Writing through isolation
There’s nothing like a pandemic to channel story voices and concepts.
The writing flood gates have opened.
I’ve spent 8 months blending copywriting projects with creative writing expressions and submitting them to competitions, collaborations and publisher pitches.
I invested in writing relationships that inspired and energised, in narratives reflecting the times, and stories escaping our times.
Looking back, I’m glad I focussed energy on capturing the voice and sentiments of the time, as well as escaping into new stories and narratives.
Accepted pieces and writing forums that kept me focussed:
Frankston Arts Centre anthology
Looking forward to the release of Stories at the End of the Line soon
Australia Locked Down collection of work submitted to the National Film and Sound Archives
Australia Locked Down is a digital record of coronavirus impact and will be submitted in a body of work submitted to the National Film and Sound Archives.
I wrote two pieces which were accepted.
Writing company filled the gaps
Since March, like others, my writing life has been shifted online.
While you may think that’s not much for a change for a writer given it’s a rather lonely pursuit, it’s been quite the shift for me.
I’m a social beastie and love connecting with and learning from other writers, and I also found myself cancelling a year of Writer’s retreats. (insert crying emoji here)
I didn’t let a little thing like a global pandemic get in my way of that!
My monthly face to face ‘shut up and write’ session with Peninsula Writers’ Club has been swapped for Zoom catchups, spoken words online evenings and guest speaker screen chats.
Online festivals and author talks
My online dance card was filled with Wheelers Centre, and Frankston City Library and Mornington Peninsula Library talk, as well as Australian arts community webinars. I splashed about online at the Write Around the Murray Festival and ABC Radio Nation Big Weekend of Books and the Melbourne Writers Festival.
For an isolating time, it was a unifying time listening to other writers.
Writers Victoria writing incentives
Besides Writes Victoria generously keeping us updated with competitions and opportunities, we’ve had ample opportunity to write in company.
My greatest constant that has made all the difference to my word count and writing wellbeing has been Live Write.
Writers Victoria has hosted this twice-weekly program from the goodness of their writing hearts. The fabulous Noe Harsel, Writers Victoria Chair, hosts and issues writing prompt each week for our ½ hour catchup on Tuesday nights and Fridays at midday.
As a Writers Victoria member, this has also given me the chance to get to know others’ writers across Victoria.
Familiars, and sometimes new faces, appear on the screen as we commiserate and cheer on each other’s milestones.
Noe sets the clock, turns off our mics and we are off and writing.
It’s fast, it’s productive, it’s comforting and it keeps you accountable knowing all these people are peering at screens typing while peeking sideways at each other.
(Bookshelf and artwork peering have become a pandemic pastime – like window shopping on Zoom!)
Live Write is my new writing addiction. It’s been a helpful punctuation point in my remote school mum life over almost 8 months.
And because I kept showing up, I now have 10, 000 words of a YA novel evolving, I’ve smashed out 4 picture books initial drafts, re-edited 2 others, written and finalised submission pitches and commissioned magazine work, and I’ve even dragged the odd client copywriting work along to meet deadlines.
If you struggle to show up time and time again and do the work, Live Write is like a really friendly school principal looking over your shoulder, murmuring gentle encouragement while giving you a stern over-the-glasses gaze. Noe is far from a Principal caricature, she’s a smile on Zoom, reminding you every word matters, and it’s worth the effort.
Such a super contribution to the writing energy when our everything has dulled somewhat during Victoria Stage 4 restrictions, good one Writers Victoria!
Thanks to the advocates for writers’ during lockdown
It’s all been worth it, every word of it.