Jeanna Thomson recently graduated from the Advanced Magazine Journalism course. She describes how this experience has impacted her writing and propelled her into getting her articles published.

Magazine Journalism graduate at NZ Writers College, Jeanna Thomson

Tell us about the courses you have done thus far with The Writers College. How do you feel these helped you on your journey as a writer?

I started with the Magazine Journalism course and then followed with the Advanced Magazine Journalism course. The courses helped me immensely. I learned to pitch to magazines and to tailor my article to the style of the magazine I was targeting.

I also learned the basics of writing for publication, particularly focused on magazine medium. During the Advanced Course, I was further challenged with having to write three feature articles, two of which were published.

My tutor, Sarah Lang, has been a fantastic mentor using her experience to guide and advise me. I believe Sarah has gone over and above her role and I have appreciated her guidance. I discovered by completing the courses that I have a passion for writing and I’m excited about my future as a writer.

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Having had success in getting articles published, do you have any tips for aspiring journalists when it comes to getting your first publication?

That’s a hard one as I feel I was ‘lucky’ to get the first article I had written, published. My advice would be to choose a subject you have an interest or passion for and write about that. Choose your target magazine and read many copies to get a sense of their tone and style. Think about who generally reads that particular magazine.

Try to develop a bit of a thick skin. Sometimes you have to throw a lot of mud at the wall until some sticks. But don’t give up! Also, appreciate the fact that you have this opportunity. Grab it with both hands.

How are you fitting writing into your schedule these days?

I’m currently trying to write full-time(ish). I guess at the moment it’s about 70% of my daily routine. I also volunteer at the the psych ward Te Whare Ahuru in Lower Hutt.

Where could we catch a glimpse of some of your writing?

I’ve been published in Next Magazine (re-published online here), NZ Herald and Capital. I have written some pieces for Volunteer Wellington that can be seen here and here.

I also have a blog (which I have pretty much ignored since starting the writing courses). This blog has mainly been about my mental health journey but I will start using it to talk about writing.

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