I met a friend for coffee yesterday afternoon. We hadn’t seen each other for a while. We talked about what work opportunities were about and what we both have done recently. I said to her, ‘I am not looking for work at the moment. I just want to focus on my studies.’
We parted and I walked the short distance home. I had only been home a couple of minutes and the phone rang. I had applied for a writing job last October but wasn’t successful. The newspaper rang me to ask if I was still interested and if I would like to come in on Monday for an interview. It is only for 8 hours a week and could be fun. I will wait and see how the conversation goes on Monday.This was the first time in four years since I left full time work that I actually stated that I am not looking for work. Isn’t life funny sometimes – the way things work out?
In my current studies I am learning about writing fiction and really enjoying it. I am currently working on a 2,500 word assignment. I have the ideas in my head and some words on paper. On reflecting about this new interest, I found two really positive benefits:
1. I can use my own life experience and feelings and infuse them into the characters in my story. I can control the outcomes of these characters and explore avenues/roads I would have liked to travel. Also I can channel any sorts of emotional experiences into my story.
2. I have something to think about. If I can’t sleep, I can play around in my mind with the characters or the plot instead of thinking about worries or problems. If I find myself at a loss for something to do, I can expand my ideas or even come up with a new angle.
The current module in my writing course is about doing research for fiction writing. Our tutor provided the students with a list of questions and instructed us to visit the State Library (Battye Library) to find the relevant information. It wasn’t a test of who could find the best material – the purpose was to encourage the students to physically get out there and find the richness of resources available to create interesting and informative stories. Accessing The West Australian newspaper on microfilm was an important part of the exercise.
I rocked up to Busselton library yesterday with my list of questions. I found myself in a panic for a few minutes, thinking to myself, ‘why can’t I just Google it?’ It was hard work looking through indexes of hard copies of books to glean a couple of sentences for the exercise. After about fifteen minutes I found myself lost in the experience and wanting to take home every book I picked up!
I spent two hours at the library and found everything I needed except the newspapers on microfilm. This morning I found digitalised copies of the West Australian on Trove at the National Gallery. My task then was to research what was happening in the wider world on the date of my birth. It is a fabulous resource and I spent hours reading through it and making notes. I then repeated the process with my mother’s date of birth in 1922 – again I found some great reading!
I now have until Monday to write a piece of fiction (500-600 words) based on, and using the information gleaned through the newspapers and library research. The story will be set on that date in November 1954. The assignment is due on Monday – feeling a bit under pressure to come up with a good plot. I can see some brainstorming, mind-mapping or whatever it takes, happening here!
It is only two weeks until my first assignment is due. I had planned to work out a time-table today. I got the books out on the table this morning along with a planner to schedule my work so that I can get it in before the due date. But inspiration and inclination are lacking. As I sat looking at the bundle of paperwork I thought of today’s photo challenge.
So at least there was some outcome from my plans for the day. It might be because it is Election Day and I am finding it difficult to focus. Is that a good enough excuse?
The Style Manual is actually a great book. I bought it about four years ago and only opened its covers recently as it is the text for the unit I am studying. When I worked for the West Australian State Government, the Style Guide was the rule book for all written communications. It can be confusing due to English being used differently in various parts of the world (primarily the UK, America and Australia). It is something I am aware of when I am blogging – that there ARE variations in the way we spell and pronounce different words. It makes life interesting!
This photograph was taken in Fitzroy Crossing sometime in the early 1980s when there was a significant flood of the Fitzroy River. I love the angles in the photo and the shimmer of the water on the road. I can see it on the cover of a story about a young boy walking home …
Can you think of any other titles that might suit the picture?
An Australian Bureau of Statistics 2006 Survey of Literacy found that 46.8% of adult Australians had a literacy level that was “insufficient to meet the complex demands of every day life and work in the emerging knowledge-based economy”. This quote is from a PowerPoint hand-out from my recent training to be a tutor of adults with literacy issues. And we are talking about people with English as their FIRST language. It is a pretty shocking statistic, don’t you think?
So if I was to produce a series of books for adult literacy students, do you think a market exists for such publications? The Read Write Now! people who ran the training course I attended said there is a very limited pool of resources for this group of people. Most resources are targeted at those with English as a second language and their needs are different.
Some of you may know that I am also doing a course in Professional Writing and I need to come up with an idea for a publication. My idea is: Words for Work, getting to first base…
So, if you were on the look out for this book, where would you start looking? Please take part in my poll today and you will make me one very happy blogger :-). Choose as many answers as you wish.
Ignoring what your audience needs – this is something so obvious but so difficult! I only want to write about certain topics and I write because I enjoy doing it. Fancy having to consider the market!!!
Underestimating your competition – she encourages us to distinguish how our publications can be different from our competitors. What if you just want to write and don’t fancy doing market research? No income 😦
Trying to do it all by yourself – she suggests that we don’t want others to challenge our opinions. Could this be true?
Thinking only about the next issue, not your future
Taking money from the wrong people – she suggests we could become dependent on financiers at the cost of our editorial integrity.