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Emerging Writer's Festival 2011 - dipping my toe...

This year was the first year I went to the Emerging Writer's Festival (EWF). As it turned out, Dave had been going for years, and I hadn't realised. Yes, I knew he went to something at this time of year with his friend Phil, and they had a stall and sold graphic work they'd worked on together (Phil doing the writing, interviews etc. Someone else doing the artwork, and Dave doing the DTP and pre-press work), but I thought it was some sort of geeky comic book guy thing (sorry Dave).

They're at it again today, and because we have four kids, and I'm not really prepared to wrangle them in the city on my own (and we couldn't afford lunch anyway), I'm kind of stuck at home on the last day of the festivities, but that's okay, there'll be next year.

Finances dictated I only buy two tickets to events this year (and family commitments dictated I not attend the free stuff), so I managed to get to "Getting into Genre: Young Adult" and "The Pitch". For both events I had the early disconcerting experience of wondering if I had bought a ticket to an event that really didn't relate to my goals at all! Both times I started out feeling that I had no place being at that event, but by the end of both events I'd learned something new about the industry and about myself and my goals.

I've decided took change my approach to writing and my attempts at getting published. More than anything I've decided to take things a bit more slowly. I was feeling panicked, as if it was 'now or never', and it turns out that that very attitude could so easily make it decidedly 'never'.

I've done many years of study to learn about writing, and the industry and that has been great, and in some ways, I think I have an advantage that people who never study writing don't have. On the other hand, I feel as if all those years were really just pre-apprenticing the career I want to build.

If I was teaching writing, I would make attending festivals, and the local writing centre, compulsory activities of the course, much like how students of Education degrees must do pracs in actual classrooms. I remember being encouraged to become a member of my state writer's centre and to attend festivals, writer's groups and so on, but then I was left to my own devices, and quite frankly, being painfully shy meant I only did whatever I could do from a distance - I signed up the writer's centre, but I NEVER went there. I never WENT to any festivals. In not going, I missed out on a lot over the years. Most particularly the connections I needed to make with people.

Image sourced from www.zazzle.com
One thing I've discovered during the EWF is that I want to slow down and even backtrack a bit. I'm going to hold off sending out my manuscript for a while, at least until I can afford to have it looked at by a reviewer. I'm going to do some more research about avenues for publication, and subscribe to a few publications. There are a a couple of books I want to get my hands on as well. I need to find a writer's group. I might even do a couple of classes or workshops...

Basically, I've decided to take things back to square one again - well, maybe not square ONE, maybe square two or three, but certainly back a bit. I'm going to backtrack and make sure I've covered all the bases in this apprenticeship.

More importantly, and this is the part that scares me half to death, I'm going to try and get to know some people, even if it's just to shake hands and listen to what they have to say about writing and the industry in Australia. People are key, and I'm very nervous at the acknowledgement of that because people and I are not exactly complementary. I don't mind observing people, and nutting them out. I don't mind getting inside their heads and writing about them, but I am Orkan in Colorado when it comes to understanding human interactions...

On that note - this is Sif signing out, nanoo nanoo!

Comments

mamabook said…
Right! So time I got over myself and joined something I think. V interesting and for me informative.
Michelle
Harish said…
Best of luck for your book there.
Sif said…
Thanks guys :)

Michelle, I've been writing since I was little, and kind of stumbled into a writing degree (it started out as a computer programming degree!) in my early 20a. My so-called writing career has been very haphazard, but the biggest stumbling block for me has always been my agoraphobia, and I've tried to work around having to actually meet and interact with other writers - which I'm slowly discovering just isn't going to work... Would be nice if I could have fame and fortune without having to leave home, hahaha!

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