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.



Today I applied for a Real Job!

Applying for real writing jobs, writing jobs, Meghan Brewster, the emerging writer

Applying for real writing jobs, writing jobs, Meghan Brewster, the emerging writerA few days ago I applied to write for an online art journal.  In my application I had to fill out a form about myself, summarise my career so far and send an example of my work.  The easiest part of this application was the word summarise, as my career is so limited, no summary was needed.

While I was in Singapore last week I wrote an article about an exhibition I saw at Dempsey Hill.  When I read over the article yesterday I saw all of my mistakes and errors.  I cringed.

I almost didn’t apply because I was so scared and did not feel like I was good enough to actually do the job.  Now that I look over my application, it is clear that there is no way I will get the position.  And yet I hope.

I really want this job.  It would be fantastic.  If I am successful, I will start writing exhibition reviews for the online Art journal straight away.  I will also get paid for my work!!  All I have to do now is wait for a response.

Oh, this is hard.  I have taken myself out for lunch, partially to distract myself and partially reward myself for being brave enough to apply.  At least I have somewhere nice to sit and wait and a sandwich to keep me company.

The Writers Lifestyle – Retirement?

Emerging writers, writers finance, superannuation

Let me be very clear before we go any further.  If I had have been allowed into Maths, I would have failed it.  I have not studied a single science or mathematical subject since five of my girl friends formed an extra unit of English in year 11.  I am not the numerically inclined.  Which is why I am writing this post.

money21st August 2013 – Today I am going to remind you to take care of your finances.

Almost a year after the Emerging Writers Festival 2012 is still remember the best advice I have been given as an Emerging Writer.  And that is to learn how to manage your own superannuation (Retirement fund for all those in the USA).

Learn How To Manage Your Retirement Plan.

As part of the ‘Top ten things you wished someone had told you as an Emerging Writer,’ one woman got up and said this.

‘There is a lot to be said for the romance of being a young, penniless struggling writer, but there is nothing romantic or pleasurable about being old and poor.’  

Everyone was waiting eagerly to hear stories about how to get over being rejected, where to send your first manuscript, how do you know you are finished, when should you get someone to read your work?  But she was brutal in her honesty and I am going to spread the word.  Find out about superannuation, start paying Superannuation, figure out how much money you are going to need and how much that will be each week and then pay it.   Make a plan!!  She went on to talk about seeing a financial planner, one that specialises in freelance work.  She told us about self managed plans that we could open.  It was wonderful, and so honest.

emerging writers, writers lifestyle, writers finance

Click here for Website

This website was one of the few websites that made sense to me.  I felt like I was actually understanding what they were talking about enough to learn something.  I guess I needed to find just a bit more information, a bit more than nothing.  Check it out if you are looking for somewhere to start.  Or perhaps you did do maths in your final year of highschool and are looking for something a little more complex.

For more Articles on The Writers Lifestyle – Click Here

Managing your finances is apart of The Writers Lifestyle.  Don’t leave it too late to learn things the hard way.  You want to be a writer?  You want to live like a writer and tell people you’re a writer?  Well today it is time to act like a writer.

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





How to make your very first dollar

Today I made 82 cents on the internet from my writing.  My first 82 cents.  It was 10 months in the making.  This is not the story of how I made a million dollars or how I managed to get over 20 000 downloads.  This is the story of how I, over 10 months, managed to earn 82 cents from my writing.  It is the hardest 82 cents I have earned but also the most satisfying.  This 82 cents makes me believe that I should keep going and that is priceless.

Having the Idea – I did not know what to write about for a long time.  I knew I wanted to write a blog, so I waited for a while, thinking and hoping that a great idea would come.  Nothing came.  I just waited.

This process went on for a few months, maybe longer.  I was thinking, searching, forcing and trying to tease out a brilliant idea.  I never had one.  I never woke up one morning shouting that I finally had a great idea.  I decided to set up an interim website to learn how to do it, so that I would be ready when the great idea came.  My first website was about health and being sick when you are young.  (I am sick and I am young, so I had a lot to talk about)

I loved it so much I set up  another website about writing, about sitting around waiting for good ideas to come and about how they take ages to appear.  It never occurred to me that those two websites where my good idea until much later.  For a long time I was working on them waiting for something else to happen.  True story.

The Emerging WriterSetting up the web site – This step was quiet easy for me as I live with someone who does this for a living.  He is very good and very fast, so I did not learn much about the setting up of websites.  If you don’t have a tech genius on hand then there are great sites that can guide you through the process of setting up a website.  It should only take you a few hours and will be ready to go in about a day.

I recommend – How to Make a Brand New Website – They have got all the instructions you need, heaps of support along the way and hosting so it is all in one spot.  It will cost you to register the URL (Domain name) and you will need to pay a monthly or yearly fee to have the site hosted.  It’s all there.

Start writing articles – This was the most enjoyable part for me (And still is)  As I went about my day, I was taking photographs, writing articles and making notes for things to post later.  It was great and felt so easy.  I was just writing and posting with no regard for quality or audience.  I was entertaining my self first.

I think if you are really struggling for material to write on the site then you might not have picked the right niche or the write content for your personality.  It has to be natural and authentic and I think, easy.  Otherwise, the writing will be hard to sustain and you will eventually forget about it completely.  Relate it to your immediate environment to keep it fresh and vibrant.

Set up affiliates program online – This whole process probably took 20 mins, maybe less.  There are heaps of programs available to join from big companies such as Amazon Affiliates to smaller programs where you can directly sell individuals products.  You will notice these more, now that I have brought them to your attention.  Only ever sell things that you genienly like or own yourself.  Never try and be sneaky about advertising, if will discredit every other word you have written on the site if you are busted.

The Emerging WriterLink Website to Facebook Page – This was one of the longest processes for me to do and a still am not sure if it is set up right.  I use word press for m hosting, so I have downloaded a few Facebook plugins.  I have the plug in that is attached to each individual article.  Don’t like it too much but have not found anyone who can help out yet?  Anyone?

Actually Learn how to Write Articles  The first articles I wrote were terrible.  I know it.  But I don’t want to take them down or re write them because those articles are where I started.  This site is about being honest about where I started and people being able to see how it all came to be.  Everything you find here is the original stuff that I have built up.  I don’t want anyone to be intimidated by the huge task in front of them – just start.

The Emerging Writer, Writing.

Click to Purchase

Keep Writing Articles and reading great writing books.  I started to read a little about writing better articles.  I felt like I wasn’t improving for a long time and I was starting to get a little frustrated.  I read Mark Tredenicks, The Little Red Writing Book.  Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird.  Drew Eric Whitman’s Cashvertising.  Now I can look back on those first posts and realize just how far I have come.  I now write less in a diary format – I have started writing longer more in depth articles exploring a problem I am having at the moment.  I always include an image.  And I always break up a huge piece of text.

Give up hope that anything will happen. – I was completely convinced almost a year later that I had wasted my time.  If I had not enjoyed it all so much I would have given it up.  Definatly.  I had forgotten about the associate program and was not sure why I what I was doing anymore.

10 months later – Head to the Bank!!  Last night when I was heading to bed, thinking about how I could not make it work – I get an email saying that I earnt 82 cents!! Boom!  I had been googling jobs in the area, thinking about how I could become a baby sitter  when I got this email.  It had worked.  The hardest dollar you will ever make is your first dollar.  And I have done it already.

What are you doing for the next 10 months?

Making BANK!

The Emerging Writer, Writing, earning a living from writing.


10th July 2013 – Ok, so I just have to say that something truely exciting has happened.  I have earned my very first income from writing.  Most exciting thing to ever happen I feel.

Truly this is the best timing ever, as I was starting to go crazy with despair and sadness and regret.

The story of this 82 cents can be found here…. X

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.



Working one day a Week

23 June 2013 – For my own mental health and the wellbeing of my bank account – I have decided to take a job working one day a week at a cafe in town.  As most creative individuals will know, having two degrees in the creative arts makes you incredibly qualified to make coffee and carry three plates at once.  We are still in the house of relatives, waiting to move into our House Sit house.  It is taking a long time and all of our patients and productivity is wearing thin.

I thought coming here and writing every single day would be a really good idea, but actually I think I might go crazy if I never have anywhere to go and never meet any friends.  I defiantly need a bit of work on the side.

The house is packed

The Emerging Writer

Everything we own

24 April 2013 – We have packed up our house and are living with family till we find somewhere down the coast.  The great house hunt beings.  Not spending any money on rent for a while.  Staying with family, so that I can save money for writing full time which is coming soon.  Which is nice – Having such a great support network, that only comes when you tell people outloud what you are planning to do.

Making friends with the café that is three houses away from where I am staying.


Moving somewhere cheaper

03 March 2013 – We are going to move!  We are going to move out of Sydney to somewhere cheaper.

In 2012 Sydney came 7th in the top 10 most expensive cities to live in the world  (SMH).  It is the most expensive place to live in Australia and it feels like it is only getting worse.   Rent has always been a cause for concern among the young creatives I have known.

The Emerging writer, writing, space, time.

Far South Coast

Many have moved to Melbourne and god forbid it, Canberra.  Others live in huge share houses, their own studios, at home with their parents or in Squats around the inner west.

At the moment I am working to afford a life close to my work.  It is a bad cycle to be in and one that needs to stop if I am to have any real time to commit to this change of career.  My fiance works online from home, so he can go anywhere.  So we are going to get out of here for a while.

We are going to move to Merimbula.

Hmmm. Genius?  I think yes.