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.

5 Things I Learnt from Fiona McIntosh

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When I was at Art School, every one of our teachers told us to get out and go to exhibitions.  They told us to find out where the openings where, get into galleries and meet as many artists as we could.  Now that I am writing full time, I am taking that same approach writing – Get to book readings, find where the parties are and meet as many writers as I can.

Book readings are never just about the book.  Book readings, launches and events are about the book, the author, the venue, the publisher, the crowd and the market it is being released into.  So what can you learn from a book readings  Basically…everything.

The French Promise, Fiona McIntosh, australian authors, young authors, female writer, female writer australian A while ago I went to a book reading by Fiona McIntosh, for her new novel, The French Promise. The event took place in a small book store on the south coast, as part of her regional tour of Australia.  As it turned out, there were not many of us who had read the first book The Lavender Keeper, so she spoke about them both.

What did she speak about

After Fiona McIntosh introduced herself, she started to talk about her decision to become a writer.  She spoke about choosing to write.  She spoke about attending a writing workshop held by Bryce Courtenay, about her family and how stories have fallen out of her ever since.  this was a writer how had made a decision, who knew she could be a writer if she worked hard enough.

What Did I Learn

1. Finding ideas quickly and making them work

Listening to Fiona talk about where her ideas came from, helped me to understand where I found my ideas.  Fiona spoke about how she mapping out the story on a plane, while flying from Australia to Europe.  What was obvious to me was that she was able to do this, because she understood how stories worked, how characters operated and how to tease out more ideas.  Listening to Fiona speak out writing, it’s very clear that she understands the craft behind it.  She credited her skill with a great foundation of education combined with a huge amount of practice. Continue reading

Where did all the good time go?

ByJacobHenwood600

by Jacob Henwood.

I’m not going to talk about how to write well. I don’t think I am the person to come to for that sort of thing. Not on account of my inability to string words together in a pleasing fashion, but because I’m yet  to present much evidence that it is something that I can do. If it’s what you’re looking for, there are lots of books on the subject by a great many people whose opinions on the matter are backed by the weight of this evidence.

Before quality though comes productivity. This is the first step. A blank page may hold infinite possibilities, but a full page holds the first step to not wasting them. I can talk about productivity. I have productively written for a number of years now. I can sit down and write a 2,000 to 5,000 word story outline in an hour. I do a lot of different types of writing, and I do it with both stealth and ease. If you’re looking for stealth, then you are going to need to invest in a quiet keyboard, or a pen. Pens are quiet. If you’re interested in ease, then keep reading.

Words aren’t always in the habit of being there when we want them. This isn’t really about the words though. It isn’t about writers block either. That’s just a name that we use. Despite all appearances, writing is like drawing, playing the cello, or anything else we need to train ourselves to do with ease. For the most part we tend to assume that however many years of school and university have prepared us for this, but think about the time we would put aside for 2,000 words, or 1,500. Where do we now find the time in our lives for 85,000 words? In reality you are more likely to need to find the time for whatever the actual number of words it is going to take you to write 85,000 good words. Words that carry with them everything that you need of them.

This isn’t something that I figured out. It is something I researched. It is something the authors that I respect discovered through necessity, because for them it was part of the trade. A skill that needed mastering in order that bills be paid. Tom Wolfe, Philip K. Dick, Agatha Christie, Edmond Hamilton, Ray Bradbury, Steven Moffet, and so many others relied on their ability to continue to write whenever it was needed of them.

My first step in understanding this process was the work of Philip K. Dick, whose prolific output and commitment to the concepts behind each of his works is, to my mind, without peer. Dick wrote when he was sleep deprived, discontent, depressed, detached, and, most importantly, when he made the time. Dick wrote a lot of material that he was not happy with (the majority of which was not published), but if you were to say that only 1 in 5 of Dick’s published stories is worth reading, that would still be 10 novels and 20 short stories.

Read more at United By Glue – Where did all the time go… 

What is NaNoWriMo?

Has NaNoWriMo been popping up online a lot lately?  Have your friends been posting about NaNoWriMo on Facebook and Twitter and you have no idea what they are talking about?  Well NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month, and it is coming up soon.

November 2013 is National Novel Writing Month

the emerging writer, nanowrimoWhat is it? –

It is a project of National writing – Yet to discover which nation?!  But NaNoWriMo has spread globally.  When you register for NaNoWriMo, you are able to imput your time zone within your profile.  This will enable you to find others in your area who are participating.

Lots of areas will be holding events during the month of NaNoWriMo.  Sydney for example have already organised a few planning sessions before November, a kick off party the night before and a few write in’s around the city to keep you motivated and on task.

Why am I getting involved?

Because I am reckless and impulsive – and like trying out stuff.  And I have got no idea how it will feel to try and write 50 000 words in 30 days.  I don’t know what that means yet?

What I hope to achieve from it.

Ideally I will have written a really great yet also completely terrible first draft that I can use.  I would like to abandon a lot of my own hang ups about writing that tend to debilitate how quickly I get things done.  I hope that in having such a strict dead line, I will just not have the time to indulge insecurities.

Nanowrimo, The emerging writers diary, emerging writers, writing first novel, meghan brewsterWhat my plan for the next month will actually be. 

October – I am going to get things as ready a possible.  Going over the plot treatment.  Do a lot of character studies and get very detailed about the location, scenery and details – So that I am not caught when it comes to planning.

November – We will actually be traveling around Thailand and then flying into Melbourne.  So this will be a very interesting time.   Hmmm.

 

To check out NaNoWriMo – Go to their websiteHERE X 

 

IMG_0493Meghan Brewster is a Blogger, Freelance writer and general spinner of Fiction. She is the founder and editor of The Emerging Writers Diary, as well as Itp & Me, a website dedicated to managing the rare platelet disorder, ITP. To learn more about Meghan Brewster follow this link. By making purchases through links on this website you are helping to support a young emerging writer. Thank you.

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The Booker Shortlist 2013

The Shortlist Has Been announced!

Finally, the Man Booker Prize shortlist has been announced.  I say finally, because I live in the future, 10 hours ahead of the Man Booker Prize judging panel.  I woke up early this morning eager to see which books made it to the shortlist, only to be reminded that I live in Australia – The most forward thinking and future living continent on earth.  The short list is as follows…

 

A tale for the time being, The Emerging writer, Writers diary

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A Tale for the Time Being

Ruth Ozeki

2012

Ruth discovers a Hello Kitty lunchbox washed up on the shore of her beach home. Within it lies a diary that expresses the hopes and dreams of a young girl. She suspects it might have arrived on a drift of debris from the 2011 tsunami. With every turn of the page, she is sucked deeper into an enchanting mystery.
In a small cafe in Tokyo, 16-year-old Nao Yasutani is navigating the challenges thrown up by modern life. In the face of cyberbullying, the mysteries of a 104-year-old Buddhist nun and great-grandmother, and the joy and heartbreak of family, Nao is trying to find her own place – and voice – through a diary she hopes will find a reader and friend who finally understands her.
The Emerging writer, Emerging Writer blogs.

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Harvest

Jim Crace

2013

As late summer steals in and the final pearls of barley are gleaned, a village comes under threat. A trio of outsiders – two men and a dangerously magnetic woman – arrives on the woodland borders and puts up a make-shift camp. That same night, the local manor house is set on fire.
Over the course of seven days, Walter Thirsk sees his hamlet unmade: the harvest blackened by smoke and fear, the new arrivals cruelly punished, and his neighbours held captive on suspicion of witchcraft. But something even darker is at the heart of his story, and he will be the only man left to tell it . . .
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The Lowland

Jhumpa Lahiri

2013

From Subhash’s earliest memories, at every point, his brother was there. In the suburban streets of Calcutta where they wandered before dusk and in the hyacinth-strewn ponds where they played for hours on end, Udayan was always in his older brother’s sight.
As the two brothers grow older their lives, once so united, begin to diverge. It is 1967. Charismatic and impulsive, Udayan becomes increasingly drawn to the Communist movement sweeping West Bengal, the Naxalite cause. As revolution seizes the city’s student community and exams are boycotted in a shadow of Paris and Berkeley, their home is dominated by the absence of Udayan, out on the streets at demonstrations. Subhash wins a place on a PhD programme in the United States and moves to Rhode Island, never to live in India again – yet his life will be shaped from afar by his brother’s acts of passionate political idealism.
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The Luminaries

Eleanor Catton

2013

It is 1866, and Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the New Zealand goldfields.  On arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of twelve local men, who have met in secret to discuss a series of unsolved crimes.  A wealthy man has vanished, a whore has tried to end her life, and an enormous fortune has been discovered in the home of a luckless drunk.  Moody is soon drawn into the mystery: a network of fates and fortunes that is as complex and exquisitely patterned as the night sky.
Udayan will give everything for what he believes and in doing so will transform the futures of those dearest to him: his newly married, pregnant wife, his brother and their parents. The repercussions of his actions will link their fates irrevocably and tragically together, reverberating across continents and seeping through the generations that follow.
The Emerging Writer

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The Testament of Mary

Colm Toibin

2012

In a voice that is both tender and filled with rage, The Testament of Mary tells the story of a cataclysmic event which led to an overpowering grief. For Mary, her son has been lost to the world, and now, living in exile and in fear, she tries to piece together the memories of the events that led to her son’s brutal death. To her he was a vulnerable figure, surrounded by men who could not be trusted, living in a time of turmoil and change. As her life and her suffering begin to acquire the resonance of myth, Mary struggles to break the silence surrounding what she knows to have happened. In her effort to tell the truth in all its gnarled complexity, she slowly emerges as a figure of immense moral stature as well as a woman from history rendered now as fully human.

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We Need New Names

Noviolet Bulawayo

2013

Ten-year-old Darling has a choice: it’s down, or out…
We Need New Names tells the story of Darling and her friends Stina, Chipo, Godknows, Sbho and Bastard. They all used to have proper houses, with real rooms and furniture, but now they all live in a shanty called Paradise. They spend their days stealing guavas, playing games and wondering how to get the baby out of young Chipo’s stomach. They dream of escaping to other paradises – America, Dubai, Europe. But if they do escape, will these new lands bring everything they wish for?
The Man Booker Prize is a Literary Award given out every year to the ‘best’ full length original novel written in the English Language.  To be eligible the author must be a citizen of the Commonwealth of Nations, Ireland or Zimbabwe.  The ‘best’ book is then selected by a judging panel.  On the 10th of September the Shortlist will be announced before the winner will be awarded on the 15th of October.
How many of these fantastic books have you read?
Who do you think will will?

By making purchases through links on this website you are helping to support a young emerging writer. Thank you.

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I have Started Writing an Ebook

So, I have started writing an Ebook.

It is very exciting.  It has come as an idea from my partner last night as we discussed the success of another site of mine.  About living with a rare blood disorder.  He simply said, ‘You should put all that together and write an Ebook.’  We were waiting at the cinema with strawberries and a chocolate and mint raw food bar, when he said it.

I thought.  Yes, perhaps I should.

Today I am sitting down, collecting all the posts and articles and comments and email exchanges I have had over the last however long, and seeing what I have got.

Starting a Writers’ Group?

The Emerging Writer, Starting a writers' group, writing groups, first novels

Phantasy Writers’ Group

I am considering ways to overcome my isolation.  I think I need to join/start a Writers’ Group.  Notice, very carefully that I am not intereted in a Writing Group, but more a group of writers.

I have been reading a little about the groups and understanding more and more about the different kinds you can get.

A Writing Group – is where the WRITING is the focus.  Maybe you even write there in the session.  You read your work outloud or give it to each other to Edit.  All that sort of stuff.  Im not looking for that at all.

The Emerging Writer, Emerging Wrtiers, Writing, Starting a Writers group.

The more likely Reality

A Writers’ Group –  Where the WRITERS are the focus, where we talk about our weeks or months.  How we get work done, what distracts us.  We never swap a few hunderd pages and head to the post office for a red pen.  I want to talk out aloud about my work and hear myself come up with the solution.  I want to hear that other peoples struggles are my struggles, that writing and the pain involved in universal.

Maybe from my Writers group I might find a kindred spirit, Anne of Green Gables style and we could later talk about exchanging our work one on one – but that is not the aim right now.  That is for later.

If you are thinking about starting a Writers’ Group yourself.  Check out these tips and guidelines I found and have put together.

How to Start a Writers Group

 

‘The Decision’ Series

Part One – ‘The Decision to Become a Writer’

This Article is the first Article I wrote on this website, meghanbrewster.com ‘The Diary of an Emerging Writer.’  It includes the moments that lead up to the final decision to do it, and how I was feeling at the time.  It is a very naive article, looking back on it.  It was written in secret, before anyone knew what was going on.

Part Two – ‘How Things Have Changed’

It wasn’t until I started reading over old posts that I really understood how much my life had changed in the space of 11 months.  I write about how different my practice is, how my goals and routines have grown and matured.  I write about how morning rituals have saved me from missing the first step and wandering the house for the rest of the day lost and confused.  I am surprised at how quickly I have become used to a writing life, who quickly you forget the way things used to be.

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.

 

 

Getting Away from the Computer Screen

The Emerging Writer, writing, ideaas

24/7 Printing

18 May 2013 – Feeling so frustrated at the moment.  We still dont have any where to live at the moment, staying with friends.    I have not actually written seriously for days.  – Everything is so unsettled and it is hard to sit down between things to get anything happening.  I forget where I am even up to.

I have a bit of time spare tonight so I might head to office works and print off what I have got to read over in the park.  You gotta love Office Works, open all night.  That will be nice, to hold it in my hands for a while.  Actually feel productive.  ( ps, it’s also nice to write were people might see you doing it, gives me a little thrill. )