I gave up painting, I gave up art, I gave up believing, I gave up faith. I had what I called my emotional suicide, I gave up a lot of friendships with people, I just gave up believing in life really, and it’s taken me years to actually start loving and believing again. I realized that there was a greater idea of creativity. Greater than anything I could make just with my mind or with my hands. I realized there was something … the essence of creativity, that moment of conception, the whole importance, the whole being of everything and I realized that if I was going to make art it couldn’t be about … it couldn’t be about a fucking picture. It couldn’t be about something visual. It had to be about where it was really coming from.
I had an email recently that asked me about publishing/editing opportunities for young writers. I wanted to share my reply in case it helps others. If you know of other opportunities, please leave a comment and I’ll make sure the information is passed on (I’m sure there are heaps of others, but this is what came immediately to mind!):
On youth publishers – the first place I thought of was Express Media. http://www.expressmedia.org.au/ (I notice the deadline for their next issue is September 18). The other thing that came to mind is the Somerset Literary Festival Novella Competition http://www.somerset.qld.edu.au/celebration-of-literature/competitions/novella-writing/ The competition itself is very high profile and it offers the opportunity for the winner to work with a Penguin Random House Editor.
In terms of other opportunities more generally, you could keep checking in with the New South Wales Writers’ Centre (or the Writers’ Association in your state, eg. the Queensland Writers’ Centre) or the Australian Society of Authors (http://www.nswwc.org.au/ , http://www.qwc.asn.au/ or https://www.asauthors.org/ ). And one way of getting quality editing is to consider a manuscript assessment. They match people with working editors, and can be great for getting feedback on a piece of longer writing.
Okay, a couple to add to the list already, with thanks to Katie Rowney:
And a couple more with thanks to Danielle Binks:
And we have these thanks to the lovely Jessica Walton:
And for young writers in Qld, with thanks to Sophie Overett for the heads up:
Jo Stapley runs the UK blog Once Upon A Bookcase and is holding a month dedicated to examining the topic of sex in teen literature. There’s some fabulous reading here, people – reviews, interviews and opinions. Space has also been given to the topic of sex crimes, and I was interviewed by Jo because she has read and reviewed RAW BLUE, which not only deals with the aftermath of sexual assault, but has a story line that involves the main character reclaiming her own sexuality through eventually having a healthy sexual relationship. A couple of quotes:
… it occurred to me while writing it that the most powerful thing Carly was going to do was reclaim her own sexuality. And she does that. But she can’t until it’s with the right person. Ryan does earn her trust to an extent, but I also had the feeling that there was a strong sense of urgency for her. I didn’t want her to exhibit perfect, socially approved, ‘good girl’ behaviour. I wanted her to be real. Real is helpful to the reader. Perfect just makes people feel like they fall short. I’m not interested in perfect at all. It doesn’t exist.
With regard to sex in teen fiction: my view is that in a world full of porn, there is a definite place and need for stories that deal with sex as openly and honestly as possible. I’m not sure what the stats are in the UK, but here, in Australia, the estimate is that by the time boys reach fifteen, 100 per cent of them have viewed violent pornography (Courier Mail, 20 September, 2015). I think we need stories that illustrate what ‘real’ sex might be like, and also stories that make a case for intimacy.
To read the interview in full, please click here.
How was your week? I found this on my feed somewhere, I think, but when I looked back I couldn’t find it again, so basically what I’m saying is if you know you shared it with me, I’m sorry but you get no credit today. The author, Rufi Thorpe, gets heaps good credit, though (I don’t know what it is about me lately, but I think I save all my grown up punctuation and grammar for my books, and then I have this perverse impulse to write improperly everywhere else!!!). This is so funny and lovely and true. Read it if you’re a reader. Read it if you’re a writer. Read it if you just want to read something good. Click below for the link:
If you’re making things, you might find this interesting. I wrote to Chris after I’d watched it to tell him how it had helped me and I got a lovely email back in response (wasn’t expecting one, I really did just want him to know, but it was a nice surprise, that’s for sure). (I should also say, I found it via Coastalwatch who do a top ten things in surfing every week, which is always great).
Back to Chris. He says a couple of things here that really resonated with me:
Anything that is worth pursuing is going to require us to suffer, just a little bit.
Pain is a shortcut to mindfulness (I’m actually thinking about giving birth when I bounce off this one).
And he talks about, Something you are forced to earn.
Also there, somewhere, he says, I gave a piece of myself.
They’re all things that made me think of writing, although I’m sure they could be applied to just about anything, if you’re doing it for the process, the doing not the getting (which isn’t to say that getting goals aren’t important, because they have a place, too).
Of course, the risks in writing are less dramatic than getting hypothermia, they’re usually more internal. But for some reason, recognising you’ve given a piece of yourself helps take away some of the fear involved. Really, what more can you do than that? You’ve done your best, so at some point you also have to say fuq it and just let it go.
Which leads me to the other thing that Chris talks about, the part I loved the most: the JOY he gains from doing something. Goes around, comes around :) You learn from the doing, and also from the connections you make.
Anyway. See what you think.
Okay, so weird random fact that is necessary as set-up: I was the kid who used to shush people during commercial breaks. Always been fascinated by ads. Ads and music video clips. So I wanted to share an ad that’s been on TV lately. For anyone who’s engaged in telling stories, take a look at this. See how much they compress in 30 seconds? It’s truly impressive. I don’t know if it will sell dog food, but it certainly hit some key emotional notes for me. I was riveted. Thoughts?
Australian author, Kate Forsyth, has put a great post up on her blog about notebooks and how she uses them when she writes. As someone who goes through bazillions of notebooks a year, I found it really interesting, and thought you might, too. I definitely need to start using the whole page and stop being so wasteful, and I love the idea of pasting pictures in there. (Usually stick mine on a wall, but this way you’d have them forever, waiting for you like old friends if ever you referred back.)
And you haven’t checked in with Kim Wilkin’s website, Hexebart’s Well, then scoot on over and take a look. I check in from time to time and always come away feeling more determined. But THIS, her TED talk, is gold. I must tweet it later ;)
PS the winner of the Lisa Heidke giveaway announced very soon – I was going to do another little video of the actual draw, but I realise now it might also be considered a distraction!