Attention all you creative writers hailing in the fair state of Victoria: Start writing/polishing off your best pieces for inclusion in the inaugural Lord Mayor’s Creative Writing Awards, brought to you by the City of Melbourne & the Melbourne Library Service.
Marking the City of Melbourne’s new status as the second UNESCO City of Literature (woot, woot!), the awards aim to support and foster emerging writers in the community and offer them the chance to win $1,000 in a range of categories. Even more exciting is the $5,000 main prize or Lord Mayor’s Award, which will be chosen from the following four categories:
- Short Story
- Three Hour Book or novella (E-book)
- Three Hour book or novella (Print)
- Young Writer (up to 25 years of age)
You can submit your entries in on or more of the above categories, so long as you get them in by 31st August,2009. What’s more, not only will all winners will be published, but their names will also be announced at an Awards ceremony in November. Kind of like a mini golden globes for us wordsmith’s aye?
For more information about how to enter, visit www.melbournelibraryservice.vic.gov.au or call 03 9658 9495
Wishing you all the best of luck,
Miss Wannabe Wordsmith xx
In one way or another, I have always wanted to be a writer. It was a passion that started with Lois Lane when I was 10 years old, strengthened with magazines at 16, and grew exponentially with my love of great stories and funny tales by the likes of Jane Austen and Marian Keyes at 21.
I never thought it would be a far-fetched dream. I had never read about the merits or the perils of the craft, and did not know what I was getting myself into. I went to uni, did a journalism degree, and coupled it with many a (miserable) stint in work experience and loads of emails and job applications.
I watched Carrie Bradshaw live comfortably off the wages from a single weekly column – in a NYC apartment, wearing Vuitton and Dior, and running off to parties, dinners, and drinks in Manolos – and I began to see all the fiction in the hype. But I never stopped wanting the dream.
I walked down a different avenue in an attempt to get my foot in the door. I applied for jobs in magazine advertising, hoping that an editor would notice me across the office floor and I’d suddenly be inundated with many a by-line. That never happened, but my passion and ambition did grant me some limited success as a freelance features writer.
By the time I sold my first article, having just turned 20, I felt a little more connected. But eventually my full-time job and lack of solid clues as to how to practice this freelance gig caught up with me. I did not develop the relationships and contacts and routine that could make such a career move work. But nothing ever changed, and sitting at my computer night after night, I still sought out that much desired career path.
I stuck it out in the second best that was advertising, but was served a redundancy letter five days before my 23rd birthday. I was being granted a second chance at my dream, and this time I would not stuff it up. But I need to discipline myself, work at it, and find a niche and a routine. And do something differently. Three weeks later, I packed my bags and headed to the emerging writers festival in Melbourne, where I was to be a panellist.
I felt like I was in wordsmith heaven. All around me, established and aspiring writers, and everyone who loved the written word, hovered about – sharing their experiences, offering up tips and advice, showcasing their work in all its forms. I was learning a lot while sharing my own experiences, and I wanted to make it last forever.
The festival coincided well with my renewed desire to further my own writing career, and after speaking about the merits of self-publishing, I decided to take my own advice and publish my journey by blogging about my career path from redundancy to writing full-time. In between, I would seek the information I always wanted to know about other writers’ backgrounds while sharing it with others in my shoes; I would review the great stories and works that inspired me to choose this path in the first place, and I would divulge all that I knew about the skills, steps and opportunities that one could take on a similar journey.
In a way, this blog would act as my supervisor. It would teach me, push me and discipline me more than my fanciful dreams ever could. I would make something of the big change that came my way in the form of a job loss, and I could hopefully inspire others to do the same, in the same way that I have been inspired.
This week’s load of info includes a showcase of Women’s Health magazine (I am obsessed with the current issue – stay tuned to find out why) and my speech on ‘crashing, bashing and smashing through’ the writing dream from the Emerging Writer’s Festival (great for aspiring freelance writers). And in the coming weeks, we’ll be interviewing web-editors, freelance journalists, authors and bloggers from a variety of backgrounds and interests, plus reviewing great books, showcasing fantastic titles, and giving you fabulous little info bites on what is happening in the writing world.
And of course, Wordsmith Lane would not be complete without its weekly Editor’s Challenge, which for this week is:
- Sticking to this blog – I tend to have great ideas and then abandon them right when I begin
- Generating three pitches for three publications I have never written before – one for a bridal title, one for a fashion magazine, and one for an academic journal (I have decided to broaden my horizons, but more on that later)
- Finalising the first chapter of my novel, as well as a plot summary, for pitching to a publisher by the end of this week
Tough challenges, tough game. There may have been regular bouts of torrential rain on my parade, but I am still going strong. I sincerely believe that I can, and I will, write my way down this road. And I believe that I am not the only one who could do it.
So if you share my love of words and my love of writing and want to know how your favourite writers got to where they are, please continue to check in and join me on my challenges and my discoveries.
Sometimes a big change is the thing that plucks us from our walks in the mud, only to plant us on well-lit paths strewn with pretty flowers and massive realisations. My redundancy was the worst thing I could have imagined at the time, but now, the prospect of finally achieving a remnant of the dreams I held at 10, 16 and 21, wipes all that away.
I am finally making the move to walk towards Lois Lane-style journalism, magazine articles, and the great stories that constantly make my days. I’m writing and working, and working and writing, and finally taking that long, undisturbed walk on wordsmith lane. I would love to hear your thoughts, and I hope you will continue to join me.
Miss Wannabe Wordsmith xx
G’day word nerds, and welcome to Wordsmith Lane, a blog about the written word in all its glory. Wordsmith Lane will be launching this July, so stay tuned for some interviews with great writers, book reviews, lessons on getting into the writing world, and all the latest news concerning the written word. And if you like to get a little bit personal (this is a blog after all) follow my very own writer’s journey complete with its successes and stumbling blocks in Blogger’s Desk , which features a whole load of my random wordsmith musings, based on my loves, hates and constant thoughts, purchases and opinions.
Until then, I’ll leave you with a little tale of how Wordsmith Lane came to be:
Once upon a time, there was a part-time journalist who loved cake, girly things, and Lois Lane. She had a tumultuous love story with a superman of her very own, and although he preferred to be Batman, she didn’t care (after all, a super hero was still a super hero) and she still hoped for the day when they could cement their relationship in the Chapel of Love (and Christ).
When they finally made headway with all their dramas (and let’s not lie – her daddy), crossing the rocky patches of ground that had plagued them for years and landing in the beautiful pastures of relationship bliss, she stopped indulging in shoes, bags and glossy mags and forfeited her passion to write — taking on a non-journalistic job that helped her save her pennies for the home that they would one day make their own.
But the wicked witch of the recession intervened, and before she knew it, the little miss was out of a job, and a long way away from her home sweet home. And with her Kryptonian/Gothamian superhero ridding the streets of crime as a cop on a salary the state government ought to be ashamed of, she had to say bye-bye to her white-picket-fence dream.
With a lot of time on her hands and no glossy mags to entertain her, the little miss thought about how she could get back into the writing game she loved, creating a little place where she can publish the thoughts, questions and tidbits she couldn’t publish anywhere else. And although she knew that her comic book heroine would never lose her job at the Daily Planet (if only because the baddies in the comic books are always robbers and murderers and never things like recessions), she figured she could use a little bloggy love, and the idea for wordsmith lane was born.
With a wee bit of journalistic charm and a whole lot of tidbits for a life of words, words and beautiful words, Wordsmith Lane was not going to only honour her love for the best investigative journalist who ever lived fictionally, but try to help other aspiring writers get in on the game.
So with her thinking cap on and a pencil in her mousy hair, she started writing her way through her own writing dream, and the writing paths of many others, hoping you love it, spread the word, and assist her on her little journey from the rocky patches of unemployment to the beautiful pastures of writing full-time.
A bit of a gamble, a little bit of hard work, and a whole lot of fun later, this is her experiment. Drop her a line and let her know what you love, loathe and need to see more of. After all, she’d love to serve it up on a platter all nice and ready for you, but when you’re too busy nailing some copy (and chasing your man of steel), reading minds is a whole other story. And one she probably won’t be writing about any time soon.