(This is a mirror site of my webpage karenjcarlisle.com)

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Of Firsts, Writers' Festivals and Personal Challenges.

I am not very good in big crowds, especially when I do not know anyone. I feel alone, vulnerable and anxious. I used to love meeting new people and new situations but, after protracted stress at my day job, this has changed. Having identified the problem, I am working on ways of dealing with it.
Salisbury writers fest 1 2014Yesterday's personal challenge was to attend my very first writers' conference - the Salisbury Writers' Festival.  My DearHeart dropped me off (to avoid parking issues - and for moral support) and I registered at the front desk. I found a seat (right at the back) and took a deep breath. So far, so good.  (One of the members of my writers group arrived after morning tea, providing a familiar face.)
John Marden, having absconded from hospital with a broken leg and dislocated ankle, kicked off the day with an informative discussion on how to stand out as a writer by using your own voice.
Heather Taylor Johnson shared her twelve year journey to publication, and her experiences with writer residencies.
Tales from the Bunker followed with authors Allayne Webster, Ruth Starke and John Marden, each discussing their books set in wartime - Paper Planes (Bosnian war), Tomorrow When the War Began (Australia is invaded) and The Anzac Tale (a graphic novel with anthropomorphised characters) - with tips on approaching the subject of war, particularly to a younger audience.
In Spontaneous Creation, much fun and brainstorming was had by the authors Sean Williams, Amanda Blair, Dan McGuiness and audience alike. There was nanna, crochet, cardigans, ray guns and Nannageddon.  I think I will have to write a short story based on some of these ideas!
Finally we heard from Jacinta di Mase Management and publishers from Omnibus Books, Hardie Grant and Allen and Unwin in Panel of Publishers, with a look into the possible future of the publishing industry - spurring more discussion over afternoon tea.
A second session with the publishers looked at The First Page. Twenty-four submissions were discussed, constructive feedback was offered for each submission.Salisbury writers fest 2014
When I decided to start the journey to become a writer (and one day maybe a published writer), I  created a list of things I had to do. One task was to learn more about my craft. This Festival was a major step in my writing process as well as a personal challenge - to mingle and chat with other writers.
Achievement unlocked.
Pity about the selfie fail.

Of Firsts, Writers' Festivals and Personal Challenges.

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