Susan Williams has been the managing director of Prose & Comms – a communications company – for over a decade. She has also tutored the very successful Writing Coach Course, Business Writing Toolkit and Write Better Newsletters Courses online at the Writers’ College since 2007.
We find out more about her own journey as a writer.
Q. How did you become a writer?
I’ve always loved stories. As a child, I got into trouble because I had a book with me at all times: at school, in church, visiting friends, climbing trees, and even practicing my music with a storybook behind the score.
I studied languages at university and loved literature. But I never thought I could write. I became a teacher, and then a chief sub-editor, correcting writers’ work – and still I didn’t have the self-confidence to write anything.
My big chance came when our company started publishing another magazine and our resident writer couldn’t manage all the work. I offered to do the writing in my free time. My first article took me a day to write – all 800 carefully crafted words of it – and then my editor threw it back on my desk with a comment: “Fairly well written. Reduce to 150 words.” I was devastated. But I rewrote it and ended up being both chief sub-editor and writer (still editing during the day and writing at night) for that specific magazine.
When I started my business, I became the group editor of all the internal publications of my previous employer.
Q: What has been your greatest writing achievement?
- My first published snippet of text in our business-to-client magazine.
- My first published article in a popular magazine.
- Our employee report was nominated for best annual corporate publication. (Unfortunately, we did not win!)
- My first short-short story.
My biggest work achievement: Starting and running a writing business for 12 years. The business evolved from doing only corporate writing and publishing to training, facilitation, organisational research and organisational storytelling.
On a personal level, I developed from someone who dreaded speaking in public to someone who presents at conferences (thanks to Toastmasters!).
Q. How do you decide what to write about? Where do you find ideas/ inspiration?
My personal writing is purely self-centred. I write about what I know and have experienced.
My business writing is about business topics.
Q. How easy is it to make a living as a writer?
It takes hard work and perseverance. It is important to maintain the fine balance between realising your own worth and remaining humble.
Q. What general advice would you give aspirant writers just starting out?
Know your audience. Plan, plan, plan. Then write, edit and rewrite, several times.
Think up interesting angles if your content is mediocre.
Q: What do you consider to be the most important writing tip you ever received?
Don’t fall in love with your own writing. Don’t take yourself (or your writing) too seriously. In the end, it is the reader who counts.
Q: When you mark your students’ writing, what are key qualities you look for in their work?
- Did they read and follow the instructions?
- Is there logical flow in the text?
- Did they plan?
- Did they think about the reader, the message, how to get the meaning across?
- Did they edit their work?
Reviews for Susan Williams’s Business Writing Courses at the Writers’ College
“The course has inspired me to become a better writer. With awareness comes opportunity; effort makes it possible. The effort I put in was reflected in my results and I feel my journey is just beginning. I enjoyed my contact with Susan, I believe her personal anecdotal comments brought the course to life and I responded positively to this approach. After having done the course, I am more aware of what I don’t know, and I realise the effort I need to put in to achieve my goals. The Writers’ College is a professional provider of writing courses and I am fortunate to have benefited from their service. I have recommended it to others and will continue to do so.” Sheryl Nelley, Writing Coach Course
“My experience at The Writers’ College was very positive. The course was very enjoyable and a useful experience; it helped me identify gaps in my writing. The course was all about tutor-student interaction; a very positive tutor-student relationship was created which allowed me to experiment and grow. The course absolutely met my objectives; some of the assignments were perhaps a bit too easy, but all in all the general experience was a positive one. The administrative interactions were efficient and the electronic medium was extremely useful. The Writers’ College has mastered online courses and I’d recommend them to anyone who would like to improve their writing skills while not being bound to attend lectures.” Sanchia Lubbe, Writing Coach Course
“I enjoyed doing the course a lot; I’m more confident now with my English writing. English is not my first language. I wanted to try something different to improve my writing, vocabulary and even grammar skills and this course absolutely met my objectives. My tutor was always very clear and respectful with her comments. The course was fun, challenging and I learnt a lot.” Helena Cuesta, Writing Coach Course
“Wonderful encounter, eye opener. My tutor was scrupulous and motivational. I see the college as the best in the field it has chosen to specialize in.” Bongile, Writing Coach Course
“Susan quickly got me out of my shell and helped me enjoy every minute of the writing process. The course opened my eyes and gave me confidence to pursue this dream.” Wanda van der Wath, Writing Coach Course
“I believe what made the course work for me was Susan. She helped me a great deal and was encouraging and motivational at all times. The feedback was great and you could see that time was taken in the assessment and feedback. As one can see from my feedback, I really enjoyed the course.” Allan Spear, The Writing Coach Course
“I was extremely happy with all the materials and course content. Susan is a wonderful lecturer: her feedback was always constructive, informative, kind and insightful. She is also very approachable, open and supportive. She is absolutely the best. I learnt more than I ever dreamed I would.” Theresa de Beer, Writing Coach Course
“I enjoyed the course. I found it challenging. It forced me to think about the way I communicate in the business world. I found Susan to be very fair and professional. She encouraged me to complete the course. The Writers’ College and the Business Writing Toolkit Course is of a very high standard.” Tania Pantony, Business Writing Toolkit Course
“It was a wonderful course that I really enjoyed doing. I may be back for a creative writing course. Susan seems to be excellent with English which I found inspiring. It was a pleasure having her as my tutor.” Darienne Hallas, Business Writing Toolkit
“I thoroughly enjoyed the course and will consider another.” Laura Lindique, Business Writing Toolkit
“Just want to say thank you for the great course. I really enjoyed it and it definitely improved my confidence when it comes to business writing.” Tamlyn Williams, Business Writing
“The course was well-structured and informative. Susan was very efficient; she marked each module quickly and her feedback was positive and very useful. The course gave me a different perspective and insight into newsletter writing.” Write Better Newsletters, Lisa Coetzee
“I found the course very informative. I highly recommend the course to everyone responsible for writing articles for newsletters. I liked the approach to the assignments; the fact that I had a deadline motivated me to structure time in order to complete them. The assignments were practical and challenging. Susan was extremely friendly and helpful. Her honest praise, feedback and critique was much appreciated. She went the extra mile wherever possible. The course exceeded my expectations. The material inspired me with many ideas for our company newsletter and I have obtained positive feedback from colleagues as to the improvement of my writing skills. I used to see writing as a daunting task and honestly did not know how to approach writing an article. Now I view it as exciting and am motivated to push myself to write good articles for my company. Studying a hands-on practical course specific to my requirements through The Writers’ College was a pleasant and gratifying experience.” Mandy Thackwray, Write Better Newsletters
To find out more about these online business writing courses at The Writers’ College, please contact us for a prospectus.
Subscribe to Our Newsletter
Be the first to hear about our global writing competitions and free writing challenges. Sign up for our bi-monthly newsletter.