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.

Literary Festivals for 2014

Writing Festivals, Emerging Writers Diary

Its Time to Start Planning 2014!

January is coming to a close and the Holidays Are Over…  Back to work everyone.

Below is just the tiniest morsel of what the Australian Literary Community has to offer.

For a more thorough index of the festivals, including poetry, screenwriting and genre festivals – Go to this great website –  Literary Festivals.

January

January is the relaxing month – where you have time to plan the next eleven months of the year.  There is nothing really happening, which is great because there is a lot coming up you need to organise.

February

  –

Writers Festival, Perth Writers festival, Emerging writers DiaryNational Screenwriters Conference, Mornington Peninsula, VIC.

Perth Writers Week, Perth, WA. General lit.

Write in the Great Southern, regional WA. General lit.

March

Writers Festivals Australia, Emerging Writers Festivals.Australian Festival of Travel Writing, Melbourne, VIC. Travel writing.

 Adelaide Writers Week, SA. Gen. lit.

Tasmanian Writers Festival, Hobart, TAS ( Tassie Writers Centre). Gen lit.

Bellingen Writers Festival, Bellingen, NSW. Australian general lit.

Festival of Speculative Fiction, Sydney, NSW. Spec fic.

April

Writers festival Australia, Emerging Writers FestivalEye of the Storm, Alice Springs, NT. Gen. fic.

Newcastle Writers Festival, NSW. Gen. lit.

May

Sydney Writers FestivalEmerging Writers Festival, Melbourne, VIC. Gen. lit

Sydney Writers Festival, NSW. Gen. lit.

June

Emerging Writers Festival, Melbourne, Emerging Writers DiaryHenry Lawson Festival, Grenfell, NSW. Bush poetry, lit, music

Noosa Long Weekend, Noosa, QLD. Gen lit stream.

Gold Coast Writers Festival, Gold Coast, QLD. Mainstream, General literature expo, Publishing, writing,  indie and self-publishing.  

July

Writers Festival Australia, Emerging Writers Festival.Kimberley Writers Festival, Kununurra, WA. General lit.

New Voices Festival, Eltham, VIC. Gen. lit.

Rose Scott Women Writer’s Festival

 

August

byron bay writersByron Bay Writers Festival, Byron Bay, NSW. Gen. lit.

Melbourne Writers Festival, Melbourne, VIC. General lit.

Romance Writers of Australia conference, Fremantle, WA. Romance.

Sydney Jewish Writers’ Festival, Sydney, NSW. General lit.

Queensland Poetry Festival, Brisbane, QLD. Poetry.

WA Poetry Festival, Perth, WA. Poetry.

 

September

Indigenous literacy day, emerging Writers, Writers festivalCrimeScene, Perth, WA. Crime fiction.

Indigenous Literacy Day, national events. General lit, YA focus.

Big Sky Writers and Readers Festival, Geraldton, WA. General lit.

Brisbane Writers Festival, Brisbane, QLD. General lit.

 

October

Emerging writers, Gold Coast Writers festival, Meghan BrewsterFestival of Australian Children’s Literature, Canberra, ACT. Children’s and YA.

National Young Writers Festival, Newcastle, NSW. General lit.

Queensland Writers Week, statewide, QLD. Gen lit, open source events

Ubud Writers and Readers Festival, Bali

 

November

National Young Writers FestivalFestival of Australian Children’s Literature, Canberra, ACT. Children’s and YA.

Clare Writer’s Festival, South Australia, General Lit

December

No Festivals – Time to have a rest and get ready for the Holiday Season – Even writers need to take time off for Christmas and New Year.

 

 

These dates are brought to you by Literary Festivals .com.au.  For more details including dates and times go to this site – It is great!!

Literary festival in Australia

 

Tips for writing New Years (Writing) Resolutions

New Years eve 2014, 2014, Square

It is almost New Years Day and time to make your New Years Resolutions for 2014.

In anticipation of another 1st of January, spent hung over and lying quietly next to the toilet, making mental lists of what not to do next year, I thought I would share some resolution advice from what I have learned.

Do's and Don'ts for Writing Resolutions

  • Don’t… Write a long list of chores for the year.

If everything on your list is a boring chore to work through or a task that has rolled over from last year – Ask yourself if you really will achieve it.  Probably not – Because its Boring! Your list needs to be motivating, exciting and challenging.

  • Don’t – Write down cliched stuff you know you wont do.

If you know for certain that you are not going to be able to finish, proof and publish that book by the end of  next year – Then don’t put down, 1. Publish a novel – Its just stupid, and you’ll fail.

  • Don’t  – Focus on everything you would ever want to achieve in your lifetime.

Be realistic about how many days there are in a year and what can be achieved.  If you write full time without taking any holidays in 2014, you will have about 2080 hrs to work with.  As an Emerging Writer you will probably have another kind of part time work, as I do two days a week, so that is …  1248 hrs of writing.  And if you spend any time (which you should) on education, research and learning more about writing then you are looking at about 832 hrs of actual writing next year.  What can you really get done in that time?

  • Do – Focus on the reward not the effort.

Try to aim your New Years Resolutions around rewards and sense of achievement rather than the effort of working and writing.  For example change, Finish Novel to something like, I will spend a whole day in the park drinking cidar with my friends the day I finish my Novel.  Change – I will do my tax as a writer this year... to something like, I will claim my computer on tax this year as I am a writer ($$$).

  • Do – Make them sound fun.

Need I say more about this?

  • DoWrite your resolutions.

It is crucial to have your resolutions written down somewhere.  Keep them somewhere you can find them and easily read over them when you need to.  Write them as though a stupid idiot is going to read them out loud to all of your friends.  That is how clear they need to be.  They must be so clear and simple that a stranger would know if they have been achieved or not.  This is a different kind of writing that should not be very creative.

  • D0 – Write your resolutions in advance.

This will make sure they are considered and relevant to where you want to go.  Don’t write your resolutions from the bathroom floor on the 1st of January.  I start taking notes about what I want to focus on next year from about the end of November.  That is when I start to reflect on the last year, and lots of talk about what has happened that year among friends has started.

  • Do – Aim at being better than last year – Not Perfect.

There is no end product to your life.  You and your career are never finished, so don’t get hung up on making this year a perfect year.  Just aim for it to be better than last year; for you to be a better writer than you were last year, not a perfect writer (as there is no such thing).

  • Do – Keep it simple.

Limit yourself to five resolutions if you can, and just make sure they get done.

Five ticked off resolutions will leave you feeling much better than only doing 5 things on a list of 34!

My Resolutions

1. Go to the Melbourne Emerging Writers Festival.

2. Give away work for free to get some critical feedback. (Completed March 18th 2014)

3. Commit to a writers group for 12 months.

4. Write my own wedding vows. (Completed on 26th April 2014)

5. Sell a Book.

2014 - 2 2014 - 1 New Years Resolutions, Emerging Writers Diary, Meghan Brewster

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Failing NaNoWriMo

Writing for NaNo, Emerging Writer, Meghan Brewster,

Writing for NaNo, Emerging Writer, Meghan Brewster,

Failing NaNoWriMo, Meghan Brewster, emerging writer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So I failed the challenge of the National Novel Writing Month – There is no other way to put it.  I fell short of the word target by about 15 000 words. That is a bit less than a third of the challenge.  But I have to tell you though that I was not idle during the month of November, and I am still quite proud of what I achieved.

NaNo reminded me of how easy it is to write once you get out of your own way and sit down to do the work

In the month of November I have finished writing my first Ebook, have a designer working on the jacket, have hired my first editor to work on the project and have updated and expanded the website.  All of this was achieved while organising a wedding, backpacking through Southern Thailand and writing 35 ooo words for NaNo.  (I am smiling right now)

I am not trying to make up excuses for not doing the writing, I am simply saying that regardless of my failure I have had a fantastic month and if it weren’t for NaNo I would not have a great half-draft for my next project – ready to go.

I am so glad I was a part of it.  NaNo reminded me of how easy it is to write once you get out of your own way and just sit down to do the work.  I thought I would spend a month writing garbled nonsense but I didn’t.  I managed to really lay down a strong foundation for my next novella.  I found a few great characters in Thailand and was completely inspired by the location and history.

As well as writing a half-draft of a novella about Thailand, I found that my mind was so receptive to new ideas that I had to start another folder just to keep track of all my new ideas.  Once I was relaxed into the writing I found that I was like a little beacon on the beach in Thailand attracting ideas straight out of the sky.

I just have to try again next year.

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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A great read for young people considering a career in writing

Susie Mander, The Emerging Writers Diary, Advice for young writers

Today a great writer and good friend of mine, Susie Mander, posted this advice for young people considering a career in writing.  I couldn’t help but pass her words of wisdom along.  The following is an extract from her article.

 Advice for young people considering a career in writing

Susie Mander, The Emerging Writers Diary, Advice for young writers

‘The question on Quora was, “what is some good advice for young people considering a career in writing?” My response: know what it’s like to be an (unpublished) writer and do it anyway. So what is it like?

Without the validation of a publisher, you are plagued by self-doubt. No amount of support from your family and friends will change this (though it does help). No amount of “positive feedback” from your peers will reassure you. Your peers do not count. They do not know what they are talking about. Only the publisher’s opinion matters. You are a slave to the publisher’s whim. They hold your future in their hands.

As a writer you probably bite your nails. You pace up and down. You drink too much coffee. If you drink at all. Sometimes when you are “in the zone” you forget to eat and drink and then you complain of headaches. You suffer from back and neck pain from leaning over your desk.

As a writer you spend most of your time inside your head. Sometimes you do not know what you are doing, where you are or how you got there. You walk one way, change your mind and turn around mid-stride, like a crazy person. But you are not crazy, you are just thinking about your plot, character, or whether you will ever be big like J.K. Rowling…’

To continue reading the full article go to www.susiemander.com.

 

 

mander

Susie Mander is a freelance and fantasy writer with a Bachelor of English and a Master of Teaching English from the University of Sydney.  Currently work as a copy writer and editor, she is also working on her first novel, which you can read about here.

Find Susie Mander on Facebook

 

Brainstorm your Plan for Writing

Emerging Writers, Writing, Writers,This post is the second article in a series about making a Plan for Writing for your year ahead.  If you missed the first article you can find it here.

1.  How to Plan Your Writing (Career)

Before you start worrying about the finished plan – let’s start making a mess.  The best thing about brainstorming is that anything goes, so get your brain into a storm and write down everything and anything you can think of.

“It’s not the plan that’s important, it’s the planning.” Dr. Gramme Edwards

I love sitting down with a few old weekend newspapers and cutting out pictures of people doing great stuff.  I collect wonderful book reviews I wish were mine, pictures of book covers with great designs, words, images and colours.  Everything.  These images normally end up stuck in the Planning Diary for a bit of colour.

The following questions are just to help your brain start to dream bigger than you were dreaming a moment ago.

Start with all the fun stuff and answer these five questions first…

  1. What are five things you would write if you knew you weren’t going to fail?
  2. What are five things you would do or start, if you knew that money was not an object?
  3. What are five things you would change about your writing practice?
  4. What would you work on or create, if you no longer wanted to impress anyone?
  5. How would you answer these four questions above, if you were already an established writer?
The Emerging Writer, Writing MotivationThen you need to sit down and really think about these five questions
  1. What are your reading goals for the year? – How much time will you give yourself to read?  How many books would you like to read over the next year?  Are you going to commit to reading the book pages every week?  Are you going to remember to read as much as humanly possible?
  2. What are your writing goals for the year? – Are you going to measure your time in hours spent working or word counts at the end of the day?  Are you going to write every day?  Are you going to set larger goals of manuscript drafts?  Are you going to keep a diary for the year?  Are you going to work on freelance material or only on your own work?
  3. What are your goals for the writing community? – Are you going to allocate time to attend Writing and Writers Festivals?  Are you going to join or continue to meet with a writers group?  Are you going to tell everyone you know you are a writer now?  Are you going to change your job status on Facebook?
  4. What are your rejection goals for the year? – Are you planning on sending your work to a publisher this year?  Are you planning on finding an agent?  How many times would you like to be rejected this year?  Are you planning on giving you work to a friend for the first time?  Or five friends?  Are you going to apply for a job as a writer this year?  I like to call these rejection goals, to help take the fear out them.
  5. What are your education and financial goals for the year? – Are you planning on taking any short courses at a Writers Centre?  Are you planning on buying and reading any inspiring books by other writers?  It is important to remember that Education as a writer is essential and that it does not always come free.  Being a writer and developing your career will cost you.  How much are you willing to spend?  Would you like to have your manuscript assessed by a professional? $$  Would you like to start your own blog?  $$  Would you like to join a union or writers guild? $$

There is a lot to think about but I believe the act of making these plans is what brings all the benefit.  Even if you never look at these again, this day dreaming and imagining will help make it all the more possible.

Goalbook2

My Planning Books

I have two books that all of my plans go into.  One is for the year ahead.  The other book is for the big, distance, impossible dreams.  They are both full of images, notes, writing and rememberings.  It is great.  I brought a huge book knowing that I will be making plans for my writing career for the next 35 years – I want to keep them all together to see how far my ambitions will go.

This might not work for you.  Perhaps you would like to have all you goals written on the wall?

Follow this link to help you sort out what to do with this great brainstorming

3. 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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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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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.