Writers in Focus
Welcome to our blog, Writers in Focus, in which we share thoughts from members of our own writing community on writing and being a writer. If you'd like to contribute a post for our blog, please drop us a line.
I can hardly believe sixteen years have passed since I was Emerging Writer-in-Residence at FAWWA.
In 2003, I used to joke about the word 'emerging'. By then I'd been emerging for two years. I'd had a couple of poems published in literary magazines. I'd had a mentorship for Young Adult writing via the then State Literature Centre. Read more
I recently discovered, with regards my compulsion to write, the actual cause of it, the diagnosis! Hypergraphia – beautiful.
In these days of uber-diagnosis of just about everything, it's nice to know us writers are no different.
According to Google's greatest source, Wiki, this disease is defined as '… a behavioural condition characterised by the intense desire to write or draw. Forms of hypergraphia can vary in writing style and content. It is a symptom associated with temporal lobe changes in epilepsy, which is the cause of the Geschwind syndrome, a mental disorder'.
Nice to know, again, as this news will bring great consolation to many of my family and friends who always thought I was a little 'left of centre'.
Little do they realise just how far off that particular Richter I really am. Read More
It's later than you think
The mild Western Australian winters have always appealed to
me more than the harsh summers and I've often done my best
writing at this time of year.
As a high school English teacher, I know when my windows of writing opportunity open — for two weeks in April, two weeks in July, two weeks in September/October and six weeks in December/January.
Twelve weeks a year when I can write instead of going to work. At least that’s the theory.
Marcia van Zeller
A shadow beneath the swell
High above Redgate Beach is a lookout – more of a shrine,
really – bedecked with a bronze plaque and several
monochrome photos of the seascape below.
One of the photos shows an arrow pointing to a vague shadow on the
water: the shadow, according to the caption, marks the
wreck of the S.S. Georgette.
The ship lies a hundred metres from shore, five metres underwater, and what
remains of her is sometimes visible in calm conditions.
Wouldn't swap it for the world
Just put up the latest issue of Australian Poetry Collaboration.
It contains work from poets who attended the workshop at the KSP Writers Centre while I did a residency there in April/May http://meusepress.tripod.com/apc.htm. This was 10 years after a brilliant residency at FAWWA, Tom Collins House work from there can be found in issue 15 http://meusepress.tripod.com/apcarchive.htm.
Got to reunite with many of the brightest voices I met the last time in Perth. There is such a diverse, vibrant assembly of writers there supported so tirelessly by the various organisations about the city.
Residencies are so important for many of us. The opportunity to interact with host communities is a win-win for all as our understanding and appreciation of that which is going on is deeply enhanced.
Publisher Fremantle Press
On not becoming a writer
I was going to be a writer when I grew up. That belief forged my identity from the age of six, when I won the Keilor City Library short story competition with a priggish moral tale called The Rabbit Who Loved Smoking.
As an earnest fourteen-year-old, standing by the Murray River, I had an exciting conversation with a Penguin editor, who told me how I might go about building a writing career (enter short story competitions, build a profile, work towards a novel).
The belief sustained me and defined my leisure time as I trod a middling course through an arts law degree at the University of Melbourne, doing far better in the English Department than I ever did in law.
Author of nine books and has written for newspapers and magazines around the world
Being a writer
Being a writer is not so different from a lot of professions: it involves spending much of the day sitting at a desk, working at a computer. That reality is contrasted with how others see the life of a writer: that we tap away for a few hours each day and give readings in crowded rooms full of people fawning over us, all while the royalty cheques roll in.
I have long referred to this as the 'party problem'.
I've been a professional writer for over two decades, generating a decent income from various sources.
August 2, 2019
Writer, educator, theatre director: consultant in creativity
Why plotting a story won’t help you write it
If you want to write a story that works you can forget about plot. Plot is retrospective: it’s a great tool for analysing a story once it’s finished. But it won’t help you if you’re setting out to create one.
Why? Because the process of making stories is not amenable to the application of logic. It doesn’t matter how many guides to creative writing that you read, how many rules you know about plot, characterisation, turning points, crisis, resolution and denouement—when you start writing a story you’re on your own.
July 19, 2019
Author of Elsewhere in Success and original convenor of FAWWA's Book Length Project Group
Thank you to FAWWA and Pat Johnson for the invitation to contribute some thoughts on my personal writing experience for the blog. I must admit, the thought of doing this was a bit daunting.
The older I get the less certain I am of anything, and this applies as much to the practice of writing as to everything else. I have a number of theories on why and how I write, but whether or not they get close to the truth, I can’t be sure. It's a habit I developed fairly early on in life, writing poems and short stories mostly, and the joy that I got through doing this was not so much that it helped me to think through things, which it did, but that, very occasionally, I could look at a finished piece and feel like I had brought something satisfying into existence.
July 5, 2019