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 She encouraged us all to take chances as she spoke of applying for the Victorian Premiers Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript on the very day that entries closed.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

 

 

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

 

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

 

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.

7 Responses you might need as an Emerging Writer

The Emerging Writer, Writing, Defences

The Emerging Writer, Writing, Defenses Starting out as a writer can be really hard.  As you start to tell people what you are up to all day, there can be a number of different responses; not all of them good.

I have starting being a lot more open about my work as a writer.  I am now proud to say ‘work’ even though it is not my main ‘income’.  I used to get those two things confused but they are very different.  Career and Job and Work and Income and Lifestyle and Finances are so complicated and intricuate, that I no longer try and extract them from the other, as I once did.

I do ‘work’ as a writer and I defend my position.

Here are some common responses I have received after telling people I am working as a writer – accompanied with a suggested reply.  I hope they are helpful.

1.  …But you have never studied writing !  

The Emerging Writer, Writing, DefencesWell, you never went to the University of Arseholes and got your undergraduate degree in being a useless, sceptic, sad old looser but you seem to still be quite qualified!’

I kindly reply that I have not ruled out any further study, I am just establishing wether it is right for me before I commit to another four year degree, then I bring up my long list of university study and the years that both my bachelor degrees too me to complete and how they both lead me to nothing.

2.  You must have a lot of time on your hands if you can manage to write a book!

This response is often said in a self sacrificing martyrdom tone, as they tilt their head to one side and pretend to dream of a time when they too might have as much leisure time as you.  Don’t by into it.  It is a trick to make you feel guilty when you absolutely should not.  Kindly tell your assailant that you have just the same amount of time in your day as everyone else, you just choose to spend your time writing a novel.  It’s that simple.

3.  You will be around in the day time tomorrow, could you just…?

The Emerging Writer, Defences, WritingThis is not just an attitude people have towards writers but all people who work from home.  This ‘errand running’ assumption is based on a common belief that working from home is not a real profession.

There is an implied lack of social responsibility towards the writer, making you feel as thought you are in some way in debuted to those who are less organised or who have made poor life choices.

The post office is a common one… house chores, going up the street, a few groceries, or my favourite – registering their car.  Waiting for a bed to be delivered and getting keys cut for someone else’s house guest are a few of the odd jobs I have run for people.  I fell into the ‘help everyone out‘ trap for a little while before I realised that I hated doing shit for other people.  If you want to, that’s fine, but it’s not for me.

4.  Why are you going home so early, you’re not even working tomorrow?

How many times have I been at a dinner party in the last few months and had people question me when I tried to go home…(Well only once, but it seemed really inappropriate).  ‘But you don’t have to get up for anything tomorrow’ they said.  I was really hurt by this.  I guess what she meant was that I could start writing whenever I felt like it, but what it showed to me was a lack of understanding for how hard this work is.  There is nothing helpful to say at times like this, cause mostly you are too hurt to be funny.  Just remember that I know how hard it is for you – and so does every other writer out there.  And go home!  You need to sleep.

5.  But you can’t even spell.

This comment was both hurtful and informative.  I have since convinced myself that spelling is for editors and I am doing my best as an Australian to keep them employed and valid.

6. Don’t you have to hand write everything before it is any good?

After hearing from a friend about a writing lecturer who refused any work that was not first written as a long hand draft, I started to wonder about practice.  She was laughing as she mentioned it, saying that there was a lot of writing essays first and then faking a hand written draft later.  What a waste of time? I say.

Weather people like to romanticise their own practice or waste their own time or insist on doing things the ‘right way’, this folk lore of writing is another rule invented to exclude people who want to be writers.  The truth is that you just need to do what works best for you and be willing to say it, even to your writing friends.

7.  You still writing that little book of yours?

The key word in this question is little – like a hobby.  This is not even meant as an insult.  It is just a projection of themselves onto you.  That is how they view their own hobbies, dreams, or lifetime goals – as something small, insignificant and easily dismissed.

Don’t take it personally, it is just how they approach their own creativity.

8.  How do you expect to make any money from this?

The Emerging Writer, Writing, DefencesI am very honest when people ask me this question and sometimes it annoys them.  I simply answer that I don’t expect to make money from it.  I expect to end up with my well deserved $2000 a year and a successful career in hospitality.

But I also expect to be the envy of every person I meet who doesn’t have the guts to do what I did.  I expect to wake up every day loving my life and my career, satisfied that I am not wasting my time.  I expect to spend time with the incredible characters I create, in worlds far beyond my own existence.  I expect to find and connect with the most incredible colleagues around the country.  I expect to be respected in my own home.  I expect to not have to defend my choices.

I expect that one day I will look back on a diverse body of work with pride.

 

Can I Crowdfund?

photo-main

Is it fair for me to Crowdfund my work when I have not contributed to others’?

12 June 2013 – Crowd funding

I am wasting my time on Facebook as usual, when a see something that makes me think.  A friend has shared a link to help crowd fund his movie.  It is not the first time I have seen a friend doing this.  Wyrmwood and Newtown are projects that friends of mine have crowd funded.

The Emerging WriterThe thing is, I have never had any money to contribute to their projects.  Is it fair for me to crowdfund my work when I have not contributed to others’.  I am still confused about what I am offering and why I am asking.  I defiantly feel a bit uncomfortable about asking people to help me make my dream come true, when they are going to nothing out of it.

I started to do a little research.  The two most popular sites to crowd fund online is Kickstarter and Pozible.  I also found a TED talk video by Amanda Palmer called The Art of Asking.  Interesting… There is a lot to consider.

If anyone is thinking about Crowd Funding their work and are not sure about, I recommend watching this video, I’ve put a link in up there.

Finding a home

06 June 2013 – Before I tell you where I am right now, I need to first fill you in on where I have been for the last few days.  No I haven’t been writing.  I have been in and out of real estate offices, traveling back and forth between house inspections and walking through horrible old rental houses.  I have been in a dark place.

 

The Emerging Writer, writing, Ideas

Finding our home

So when my mother tells me this morning that a friend of hers is looking for a house sitter, I am sceptical.  But she is my mum and I promised her I would go and look at it.  I am already heading in that direction.

The house is incredible.  The owners live with a cute dog called Poppy who needs looking after for three months.  We have gone from Sydney rent – to Country rent – to No rent!  What a perfect time to write.

Tomorrow I am heading back to Sydney to pick up a few more things and of course the boyfriend.  I have barely written at all during this last week, but I am considering it a win.  Can’t wait to move in.

Adding ‘Writer’ to your Facebook Profile

emerging writer, writing, how to write a book, writing a novel, how to become a writer, creative writing ideas, writing tips,

Did you know that your Online Profile does accurately depict you – no matter how much you try to fake it?

If you thought that you were fooling any one with your Facebook profile, think again.

In most online situations you get to pick and choose the information you want to reveal. You get to select the most attractive photos of yourself to post and you can edit and revise your comments before you make them. But…surprisingly, one study discovered that Facebook profiles are actually quite good at conveying your real personality.

And viewers of your profile are very good at accurately reading you from it.

People Can Accurately Judge Your Personality Based on Your Profile

In the study, researchers looked at 236 profiles of 236. The participants also filled out questionnaires designed to measure personality traits. Observers then rated the personalities of the participants based on their online profiles, and these observations were compared to the results of the personality questionnaires. The researchers found that observers were able to get an accurate read on a person’s personality based on their Facebook profile.

Viewers of your profile trust and respect the information you are providing.

People will only ever take you as seriously as you take yourself.

So come on Emerging Writers… Change it the moment you decide to pursue writing full time.  Must be a complete transition.

‘I am petrified but I am going to do it anyway’

The Emerging WriterToday I am Changing my Job to Writer – After a lot of time telling people in my life I am a writer, today I am going to change my occupation on Facebook.  Big Deal!

Ok – I did it.

Oh my god – that was horrible.  I wish I could delete it…

NO!  It is all part of the change.  I need to pull my shit together, no one will even see it, this is for my own wellbeing.

So I did it.  I got such a positive response.  Some of my friends did not even realise I had started writing and sent me texts to ask how I was going.  It’s a great way to let people show they support you.  I have just realized something about Facebook.  You tend to only get two responses on Facebook.  Either people like your work and write something encouraging – OR – they ignore you.  All the people you hate and all the people who hate you, your not friends with and therefore…Don’t reply.

Your task – Log in to Facebook right now and Change Your Job.  

Then let me know how it felt…