It is not at all easy to write well. In fact, I think I speak for many writers when I say it tends to be very, very painful and tedious. For many of the best writers I know, writing is agony. It makes sense, because one of the things I’ve realized in 15 years of professional writing is that no matter how talented you are, producing something really worthwhile requires a plot of work. You have to go over every word in every sentence over and over again, revising it until it’s as perfect as possible. Even when you’ve exhausted the editing process, the finished work can look terrible and you can hate it and wish you never wrote it.
But even though the process of producing good writing is difficult and laborious, I don’t think there are too many mysteries about what good writing looks like. I also think there are a lot of pretty simple tips that can help someone improve their writing, if they commit to working on them. They just have to be prepared to spend a lot of time and mental effort. I’m a good writer today largely because I’ve spent so many years doing it, constantly trying to get a little better.
I wouldn’t say “anyone” can become a great writer, but I would say that a lot of people underestimate the quality of their writing. They might assume that good writers have “talent”, and that they just don’t have the talent. I think talent is overrated. Writing is a skill you can develop just like learning to cut hair or grow flowers. And over six years as a magazine editor, I’ve come to really love helping people improve their work and produce material that they’re really proud of.
All this to say: if you write, or would like to write, whether professionally or as a hobby, you should come take my one day online course on writing and publishing, this Saturday, November 19. I’m going to give the advice I wish someone had given me when I was independent, and I think you’ll both learn some useful things and come away with increased confidence in your own abilities. I’ll also tell you everything I know about the publishing business, including how to get your work accepted by publishers (and how to deal with them if they try to rip your article to pieces).
Tickets are available through Eventbrite. I hope we will see you there! If you buy a ticket, you’ll have access to the full course video and all course material afterwards, so even if you don’t on the day of the course, you’ll still have the full course.
We are holding this as a fundraiser for Ongoing cases, an independent magazine that has no advertisers or investors, so buying a ticket is supporting an important institution. Please spread the word to everyone you know!
What people said about the class
- “I’m a journalist and an instructor in a journalism program, so I’ve read and seen a lot about effective writing in today’s world. Nathan provides exceptional insight into the approach to feature/magazine authorship that allows first-time writers to start AND finish. If you want to jump-start your writing career, start with Nathan’s encouragement, wisdom, and wit to illuminate your journey and avoid common pitfalls. You won’t be disappointed!” – A J
- “I thought it was FANTASTIC and worth way more than I paid…Nathan was engaging, helpful, transparent, honest and made me feel like I was finally getting the information I needed to dedicate more seriously time and resources to writing.” -Mike
- “Very thoughtful writing tips and answers in the Q&A. Not those generic, vague ‘help each other’ discussions – Nathan is keen to tell us what he knows about writing. —Lucie
- “I really appreciated the collaborative and generous spirit of the class. The information you shared is super applicable and it was delivered in a way that made sense/wasn’t overwhelming.” — Meredith
- “It was a fabulous lesson! Nathan described writing methods and frameworks in a detailed and actionable way…I have some strong takeaways on how to develop my approach to essay writing and attract an audience as a creator independent media. — Ahhealth
- ” I liked everything. He is an engaging speaker as well as a writer and everything was very clear. It was particularly insightful to see examples of his work at the draft stage and examples of presentations that go into CA. I also appreciate the writers pack and subsequent sample analysis. -Richard
- “From what I know Ongoing cases and Nathan’s work, I suspected it would be a rich class and you would provide a wealth of resources. I was not deceived. Expectations – exceeded! —Jefri
- “It was educational and just plain enjoyable. I came away with a better understanding of the writing and publishing process, and would happily enroll in another course. —Cory
- “It was a solid and extensive introduction to working in/for/to/making a small magazine. writers – from people with little training and who have never written before to people who are already producing work for publication. Ongoing cases and lessons on how to create the magazine’s distinct writing and aesthetic style. – Clear