All posts tagged: writing

Creative writing: It’s all in my mind, and it’s glorious!

I’m mid-way through a creative writing course. On the surface it’s all about creating characters, getting to know what they know, and imagining situations in which they might have things happen to them. In reality it’s about me paying money to give myself permission to skive off to the home office for several hours a week and, in the words of author Matt Nable, “make s@%t up.” And, may I say, it’s wonderful! I’ve never been particularly interested in creative writing up to now. My study, my practice and my work has been grounded in reality. My go to sources of material have been facts and real events ever since I first fell in love with the feature articles in the Good Weekend as a teenager.  I thought creative writing was for ‘other people’. I hated it in high school. I excelled at English essays, but flunked at tasks involving imagined situations. As part of this course, I’m learning that writing and thinking creatively is just a skill to be taught and learnt like any other. I reckon there are two main …

Writing as Salvation | Byron Writers Festival 2016

The smell of menthol wafts from the sodden woodchips lying in the muddy grass. You can’t escape the wet, it’s coming up through the soles of boots, and down from the heavens. If the punters at a writers festival needed another reason to stay indoors and read books, the weather at this year’s Byron Writers Festival would’ve been a good one. Thumbs up then, to the record number of attendees at the event, adorned with raincoats and gumboots, scarves and beanies, braving the latter stages of a mighty low-pressure system hovering just off the coast. I spent a lot of the festival in volunteer mode, fundraising for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation, rattling the can and handing out brochures. It was my virgin volunteer experience, and I absolutely loved it! You should’ve seen me, smiling away, wedging myself into people’s conversations with the utmost charm and enthusiasm. The foundation has been the official charity of the festival for the past three years, and it was heartening to see so many people keen to donate their leftover …

Young Minds, Old News

Noah Rosenberg, Marc Fennell, Erik Jensen. These guys are the smooth forehead on the fresh face of journalism in the digital age. Not yet creased by wrinkles, leaning forward in their chairs, they chatter like excited schoolboys as they discuss how they’re writing their own rules and forging ahead in the post-print era. With newsrooms short on time and traditional media outlets cutting budgets, these three storytellers have found ways to report what they think is important in ways that consumers think are engaging. Rosenberg, Fennell and Jensen were among the speakers at the recent Byron Bay Writers Festival examining the tension between old media formats like newspaper and radio, and the new platforms of social media, websites and podcasting. Can they all co-exist? Should they? In the bright, Byron Bay morning light, New York City resident, Noah Rosenberg, is in conversation with Jacqui Park, Chief Executive of the Walkley Foundation. Rosenberg is the founder of Narrative.ly, a website dedicated to telling human stories, mostly in the shape of long-form articles, but also video and …

A Piece of Work

I get sideswiped by doubt each time I think about calling my next interviewee. What if they’re not home? What if they are but they say ‘no’?  What if they say ‘yes’? I just pick up the phone and dial, no thinking, no hesitating. It’s got to be done. Otherwise I would never write another profile. I must. Today I show up at the arranged time only to find my subject not at home. I should have called in the morning to re-confirm. I thought to, but didn’t. What if they had wanted to back out at the last minute? I’ve got my reporter’s notebook with my questions written out. And my pen. But my shorthand is that bad (where bad means non-existent) and I never leave enough space to scrawl down the answers fast enough, so I just end up recording the whole conversation each time. I wonder if she’ll think I’m an upstart? I am quite a bit younger than her, and not nearly so experienced in anything at all. I wonder if she’ll …