Archive for the 'Writers' Category

Effective Creativity: Editing and Getting Published for Writers

An exciting and interesting event is being held next week from Monday, July 3rd to Friday, July 7th, 2017.

This five-day intensive will be held at Tabor College of Higher Education in Adelaide, South Australia.

If you live in Adelaide, near Adelaide or can get there next week, this could be a break-through event helping you on the path to publication.

Whatever you write, however you communicate, now you can do it even better…

Effective Creativity: Editing and Getting Published for Writers

It’s an Intensive: an exciting 5 days where you’ll get to learn from, and with, publishers, editors, agents, academics and established authors who’ve achieved genuine success in the traditional and new media worlds.

The Intensive will focus on the rapidly changing and exciting world of modern publishing and communication. Topics will include marketing yourself as an author, editing and proof-reading for writers, and understanding and making the most of the complex world of digital and traditional publishing (see below for full program).

The 5 days will blend academia and practicality and is open to all interested. With sessions from 2pm-8pm daily and with dinner provided, it’s perfect for those who work and should provide plenty of networking opportunities. The Intensive can be attended as a full five-day program, or you have the option of attending individual days. Dinner and refreshments are included in all ticket types.

Important information: I will be there all week – and I happen to be one of the presenters.

You can see the whole programme and make bookings here.

Review: Can I Call You Colin?

CAN-I-CALL-YOU-COLIN-BIOGRAPHY-OF-COLIN-THIELE-by-STEPHANY-EVANS-STEGGALL

Can I Call You Colin? The authorised Biography of Colin Thiele

Written by Stephany Evans Steggall

Published in 2004 by New Holland Publishers (Australia)

 

I regret only ever having met Colin Thiele once in my life. I would love to have met him many more times than that but our paths only crossed on that one occasion. I would love to have met him many more times than that but our paths only crossed on that one occasion. I would love to have chatted with him about books, writing, literature, children, teaching, the environment and so many other topics. It was not meant to be.

Published books

All through my teaching career (1969 – 2004), I read many of his children’s books to my classes over those years. He was a prolific writer and published well over 60 titles for children; many more if the various multiple editions are counted. In addition to his children’s works, he published dozens of fiction and non-fiction titles for both children and adults. He contributed articles and stories to many magazines, journals and anthologies, and his unpublished speeches and talks would fill many more volumes. He wrote many radio scripts for ABC Radio here in Australia. He was also a prolific poet, publishing six volumes of poetry in addition to several volumes of children’s poetry. And all this prolific writing was done part-time while holding down a full-time teaching position. What an amazing man.

Highly regarded

Through his works, I thought I knew him quite well. This biography, however, has fully rounded out my knowledge of one of Australia’s most highly regarded writers and educators. This is a brilliant work and pays homage to a great South Australian, one who is held in such high regard here and abroad. The author of this work has researched her topic well, interviewing not only Thiele and his immediate family, but also many of his friends, colleagues, publishers, editors and hosts of others. Even some of his admiring fans are quoted, because hundreds, if not thousands of children wrote to him during his life.

Lifestory

The author covers every aspect of Thiele’s life, from his childhood growing up on a farm in the Eudunda district of South Australia, to his time at university in Adelaide through to his war-time experiences in the 1940s. His early teaching career is well portrayed, along with his venture into married life and parenthood. Later he was an inspiration to many hundreds of young people training to be teachers.

Thiele struggled throughout much of his life between to demands of his chosen profession, and the passion he felt to always be writing. This biography shows the strength of character of Thiele in all his dealings, whether that concern was for students, family members, colleagues, editors or readers.

Challenges

Despite the challenge of an overpowering workload due to his profession, his writing and his family, Colin had one other debilitating challenge to cope with throughout much of his life, He suffered constant pain due to rheumatoid arthritis. As a result, he also endured many operations, but these never seemed to slow him down. Many times he set up his hospital room as a fully functioning office so the work could continue.

Inspiration

This biography has also inspired me to revisit many of Thiele’s classic novels for children, as well as some of his non-fiction works and especially his poetry. Tracking down some of his poetry titles has proved difficult; thank goodness for inter-library loans!

Serendipity

The inspiration to read this biography has come through a serendipitous twist: the author Stephany Evans Steggall has recently become my daughter’s neighbour while they are both teaching at Bingham Academy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

In another serendipitous twist, I share the same birthday with Colin.

Vale, Colin

Sadly, Colin passed away in 2006. His much-loved books for children include Storm Boy, Blue Fin and Fire in the Stone, all of which have been made into popular movies. Another favourite is Sun on the Stubble which was made into a television series. His stories continue to live on, love by each passing generation of children and adults alike. Only recently it was announced that a remake of Storm Boy is being filmed this year.

Related reading:

Films featuring writers and writing

I always find it interesting and somewhat enlightening when I see a film which features a writer or someone writing. I have seen quite a few over the years and even have a few in my own collection of DVDs.

I get a weekly newsletter from the Australian Writers’ Centre. It is usually both informative and entertaining. Their blog recently featured a list of movies which feature writers or something about writing. You can access the article here.

This is quite a long list and some of my favourite movies are featured on the list, including:

  • Miss Potter
  • Finding Neverland
  • Iris

I must admit that there are many on the list which I have never seen. Perhaps I need to reactivate my membership of the local video hire shop – if it is still operating. I haven’t darkened its doorstep in many years. Too many books to read – and write!

There is also a lingering feeling that this list is far from complete. I have just quickly skimmed over my own collection of DVDs and can add the following:

  • Moulin Rouge
  • As Time Goes By (okay – this is a television series)
  • MASH (okay – another television series and only occasionally features a writer or writing)
  • Jewel of the Nile

Books into movies

Now – if we extend the list to include books which have been made into movies, the list would be enormous. The latest one I have experienced is The Hunger Games: Mockingjay 2 which I just happened to see yesterday. Good movie, and a satisfactory ending to the series. I don’t think I will get around to reading the books; I have too many other piles of books and magazines waiting to be read.

Good writing. Good reading. Good viewing.

Trevor

Have a great big creative life

“Oh my God, what if you wake up some day, and you’re 65, or 75, and you never got your memoir or novel written; or you didn’t go swimming in warm pools and oceans all those years because your thighs were jiggly and you had a nice big comfortable tummy; or you were just so strung out on perfectionism and people-pleasing that you forgot to have a big juicy creative life, of imagination and radical silliness and staring off into space like when you were a kid? It’s going to break your heart. Don’t let this happen. Repent just means to change direction — and NOT to be said by someone who is waggling their forefinger at you. Repentance is a blessing. Pick a new direction, one you wouldn’t mind ending up at, and aim for that. Shoot the moon.”

Anne Lamott

Reading this quote yesterday brought me up with something of a jolt. Do the words of Anne Lamott refer to me and my creative life? Have I procrastinated about being a writer far too much? Will I squirm on my death bed with far too many regrets about not having written?

I hope not.

In fact, I know I won’t.

Me – the writer

All of my life – even when I was on a side track teaching for 35 years – I considered myself a writer. In fact, I have independent proof that most of my students regarded me as a writer too because I often shared my stories and poems with them. People in my church regard me as a writer, as do some of my family and many of my friends.

Into retirement

As I neared a certain age I began writing more and now eleven years into retirement I write almost full time. It has been a steep learning curve and an intensive few years. Included in those eleven years was time set aside to complete a Masters degree in creative writing which has helped me tremendously. Also in those 11 years I have written hundreds of poems, dozens of short stories and articles and thousands of blog posts here and on my other sites Trevor’s Birding and Trevor’s Travels.

No regrets? Maybe some

So while I will have no regrets about reaching 75 years of age – and I’m getting there far too quickly – there are still some areas of concern. It is true that I have had significant portions of my writing published over the years. On the downside, however, is the vast amount of my writing still left unpublished in any form. It languishes unloved and unread on my hard drive. I wrote about the issues surrounding this on a recent post called My life is a work in progress.

A big juicy creative life

So , while I have written vast numbers of words, and tasted the rewards of limited publication success, I feel that there is so much more to enjoy in this “big juicy creative life”. I press on. I keep writing. I keep submitting. And I keep hoping.

I just do not want to experience a broken heart at the end of my life.

What about my readers? I would love to hear from you, either in the comments via in the contact form.

Good writing.

Trevor

Being a highly effective writer

I know from several decades of taking my writing seriously that I experience seasons of high productivity, followed by leaner times. It is during those times when writing is a struggle that we prove to ourselves what it takes, and the price needed to be paid. I am currently coming out of a very lean period, a dark, season of little output and plenty of discouragement.

In the early 1990s I read the Stephen Covey book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I devoured the contents of this book, and those he subsequently wrote, and successfully applied many of the principles to my own life. It changed many things about the way I lived, including my writing. At the time I was teaching full time and the books also influenced how I approached my teaching career. (Note to self: time to reread those books – and any subsequent books he wrote.)

I recently came across a short article called The Habits of Highly Effective Writers. While this article didn’t go into great depth on the subject, the author has some valuable principles from which all writers could benefit.

Productive writers don’t reach for excuses when the going gets hard. They treat writing like the job it is. They show up, punch the clock, and punch out. Nothing romantic about it. They give themselves a quota; sometimes it’s butt-in-chair time, sometimes a word count. Simple math allows you to figure out how quickly 1,000 words a day adds up to a book-length work. These writers know how to use deadlines, whether external or self-imposed, to stay on track.

I guess that I have, in part, been using the excuse of illness in recent months for not making as much progress with my writing as I would have liked. To be fair to myself, there were many times when I was nearly doubled up in pain due to a stomach ailment, or being unable to even sit at my computer for any length of time due to back pain, or even falling asleep in mid-word at the keyboard due to the effects of sleep apnoea. Despite all these hindrances, I pushed on as best as I could, but achieving far less than I had hoped. It was a frustrating time.

Apart from still some back pain, these issues are in the past – I hope – and now the reality to those dark days fading into the distance is being realised. I have reset my goals and look to the coming year with great anticipation. I dream that this will be my best year of writing ever, eclipsing the year I achieved my Masters degree. All I have to do is put in the hard yards – and quite a few miles as well – and those dreams may turn into reality.

Good writing.