‘So you want to be a writer’ podcast

Image: So you want to be a writer (podcast)

What a find! I’m only up to episode 3 of this podcast for writers (and readers) and while it’s tempting to jump straight to the latest episode, I’m going to take my time with this one.

Image: So you want to be a writer podcast

There are so many reasons I’m loving this podcast:

1. It’s Australian 
Go us! It’s great to hear local voices talking about people, places and events in my own timezone. It feels more accessible than some other podcasts I listen to regularly, because I don’t have a hope in hell of visiting a Waterstones any time soon, or any of the other lovely sounding bookshops and events that are geographically so far away. Did you know that Melbourne is a UNESCO City of Literature? Which basically means there are so many events down here that could warrant their own podcasts (and I’m surprised there aren’t more).

2. It’s run by two intelligent, passionate writing professionals
Valerie Khoo and Allison Tait share similar opinions and experiences in writing and publishing, and they love to explore their differences; that’s what makes their conversations so interesting.

3. It is run by women
As an extension on point 2, I love listening to women in the industry talk about their experiences and their craft, and not just from an interviewee perspective. When you hear a voice (or see a person) that represents something you aspire to, you feel less invisible and are more likely to go forth and be heard yourself.

4. They talk about other stuff – sometimes.
I’m only three episodes in, but so far they’ve covered other very relevant issues in the world like coffee, typewriters and reading habits. They do cover everything remotely relevant to the creative writing life and interview some amazing writers in their Writer in Residence segment.

If you’ve been looking for a podcast that covers all writerly things, you should take a listen to this one. And naturally, if there are podcasts I need to know about, please leave me a note.

For readers and writers: the Melbourne Writers Festival

MWF

If you’re a reader, or a writer, who happens to live in the vicinity of Melbourne, then this event needs no introduction.

The 2014 MWF begins tonight with Helen Garner providing the Opening Night Address. Alas, my festival experience doesn’t start until tomorrow. I’m giddy with anticipation, as I know my mind (and my trusty old notebook) will be overwhelmed with story ideas by the end of the day.

This is my fourth visit to the Festival, and every year something magical happens. I sit there quietly in the audience and listen to an authors describe their writing process, their inspiration, and how their characters were born. And by the end of the talk I feel slightly changed.

I’m sure this harks back to the ‘olden’ days of sitting around in a circle, captivated by tales from the mouth of the storyteller in the middle. Oral storytelling is a little bit dead these days, so it’s nice to revive it for a while at a festival like this.

Now to the talks that I’ll be attending tomorrow (let the giddiness begin):

  • a conversation with Hannah Kent of Burial Rights
  • a discussion about the power of reading to change lives, and the downsides of a life without books
  • a look into selfie culture and the new book The Life of I: the new culture of narcissism
  • the hidden secrets of the museums and galleries, archives and private collections that fuel Stephen Fry’s QI
  • a conversation about love, obsession and desire in literature between American novelist Meg Wolitzer and Emily Bitto

And that is just the first day.

Choose your own writing distraction

Someone just asked me, “Why aren’t you on Facebook?”

I quoted Eric from Entourage, when Vince asked him the same thing, “Because I’m an adult.”

The truth is, I don’t want another distraction.

Twitter doesn’t distract me in the same way. I find it stimulates ideas and sends me to strange new places where I can learn things. And I find that I want to grab a notebook and start writing.

Pinterest? Now that’s a black hole of distraction. I love it, but sometimes I need to have a rescue ladder handy.

Someone said recently, “Whatever it is you’re doing right now could be time spent writing.”

Now there’s a guilt-inducing statement. It’s true. Instead of blogging, I could be jotting down ideas for a scene right now. Instead I’m writing about things that distract me from writing. Vicious cycle.

I have made progress on the studies though. This weekend, I powered through two projects – a feature article on ‘snail mail revival,’ and a research essay on copyright. Two different topics and writing styles, and around 5,000 words in all if you don’t include the thousand-or-so words that didn’t make the cut.

The only way I could prevent myself from clicking over to check a quick email or get swallowed up in a Pinterest binge was was to say to myself, repeatedly, “I want to write this article / essay.” It works. You just have to remind yourself what you want to be doing, and check in to see if you are actually doing it.