“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”  — Ernest Hemingway

Hemingway was speaking about fiction, where wrangling with words can be extremely painful. Fortunately, I specialise in non-fiction in the shape of lifestyle features, academic reports, ghost-writing and corporate briefs. A few more of my favourite quotes:

“If you wait for inspiration to write you’re not a writer, you’re a waiter.” — Dan Poynter

“One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.” — Jack Kerouac

“I am not at all in a humour for writing; I must write on until I am.” — Jane Austen

University publications

Nelson Mandela University Annual Report cover
Nelson Mandela University Learning and Teaching Review
Thetha magazine cover
University of Pretoria Annual Review cover


Daily Maverick

Daily Dispatch

Weekend Post

Daily Maverick link image
Daily Dispatch page link

Daily Dispatch

Weekend Post swimming feature

Weekend Post

Mail & Guardian

The Herald

Mail & Guardian supplement on Nelson Mandela University's new Medical School
The Herald Spotlight cover
SPAR Women's Challenge supplement in The Herald

Online publishing

Surving covid lifebelt image
Safrea Media Hub logo
Spec-Savers blog post
Spec-Savers blog post
Spec-Savers logo
GMcAinsh logo in full colour


Editing is about more than where you place a comma or preposition. It’s about taking stodgy text and polishing until the words zing and flow. It also often entails “translating” text so that the reader can enjoy it smoothly. The key principle is: if you don’t understand it, it needs editing. Also, if it’s too “meh” to be rescued, then you need a writer not an editor.

A few of my favourite quotes on editing:

“Write drunk, edit sober.” — Ernest Hemingway

“Editing might be a bloody trade, but knives aren’t the exclusive property of butchers. Surgeons use them too.” — Blake Morrison

“It is perfectly okay to write garbage — as long as you edit brilliantly.” — CJ Cherryh

“To write is human, to edit is divine.”― Stephen King

“So the writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads.” ― Dr Seuss

GFI Coca-Cola book

80 Years – Expanding our Legacy into Africa, a coffee table book on 

Coca-Cola Beverages Africa for Gutsche Family Investments 

GFI Coca-Cola book
GFI Coca-Cola book
GFI logo
GMcAinsh logo in full colour
GMcAinsh logo in full colour

Media liaison

Who says it’s hard to get published? There’s a big difference between editorial and advertising, and it helps to know the tricks of the trade when you want to pitch your product, story or big idea to those hard-to-get-hold-of editors who don’t reply to your mails or return your calls.

Be strategic about where and how you pitch your idea or product because what you want to say, and what the people want to hear, may not be the same thing. Target the right audience via the right channel - which includes social media - at the right time and with the right content. 

Donieta Herr Don Marco publicitiy in The Herald

Examples of print coverage for publicity campaigns for clients in Gqeberha

One12Run publicity in Weekend Post
One12Run gif
Jason Kieck publicity in The Herald
Jason Kieck publicity in PE Express, photo of Mikaela Oosthuizen
GMcAinsh logo in full colour

The Carbon Almanac

This is me at the book launch at Fogarty’s Bookshop in Nelson Mandela Bay on Saturday, 16 July, 2022. Simultaneously around the world, many of the 300 contributors signed their copies of The Carbon Almanac. The event was live-streamed and we broke a world record for the book signings by the most people on the most continents in the world!

Why I am involved with The Carbon Almanac

Click on the red image below to listen to why I am involved. Our Eastern and Southern Cape radio station Algoa FM invited me into the studio for a sit-down interview on the Carbon Almanac - I hope it may encourage you to get involved as well!

Download a free copy of Generation Carbon, the children’s version of The Carbon Almanac in PDF form. There is also a free guide for educators.

Sign up, free, for the LinkedIn Learning environmental awareness course “34 Things to Know about Carbon”

One of my projects in 2022  was The Carbon Almanac, a book about climate change and why we should care about it. Released internationally on Saturday, 16 July, it has already become a global bestseller on Amazon and other sites. 

The Carbon Almanac is a collaborative educational experience with 300 voices from more than 40 countries contributing - and I am so proud to be one of these voices! Founded by marketing guru Seth Godin, the project has grown and grown. By the time the almanac had been published, the number of volunteers had ballooned to thousands of green souls from 90 countries around the world. 

My role was not limited to the main book, though, and this is the beauty of The Carbon Almanac: it is far, far more than a book and there are so many ways that you can contribute.

There is also a separate children’s almanac, which I helped to proofread ahead of translation into other languages. You can download it free at the almanac website. Then there’s the LinkedIn Learning course, when you’ll hear many voices (mine included) giving short snappy nuggets of climate change information. There are podcasts for adults and for children, a “Daily Difference” motivational email that goes out every 24 hours, and a free downloadable educator’s guide. There’s a gorgeous photo book, and a fascinating “Join the Dots” section.

The Carbon Almanac, started by Seth in late 2021, has become a global eco-community that is trying to make a difference. As the book cover says, “It’s not too late”.

GMcAinsh logo in full colour

Just for fun

Every picture tells a story, especially in the visual world of the 21st Century.

Instagram is where I go to get snap-happy with photographs and video clips, my feed is messy and colourful and definitely not curated because this is where I can just play. I also love to mess around with graphics in Canva for friends’ small business ventures or functions - it’s crazy what amateurs can do with free software (but, if you’d like a professional artist or graphic designer, let me know and I will put you in touch). For more, visit my blog, Gill’s Journal

Instragram photo of spaniel dog
Instagram image of rainbow cake
Instagram @gmcainsh
Instagram image of Gillian McAinsh
Instagram image of floating shelf decor

Photography & multimedia

This short clip of a penguin release at Sanccob (then Samrec) in 2016 went viral on the HeraldLIVE Facebook page, with more than 1-million views

Graphic design

graphic design
autism graphic design

Pro bono graphic design for Autism Eastern Cape 

Autism graphic
GMcAinsh logo in full colour
GMcAinsh business card blue

I designed my logo as a combination of a pen and computer mouse. These images are for my Safrea profile, and business card

pilates gif
pilate graphic
pilates graphic
pilates graphic
pilates graphic

 Pilates with Alex graphics for social media: WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook (* I also designed and set up the website Pilates with Alex)

Tam'Jazi graphic
Tam'Jazi graphic
Tam'Jazi gif
Tam'Jazi graphic

Tam’Jazi City Stall graphics for social media: WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook: the brief was to use a Comic Sans-like font, a grey and mint colour palette

Tam'Jazi graphic

Website & content © Gillian McAinsh 2024

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