KNOWHOW Finding direction

You love writing and you want to get better. But where to start? KnowHow editor, Eleanor Pender, looks at ways your writing can find the direction it needs, and organisations and people who can help along the way.

We know practice makes perfect. The more you write, the better you get. But what about when you're starting out or at the beginning of your career? How can you know what you need to do to help make your writing better?

This is where meeting other writers, seeking out critique groups or looking for a mentor can make all the difference. There are a whole load of online courses and groups you can join all over the world, but as anyone who has explored the options knows, this can be expensive, time-consuming and overwhelming.

So, KnowHow has done some exploring for you to find accessible, affordable - and ideally free! - resources, groups and lots of writer types to help you find what works best for you. The discussion below is designed to offer as a starting point for those looking for feedback as they begin to share their work with others.

The Literary Consultancy
Based in the Free Word Centre, London, the Literary Consultancy is a cornerstone organisation for editorial advice and consultation on your manuscript. The good news is that the TLC launched Being A Writer earlier this month, a new programme to help sustain and protect writers’ creativity and development. But do have a look soon! The programme launched with 1 month's free trial, offering access to courses, podcasts, and much more. The code is valid until 19 June.

Writers' HQ
There is a strong chance you have heard of Writers' HQ before. Based in the south-west, this two-woman team run regular day-long writing retreats and offer courses online to help us all just get on with writing. Take a closer look at their free courses available, with daily emails and tasks to keep you on track and a whole section of lockdown writing resources dedicated to supporting and helping writers during this difficult time. You can also apply for sponsorship as a writer in need.

Our very own, SCWBI! 
SCWBI is our own wonderful community and we are proud to be part of it. In recent weeks, events have moved online, with critique groups, book clubs and workshops still on offer. Have a look at the What's On pages on the website to find the group in your area. If there isn't one, you can get in touch with the listed coordinator to see about creating another.

It can be challenging to feel creative these days. Sometimes, external motivations can be found outside of friends and family. Fellow writers can commiserate on those days where word count is low and celebrate when the chapter you've been wrestling with for months finally falls into place.

Reaching out to others, gaining perspective and building on your work can only strengthen your writing and see where it will take you next.

Main Image by James Wheeler from Pexels


Based in Bristol, Eleanor Pender lectures in digital communications and chairs YA and middle-grade events at festivals including Bath Children's Literature Festival, Edinburgh International Book Festival, and YALC. She is currently working on a young adult fantasy novel. Find her on Twitter at @twice_ell.


Do you have any suggestions for KnowHow? If there's something you'd like to know how to do or know more about, tell us. Email KnowHow editor, Eleanor at

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