Here’s what I’ve got planned for 2023, along with some reflections on the year that’s been. As you read through, I hope you enjoy the three pages of images from manuscripts by Miles Franklin, Sylvia Plath and Ursula K. Le Guin. Every book begins as a draft, and these pages, with their crossings-out and crooked lines that signal the to and fro of creative thinking, are exquisite reminders of that fact.
First up, next year’s seasonal series of writing workshops commences early on January 17 with the Summer 23 Writing Workshop. While a few people still have children at home and on holidays, many others find that January and February are quieter months and a time that suits being focussed on new writing. And I’ve heard from a few people recently that they’re not going to be travelling this summer because flights are so expensive. So what better alternative than to stay put, and write.
As with my previous writing workshops, the Summer 2023 workshop group will be small, just nine folk, so that once again there’s a sense of a community and easy familiarity. So please don’t leave it to the last minute to contact me like a few people did this year, if you’re thinking of enrolling. Numbers really are limited.
There’ll be one or more workshops to follow later in the year, in Autumn and/or Spring (commencing June and/or September). I like to take a break between workshops to reinvigorate, and the time off also enables returning writers time to write on their own, and refresh themselves.
For those of you interested in mentoring, I have hours available from February/March onwards. I’ll be finishing up my two year stint with the Australian Society of Authors’ Mentor Register in March and so that will free me up a bit for outside work with writers. For writers who have an established writing practice, whether they’re unpublished or published, mentoring is hugely beneficial. (For others who’re just starting out in their writing practice, it’s usually better to begin with writing classes and more introductory workshops.)
In my mentoring and the workshops, I aim to support you as a writer, as well as work with you and your manuscript. One of the darker themes of this year’s conversations that I’ve noticed (perhaps more persistent because of the stresses of life under Covid?) has been managing our emotions as writers. How to deal with the ups and downs of writing; feeling down because the writing is beyond slow, it’s fetid. Self-censure. Or just the gnawing experience of uncertainty. Wondering, do I have anything to say of any value? Am I a talentless twat? Recognising that these feelings are a normal part of a creative practice, and are experienced by all artists, not just writers (and not just you), has been beneficial to everyone I’ve had these conversations with.
Another theme I’ve noticed this year is the opposite of dark; it’s the writers whose work and writing practice has developed to such an extent that they’re recognising themselves as authors with a writing practice that they can ably maintain, nurture, and can rely upon to continue (it’s real, they really are a writer!).
A few people have also finished manuscripts, signed up with literary agents, won competitions and been short-listed this year. Congratulations to them all (Jacqui Brown, Kylie Hough, Julie Janson, Cassy Cochrane, to name a few). For writers with finished manuscripts there are so many publication opportunities available, whether they take traditional routes to publication with the ‘bricks and mortar’ publishers, or self-publish, work mainly in the digital realms, or network their writing with other media such as podcasts and video.
As for me, 2023 is going to be a busy writing year. I’ll be in Naples for a month on a writers’ residency with the Arquetopia Foundation, working on a new book of hybrid fiction and nonfiction. I’ll also be working on a collection of short essays that tackle the art of writing, which for now I’m calling The Fiction Masterclass. I’m aiming to bring together my many years of talking and writing about narrative technique and craft into a useful, insightful and every-writer-must-have compendium. I’ll be sharing some of the early versions of the essays through my posts here.
My memoir-biography Raven Mother will also be in some state of pre-publication; I hope to sign up with a new agent in the not too distant future. (Fingers crossed emoji.)
I’m very happy to answer any questions you have about the workshops or mentoring, and to hear your news. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org