The good without the tantrums

It’s been a while since I have written anything; I felt my frustrated tantrums were better left off the internet. That’s not to say that good things haven’t happened. After months of applying for positions and internships I have finally gotten a bit of a break.

First off, after close to 6 months of stalling the Belconnen Arts Centre has taken me on as a volunteer. The next great thing that has happened is that the M16 Art Space has taken me on as a (contract) volunteer who will write for them for about 4-6 months. This is a major achievement! I was not expecting to be taken on by them as a writer! They are keen for me to do reviews, help out with social media and their blog. Yup, this is big. This is great for experience and for getting contacts, plus everyone at M16 I have met so far is warm and supportive.

My work with Duncan on Grapple Publishings second annual has been more and more rewarding the further I get into it. Just this Sunday he and I sat at Gus’s cafe for three hours and worked out the short list. We have selected about thirty pieces for the short list wrangled from the initial 140 submissions. It’s taken a few meeting and many weeks of reading to get down to 30. The process often gives me a rewarding feeling of having worked hard and done well.

I’ve also been steadily digging myself out of pretty nasty hole created by depression and anxiety. There is no truth to the romantic myth that depression makes artists more creative. Certainly people have made important artwork from times of darkness but when you’re in the middle of depression you’re not productive. So coming out of a difficult patch I have been much more capable of getting on with writing. I’m getting back into fiction again too.

The next awesome thing is that I am now a manuscript assessor for the ACT Writers Centre. They put a call out for more assessors, so I decided to put some faith in my abilities and apply. I’m really grateful to the ACT Writers Centre for taking me on and giving me more experience with editing.

I’m currently hunting down information about publishing internships and entry level jobs. I’m finding more resources than I thought. I somehow thought there would be very little, but some helpful people in the UK in particular have written about their experiences and offered advice. I found a striking quote from an article, Throw the book at publishing internships. It’s not a chipper article but it was a well timed reminder that I need to be on the look out for well structured internships that aren’t going to exploit me. This article is spot on when it says:

“Ability to do a job adequately should always be based on skills and competencies and never on how long someone has slaved or hawked themselves for free.”

Right on!

There is plenty in my (writers) life that is working out and I have a long over due sense that I am not far from meaningful and skilled work in the field of writing.

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Digging myself out of a dark, long, bewildering year of being lost as an artist

You know how I talk often in those posts about losing hope and gaining a bit of it back…. well mostly finding my way as a “creative” has been miserable (growth comes from pain -_-). But this is the most jazzed up I have felt in….. years.

It was simple but pivotal. I picked up a copy of the 2015 ACT/NSW jobs guide and had a read of the description on ‘Editors.’ The information on Book Editors excited me the most out of any of the occupations I looked up. It was right about then that I wanted to let out a primal scream of victory FINALLY! tangible facts about jobs for creative types!

This book has started to dig me out of the dark descent I have been spiraling into over this long, bewildering year.

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And I’ve continued to grow excited about the roles of editor through my work with Grapple publishing on the second Annual. I’ve also managed to find useful information about jobs prospects. I’m wanting to gauge my (increasing) interest in this career path with information about what most likely awaits me. I’ve already had a searing lesson in doing otherwise. But to be fair, it often takes a lot of time to work out our career paths.

I’m cautiously ecstatic about the new direction. Most of all I’m thrilled energy is coming back to me and I’m naturally finding myself directed towards gaining more editing experience and hunting down internships with publishing houses.

you literally lose some and win some..

I applied for Overlands 3 months internship (starting early next year) and by chance, for their editing position as well. I spent a fair amount of time on those applications and suited the selection criteria pretty darn well (which is new and brilliant to me). I didn’t end up getting either.

I’m reminded that this process is slow with plentiful rejections, unanswered emails and dead ends, but there are also breaks. I got an unforeseen email that suggested that someone out there knows my work and thinks I am worthy of their time. I got an email from Duncan Felton about being part of the editing team for Grapple Publishing‘s second annual. It’s a fair compliment to be able to jump the application process and be asked to be a part of this project. This is just the kind of editing opportunity I need too.

I am much flattered and grateful to be offered this placement. It will certainly give me some editing experience and clout. But most of all, it might let me know if I like content editing as much as I think I do. Which is particularly valuable as I am considering a few possible shorter courses or degrees. If editing turns out to be my thing, then with a bit more training and some experience behind me, this could turn into a tangible, paid occupation; the holy grail I am looking for!

That’s a lot of, “if this goes this way, I might” but as any writer and artist will know, we live off the moments that give us even a snifter of direction and encouragement. I still have days where I am nearly in tears explaining how stuck I feel, or I’m being talked out of my relapse into embarrassment that I don’t have a job yet.

So I turn every opportunity and rejection into meaningful information about my direction if I can. I likely didn’t have enough editing experience or training to get the Overland jobs. That’s ok! Knowing this and being part of the smart Grapple editing group might help me get the next opportunity.

It all counts and has value.

 

I’ll keep you posted on the Grapple experience.