Wednesday, June 19, 2013

I’ve just been reading what Margo Lanagan has to say about writing in Charlotte Wood’s interview with her. If you’re interested in interviews with writers, and I think it’s a great way to find out more about the process, Charlotte’s Writing Room interviews are fascinating reading. She’s interviewed Amanda Lohrey and David Roach and Margo so far. You can sign up for the series at her website at -

I’ve been thinking about the writing process again because I’m getting ready for the my July short course, Kickstart your Writing. I’ve completed two BIG writing projects and learned a lot on the way. The Eleanor Dark biography, Eleanor Dark: a Writer's Life, was a major research project as well as an adventure in writing, and I worked with a  friend on the book, Judith Clark, through the research and interview stages, and then she read my drafts.  I had very good editors, Drusilla Modjeska wrote a report on the ms as a structural editor, and Carl Harrison-Ford came in at the end of the process. My Verandahs book was another big project, this time a memoir that crossed over into fiction. It started as a memoir of my English grandfather and his life in India. It's not published yet, but it will be on its way soon. I’ve been reading about creativity and process and I’m intrigued by the patterns that emerge across different art forms and different projects. For example, we've all experienced that lovely surge of energy and enthusiasm when we write a first draft of something new, usually followed by a bit of a crash, when we discover that what’s on the page is disappointing because it isn’t earth-shatteringly brilliant and exactly what we had in our heads. It’s a time when you might get despondent, give up, walk away from the desk. But it’s a stage in the process. It's the beginning. Artist Anne Truitt said, in her Daybook, the energy of beginning is different from the energy of continuing and completing.

The Kickstart your writing course is a short course, over two weekends in July, designed to help anyone who’s starting a project, or has one under way but has had a break, or run into problems, and wants to be re-inspired and energised. There will be a lot of presentations on different aspects of the writing process and the creative process. But I’m keeping it as practical and hands-on as I can, with short exercises focusing on getting you thinking and planning and writing, and you'll send an example of your writing for a workshop session at the second meeting.

More information about this class and my Masterclass at the Masterclass tab at the top of the page. The Masterclass is designed to guide you and help you make real progress with your writing project. There are 6 fortnightly meetings of four hours each over 3 months. There's time to focus on your work. It's  somewhere between a writing class and a mentoring experience, because of the small group and individual feedback.

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