Writers & Hunchbacks

writing fiction, fiction writing, fiction writing tips, writing fiction tips, creative fiction writing,

Feature image from TNATION

I am writing this as a concern for all of you.  It is official, I have become a hunchback and I fear that all us writer will become hunchbacks alike.

Sitting at a computer is bad for our health; sitting for a long period of time at a computer is even worse.

While I care very deeply about your health and wellbeing, it might be your own vanity is what gets you to pay attention to the problems of sitting too long at a computer.

Hunchbacks are ugly.  They photograph badly and make you look like you’re always nervous.  You might not even know you are a hunchback.  That is when things are really bad.

So how to cure a writing hunchback and make sure it doesn’t come back. Continue reading

Finding Metaphorical Space to Write

How to publish a book, how to publish an ebook, book writing software, formatting an ebook, self publishing, uploading ebook, selling ebook,

Feature image from ELITE DAILY

There is a big difference between having a desk to write in, and having enough mental space to allow yourself to write.  I used to think that all I needed was an office of my own, and then the books will just flow out of me onto the office floor.

When my partner and I moved into a four bedroom house on the South Coast, I got my very first office.  I brought a secondhand desk, found a chair on the street and wrote notes to myself to stick all over the wall.  I stuck a post it to the door that read ‘Book Factory – Keep out!’ and lined the walls with bookshelves and folders.  I was certain I had everything I needed.

When I did finally get my own space to write, I was astounded at how little work I did when I sat there.  I would sit at my desk for hours wasting time and getting frustrated.

What was missing was space in my head to let ideas flow.  I was so full of worry, frustration, writing anxiety, fear of failure, fear of success, and pressure that it was impossible to get any creative words from my head.

Here is how I now manage to find a little metaphorical space in my head to let the creativity flow. Continue reading

EWF15 – Ambassador’s 5 x 5 at the National Writers Conference

The National Writers Conference traditionally kicks of every year with the 5 by 5.  This morning the festival ambassadors offered the National Writers Conference.  Here it is.

Emerging writer, emerging writers festival, what is an emerging writer, young writer, your writers, australian writers blog, blogger or writerOslo Davis

Oslo Davis is an illustrator who has worked with the New York Times, The Age, The National Gallery of Victoria and The Melbourne Writers Festival amongst others.  He is also an acclaimed animator. @oslodavis

1.  There is no ‘Natural Genius’.  They don’t exist.  In an article by Malcolm Gladwell he wrote, ‘There are no naturals’.  Malcolm Gladwell is the writer who coined the phrase 10 000 hours rule, in which it takes 10 00 hours or approximately ten years to master your craft.  My job is a desk job.  It involves a lot of admin.  Instead of natural talent, you need a natural enthusiasm.

2. Think of the perfect outcome.  When writing, try to envisage what the perfect result from the work would be.  Ask yourself, ‘What would make me interested?’ Then make that.

3. Don’t fret over awards.  I’ve never won anything and seen many undeserving people win.  The results from awards and grant offers are based on fashion, marketing trends and the goals of the organisation awarding them.  So much of the award process is luck.

4. Don’t read the reviews.

5. Choose your audience.  Be measured in who you receive reviews from.  Create for people who’s opinion and sense of humour you like and respect.  If there are strangers out there who love your work, that’s great, however it’s those few people who really matter.

Emerging writer, what is an emerging writer, young writer, australian writers blog, blogger or writer, australian blogger, female writer australian, william mcinnes, emerging writers festival 5 x 5

William McInnes

William McInnes is an actor, columnist and author, writing pieces that celebrate life whilst encompassing the wide emotions and situations being human can bring.  WILLIAM McINNES

1.  Back up.

2. Don’t trust spell check. 

3. Show your work.

4.  Be careful what advice you take.

5.  If you think you have an original idea.  You don’t.

6. ‘I’ll give you one more for free’.  The arts are public.  Jobs in the arts are the people’s jobs.  Never take yourself too seriously but take what you do seriously.  There is luck in fortune.  If you have to write, you’re more to be pitied than scholared.

Emerging writer, what is an emerging writer, young writer, australian writers blog, blogger or writer, australian blogger, female writer australian, Sulari Gentill

Sulari Gentill is the author of the award-winning Rowland Sinclair Mysteries. Under the name S.D. Gentill, she also writes a fantasy adventure series called The Hero Trilogy.  She has ABC bookclub and appears in heaps of youtube videos – @SulariGentill

1.  Disregard the rules.  There are no rules.  People think there are rules but there are just tips and suggestions.  If you write well, readers will not notice that you are not following ‘the rules’.  They will be caught up in the story you are telling.  Take advice but protect what you love; it’s makes you different.

2. You don’t need an epiphany to start.  There are many ways and reasons to start.  You absorb stories when you’re young and the people around you will influence your work.  There are people in our heads.  I chose an area of writing my husband would be interested in.  I chose it for practical reasons, to connect with the person I live with.    It doesn’t matter why you start, just do.

3. Allow the reader in.  Trust your reader.  They are allowing you into their head.  It is an intimate privilege.  Trust them and acknowledge what the reader brings.  A reader bring richness and experience and knowledge to your work.  Trust the reader to imagine what they want or need.  Let go of the control to dictate every detail of the picture to your readers.  Give them room to move.  This engages your reader.

4. Make friends with other writers.  Build yourself a community.  Other writers understand what you go through and how you can be wounded from a review.  Writers tend to be the most non-judgemental people in the world.  We choose a life where our soul is being judged.  Being around other writers teaches you humility.

5. Love the art of writing.  Writing is the privilege of making things up.  Often we talk ourselves into the idea that writing is agony.  Sometimes it is really hard but you must remember that what you’re doing is a privilege.  Story telling is glorious.  Let yourself love the process.

Emerging writer, what is an emerging writer, young writer, australian writers blog, blogger or writer, australian blogger, female writer australian, Kylie Ladd

Kylie Ladd is a novelist and psychologist. Her works include After The Fall, Last Summer and Into My Arms. Kylie’s latest novel is Mothers and Daughters.  I personally have a soft spot for Kylie Ladd since she is one of very few writers to have toured through the Far South Coast on NSW.  I met Ladd at CANDELO BOOKS in Bega during the Wordy Women tour.  Kudos for the trip Kylie! – @kylie_ladd

1.  Read forensically.  Ask yourself, ‘Why does it work?  Why doesn’t it work?’  This is the best method to learning to write well.

2. Read ‘That Crafty Feel’.  Read Zadie Smith’s essay.  It perfectly captures what it is to be a writer; the highs and lows.

3. Don’t Panic.  It is normal to cringe when reading your own work.  It’s normal to despair.  Don’t let it stop you writing.

4 Write for art.  Edit for cash.  Writing is a business.  I have had to rewrite the last 50 000 words of my book.  I did so with tears in my eyes.  I wish that I had known this when I started.

5. Getting published won’t change your life.  Six months after book comes out, your life will be the same.  There is a thrill when you see someone on a bus reading your book, but ultimately your life will remain the same.  The act of writing turns out to be its’s own reward.

Emerging writer, what is an emerging writer, young writer, australian writers blog, blogger or writer, australian blogger, female writer australian, Anna Poletti

Anna Poletti is a Lecturer in Literary Studies and Director of the Centre for the Book at Monash University. She is the Chair of the Sticky Institute management committee. @poletti_anna

The truism of writing comes down to finishing your work.

1. Stay at the desk.  This is how I write the thousands of words I write for publication.  I get out of bed and I get to the desk.  Between the bed and desk I allow no room.  From there, I earn the right to leave the desk, have breakfast, shower or go for a work.  I earn this by working.  Find a way into your material.  Keep going.  Write out the ups and downs.

2. Go for a work.  Or any kind of physical exercise.  Move our body and allow your brain to shift.

3. Write for someone.  I need to have an audience to get my writing going, an actual reader.  A person.  Write for one or two people you have in mind.  If I don’t know who I’m writing for or who would give a shit about my writing, I can’t finish.

4.  Believe that you are the person who needs to write this.  ‘Who am I to think I can pull this off?’  I need to believe that I am the best person to write this.  When you know this, staying at the desk becomes easier.  If you don’t write this work, no one will.

5. Change medium.  For a time, facing down the blank page made me sick.  A typewriter saved me.   The physicality of punching out the words helped me finished my Phd.  Get a nice notebook, good paper and quality pens.  Changing tools can be an important alternative to the keyboard.

 

Enjoy.

Finding Literal Space

wardrobe_into_office_image

The perfect writing space does not exist.  There I said it.  You can stop looking!

Take a look around you now, Where are you sitting as you read this?  Perhaps you are on the train or at the kitchen table.  This space around you now is your space to write.  That is it.  You are in it!  Now.  So get to it.

There is no excuse to not write because you don’t have the ‘room’.  I am between desks at the moment and so I spend a lot of time writing on my bed, leaning against the bed head.  This is where I am right now.  It is not ideal for my back, eyes or neck, but there is always space to write if you want to find it.

For a more permanent solution to find a space to write in, check out these alternatives to a conventional office…

The Emerging Writer, Writing in cafes, Places to writeCAFÉS  – There is always room for you to write in a cafe, if you are prepared to buy it.  You just cant sit about in a cafe not buying anything and expect to stay.  If you are like me and cant drink coffee in the afternoon anymore, you might find yourself  buying something to stay that you don’t even want. Heading to a café, sounds like a good idea, but it doesn’t always work out well.  I suggest avoiding places with table service, as the wait staff tend to never leave you alone.

The Emerging Writer, Writing

PARKS – Parks are cheaper alternative to the cafe if you dont want to be charged to rent the space.  The success of writing in parks normally depends on the weather and the time of day – but when the conditions are right it is envigorating and freshing to be outside.  the downside is that you often can’t see your computer screen and usually get a pretty sore back.  My advice would be to aim for working with pen and paper and do some sky gazing, take notes.  Parks are where I try and do most of my planning.

The Emerging Writer, Writing

LIBRARIES – You can never use a lack of space as an excuse not to write.  What about your local library?  Every town has one, and chances are if you pay tax, you probably helped to build it.  It’s a great way to get away from the house without feeling like you have to keep on buying coffees to stay.  Better than a park on a cold wet day.  I also love the fact that I am surrounded by so many incredible stories and writers as I work.  Libraries help remind me of what I am doing, what I am competing against and the standard I should be aiming for.  It is also a great place to find new authors who might just change your life.

The Emerging WriterWARDROBES – I love this inventive space saving solution.  A wardrobe office is defiantly on my wish list, especially as I am quite a messy writer and would love to close the door and make it all disappear at the end of the day.  You might need to get a bit brutal when cleaning out the wardrobe in the spare room, but what a treat if you can make it work.  A secret cave of writing mystery.

emerging writer, writing, how to write a book, writing a novel,  how to become a writer, creative writing ideas, writing tips,

A FOLDER OFFICE – When I am writing over seas I work from my folder office.  When I open the folder, be it on the plane, in the hotel or on the beach in Thailand – I am in my office and I am in work mode.  If you don’t have somewhere you can leave your notes, get a great folder organise it, and take it with you, opening it up and you are at your desk, where ever that is.

emerging writer, writing, how to write a book, writing a novel,  how to become a writer, creative writing ideas, writing tips,

AN INCENSE OFFICE – Remember your sense of smell?  If you are writing at your kitchen table, smells aromatherapy and incense are a great tool to transform space in your home into your office.  (I always use peppermint, as it is a natural stimulant)  By using the same scent every time you sit down to write, that smell will trigger the sensation of work in your brain.

Fighting with my First Office

The Emerging Writer, Writing, Writers, WriteToday was one of the most fantastic and confronting days of my writing life.  Today I spent my first full day in my very first office.  It was incredible and hard.  I have four walls and two doors wrapped around my writing space.  I am contained within the house, undisturbed and alone with my work.

I have been dragging a trail of words and thoughts behind me for 18 months now and today I could finally place it all together and look at the pieces of writing that made it all this way.  Some parts of my work were lost or left behind, others are back in Bali from before I decided to write full time.  Ideas where torn up in a share house in Sydney and scrap notes of paper have been left in my mothers spare room.  A thought came and went in a cafe in Milton but somethings did make it, characters & times & spaces.  Today I had to face that mess and see what I had left.

I woke early and started the day by reading a little of The English Patient by Michael Ondaatjie as I eased into a day of writing.  I was naive to think that if I built it, the writing would come.  I could barely sit in there.  I stayed within the confides of the office for periods of an hour at a time, then had to get out.  I put loads of washing on, swept the floor and made lunch, being in there was confronting.  No more excuses.  I have always had a reason why I have not been writing too much.

It is my office.  I am sitting at the desk writing this post.  I cannot believe it.   The most important messes have traveled this whole way and made it to Merimbula.  I am stunned and excited and scared by it, and a part of me keeps saying ‘Your not ready for this‘.  I better figure out how to get ready pretty soon, or I will miss it all, cause it is happening.

 

 

House Sitting

The Emerging WriterThis is the story of living rent free for a while.  Writing every day and having a simple life.  Leaving friends and distractions and craziness and moving with my partner to the bush for a while to save money and get writing.

 Moving House

We decided to move house rather quickly as it would happen.  I guess that is what happens when you are making the right choice, that neither of you realise till later.   It only took a dinner out at a thai restaurant, a strange feeling of shared unease, and a quick flick through Domain online to decide that we needed to move out of Sydney and back down south to the coastal town that I grew up in.  We both needed to save some money and spend some time seriously working.

Deciding to House Sit

We were not completely sold on the idea of house sitting straight away.  Some friends of our had had one bad experience with a couple they house sat for and we were a little hesitant.  I went reluctantly to meet a couple who had chickens and a small dog that needed looking after for three months.  When I arrived, I loved it.  I loved the couple, the dog the house and the girls. It seemed wonderful and we couldn’t say no.  That is what happened when things just work out.

house sitting, writing, emerging writer, Meghan BrewsterGood Idea – Umm Yes.

UPDATE – 23 August 2013

Since this post about our first house sitting adventure, we have stayed in three more amazing places.  We have traveled around NSW caring for pets, plants and while their owners were away.  In each house we pay our own bills and that is it.  I have saved a lot of money and have been writing full time since we left Sydney.

Emerging Writers Diary, writers house sitting, house sittingUPDATE – 24 November 2013 –

This is a photo from our current house in Melbourne, caring for a dog and a yoga studio.  I am editing Year One at the moment and loving the space to spread out and get a good look at the layout.

 

 

Want to find that perfect cabin in the woods?

The Emerging Writer, writing

The Emerging Writer, writingIt is a dream for every writer I have ever met.  To have some where to go and write.  Every writer has a secret cabin in the woods – a place away from everything where they can go to focus on work.  This one is what mine would look like – But I’d probably have a boat as well.  Cabin Porn is a great website to brain storm your future DIY building projects.  Check out Cabin Porn HERE.  It delivers everything the name promises.

Find someone like you, but with a better office

03 May 2013 – The best part about being brave enough to tell people you are trying to be a writer, is discovering other people out there, trying to write as well, such as your really good friend, SM.

Last night we went to dinner at a SM’s and I saw her home writing office.  It was fantastic.  Her desk faces out a high window with a great view of the city.  She has a nice big desk, notice boards, filing cabinets and stuff everywhere.  I had no idea she was so serious, or so well set up.  The whole room felt very permanent and I got jealous.  I got office envy.  Yes, that’s right.  But it wasn’t a bad thing.  In fact, it was so motivating to see someone doing it just a bit better.  It seemed possible, standing in her office, looking back at the twinkling lights of North Sydney, clutching a glass wine & chatting about characters.

Jealously helped me to understand how important a permanent writing space is.  I need to purchase more writing props and get a notice board for attaching incredibly great ideas too.  Moving out of my share house has moved us in the right direction to make a regular writing space.

I am so happy to know this amazingly motivated lady and grateful she allowed me into a space that her Husband is not privy to.  I would like a few more writers in my life.

The Moveable Feast; A Guide to Writing in Cafes

Writing in Cafes; The Ups and Downs

Sydney is a landscape of Cafes and coffee shops.  For most people in Sydney they will go to a cafe every single day.  But what are they for?  Are Cafes exclusively for people who are drinking coffee and nothing else?  Are Cafes just for the time wasters?  Are Cafes just for leisure?  I am writing this article right now in a café.  Which is only appropriate.  But am I being appropriate.

I am working right now, in a cafe, and many might want to roll down their windows as they drive past and yell at me to get an office!  But what if I were on Facebook right now – wasting time doing a leaisurely activity? Would I still be shunned for for laptop in a public recreational space?

Writing in Cafes, Emerging Writers, Writing in Australia

I work in a café now in Redfern, saving money as I continue to work on writing.  We have many writers and bloggers coming in and staying for a while.  They bring their laptops and their satchel bags and order a latte and settle in.  We don’t have free internet there and we know that people who bring there laptops tend to be doing ‘real’ work not just playing on the internet.  Not Facebook.  So should we kick them out, for being productive and abusing the privilege afforded the purchase of a single latte.

I say people should go for it.  As long as they are not taking up a table way too big for them.  They are no more a nucence then the mothers who buy one Baby chino and then have five people come and clean it up (how is that profitable??)  To say you cannot work in a cafe is to say that coffee is only for people with nothing better to do.  And who needs coffee more than writers??

How to turn your Café into your Office

The best approach to turning your local cafe into a part time office, is to just ask them.  Some cafes don’t mind if you work for a while and others do.  Don’t try and guess as to wether you are welcome or not, just ask.  Find out where you are going to be most welcome and head there to buy your coffee.

Tips from a waitress.

  • Always make sure you buy enough coffee to support the seat you are taking up.
  • Don’t ask if you can plug into the wall to charge up.  Its bad enough the cafe is not making very much money of us writers, we shouldn’t cost them anything.
  • Always be happy and smiley.
  • The best times to go are between the main meals.  Morning or afternoon tea times.
  • Understand that you might be moved, and be willing to move to a table with just one stool if you must.
I write at my work, and at a cafe called Cow and Moon at the moment.  They only sell coffee, so I know I am never taking up a lunch table.

Malcolm Gladwell, That Jerk at the Cafe?; The Problem with Writing in Coffee Shops 

Writing from your bed room

The Emerging Writer, Finding the Space

My First Work Space

I still don’t have anywhere to write.  This is me working from my bed, in my room in a share house in Sydney.  Ps, my rent is like, expensive.

So, say I was going to do this…Hypothetically.  I was really truly going to be a writer – just humour me for a second.  I guess I would want to write a book about where I am from.  I grew up in one of the most magical places on earth, but when I was a teenager, I missed it all.  The fantastic natural wonder of the place was lost on me.  Now I am starting to realise just how special it was.  All my ideas keep coming back to the bush brushing up against the sea.  In Merimbula trees and grass grow straight out of the sand, and then the mountains rise quickly behind them.

I have been doing a little research online and found some great news articles and photos and stories…  Making me want to go down for a few days and check the place out.

Might plan a trip home – Hmmm still have no money…Can go see Mum anyway while I’m down?  Could get Mum to pay for my trip???  I will call her.