Just 2021 things
So, 2021 is almost over. I keep thinking it’s still 2020 so not sure I’m ready to start saying 2022! Where I live it’s been another year mostly spent in lockdown but there have been some nice parts too.
In February I came runner up in the Aniko Journal flash fiction prize – for my piece ‘Black Cockatoos’. That was a lovely way to start the year! I also enrolled in a short art course and had a lot of fun playing with paint and expressing myself on the page in a different way. I’m not much of a visual artist but it was fun to let go of expectations and do something out of my comfort zone. I definitely recommend playing with different art forms because it can be a really good to get your creative brain working in other ways. It’s also nice to do something that takes the pressure off. I know I’m very hard on myself when I’m writing and it was lovely to have another outlet that I could relax a bit more in.
In March I was awarded a 2021 mentorship from the Australian Society of Writers for my unpublished manuscript ‘Found Again’. This mentorship has been incredible so far, really allowing me space and time to work on this story under the guidance of an amazing mentor. I’ve restructured the whole manuscript, changing the perspective and point of view, as well as thinking deeper about the themes and the story I’m trying to tell. I’ve really reclaimed this novel and I feel so excited about its progress and where I want to take it. There’s still a lot of work that needs to be done but I feel I’m on the right track again. It’s also so nice to have someone in my corner cheering me on. I really feel that my mentor truly understands the story I’m writing and she’s been so fantastic in pushing and guiding me forward. Through the award, I’ve also been lucky enough to attend monthly information sessions around publishing and breaking into the industry. It’s been a truly fabulous resource and I feel so grateful to the ASA for everything they have provided so far.
For a brief time, back in March/April we weren’t in lockdown and I was able to go on a writers retreat down near the beach. Oh, this was wonderful. I went with a great group of other writers and we’ve all become quite close since. It’s so important to have other writers that you share your highs and lows with, and I am so happy to have this group. We share writing news, opportunities, and generally just cheer each other on. Here's a recent photo from our Christmas catch up!
I had my first TV appearance in May! It wasn’t writing related but it was a pretty cool thing to do. I was on the Today Show, speaking about lockdown, separation from family, COVID, and the border closures. I was pretty nervous but I didn’t fumble my words and while I don’t want to watch it back, I’m proud of myself for getting out there and taking the plunge.
What else? I've been working on another manuscript that I have since completed. It's called 'Helen Hope' and I really loved writing it! A little bit about it: Helen Hope’s firefighter husband Jerome has recently died in a bushfire. Full of anger, Helen and her teenage daughter move to the coastal town of Mana hoping for a fresh start. But things are not as they seem. There are secrets everywhere. Helen is about to learn something about her husband that will change her life forever. Helen finds a new job, working alongside a woman called Rita. But Rita is strange and she has a secret too. It's a story about learning to trust and finding your place in the world again after a traumatic event.
Next year I will be participating in a year long course run by the ACT Writers, called 'Hidden Nerve'. The topics will include everything from word choice and how sentences work, to illuminating character and building dramatic tension through gesture, and more. The program will conclude with two sessions during which authors will discuss work by an author they revere, providing detailed analysis. I am so excited about the opportunity to learn from these authors and can't wait to get started.
I'm sure there are more things I've missed but these are some of the highlights...
And perhaps the most exciting of all - I married my partner of 11 years last month! We got married out in our favourite place, the bush, in a tiny ceremony. It was perfect and I am so, so happy.