Starting Again; Perhaps you Need to Find a Better Idea

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When is it time to quit?

How do you know if you should just give up on a book and move on to something else?

I know you don’t want to be a quitter.  They tell you in Creative Writing classes around the world (Ok, so I have been to a few in Australia and one in New Zealand).  They say the best writers don’t give up, writers push through pain to produce works of genius that reshape the contemporary literary landscape and redefine the scope of human experience… Right?  Not always.  Sometimes they also quit. Continue reading

The 5 x 5 Rules of Writing

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For those of you who could not get to the National Writers Conference this weekend, or were not there at 10am, here are five of the five by five rules.

The 5 x 5 Rules of Writing –

‘Our five Festival Ambassadors share the writing advice they wish they had known when they were starting out – in the form of five rules for writing – an inspiring guide for the next time you sit down to write. It’s 5 x 5  with Maxine Beneba Clarke, Hannah Kent, Krissy Kneen, Benjamin Law and Felix Nobis. Hosted by Sam Twyford-Moore.’ Emerging Writers Festival 2014.

My Top Five

Maxine Beneba Clarke

Throw your hat in the ring.‘ Maxine spoke of what can happen when you throw yourself into an award application, grant application or writing project.  ‘You never know what might happen?‘  She encouraged us all to take chances as she spoke of applying for the Victorian Premiers Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript on the very day that entries closed.  ‘See what happens and take chances.‘  She won!

Felix Nobis

Be your own manager – you have a responsibility to be a good manager to yourself.’  Felix reminded us all that no one is going to just give you the information you need.  He pressed the importance of our responsibility to know about the grants, funding and awards that are available to us. ‘Find out who has got the money and how you can get it.’  He spoke of the importance of being informed on a national, state and local level.  In being your own good manager, make sure that the writing part of you ‘Responds directly to the application criteria.  So many applications don’t even meet the application criteria.’

Krissy Kneen

‘Every novel will hit a rough patch… At 20 000 words your novel will start to smell like it’s crawled up your own arse and then come back out again…You’ll want to vomit when you think of it.‘  Krissy humorously spoke of the doubt writers have and how you might start to search for a better / different idea.  ‘I can tell you, those ideas will hit a rough patch also.’  She reminded us that every writer will find themselves struggling with a manuscript at some point, but to push through this.  Krissy spoke of a book being written in the rewriting; saying that is was much easier to work with a (really really really) terrible first draft, than an empty page.

Benjamin Law

‘Get an accountant.’ Benjamin’s very practical advice for Emerging Writers touched on a subject that is not often discussed during writing festivals – Tax.  Benjamin raised our awareness of a Specialist Art Accountant, reminding us to ‘…understand your rights.’  Also discussed during this rule was superannuation and the importance of setting aside a portion of your income for tax and superannuation accounts.  Investigate what you can claim on tax and then actually do it!

Hannah Kent

Don’t wait until you feel ready.’   Start now!  During her five writing ‘rules’ Hannah shared with us some advice on how best to relate to your own doubts.  Hannah told us all to begin as soon as possible, don’t wait for the confidence to start, as it may never happen.   ‘…doubts about writing aren’t going to go away.’   It was wonderful to hear such an informed and honest account about becoming accustomed to feeling the difficulty of writing and about coming to expect it.  ‘Be brave and do it anyway.’

Such a great part of the National Writers Conference.  It is already the afternoon on Saturday and I can still hear people talking about what the 5 x 5 from the Festival Ambassadors.  If you did make it to the National Writers Conference this morning, which were your favourites?

 

 

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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A year! it has been a year since I started writing.

FIrst year of writing, Emerging Writer, Meghan Brewster

22nd September 2013 – This is kind of a big post.  Well, an important post at least.

FIrst year of writing, Emerging Writer, Meghan BrewsterIt has been a year since I decided to leave working in a cafe and start writing full time.

  • Now a year later I am working one day a week in a cafe to get me out of the house and keep me sane.  I had originally planned to not work anywhere and just write full time, but now I know that will never work for me.  I like having a bit of extra money, but more importantly than that, I get a great deal of my ideas when I am out of the house working and chatting with people.  Working at the Cafe sort of feeds my writing I guess.  Writing is now my larger source of income.

It has been a year since I created this online diary and set up this writers website.

  • I am so proud to look back on the last year and see how much I have learnt in such a short amount of time.  When I started this website I knew nothing about how it might work.  I had to look on youtube to watch tutorials and ask Facebook and my Twitter friends

It has been a year since I did any painting of any kind

Now I am going to reflect on they year that has passed, and try to figure out some mistakes I don’t want to make again.

I must make a PLAN for next year.

 

 

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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Finalising your Plan for Writing

Emerging writers blog, THe Diary of an Emerging Writer, Plan for Writing, how to plan a writing career.After all of that brainstorming and collecting ideas, now is the time when you get to decide what is important to you and what you really want to get done next year.  This is the best part.

How to record you Plan for Writing

Not all the things from your brainstorming session will make it into your Plan for Writing.  Somethings you might want to note down for another year or perhaps you would like to make a 5 year plan as well.  That’s great.  Now you can get started writing it up!

When finalising your Plan for Writing, make sure that it is in your own handwriting.  You need to be the one who writes it down, don’t type it up on the computer and print it off – Write it.  It is important that you recognise your handwriting, can remember sitting down and taking the time to write it all out.  It will feel more real, more yours.

Also, if the plan is written in your handwriting it will help you to remember that you made the plan!  You wrote it! And fantastically, this means that you can change it when ever you need to.  It is flexable for whenever you outgrow some goals and achieve others.  One of my goals last year was to make $100 from writing freelance articles online.  My first job paid me $130 for one article a few days later.  I had to reassess that plan and realised I was thinking smaller than I should have been.

How you write it up will depend on where you want to keep it.  Some people like to have it up on a wall where they can see it every day.  While others like to keep their walls free for their story plots.  I like to keep my plans in a big book.  Where I can stick in images, articles and courses I have cut out: a scrap book where all my writing goals are written down.

Where to put it?

The Emerging writers diary, planning your writing career, Plan for Writing, Emerging writer blogsPublic? – The most important thing I can tell you about where to put your Plan for Writing, is that you need to make sure that it is safe!  This plan not only is your guide for the next year, but it contains goals and dreams that might still be vulnerable or romanticised.  You need to take care of them and keep them safe from people who might not understand how important they are to you.

I have been to a lot of houses where people have put their plans up for all to see, such as  in the bathroom, like this picture.  I am not a big fan of this.  It feels a bit too public and almost a little cheezey.  I find these public places can often turn your goals and ambitions for writing into a fad or a phase.  I find it best to keep your goals safe and secure.  Don’t think your are hiding them away, but more protecting them from cynicism, judgement and other people’s fears.

Emerging Writers blogs, Plan for writing, planning your writing careerPrivate? – If you would like to have your Plan for Writing on a wall, I would suggest either your own private bathroom, writing office or behind your bedroom door.

I have already shown you where I like to keep my Plan for Writing.  In a big book.  I like this because not only can I write and stick and tear out things from the book.  This is also the best option for traveling with your plans.  My partner and I are still quite unsettled at the moment.  We are house sitting, traveling Australia and have just made plans to head to Thailand for a few weeks.  I want to be able to bring these books with me.

I also get a chance to see what my goals used to be.  I get to look over what my plan was last year.  I love seeing how far I have come.

Where have you put your Plan for Writing?

Share your ideas for planning the future below.

 

 

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

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How to Plan Your Writing (Career)

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This is me brainstorming

3rd September 2013 – It is time to start thinking about the coming year.  In just four weeks my next writing year begins.  I started writing or decided to start writing on the 22nd of September 2012.  Very soon it will be my anniversary.  Before I started to write last year I wrote down a couple of things I wanted to achieve before I started.  It was just a quick list on a scrap of paper.  I looked back over that list every now and again over the last year, to see how I was going.  This year, I am going to do a much better job of making a Plan for Writing.  This year I am going to dream bigger, be more adventurous, more impossible and more detailed with my plan for my next year of writing.

This morning I am going to spend hours looking over notes, newspaper articles and things I have tucked into old folders.  I’ll make  a calendar and brainstorm what I want to get out of my next year of writing.  I’ll write down crazy dreams that seem impossible alongside small goals I know I will achieve.

Why should you make a Plan for Writing?

“Reduce your plan to writing. The moment you complete this, you will have definitely given concrete form to the intangible desire.” Napoleon Hill

Having your goals and plans written down is one of the easiest steps you can take to make sure you achieve them.  The importance of making a Plan for Writing should not be underestimated.   It is much easier to get somewhere if you know where you are going.  Having a plan will give you direction and help motivate you towards to your next goal.  You will also feel more in control of your writing if you have set your own terms and made your own rules.  You will get to did decide how that career is going to look and feel.  Having a Plan for Writing gives you agency and keeps you in control.

Making a Plan for Writing also will give you the chance to make a Plan B, in case your intended goals turn out to be different to how you hoped.  When you have a Plan B, disappointments are easily managed and you can change your direction more easily.

What to include in your Plan for Writing?

Goalbook2“If you are failing to plan, you are planning to fail.” Tariq Siddique

You can include anything you think might be relevant for the year ahead; think of it like a business plan – A yearly forecast.  What would your business plan be if you had to write one?  What would you include?

I try to include everything I can possibly think of in my Plan for Writing.  I like to cover all the aspects of my writing practice, from daily word count goals to finishing a manuscript by a certain date.  I also like to make a plan about how my writing is going to fit in with the other areas of my life.  A priority check list is a great tool for reminding you what is important and what needs your attention first.  I have also started to plan out a bit of an education budget and a festival attendance plan – but I will get into that more later.

I keep all my plans, goals and notes for the future in two big diaries that sit on my writing desk, picture above.  I love having everything in one big book, but everyone is different.  Where should you keep your plan?  I’ll get to that later too.

Hopefully after finishing your Plan for Writing, you will have a good idea about what kind of writer you hope to be.  You may also uncover what is important to you as a writer.  This will come in handy when making decisions about your writing, as knowing what is important to you, will help you make decisions that fit into your bigger plan.

To get started on your own Plan for Writing, follow these links.

2. Where do I Start? Brain Storming your Plan for Writing
3. How do I put this all together?  Finalising your Plan for Writing

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

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The Hero’s Journey (Realising your Screwed)

19th August 2013 – Don’t you just hate it when you think you are writing really well and then you meet someone who smashes all your dreams apart.  Perhaps this has never happened to you before.  You are lucky then.  I am not!

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The Hero’s journey Diagram

This happened to me over the weekend.  I went to a meeting with the Writers of the Far South Coast.  I listened to the speaker talk of a heros journey and I started to sink in my seat, my shoulders folded in on themselves and I tried to hide.

I have heard all of this before, dont get me wrong.  I have listened to this talk probably 4 times before.  But something about yesterday struck  me.  I searched back through my novels 87 000 words, as I sat there.  I know it is all written quite well.  I know things happen during the novel.  I know there are events and they happen in a sequence.  I know there is conflict and tension and surpirse and love and all of that stuff.  What I don’t think – is that the story truly holds itself together.

In short – I am screwed.  As a piece all on its own, it would not hold together.  If I let it go sailing down a river, it would disolve.  If I pushed it out of the nest it would crumble.  If I stood it up on the bench, it would topple over.

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Contemplating smashing computer apart…

I was thinking about making a cake.  About all the things that makes a cake taste good, butter, sugar, cream, walnuts, chocolate and coffee.  Yum.  But with no egg the cake is nothing – it won’t hold together, it won’t bind and it won’t rise slowly in the oven.  I have just made a big pile of nice tasting ingredients, sort of mixed together.

Do I start from scratch?

Is this where I am?

Do I stop everything and pull it apart and try to build it back together?

I learnt the rules so that I could break them, but instead I just forgot they existed all together.  What an idiot.

You’re probably thinking…. Ummm Duuurrrhh!  What are you ten, that is so obvious.

I guess I just – well I thought the world I created would be interesting enough, the characters so intriguing and cute, the writing would be so great that it would just – Work.

I think I have to start again.  From Scratch.

Please, if you have ever gotten almost finished and then realised that you have not even started, please let me know.  I need to know I am not the only crazy idiot out there.  How many times have you re written your novel from scratch??  Call me.

 

Get stuck into your draft!! Now!

The Emerging Writer8th of July 2013 –  Ok, so I am back in the book store.  Could not find anywhere to buy nice beans from.  Am going to go bankrupt on lattes and long blacks.

My elephant has been divided up.  I have read the first section.  It was terrible.  I am going to keep going.  I can do this…. For the next two weeks here we go – I have about 6 sections to read through each day – Easy!!

This is going to be my last post till the 22nd of July – Focus.

Ok – Next two weeks there will not be any posts as I aim to work harder than I ever have before to make sure that the manuscript is ready for The Reader.  I am sooo regretting everything I planned all those months ago.  Planning to have another human being ever read my work all feels like a big mistake right now.

Ps.  Those pills next to my florentine are anti psychotic medication.

Creating Deadlines

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Celebrations

20 April 2013 – I have been doing a heap of writing at the moment.  My Fiance (I think he needs a capital letter ) is heading over seas for two months.  It has been great and I think I have a pretty good outline of where I want this to start and finish.  Now I just need to work on the middle.

At an engagement party over the weekend I started talking to a 96 year old woman, grandmother of the groom, who was finding herself a little put out by the fact that all her friends kept dying.  She told me that she was researching different avenues to fill her days.  It came out that she used to work a lot in English, teaching and editing.  I asked her if she would be interested in spending some time looking over my first novel.  She said she would be delighted.

We talked about a dead line for me to have the work ready.  She kindly asked that I not make her wait too long till she could read it, as she winked.  We decided three months would be great.

Shit – so here we go.  My first dead line – Fuck.