Writing what you (don’t) know: new article

An article of mine is being published on Capital Letters, the ACT Writers Centre blog on the 27th of December. It’s a look at the debates about whether we should write what we know, or what we don’t. There’s a lot of writing advice out there and I sort through what is helpful and unhelpful in each perspective.

Take a look on the 27th!

A long time coming

It’s taken a long while, but finally my article on going vegan is up on the Vegan ACT website. It’s been a long writing process that tracked with my own transitioning and challenges changing my eating habits and assumptions about animals. If you are interested in going vegan than you might find this especially interesting.


I forgot I could do anything

“You can do anything you want sweetie.” most of us were told that by our parents. If we were fortunate we were told that. They leave out the bits about classism, racism, sexism and the glass ceiling, but it’s an inspiring sentiment regardless. And it’s more than sentiment, however naive it may feel, surely it is better to live with a feeling of possibility than assuming few opportunities can be had?

At some point I forgot that I could shape my life to the direction I wanted it to be. School and parents guide us and sometimes cripple our abilities to think for ourselves. But again, I forgot it was up to me how I wanted to live. The prescriptive narrative is both temping and depressing. I don’t think I’ll be escaping the rat race entirely and living in Barbados with my sudden millions, but I could live in a commune under a dormant volcano near the border of Queensland. And why don’t I?

I was reminded that I had more control over the shape of things by something that is intangible to me now. But the idea has been emboldened by a recent encounter with a brilliantly strange woman. As she says, she may have paranoid schizophrenia, but this doesn’t cancel out that she’s living an authentic life; living off her art and wits. She is doing what I feel the Romantics and old bohemians did with cunning and some approximation to nobility; living off their art and accepting lack of toothpaste and expensive lingerie when it arrives in tumultuous spurts.

I have also recently met a new person, who’s exuberant past shows a courage to take risks for relationships and a colourful path to knowing his truest self. I do compare it to my own past, even though comparison is rarely useful. And I don’t come up badly, but I do see a fearful influence that might be called “stability” but may also be called “cowardice” and lack of imagination.

The point is not to bejewel oneself for the sole reason of a marvelous life tale or to impress on some level, but I do wish I went looking for a few more daring opportunities. The sort of daring that is daring to me; that challenges my fear and limitations I place on my spirit. My fears may not cause others discomfort, which brings me back to the idea that my life direction must be for myself and for the impressing of myself.

I don’t know what manifestation of action this concept will take me, but that shall be revealed in the future. For now I have the idea and I want to let it change me.

I applied for the ACT Writers Centre Blogger in Residence program. My application was not successful, but I feel I have succeeded regardless for two reasons. The first is that applying for competitions, residencies or trying to get published can be confronting work. It can feel like we are being judged as a person if we don’t get in or a publisher doesn’t want our work. To keep going requires courage and a developing understanding that these rejections are not personal. I keep pursuing my writing and publication which always feels like wining.

I was also pleased because they offered me the chance to write a number of blog posts over the next three months. I’m thrilled with this outcome. To have a platform to write from is essentially what I wanted.

One of the post ideas is to write a bit about my experiences during the Project Space Residency. I’m thinking this could lead into a discussion about writing days and creating a conducive environment for creating.

You”ll be seeing more of my work around the place soon.


becoming reliable

I didn’t expect it, but one of my biggest goals as part of my residency at Gorman House (Project Space) is actually to become a more organised person. I am not great with deadlines and remembering to get back to emails or finish an article, but a large part of getting work and keeping it (even if its unpaid) is to be reliable. 

I’ve worked out I need clear deadlines and probably a big calender in front of my face in my office. Maybe even an adorable planner would help? Writing out a list of upcoming writerly commitments, deadlines and goals would likely help as well. 

What I would like to achieve while I have this space is:

  • Editing to a publishable standard my “Dictionary Sex” article and sending it to Lip Magazine. 
  • Finishing my “write what you (don’t) know” article 
  • Applying for at least 2 internships 
  • Start writing that particular fiction short story 
  • Going through my files of half written articles and working on 2-3 that could be edited and hopefully published 
  • Making connections and using every resource offered or available to find a job (even just vaguely) related to my degree in writing. 

This doesn’t seem like enough to fill up another 5+ weeks, but I will see how I go with what I have got. I’ll update you on my progress!