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.
‘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She encouraged us all to take chances as she spoke of applying for the Victorian Premiers Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript on the very day that entries closed.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!
‘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.’
‘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.
‘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!
‘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?