On Writing

Writers, editors, agents, publishers and more share their thoughts, experiences and stories.

As an aspiring writer many moons ago, my goals were clear. I wanted to write realistic fiction for children and young adults and I wanted to be published in the traditional trade market.

My manuscript is a little boat.

When asked how she is, my mother-in-law is fond of replying that any day she wakes up and can get vertical is a good one. I wish I could say the same about writing. That any day I get up and still know how to use words and create sentences, well, that’s a good day and therefore, a successful one. But it’s not true. Just because you can use words and out of them make sentences, doesn’t mean you’re a good writer or, at best, a successful one. The notions of ‘good’ and ‘successful’ are always up for grabs anyway… aren’t they?

Part 1

July 2016, Jerusalem

I am sitting on a bench, in the park in Jerusalem, watching mothers pushing children on swings. I am eating an ice-cream, alone.

It’s debatable what’s harder: to produce a piece of creative writing or to find someone willing to read a draft and give authentic feedback. I was pleased and relieved when Jude readily agreed to read my draft crime novella. After all, I argued, not only was he a good friend but also a well-read and incisive member of a bookclub. I could certainly count on him to be objective in his feedback, yet encouraging. If he wished, he could do so over lunch. I’d shout him and we’d make it a social occasion. It should be fun, I thought. Little did I think the day would end as it did.

A photograph of Shivaun Plozza

Nothing is off-limits in young adult literature as long as it’s handled well, says Shivaun Plozza. Ahead of her Writing YA workshop, Shivaun talks about diversity and reader reactions.

Emily Bitto seated

We turn to reading to learn all kinds of things, but what about reading to learn to write? Ahead of her workshop, we caught up with author and tutor Emily Bitto to find out why close reading is an essential part of learning the writer's craft.

A photograph of Jax Jacki Brown

Jax Jacki Brown grew up in a regional area and understands the importance of community. Ahead of the Write-ability Goes Regional and Online Own Voices: Why Writing Matters forum in Bendigo, Jax talks about stereotypes, community and the importance of representing those with disability as nuanced, whole people.

Justin Heazlewood standing with the sky at sunset

If your biggest critic is yourself, chances are you are not alone. Ahead of his workshop on self-care for writers, author and performer Justin Heazlewood (also known as the Bedroom Philosopher) gave us his insights into surviving the creative life.

Michael Green standing outside

With the pace of journalism increasing, it can be tempting to rush the writing process. But for tutor Michael Green, the most compelling stories come from taking a careful, considered approach to interviewing and writing, empowering your subjects and putting ethics at the heart of your work. We caught up with Michael ahead of his Winter School workshop to find out more.