Sunday, 26 June 2011

Where I write

I found these links on writers rooms and where writers write, and wanted to write about my writing space. 
I don't have a room with a desk and walls of books and inspiring pictures, like a lot of the writers in those links. I have a room full of books and the only spare space is my bed. I have a spare room - actually, my nephews room - with a desk covered in all my uni editing books, and Thomas and Dora toys. 
I don't like writing at home. There are too many distractions. My mum being the main one. 
So I go to the cafe down the road and spend the day there, writing. The boys know my coffee order and if I'm doing well on my writing for the day, I order myself an extra-cheese toasted cheese sandwich. 
I'm so productive in coffee shops. I write page after page and go home feeling satisfied and happy. 

So the picture above isn't my usual cafe, but it is one near the University of Melbourne, where I did my undergrad, majoring in Creative Writing. I spent many hours and days writing stories and uni assignments in this cafe. The walls were covered in inspiring photos, and I got through some good people watching there, too. 

Where do you write? Do you have a favourite cafe?

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

The Favorite Book Challenge Blogfest


So These aren't my favourite books of all time, but my favourite books of 2011, and some from 2010. They were the freshest in my mind. 
Stolen - Lucy Christopher

Gemma is kidnapped from an airport in Thailand and taken to desert Australia, where her kidnapper wants her to love him. I loved this book because even after I'd finished it, the characters were lingering in my head, I was in love, and the ending was just brilliantly done.

Fall for Anything - Courtney Summers

After Eddie's famous photographer father commits suicide, she meets one of his student who is also looking to solve the question of why. It's a literary masterpiece because it reads so true to emotions, and because the author really gets into the head of her characters, making dialogue and all actions and thoughts plausible. 

Bereft - Chris Womersley

Chris Walker, who has been off fighting in a war, returns home after years of exile, where his family believe he killed his sister. Written in such a beautiful and delicate way, full of gorgeous language and one very special relationship that made my heart melt. 

Brotherhood of Warriors - Aaron Cohen (non-fiction)

Aaron is in Duvdevan, an elite special forces unit in the Israeli army, where he trained to stop terrorists. A chilling insight into the military world and really well written. 

We Need to Talk About Kevin - Lionel Shriver

Eva is writing letters to her husband, reflecting over their lives and trying to understand how her son could commit such murders. An incredibly dense and heavy read, totally worth the long journal for what is revealed at the end. 

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

The end of bookshops in 5 years.

Booksellers' jaws dropped today upon hearing that federal Minister for Small Business Nick Sherry had predicted that online shopping would wipe out general bookstores within five years.
The minister said this morning he expected that only specialist players in capital cities would survive.

Read the entire article here

Do I believe it? No
Am I sad? Very
Australian booksellers are outraged - as they would be. I'm still not sure what to think. So I'm going to try break my thoughts down into dot points. 

  • I don't believe that all bookshops will close, and I certainly don't think that 'specialist players' will survive (sorry to say it). In fact, I think the opposite will happen. I think many more bookshops will close in the coming years, and  the specialist bookshops ESPECIALLY will shut down. Independent bookshops, I think, will survive this prediction. 
  • Buying books online has the same problems as buying clothes online. Sometimes things don't fit. You can read reviews and get a sense of what you want to read by word of mouth, but I think that actually flicking through and having a try at the writing style before committing to the purchase, is priceless. I've bought books online, read the first few pages and not wanted to continue. And then you're stuck with it. 
  • Even though I'm guilty of buying books online, there is still nothing I enjoy more than going into a bookshop and spending time walking slowly through the aisles - looking at all the beautiful covers, the spines lined up like european houses, and talking to the passionate staff.
  • I'm not against buying online. I buy a lot of books online. Because at the end of the day I'm still supporting the authors and the Australian publishing industry. 
  • When eBooks first started, everyone was claiming 'the death of the book.' But that hasn't happened, nor do I think it will. I think the notion that bookshops will all close due to online shopping is excessive. Yes, it will definitely affect the book selling industry. But I doubt it will be detrimental. 
  • Rather than making such a heartbreaking prediction, there needs to be more action to stop this. Not just for the bookshops, but for financial reasons. Hundreds of thousands of Australian dollars, every day, are going overseas to online purchases because we don't pay GST on the goods, while the industry spends money importing overseas goods to sell here. If Australia wants to protect it's book selling industry AND it's economy, there needs to an added GST on imported goods. That way, hopefully, people will be more inclined to buy in local bookshops. 
Sorry if that was a jumble of thoughts. 

What does everyone think about that prediction? How do you feel?

Sunday, 19 June 2011

I started a new job and then ran away to the beach

Life has changed this week.

A publishing house finally saw how wonderful and talented I am and has hired me - hell yeah, that's right. I'm now a sales consultant at Macmillan, which is very exciting! I have a work phone and an office and everything.
So that now occupies four days a week, and the other day I'm doing an editorial internship at Melbourne University Press.

It's going to be quite an adjustment from my previous lifestyle but I'm determined to use my time more productively. I felt like while I wasn't working, my time was wasted because I had so much of it and I just couldn't appreciate it. Time is more precious now and if I want to read, write and blog (as well as uni 2 nights a week, and zumba) then I'm going to have to set tighter goals and aspirations for myself.

My goal for this week - aside from getting used to early morning starts -  is to read a book and write my new story.

So after a few stressful days of the new internship and new work, I ran away to the beach for the weekend. I went to Sorrento, a little beach town on the Morning Peninsula, about 1.5 hours drive from home. I went with my boyfriend (who has never been outside of Melbourne, as he's American) and another couple. The weekend involved sand fights on the beach, fish and chips, splurging on junk food, a drinking game that didn't end well, shopping, no reading, a movie I'd already seen, and romantic moments on the beach.

I'm freshened up and inspired for the week to come.

Monday, 13 June 2011

What I write

Whenever I tell someone I write (which is daunting enough in itself), they always ask what I write – well actually, they say ‘like journalism?’ and I say ‘no, creative writing’, and THEN they ask what I write - to which I usually answer, ‘ummmmmmm’.
It’s a hard question because I always seem to be writing different things.

I write short stories mostly, anything from 300 – 5000 words.
These stories are flash fiction, fiction, creative non-fiction or memoir.

I used to write a lot of poetry but not so much anymore. Although I do still love haikus and am trying to get in the habit of writing one haiku a day.

I have a few novel ideas, one that I’m going to attempt for NaNoWriMo, but to be honest I don’t feel the need to write novels at this point in my life. I really love the short story and after four years of writing at uni, my mind just thinks in short story form. I would like to build a career on novel writing at some point down the line, but probably for the next five years I will continue with shorter pieces. I love sending them out to journals or competitions. It’s the best feeling when they get accepted, and if they don’t, then it’s motivation to keep writing and submitting.

I guess I always assumed that I was going to write literary fiction but lately I have been reading a lot of YA and I think that that’s what I want to write (when I eventually get to novel writing). I love that so many different people read YA. I love the themes and the words and the characters. I’ve just become YA obsessed. But you never know. I was crime fiction obsessed for years and now I’ve moved on.

And I also have been working on a kids picture book. I’ve had the idea for ages and finally decided to get it down on paper.

What does everyone write? 

Thursday, 9 June 2011

My weekly musings

I just love these lyrics
you've got a lovely way with words 
must be the way you see the world 
by The Virgins, in Rich Girls. 

So my week hasn't been too busy. I got my wisdom teeth out, which has resulted in lots of sleep and ice cream (including the Carousel ice cream cake - pictured above - in honour of my extracted wisdom). So I'm a bit behind on my June goals. 

I've been reading lots, and planning out a new story, so will hopefully get to writing it this weekend.  I think I will submit it to Geek Mook.

Here is a photo of me and crime writer, Michael Connelly, that I took about 2 weeks ago when I heard him speak at the Wheeler Centre in Melbourne. 
I thought it was interesting that for a crime writer whose novels are so dense and convoluted with plot tags and foreshadowing, that he never plans his work. He said he knows the start and end, and that's all. He goes in writing blind. 

He also said that everyday, he rewriters everything that he wrote the day before. 
Does anyone else do that?
He signed two of my books, but unfortunately, I couldn't read his handwriting so I have no idea what he wrote. 
Note to self: when famous author signing books for fans, ALWAYS write legibly. 

Anyway, I'm off to do some writing. I'm finally going to get twitter this weekend.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Why I write ... a video of me!

There is a video of me, for National Young Writers Month (NYWM), talking about Why I write and what inspires me to write. It's the first video of me on YouTube! Quite exciting actually :)

I have set goals for June (which I've mentioned in a previous post) for NYWM and I'm really excited about them. I figure that while I'm on uni holidays and not working so much, I gotta really make use of my time.

My June Goals:
  • To finish revising my most recent short story.
  • Write this story I've been researching for weeks now, based on my late grandfathers life.
  • Write this new story I've been planning
  • Read 8 books
  • Learn a word everyday
  • And write a Haiku poem every day. (Although it's the 6th and I haven't been doing so well on this yet.) 
  • Blog more. 
  • Walk the dog more. 
So what I'm going to do in June is get really organised with my blogging. 
I want to post a series on How I write, What I write, Where I write, Who I write (starting off with this post on Why I write) and once a week give an update on my goals, maybe post some of my new words and some of my haikus. 

Anyway, the video kinda explains why I write, but I was so nervous when they filmed it, that afterwards, I was just like 'what happened...' 

I started writing when I was in year 7 at school and by year 8, I'd already signed myself up for a John Marsden Writing Camp (much to my parents surprise). I don't really know why I started, it just kind of happened; it was something I had to do. Sentenced formed in my head and words just seemed so beautiful and fun. People and situation were translated into story form, and it soon became an obsession. I would write every night. I would write at school. I would reading lots. It was how I understood the world.
I write now because I couldn't imagine stopping. There have been times where I have been so frustrated and said that I was going to stop writing, but I always went straight back to it.
I write because I want to tell stories in the way I see them and in the way that I understand the world. I write because I want to be published. I write to challenge myself. I write to hopefully influence other people. I write because when I do, something inside me jumps and laughs. I write because it's who I am now.

I read this post on Benjamin Law and why he writes. I thought it was cute. 

Why do you write?