New Sessions Alert – Writing is Your Business

UPDATE! New start date June 22nd 2017 & New Participant comment.

Writing is Your Business is the course I offer under the umbrella of Barbara Arrindell & Associates. This isn’t one of my creative writing workshops but a much more fundamental written communication course for working people. I first offered this course in 2016, and finished the most recent sessions last week. Some participants indicated in the oral evaluations (written evaluations to come) that they learned new concepts, while others indicated that it reinforced some things they already knew in addition to showing them some weak spots.

Participant evaluation: “I would recommend this course to someone else because it is educational and our tutor is very knowledgeable and likes to be challenged.”

Participant evaluation: “I would recommend this course because it was fun and interesting. Of course I learnt stuff, that was the point, but the manner of the learning was most important. The conversational aspect, and the classes had an organic feel pulling from not only our experiences but from what was happening in during the class.”

I’m happy that our once a week Thursday sessions over four weeks proved useful, and happier still to report that we’ll be offering new sessions beginning mid-June. If you’re a working person in Antigua who wants to boost his/her written communication skills this is a time and cost efficient way to do so. Barbara Arrindell’s persuasive speaking sessions will run concurrently.

The (new) start date is June 22nd 2017; the start time, 5:30 p.m. As B A & A says, “Invest in Yourself. You’re worth it.” I’ll only add that for companies interested in professional development, this is an opportunity to invest in your staff as well. Registration is capped; so act sooner rather than later.

Here’s the registration form: B A & A registration both 2017 



June Sessions: Writing is Your Business

“I think I have improved. I now look at my weak areas when writing.”

“The overall training was good and I’ve learned how to structure my ideas.”

“English is one of the most difficult languages. Everyone makes mistakes in writing; the aim is to be diligent in revision. I love Ms. Hillhouse’s approach to the lessons.”

“Overall it was a productive course; I have learned a lot.”

These comments were lifted from the blind evaluation sheets submitted by participants in Cycle 1 Level 1 of my written communication course, Writing is Your Business.

Cycle 2 (the re-boot) will start June 7th (level 1) and June 9th (level 2) – one evening each week for four weeks.

The cost: EC$150 for the entire four weeks.

The location: the Best of Books, St. Mary’s Street, Antigua.

The participants: That’s you – if you’re an adult employee or entrepreneur interested in professional development.

The partner: Barbara Arrindell & Associates (which offers parallel courses in public speaking)

The goal: confident and effective written communication.

You can sponsor a staff member.

Invest in yourself.

Pass this on to someone you think could benefit from this course.

If you have questions or wish to register, contact me.

Registration forms here:
registration Written communication level 2
registration-written-communication level 1


Joanne C. Hillhouse

Author, Freelance Writer & Editor, Writing Coach andWorkshop Facilitator, Developer and instructor of Writing is Your Business

p.s. I still/also offer creative writing classes and coaching and recently offered my first creative writing workshop for children; contact me know if you want to be added to the mailing list for future offerings.

Writing is Your Business – As One Cycle Ends, Another Begins

As you may (or may not) know by now, I will be offering a second cycle of Writing is Your Business – Level 1.

I’ve blogged about the experience of attempting my first writing course for non-writers (specifically professionals, whether employed or entrepreneurs) who want to improve their written communication skills to better function in the workplace.

The targeted number of participants was 10; 9 registered; six finished.  I wanted to share some comments (excerpts only, in threes) from their outgoing evaluation of the course as these may be of interest and benefit to anyone wondering if the course is right for them. So, here we go:


BA&A: Small classes where participants will get the attention they deserve as they work to improve their public speaking and / or writing skills. cost $150. four weeks. starting 24th May.

What motivated you to take this course?

“So I can become a better writer”

“To improve my writing skills (and) communication through writing for clarity”

“To develop my strength in the written language”

You get the idea.

Specific goals…

“Grammar, sentence structuring, confidence in my written word”

“My writing skills (punctuation)”

“better written communication skills especially with how I structure my sentences and grammar usage”

And, once again, you get the idea.

Goals met …

“I think I have improved. I now look at my weak areas when writing”

“I accomplished my goal of learning proper grammar usage and some proper sentence construction”

“All were met”

That’s a good one to end on.

Goals unmet…


“The overall training was good and I’ve learned how to structure my ideas”

“I could still get some more sentence construction”

There’s more but it’s more along the lines of more. Wait.

Other thoughts re the training…

“To plan before starting to write…know your audience”

“The sessions should be at least 6 to 8 weeks”

“English is one of the most difficult languages. Everyone makes mistakes in writing; the aim is to be diligent in revision. I love Ms. Hillhouse’s approach to the lessons”

Moving on, to suggestions…

“Long period. Time was too short.”

“The Length of the course”

“I will suggest more courses like these”

Sensing a theme.

Well, they should be happy to know that a Level 2 is in development and they will be the first target group. Yes, if you’re looking more for a refresher than a beginner course, level 2 might be for you. Still working out the details. But feeling amped that there’s definite interest, excitement even, about the course.

“Overall it was a productive course; I have learned a lot”

“It was worth the sacrifice. You spend the time and nothing was ever a bother. More time is needed in the future.”

“I am feeling excited about writing now. I am also more aware of common mistakes…writing is fun and I could see it as a hobby in future”

That last one makes me particularly happy because writing is much more than functional for me…and though it’s far from a hobby, glad to see that in a group there to better tap in to its functional purpose, at least one left feeling inspired to explore it further.

If you’re feeling inspired to register for the next cycle of Writing is Your Business – Level 1 (or think your company should be investing in this area of staff development), Contact me for a registration form.

Remember this course is being offered under the umbrella of Barbara Arrindell & Associates. Ms. Arrindell offers the brand’s Public Speaking Course – already a hit, and advanced to offering not just one but two levels. Contact her for a Public Speaking registration form.

Teach, Learn

I remember when I was learning guitar[1], I could follow the music but I couldn’t hear it well enough to play around with it – i.e. I could follow the rules and get the sound that I was supposed to get but not play by ear and by instinct (and maybe get to some next level stuff). I find myself wondering now if playing by ear is just[2] thousands of hours of internalizing the rules/the code until, like Neo, you can manipulate them at will.

I say that because teaching this adult writing class I am keenly aware of the valley between what I know and teaching what I know. It makes for a fun and interesting challenge when in response to a query re why/why not a particular edit (why’d you cut the ‘the’ before…), I have to bite down the instinctive “it hit my ear funny” response and break down why it hit my ear funny – first to myself and then to my students. If I hadn’t anticipated the question (even with all of my over-preparation) this sometimes happens in real time (sometimes it becomes my homework).

Of course, after these thousands of hours of working with words, like the musician who plays by ear and by instinct, and Neo, I’m not always analyzing while doing (in fact, I’m usually not analyzing while doing). Writing or editing, I just fall in to the flow of it – and, to borrow a metaphor from Stephen King, I have the tools in my toolbox and know which ones to reach for (mostly…because, as I tell my students, nobody knows everything and we all need to double check a lay and a lie every now and again). All of these years into writing and editing, I don’t so much think about the basics – prepositions and predicates – so much as use them; by instinct. But the instinct is born of the theory I learned during the foundational aspects of my education, re-enforced in every course and every workshop I’ve done as an adult writer; it is born of many hours of doing and practicing (ongoing).

Preparing for this course Writing is Your Business (targeted at non-writers who won’t have the shorthand writers in my creative writing workshops might when it comes to language use) has forced me to re-teach myself the basics so that I can impart it. It’s involved lots of researching and over-preparing (so much over-preparing). But with all that, my teaching style has hewed more toward practical examination and application because then it’s easier for me to help students work through the why of it, and, hopefully, help them begin to hear when something hits the ear funny as well.

We won’t achieve this in four weeks but hopefully I’ll have given them the tools to know what to look for as they continue to put in the practice…until they can up to Writing is Your Business Level 2 when that becomes available (it’s coming!)

I have enjoyed working with this first group – people who after a long day’s work, try to absorb another two hours of information plus homework; and hope all future groups (because yes,  another cycle of level one has already been announced for this month) are as committed to learning.

I had my nerves going in to this project; though I have taught before, this is my first time (creative writing workshops aside) building a course solo from the ground up. I’m coming out of this first cycle of level one with a renewed respect for the ones who do this teaching thing day to day and who, as I told my class, have to find a way to communicate their message not to the ones who come in strong and get it right away but to those who, not for lack of intelligence, but because this is not their world/their strength, require simplicity, clarity, and a little bit of hand holding.



(1)Playing guitar is something I’ve referenced before in interviews promoting Musical Youth, joking that main character Zahara was better than I had ever been; the thing she had that I didn’t, was this instinct for it.

(2)Okay, I don’t “just” believe it’s practice; I do believe there is an element of magic (that thing we call talent) that pre-disposes some people to be good at some things and some people to be good at others… but with that then comes tons and tons of practice.

(3)This is a bookend to the post I did when I started this new venture – Teach, Do.

Only days left to register, generous fee

This is an official letter that went out to businesses some weeks ago. It concerns my partnership with Barbara Arrindell & Associates, and aspires to bring my writing knowledge and experience to an adult education platform targeted at professionals and entrepreneurs. I’m posting here as I continue to prepare for my first class, hopeful that, if you’re in Antigua and Barbuda, you will pass it on to any individual or business that might benefit from either the written or oral communication courses.

Dear Sir /Madam:

Over the last few months, Barbara A Arrindell & Associates has conducted a number of evening classes aimed at improving a person’s communication and public speaking skills. In some cases, individuals take the class to facilitate their own personal growth and development but many participants receive full or part scholarships from their place of employment.

Employers understand that in today’s competitive environment that employees who fill key roles need to be able to speak confidently and to make presentations with ease. We are sending you this information as you may wish to register for the course and/or consider encouraging and investing in your associates so that they can be more successful at their job(s).

Full letter here: Letter to businesses

Registration forms:
registration Pubic speaking
registration Written communication

Classes begin April 19th 2016 – so register now!

Very (did I mention very!) generous fee.


New Venture – Writing is Your Business

Barbara Arrindell & Associates has been running a series of public speaking courses. BAAAWhile doing a critique of her new website, it occurred to me that I had something to offer in a related area of communications training: written communications. I pitched it to her and she agreed, and we’ll be running parallel and complementary courses beginning April 19th 2016.

Usually, my workshops focus on creative writing

Workshop 2

CODE workshop on writing for the teen/young adult market.

but I do have experience teaching communications at the advanced level and creating content for a variety of clientele. This workshop will draw on that experience.

This is not the first time I’ve thought of this. I have considered and proposed in the past, for instance, that entrepreneurs and staffers alike in Antigua and Barbuda would benefit from a writing course that would empower them to create content to better market their business, product, or services. Internal memos, letters to project partners, company websites and blogs, newsletters, reports, media releases, reports, product descriptions, company profiles, and more are all things I’ve had to either write or edit for clients – some of which they could be empowered to do for themselves. There are still things for which they would need to hire a professional but there is no doubt that, if staff or small business owners, can create their own content it could save them money, long term, and increase their effectiveness.

It’s about building confidence with language, it’s about removing the intimidation factor  by doing and discovering that words are really not that scary.

As with some of my other ideas, it’s a matter of finding the right time to attract a receptive cadre of students – and forward thinking employers and entrepreneurs. Now is the time.
Are you receptive?

Increased confidence and skill expressing yourself using the written word (from organizing your ideas to writing and editing business documents)
A professional, reader-friendly writing style
A skill-set which includes being able to edit your own and others’ business writing
Improved marketability
Heightened value in your business
Increased efficiency re sharing content-communicating ideas

In short you will be learning to communicate more effectively via the written word.

I am thrilled to associate my brand with public speaking consultant Barbara Arrindell of Arrindell and Associates.

The feeling is mutual. Barbara Arrindell: “It is one thing to have a nice looking web site with great content, but it is another to have edited content free of errors. Ms. Hillhouse’s web page editing service transformed my good website  into a professional advertising tool that is easy to read and understand.”

Our goal: effective communication within and without the business setting.

“No matter your profession—whether you’re the CEO or the mail-room clerk—understanding how to write correctly is important, because proper writing demands proper grammar and punctuation. And if you understand how to write, you will inevitably improve your communication (both written and verbal). Having the ability to communicate your ideas and communicate them well is a sure ingredient for success in any field.” – Shala Marks, Back to the Basics

Details: Best of Books, St. Mary’s Street, Antigua. Once a week for four weeks, starting April 19th 2016.  Course fee is EC$150. Limited spots available so register early by submitting registration form for written communication to me and oral communication to Barbara Arrindell & Associates.

registration Pubic speaking
registration Written communication
New Courses Barbara Arrindell & Associates Official Letter