The countdown is on! Next Thursday, the Emerging Writers’ Festival will be heading to Hobart to present the Hobart Roadshow. To celebrate Tasmanian literature, I have been interviewing writers, editors and comic artists. Here are three more of those interviews.
Rachel Edwards chats about about reading, writing and the voice of Tasmanian writing in the Review of Australian Fiction Volume 7.
What skills should emerging writers develop?
Emerging writers should read, read, read, read, read and read. They should cultivate reading with attention – and paying attention to all parts of their lives so they can crystallise their experiences for their writing – and give it to us the readers, with aplomb, conviction, creativity and strength of voice. Charlotte Wood talks about the kind of attention writers need to pay in a lovely guest blog she did for Damon Young.
Emerging writers should also consider where they submit their work to – find the journal, the publisher that seems tailored to their style, the length of the work, the genre they tend to write in.
What advice would you give to emerging editors?
To emerging editors I would say the same, your greatest foundation is the breadth and depth of your reading. Trust your instincts when you sense a work is fine – make decisions on instinct and then tease out why it is, rationally that you like the work. For me, there is a sensation that creeps up on me when I read a work, a strange rumble that means the work is good. It took a while to trust but now I do I have conviction when that sense arises. It doesn’t matter if the work is universally enjoyed by others (name one piece that is) if you know it is good, you should do what you can to have it shared.
Have respect for the writers sending you work, despite the sludgey sludgey sludge you encounter, every single one of these writers has poured something of themselves into their work.
Read the rest at the EWF blog.
I spoke to Andrea Hoff, the international guest at the Emerging Writers’ Festival Hobart Roadshow, about comics, the Canadian writing scene and what she’s most looking forward to in Hobart.
What projects are you working on at the moment?
I’m working on my first full length graphic novel. It’s a collection of short nonfiction stories based in memoir, titled “If I See You Here Again: 13 short graphic tales on the little ghosts we carry with us.” I started this project two years ago and plan to have the first draft finished by April 2014. This work will be my thesis project for my MFA in Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia (Vancouver, Canada).
Do you have any advice for emerging writers?
There is a great piece of advice from Ira Glass, the host of This American Life. I illustrated the quote for the Emerging Writer anthology this year and I keep it posted above my workspace. It’s something that helps me keep going when the going gets tough (and oh, it does get tough). Honestly, I read it at least once a day. I think I’ll have to make a dedication to Ira Glass at the front of my first book — simply in gratitude for this quote.
“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.” ― Ira Glass
Read the rest at the EWF blog.
I interviewed Adam Ouston about writers’ festivals, Hobart’s literary collectives and the influence of music on his writing.
What skills should emerging writers try and develop?
I think the two most admirable (and often competing) traits of the best writers are discipline and attitude. Writing anything takes a long time and a great deal of effort: the inner exploration, getting the words down and then rearranging them. I find editing exhausting, like lugging blocks. This requires sustained motivation and commitment to yourself and the story. Nothing gets done without discipline – even, dare I say it, routine. As a kid I raced go-karts in Queensland, and all the old guys had a saying : There’s no substitute for bum in seat. Same goes for writing. (What is it with me and sitting down?) The other thing is attitude, having faith in your own voice and ideas and turning a critical eye on things you’re dissatisfied with. I think a lot of us write from a place of dissatisfaction, and it is important to allow that fire to come through. The writing itself then is an act of hope, even if it is simply the hope that we might be able to express our sense of injustice or inequality. Oh, and one more thing: meet people.
Do you refresh your writing by traveling or do you find staying in one place gives you more stability?
Funny you should ask. I’m just about to head to Europe to ‘research’ my second novel. (Hint: ‘research’ means drinking with friends and staring out train windows.) I find travel important in articulating myself to myself. I mean that literally: actually being on the move. Not that I write then, but the ideas and the feeling of something happening come then. I write when I get back. I’ve just finished a PhD on Robert Dessaix’s travel writing, and his ideas of travel and home are so interwoven that his sense of stability comes from a place of instability. A feeling of home always involves a desire to hit the road. I think I gravitated towards his work because I share this feeling. Travel mirrors the strangeness of home. And the strangeness of home is one of the major imperatives for me to write.
Read the rest at the EWF blog.
For the full Hobart Roadshow program and to book, visit the EWF events page.