Do you have a Writing Mentor?

Every Year I Choose Two Writing Mentors

In 2013, I adopted Kate Morton and Michael Ondaatjie as my writing mentors ; you gotta have a boy and a girl.  I read I chose them quickly and without much information on either and then set myself the task of getting acquainted with their work.  I decided that they were going to be my writing mentors for the year.

I had never read any of Kate Morton’s work before.  I had only just heard that she existed as an author from seeing her in my local book store.  I asked for her books for Christmas from my friends and received ‘The Secret Keeper’ as a wonderful surprise.  But this wasn’t just about her books she had published, I learnt all that I could about Kate Morton.  I read interviews with her and watched a couple of Youtube clips she has released.  I started to follow her blog and see if she was on Facebook.  (Gosh, this is sounding really stalky)

I tried to educate myself about Kate Morton as a person and author.  I wanted to know if she studied creative writing and when she published her first work.  While learning about Kate Morton I felt like I was learning about writing and learning about the writing industry.

I had read In the skin of a lion during Four Unit English in high school and am still grateful to my amazing teacher for helping that little class of 6 young girls become women through studying and discussing the most interesting of literary texts she had to work with in the syllabus.  Reading Michael Ondaatjie again after ten years was a sort of rediscovery.  I had read his work so long ago.

Ten years later, as a writer myself, I also found Michael Ondaatjie on Facebook.  I looked at his website and read his wiki  page.  Now, I was interested in much more.  I wanted to know who he was published with and when he started writing full time.  I took him on as a personal mentor without his consent.

In 2013, when I did not know where to turn next, I looked to my un official writing mentors and found inspiration hope, ideas and knowledge.  It is 2014 and it is time to choose two more Writing Mentors.

Why do you need a writing mentor?

Emerging Writers Blog, Hannah Kent

Hannah Kent

Read Outside Your Genre  Choosing Writing Mentors is a great way to start reading outside your chosen genre.  Every writer will always tell you to read as much as possible, but I often don’t know where to start.  Writing Mentors are a good way to make sure that you don’t get stuck reading the same old styles and stories that you have been reading for the last 10 years.

Make Contact with the Community – Once you have chosen your Mentors (if they are still alive) see if you can find them on Facebook, Twitter or anywhere online.  Subscribe to their fan page and follow their publishers and you will be surprised to learn how active they are in the writing community.  Their facebook pages are blipping with updates and comments and events and tours and talks and signings and helpful advice and posts.

Career Role Model While it is very important to read your Mentors work and really engage with their writing, it is also helpful to look at their career.  Your Writing Mentor will probably become your Writing Career Mentor (As they are now notable enough for you to have heard of them, there is probably a lot you can learn)  As writers, we don’t get to see writers in action – But now Writer’s offices are online and you can take a look at what they are up to.

Isolation You are not as isolated as you think you are.

Informs your connection to the writing world Having a writing mentor, whoever you choose, is a good way to learn about publishing, publishing houses, awards, talks and festivals; in fact – everything that is going on in the writing world.  You must stay connected to as many elements as possible.

The Emerging Writers blog, TIm Winton

Tim Winton

My Mentors for 2014 –

This year I chose two Australian authors to be my mentors.

Hannah Kent & Tim Winton.

I have chosen to follow and investigate Australian writers because I was sick of people telling me that the Australian Book industry was crashing and burning.  I have also chosen Australian Writing Mentors because I would like to keep Australian publishers and bookshops open long enough to one day stock my work too.

Here goes, I better get to the book store.

UPDATE – 31st May 2014.

Today I had the most wonderful opportunity to meet one of my 2014 Writing Mentors.  At the Emerging Writers Festival in Melbourne I met Hannah Kent.  What a fantastic experience and what a lovely person.  I am so happy I chose her for 2014.

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 Weekend of Writing

Writing Group, Emerging Writers, Writing18th August 2013 – As you all know, I recently moved to the Far South Coast with my partner, where I am writing full time.  I have been working from an office in our home, sitting by my self day in and day out.  So you can imagine what a thrill it was for me to spend the day with an amazing group of writers, all coming together to really work on their skills.  It was great.

The Writers of the Far South coast  get together once a month to read each others work, talk about issues in the writing community, hear from speakers, meet interesting people and talk about words.

I left there reminded of how much I love the simple act of writing, inspired to hurry home and work all weekend.

I might even find a writers group here! Hopefully.

My First Sydney Writers Festival

The Emerging Writer, writing, Sydney Writers Festival 2013

I realise now that this festival is not for writers… It is about writers but it is not actually for them. 

The Emerging Writer, Writing, Sydney Writers Festival 2013

Day starts here

25 May 2013 – It is a beautiful day as I wander from Circular Quay around to the Festival Pick up Point.  I am on my own, against my better judgement.  Both of my writing friends can’t make it, as one lives in Wollongong and the other is away with her husband.  I have my program in my bag, note books, lunch and money for coffee.  Here goes…

So I am standing in an enormous line of people twisting and snaking its way through the crowd.  A lot of this just feels like chaos.  I am not sure what I am going into, or if this is the right line.  I’d love to get some coffee before it starts, but so many people have lined up behind me I fear I wont get in.  Twitter is alive with #SWF13 activity… and it appears that everyone is having a better time than me.

So many people sitting around drinking coffee and reading their free newspaper.  I wish I knew what they knew.   I can’t seem to find the front door at this writers festival.  I cant seem to figure out the truth of it all.  Everyone seems to know each other and know where they are going and what they need to do.  As I stand in line, I see friends running into each other, students catching up and volunteers calling out to people walking past.  I thought that I would feel a part of something, but I only feel more separate.

The Emerging Writer, writing, Sydney Writers Festival 2013

Hiding on the concrete

I realise now that this festival is not for writers… It is about writers but it is not actually for them.  I could have brought SF down to hang out for the day and we would have had a great time together.  Had I come here with her, I would not now be sitting on the ground, beside an emergency exit being ask me to move out of the way.  (Which happened twice).

On the bus traveling home I was filled with an urgency to write all night.  I really needed that after the last few weeks.  Perhaps it was simply being in such a close proximity to people who have achieved what I am now craving.  I did learn a lot in the talks that I got into.  There was a fantastic dialogue about genre fiction writing – and a discussion about altering a book for an overseas market.  There was a talk on how it feels to have your work translated, and to give yourself up to a text you cant read yourself.  Throughout the day there were golden sentences that I wrote down and took home with me, excited about getting back to work.

 

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.

17 December 2012

The Emerging Writer

My quiet hour

17th December 2012 – I am trying to write, but I can’t.  Beside me on my desk my phone is broken.  No reception and No Network, No calls,  No messages in or out.  I want to fix it right now – but this is the time I allocated to writing.  This is the hour I found to write, during the business to Christmas, with my three sisters all pregnant, (Two Biological and one sister in Law)  I am from a big family and so is my lover.  Christmas time is crazy.

I was so proud of myself that I could find this hour to myself.  I am sitting in the back yard, in the summer sunshine and in the first moments of this great hour – my phone stopped working and I am so compelled to fix it.

Why is it, that I can’t concentrate, relax or focus, knowing that my phone is broken?  It doesn’t need to be fixed right away.  I can wait an hour before getting messages?  Or can I?  It should be a good thing, having a broken phone, as I cant be interrupted for my hour of writing.

I am just using this broken phone situation as procrastination, something that needs to be solved immediately!! – Forgettting the long term plan I have made for myself to become a writer over the next five years.  Suddenly my long term writing plan is gone and I am wrapped up in another immediate distraction.I am forcing myself to work!!  Get back to it – The phone is fine.  It can wait.