Tuesday, 25 August 2009

My writing process: A metaphorical musing

Once upon a time, I approached writing in the way a builder approaches a satellite dish. Writing was the high point I was working towards, but there always seemed to be something more important to do first. I had foundations to lay, walls to build and all sorts of other things that needed to be in place before I had somewhere to install my dish.

After many years of construction, I bolted the satellite dish to my roof, positioned myself in front of the screen and waited for the stories to come beaming in. I realised then that I wasn’t just receiving Channel Write. I’d subscribed to an entire catalogue of entertainment, from blogging and online newspapers to movie reviews and Minesweeper, which tempted me into channel-surfing when reception from Channel Write faltered. Which, to my dismay, it often did.

Like many writers, I’d have some days when the signal was clear and flawless. It was as though words were beamed straight onto the screen from a dazzling distant satellite. Productive though those days were, they were rare and presented a standard against which ordinary days just couldn’t compete. On days when the reception was weak, I’d decide I just “wasn’t inspired” and tune in to something else.

It took years of not enough progress before I concluded that I needed to hire a team of electricians. I hunted around for recommendations, and decided that PWE were the people for the job. Once I had teachers clambering around my roof with tools like deadlines, marks and fellow students, my reception improved dramatically.

Alas, just when my dish was adjusted just right, the entire satellite was knocked off course by Comet Baby. These days, I can only tune in to Channel Write when he’s taken out of orbit, either by another carer or by sleep, something he only does for longer than 45 minute intervals at night.

Complicated Foxtel metaphors aside, a lifetime of procrastination has yielded a few thoughts for writers with self-discipline issues. These are:

1. When inspiration does strike, run with it as far as you can. When it doesn’t, make yourself write anyway.

2. Give yourself permission to write badly. If your scene isn’t working, don’t stop: sling something dodgy together and fix it later.

3. If you know what’s going to happen but can’t bring yourself to write the actual chapter, dot point your way to scenes you *can* write. Writing a scene that works usually helps you see how to write the scenes before it.

4. Don’t kid yourself that your genius needs no writing course! Writing courses can be very helpful for honing your craft and making you write, especially if you’re the sort of person who thrives on structure and deadlines.

I’d best be off to tend to the Comet now. Not sure if the above constitutes a discussion of my writing process, exactly, but hey – if I’m told it’s not appropriate I can always file it under item 2 and whip up something else.


Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Details of the next Rotunda event

Fresh in from Bruno:

Rotunda in the West: Conversations with Australian Writers

in the spirit of community engagement


Brimbank Literary Festival
@ Australian Technical College, Sunshine

A three way PARTNERSHIP between VU, Brimbank Literary Festival and ATC Sunshine

Tuesday 1st September
free event
Venue: ATC Sunshine
76 Suffolk Rd
(wine and finger food served)

Special Guests:

Hannie Rayson (playwright, columnist)
in conversation with

Michael Cathcart (historian, broadcaster)


Please wave back and indicate your interest...open to all.
Just a five minute drive from Rotunda's traditional home.
Please pass on this invitation.

Grazie mille
Bruno Lettieri
0422 29 86 43


Rotunda in the West is hosted by Professional Writing and Editing (TAFE) @ VU
Supported generously by: Office of Community Engagement
Office of Vocational Education

Thursday, 6 August 2009

PWE book

Don't forget to submit something for the annual PWE book. This year's theme is fire and flood. Anything's welcome on these themes, so if you have a short story, poetry, script, novel extract that you want considered, we suggest you show it to one of your teachers first to get some feedback, then submit it to Susanna ASAP!

SEED is on the hunt for submissions

This is just in from the Seed editors. Note that as well as offering publishing opportunities, there's a chance to put your hand up to grab some editing or proofreading experience! All three editors are past PWE students, so they know the type of experience you're like to have, so why not go for it? Help them out and help yourselves establish a track record at the same time.

Attention all VU Writers and Artists!

We want to publish your work, opinions, thoughts and ideas!

This is just in from the Seed editors. Note that as well as offering publishing opportunities, there's a chance to put your hand up to grab some editing or proofreading experience! All three editors are past PWE students, so they know the type of experience you're like to have, so why not go for it?

We are now taking submissions for Issue Four (Deadlines: articles/artwork – September 4th; advertisements – September 6th). The theme is CENSORSHIP & the UNDERGROUND.Censorship comes in many forms. There's self-censoring, censoring of children, billboard censorship, government policies censoring our media intake, military powerbrokers censoring what is reported to us—the general public. The underground: pretty straight forward in relation, so interpret however you will—go wild. Sends us your submissions, and do so uncensored. You can choose any topic, touch on any subject: just try to relate it (however remotely) back to the theme.

Submit your essays, reviews, fiction/non-fiction pieces, poetry, artwork, etc to: seedmag@hotmail.com

Guidelines are as follows:


Format: Times New Roman, 12pt, single space

Article word count: 1500 words (flexible for essays)

Reviews, Letters and Opinions word count: between 200-250 words

Any picture you wish to submit with articles will be considered, and should conform to the requirements below:


High resolution digital photo or scan minimum of 300 dpi

.TIFF and .JPG file format

File title to include a brief description of work


All email submissions must have a title and author name in the subject field. In addition, title, author name and contact details must be included in any article, review, poem or artwork.

Writers/illustrators will be notified via email as to whether or not their work has been selected for publication. Submissions will be edited and you may be contacted by an editor throughout the process.

A Few Sections to Poke your Pen at (hopefully regular)

· Letters and Opinions: respond to previously published work, comment on a current issue, or just have a good whinge about something (not a waxing rant though—about 200 words).

· Around Uni: Write about VU—events, services, faculties, internship programs, history, anything.

· Student Successes: know anyone whose taken off from the VU launch pad? Interview them—let us all know what they’re up to and how they got there.

· Reviews: give us your take on a record, book, live performance, festival, venue, sporting event, etc. You can either snatch the material we tee up (email your interest—first in best dressed) or bring your own gear to the party.

The following books are available to review from SEED:

Adam Creed – Suffer the Children

Julie Myerson – The Lost Child

Carlos Ruiz Zafón РThe Shadow of the Wind

Anne Michaels – The Winter Vault

Glenn Cooper – Library of the Dead

Gail Jones – Black Mirror

Jason Goodwin – The Bellini Card

Contact the SEED email to express your interest in reviewing one of these titles.

Act Now

SEED avidly seeks contributions from areas across all VU faculties: Arts, Education and Human Development; Business and Law; Health, Engineering and Science.

If you would like to get your hand into a bit of editing/proofreading, SEED is now also looking for volunteers who would like to become involved in the production of SEED.

For any and all enquires, suggestions, questions and submission pitches, please contact us at seedmag@hotmail.com

We look forward to working with you.



Maria Matina Brewster Hipik Matty Buschmann

Managing Editor Editor Editor