates for Writers Write. She is also a novelist, a ghost writer, and the winner of the Mills&Boon Voice of Africa Competition. When she isn’t writing, she is the mother of two children and the wife of a very lucky man. Follow Mia on Pinterest and Facebook and Tumblr and Twitter

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Do you want to write a book or improve your business writing? Do you want to learn how to write for social media? Email news@writerswrite.co.za for more information.

Join us on Facebook and Twitter for daily writing tips

Follow @Writers_Write

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Seven Things I've Learnt From Meeting Memorable Writers

Confessions of a book club host

I have met, interviewed, and hosted more authors at literary dinners than I can remember. I have watched these authors speak to my guests, answer my questions and sell their books for more than 10 years. Some of the writers are forgettable, but many have left lasting positive impressions. This has very little to do with how famous they are, and more to do with how they behave.

So, what are the seven things these memorable writers have in common?

1.   They are well-mannered
Manners are more important than people realise. My favourite authors have all been considerate. They switch off their cell phones. They are punctual. They are present. They remember people’s names, and they make an effort to engage with people.

2.   They have led interesting lives
This does not mean that they have visited every continent or led dangerous lives. It means they are widely read and open-minded. Their interests have led them to meet interesting people through research and shared passions. They interact with other interesting people. It is a fact that the people we spend time with change the way we behave. They determine the people we become.

3.   They are not boring
They keep their answers brief. This does not mean they are stilted or cold, but they actually answer the questions people ask them. They are positive about their work. They talk about new books they’re working on. They do not boast about their accomplishments.

4.   They are great listeners
They may love to talk about themselves – don’t we all? – but they refrain from overdoing it. They understand the art of conversation, and they listen to people who interview them, and to the people they meet. Authors who make an excellent impression do not say too much. The people we like the most know when to keep quiet.

5.   They have a few great anecdotes
Readers and guests are not there to find out random trivia that might be on an author’s mind. They want to know about their books, and their writing habits. They are interested in personal lives in relation to the author’s work. If an author has been married five times, the audience will want to know how each spouse affected the books they wrote. ‘Did spouse number three serve as inspiration for a villain?’ ‘How do they manage to write with young children?’ The best guests have short stories that entertain, inform and engage.

6.   They are charming
It is not all about words. Tone of voice and body language are just as important. Memorable authors laugh and smile. They engage with people, shake hands, and they are attentive. When they speak about their books they are passionate. They talk to each reader as they sign their books.

7.   They are fascinated by people, places, and things
They are not jaded. Even if they have done this a thousand times, they are eager to meet people, find out about the city they are visiting, and the venue for the book launch. People who meet them feel as if they have shared a new experience with that author. Their enthusiasm is infectious. Research shows excitement is often associated with the person you’re with.

Before you represent yourself, and your book, in public it’s a good idea to remember the people you’re meeting are your fans.

I will be hosting best-selling crime author, Peter James on 7 August 2014.

 by Amanda Patterson

[Some of the authors Amanda has hosted at literary events, and/or interviewed, include Alan HollinghurstAlexander McCall-Smith, Andre BrinkAndrew Gross, Angela Makholwa , Bryce CourtenayElizabeth Noble, George Bizos, Ian Rankin, James Hendry, Jassy McKenzie, Jeffery DeaverJeffrey Archer, Jill Mansell, Joanne HarrisJodi PicoultJohn ConnollyJohn van de RuitKaren RoseLauren BeukesLesley PearseMandy WienerMarian Keyes, Marina Lewycka, Mavis CheekMichael ConnellyMichael Robotham, Pamela Jooste, Philippa Gregory, Santa Montefiore, Stephen Leather, and Susan Lewis.]

© Amanda Patterson

Follow her on Facebook and Pinterest and Google+ and Tumblr and Twitter. Amanda is the founder of Writers Write. Her signature course, Writers Write, specializes in the teaching of fiction writing. 

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Do you want to write a book or improve your business writing? Do you want to learn how to write for social media? Email news@writerswrite.co.za for more information.

Join us on Facebook and Twitter for daily writing tips

Follow @Writers_Write

Writers Write - Write to communicate

Who or Whom?

Source for Poster: Grammar.Net

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Do you want to write a book or improve your business writing? Do you want to learn how to write for social media? Email news@writerswrite.co.za for more information.

Join us on Facebook and Twitter for daily writing tips

Follow @Writers_Write

Writers Write - Write to communicate

The Science of Storytelling

Many studies show us that our brains prefer storytelling to facts.

When we read facts, only the language parts of our brains work to understand the meaning. When we read a story, the language parts of our brains and any other part of the brain that we would use if we were actually experiencing what we’re reading, light up.

This means that it’s easier for us to remember stories than facts. Our brains can't make major distinctions between a story we’re reading about and something we are actually doing.  

Individuals, brands and companies need to learn how to take advantage of this and make it part of their marketing strategy. Writers Write offers The Social Brand - how to write for social media, and The Story of a Business - storytelling for business, as part of The Plain Language Programme.

But how does this actually work?

Source for Infographic: OneSpot

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Do you want to write a book or improve your business writing? Do you want to learn how to write for social media? Email news@writerswrite.co.za for more information.

Join us on Facebook and Twitter for daily writing tips

Follow @Writers_Write

Writers Write - Write to communicate

Writing for Social Media—Not Any Old Tweet Can Do It

Press Release
Source for Comic: Sarah Lesson

Social media is one of the most powerful marketing and enterprise tools at a company’s disposal in an increasingly digital world. It is the new word of mouth, according to Amanda Patterson, CEO of Writers Write. 

“However, the second biggest mistake companies make is to assign a technical employee or an overburdened webmaster responsibility for the company’s social media marketing,” she says. “The biggest mistake it to outsource the role to agencies or experts who don’t understand your brand. Social media must have a personal, informal touch.”

The right voice

Although most companies are using social media, many are not exploring these platforms to their full potential. “To write effectively for social media, you first need to investigate which channels are going to work for your brand,” Patterson says. “You also need a writer who understands that social media is about PR and not shout marketing—they have to be creative, agile, and on trend.”

Those who succeed in social media understand that it is multi-directional conversation and not a static monologue. Only in this way can you create an authentic and emotional connection with the audience. “It is a way to engage their customers in a digital world where they already feel comfortable,” she says. “Your online representative must become a consistent voice and create a credible online personality for your brand at all times. They need to be curious, passionate and able to reinvent themselves to adapt to new opportunities.”

Unpredictable outcomes

Social media communication must always complement other brand-building, advertising and PR strategies. In all communication, the writer should strive to provide information and build awareness, as well create excitement around the brand. “Of course, you cannot predict social media outcomes,” Patterson says. “That is why you need a writer who understands your brand, in order to respond to a change in trend or deal with an online crisis.”

Social success
After developing a social media strategy in 2008, Amanda Patterson and Writers Write have enjoyed growing success in this space. “We recognised that the world was moving away from traditional advertising and PR and embraced the interaction social media offered,” she says. “We realised people wanted more information more frequently.”

At present, Writers Write has a social media following of more than 200 000, while Amanda Patterson has a following of more than 240 000. “We’ve taken all we’ve learned over the last six years and distilled this into an interactive, informative and fun workshop,” she says.

The Social Brand is a one-day workshop on 31 July 2014 that shows individuals and companies how to find the right strategy and structure for social media, as well as a practical guide to setting up a blog. “Social media is a great way to humanise your company, to show a side of the brand people won’t see in your company report or website,” Patterson says. If you want more information on this workshop, please email news@writerswrite.co.za

Ends

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Do you want to write a book or improve your business writing? Do you want to learn how to write for social media? Email news@writerswrite.co.za for more information.

Join us on Facebook and Twitter for daily writing tips

Follow @Writers_Write

Writers Write - Write to communicate

The Four Reasons To Use Dramatic Irony In Your Story

When we teach our Writers Write course, we find that people are often unsure about using dramatic irony.

Dramatic Irony - What is it?

Dramatic irony is a story-telling device. It is when you give your reader plot information that the main character doesn’t have until later on in the story. Sometimes you want to keep all the characters in the dark about a major plot point that will only be revealed in the climax.

The Ironic Statement

When using dramatic irony, it should tie in with your theme. The characters must make a statement in the story, through dialogue or action, which throws the absurdity, danger, or emotion of the scene into relief. The dialogue will usually have a changed or opposite meaning. Similarly, the action will be misconstrued in some way, or cause a complication.

The Four Reasons

Here are the four reasons why you would use dramatic irony in a story, together with four examples, and their ironic statements. 

1.   To create suspense. Phillipa is young detective is hunting down a serial killer targeting women. She works with her older partner, Rob. She sees him as a trusted mentor. As the story unfolds, we explore the killer’s viewpoint – and realise Rob is the killer. Eventually they arrest a schizophrenic vagrant and she thinks the case is closed. When she finds video surveillance that puts the vagrant in another location at the time of one of the killings, the first person she turns to is Rob and goes to his house, alone. Ironic Statement: ‘I came to you because you’re the only one who will know what to do,’ Phillipa says to Rob. Of course he will know what to do – kill her.

2.    To create romantic tension.  A jealous fiancée, Dani sees her boyfriend, Kyle, sitting cosily with a beautiful blonde in the very coffee shop where they met. Suspicious, she checks his iPad and finds online bookings for a romantic break for two. Meanwhile, when we are in Kyle’s viewpoint, we know the blonde is a wedding planner and he is putting together a romantic honeymoon. They eventually break up because of her misunderstanding. Ironic statement: ‘Don’t think I don’t know what you’re up to,’ an angry Dani says to a confused Kyle.

3.    To create empathy. Gretchen, a widow living in a retirement village, believes her dead husband is sending her messages from beyond the grave when she finds her favourite roses on his grave. However, we know that Klaus, another resident in the village, has been putting the flowers there—he heard her tell the nurse they were her favourite gift from her husband. He forms a friendship with Gretchen but she will only love her lost husband. Ironic statement: After she dies, Klaus brings white roses to her grave in the final scene.

4.    To create comedy. The only job Denise, a qualified but disgraced lawyer, can get is as a cleaner at a law firm. David, a new lawyer, is struggling to settle a case. At night, Denise arranges his books or files with Post-Its that point him in the right direction. As David starts to solve the case, he becomes more confident. Ironic statement: When he discovers her in his office, David thinks she is stealing and has Denise fired—just before she was about to give him the final piece of the puzzle.

Of course, irony is one of those prickly topics in literature and we’ll never get our arms fully around it. The idea is not to have an academic debate about what is and what isn’t irony—but to find plot techniques that will make your story stronger. 

Four Top Tips to Get the Reader’s Buy-In

  1. Don’t give your character the whole story—keep pieces of puzzle hidden from them until the end of story
  2. Explore the antagonist’s viewpoint so that the reader has access to hidden information
  3. Build your plot twists or surprises around the ironic statements
  4. Find ways to put your theme inside the irony so that it becomes stronger

Find the perverse logic in your character’s dilemma, or create a plot idea that can be turned on its head and you’re halfway there. Give us something that will make the reader take on the emotions of the character – whether it is to cringe or cry, bite their nails or bellow at the page, ‘Don’t go into the basement!’

 by Anthony Ehlers

(If you enjoyed this post, you may enjoy The Backstory Battle and Anthony's Viewpoint Mini-Series)

Anthony has facilitated courses for Writers Write since 2007. Published both locally and internationally, he was twice a runner-up in the Mills&Boon Voice of Africa short story competition. In 2013, his crime short story was included in Bloody Satisfied, an anthology sponsored by the National Arts Festival SA. As a scriptwriter, he has written three television features. In 2014, his short films were short-listed for the Jameson First Shot competition, as well as the European Independent Film Festival. Follow Anthony on Twitter and Facebook.

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Do you want to write a book or improve your business writing? Do you want to learn how to write for social media? Email news@writerswrite.co.za for more information.

Join us on Facebook and Twitter for daily writing tips

Follow @Writers_Write

Writers Write - Write to communicate

Writing a Memoir: The Ultimate Selfie

Apparently, it’s simple. You flip the camera on your phone, extend your arm and snap away. It’s not so easy for me. It takes practice, a long arm and a certain degree of confidence.

Whether you love them or hate them, avoid them or post them, selfies are here to stay. ‘Selfie’ was even selected as word of the year for 2013 by Oxford Dictionaries

Selfie Culture

Selfies are also getting a lot of flak. People who post a lot of selfies have been accused of alienating people. They are said to be shallow and have low self-esteem because they need constant approval and are prone to superficial relationships. The selfie-obsessed seem to be down-right narcissistic. Some people go so far as to call them mentally ill. (Daily Mail)

On a more positive note, they are considered empowering. They give you an opportunity to express yourself and to show pride in your appearance. They can boost your confidence, but then you should guard against becoming dependent on the opinions of others. It also allows you to control your image. (TeenVougue)

Why selfies are like writing memoirs

A lot of the above descriptions can be applied to memoirs as well. Any well-adjusted person thinks twice before posting a selfie, but when it comes to writing a memoir it seems most of us are willing to have a go. With a selfie you can make sure your best side is showing, but with a memoir there is no place to hide. 50 000 words make lies and secrets tricky. You expose yourself in many ways and on so many levels.

I have met people who want to write a memoir to ‘bare all’. The funny thing is they avoid social media because they say it is egotistical or self-serving. Just think about that for a moment. Books are written with the hope that millions will read them. You will be exposing yourself to comment, compliment and ridicule just like the 'selfie-poster' you're berating. I am not saying you have to have a social media presence to write a memoir, but consider the similarities. Taking a selfie is also a lot easier than writing a memoir.

Three important questions to answer before writing a memoir:

  1. Has enough time passed? You can’t be too close to your story. You should give yourself enough time to heal. You can only write about pain once it has been dealt with. Until then, keep a journal, collect memories, make scrapbooks. You don’t know what is important yet.
  2. Why are you writing it? Writing a book because someone, a friend, a therapist, a spouse thinks you should is a bad idea. You must want to write it because you love writing more than anything else.
  3. Can you be honest? There is no Photoshop or Instagram filter for real life.

As with all things in life there is good and there is bad. There is too much and there is too little. Just think about why you are doing it and make sure you are comfortable with the reasons.

Feel free to post a Selfie and tag me. I’ll like it. I promise.

 by Mia Botha

If you enjoyed this post, you may enjoy The Top 12 Quotes On Writing Memoirs

Mia Botha facilitates for Writers Write. She is also a novelist, a ghost writer, and the winner of the Mills&Boon Voice of Africa Competition. When she isn’t writing, she is the mother of two children and the wife of a very lucky man. Follow Mia on Pinterest and Facebook and Tumblr and Twitter

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Do you want to write a book or improve your business writing? Do you want to learn how to write for social media? Email news@writerswrite.co.za for more information.

Join us on Facebook and Twitter for daily writing tips

Follow @Writers_Write

Writers Write - Write to communicate