Date: June 11, 2022

Time: 10.30 am – 4.30 pm

Duration: 1 day

Level: Beginner | Emerging |

Cost: €75 (€68 Members)

This course will take place in-person at the Irish Writers Centre building.

Course Summary

Please note that this is a seminar-style workshop and therefore written feedback will not be given.

The five short, hour long sessions in this one-day workshop will provide a rough guide to surviving some of the biggest challenges associated with writing. Every session will begin with a practical, no nonsense talk aimed at early to mid-career writers and conclude with fifteen minutes of live question time. A helpful handout, including practical tasks to work on at home will be distributed after each session and a recommended reading list covering all five topics will be made available to all participants. Informal, engaging and gleaned from years of first-hand experience in the literary sector, these sessions are a great opportunity to learn from a writer, well established and making a living from her practice. It is not essential to bring your lunch along to these sessions, but it will be strongly encouraged.

Course Outline

Session 1 – Getting Started and Keeping Going

This session will offer practical advice on how to begin writing projects with particular focus on how to stay motivated during the difficult circumstances we’re currently facing. It will offer practical solutions for surmounting writers block, creative ways to develop your own daily writing practice and ideas for how to persevere with a project from inception right through to final draft and publication.

Session 2 – Making Your Words Pay – Part 1

This session will focus on how to make sure your writing finds its way to the correct publisher. It will take you through all the steps associated with acquiring an agent and publisher, (offering practical experience from Carson’s own journey to publication). It will also touch upon submitting work to journals, magazines and newspapers and alternative sources of income which can be generated from writing.

Session 3 – Making Your Words Pay – Part 2

This session will focus on ways in which you can use the skills associated with writing to generate income. It will offer practical advice on how to develop a community arts practice, how to begin teaching writing workshops and how to apply for and acquire funding, bursaries and financial assistance to fund your writing projects. Carson has worked in the community arts sector for almost twenty years and has extensive experience blending her own personal practice with community arts facilitation.

Session 4 – Literary PR for Beginners

Most small publishers no longer have the resources to invest extensively in promoting individual books and authors. Particularly during the early stages of a writers’ career much of the PR responsibility will fall upon the writer. This session will focus on how to promote your book using social media, how to approach festivals and literary events and how to ensure your book reaches as wide an audience as possible.

Session 5 – Avoiding Burn Out

Juggling all the very many aspects which go into maintaining a successful career as a writer can often feel exhausting and limit your actual writing time. This final session will take an honest look at developing healthy boundaries, ordering your admin and finances in regards to writing and putting in place structures and communities which will help you to continue writing and enjoying all the aspects of your practice. It will consider time management, reading as both respite and creative fuel and learning how to manage your own career expectations.


Jan Carson is a writer and community arts facilitator based in East Belfast. She has a novel, Malcolm Orange Disappears, a short story collection, Children’s Children (Liberties Press), and a micro-fiction collection, Postcard Stories (Emma Press). Her novel The Fire Starters was published by Doubleday in 2019. It won the EU Prize for Literature for Ireland 2019.