Ansie van der Walt completed the Magazine Journalism Course at SA Writers College. Apart from working at her new job as assistant editor at an Australian publishing house, Ansie writes for her blog, and her published writing can be viewed at www.ansievanderwalt.com.
She’s also the originator of the African Flower Chain Project, where she ‘planted’ 30 hand-made African flowers across South Africa and elicits inspiring letters from around the globe. Ansie has turned her twin passions of writing and needlework into a full-time career.
1. What writing successes have you had since completing your course?
My new job as an assistant editor! I never thought a full-time career in the publishing industry would be possible.
Although it isn’t a success yet, I am also working on a book proposal. It involves design, craft, travel and writing – all my passions rolled into one. It is a dream I had and if it weren’t for the course, it would have remained but a dream.
2. How did you feel the first time you wrote a piece that was published?
Amazed all the way. Amazed that my article proposal was accepted. Amazed that the person who edited my article before I sent it off, thought it was a good piece of work. Amazed to see my work (and name) in print. I still have a copy of the magazine lying around at home and every now and again I have a peek inside to see if my name is still there, just to make sure it is real!
3. What tip(s) would you give other aspirant writers in terms of finding ideas, the writing process, and staying motivated?
Write about what you know and/or love. Pick a topic where you have lots to say, where the words come easily. Work your way from there into unfamiliar territory.
Write regularly. I am still not very good at writing every day, but I write a blog and it needs to be fed. It keeps me stimulated, motivated and focused. And it gives me ideas for articles.
4. How did completing a writing course improve your writing?
Before the course I wrote the way I thought was the right way, but I really had no idea what I was doing. I was stumbling around in the dark trying to find my way. Now, with everything I learned, I am more confident about what I do. It feels like the light has been switched on and I can see what I’m doing and where I’m going.
5. What was the single most important lesson you walked away with from the Magazine Journalism Course?
It is possible. I can write. I can get published.