Relocating for Work?

Hi everyone,

I hope you’re well. As you may know, I am graduating from my Creative and Professional Writing course at university at the end of this year. I’ve been thinking a lot about what I’m going to be doing next year, and how I’m going to finance my life. As I was job hunting for availabilities in Brisbane, I realised that there really isn’t a lot here for creative writers and editors. Lately I’ve been thinking about relocating from Brisbane to Melbourne to try my hand at getting an editorial job down there. There are so many more opportunities, but also about double the competition, so I’m very torn.

I do love Brisbane, but I kind of feel like it’s my “uni” city, if that makes sense. It’s perfect for my university time, as a kind of transition from small-town Cairns, but it doesn’t really feel quite right for me. I know that if I were working here, I would always be thinking about where else I could be exploring. I’ve been lucky enough to travel to Europe a couple of times, but I have never actually lived outside of Queensland, Australia. I’d love to live in England for a period of time, and maybe visit my Swiss roots, but I do feel like Australia will always be my home.

The creative scene down in Melbourne is a lot more vivacious and happening than what we have in Brisbane, which, in a way, has lessened Brisbane’s creative scene’s ability to grow. A lot of the young creatives leave as soon as they’ve finished their degrees, because of the limited opportunities, and this stops new opportunities from coming about.

I’m still not certain, but I feel like I will definitely need a change of scene next year. I’m excited and nervous and a little scared. If you feel like you’re at a dead end in your current city, but you’re afraid to leave friends and family, I hope my experience will help you make your decision. I’ll be blogging all about the move next year on my lifestyle blog, if it does end up happening.

It will be quite daunting to leave my friends, and move even further away from my family, but getting a job that I really love is so important to me. I am the kind of person that easily feels restless and frustrated if I’m doing work that isn’t important to me, so I know that “just doing something” is not an option. Besides, I’m excited for a new adventure.

Yours sincerely,

Tamara Drazic

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Thursday Quotables: “Behind the Beautiful Forevers”

Hi everyone,

I’m taking part in “Thursday Quotables” this week! It’s hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies, and it’s basically an activity that gets readers and writers to share their favourite quotes from the books they’re currently reading. All the contributors then link up to create a treasure trove of priceless quotes, and a whole new to-read list.

books0212tharoorThis week I’m reading “Behind the Beautiful Forevers” by Katherine Boo. It’s a beautifully written book of non fiction that explores life in a Mumbai slum, and it has some incredible quotes, particularly in Abdul’s dialogue. Here is one of my favourites, where Abdul is convincing his parents not to marry him off:

“I hear of this love so often that I think I know it, but I don’t feel it, and I myself don’t know why,” he fretted. “These people who love and then the girlfriend goes away-they cut their arms with a blade, they put a cigarette butt out in their hand, they won’t sleep, they won’t eat, they’ll sing-they must have different hearts than mine.”

He told his parents, “You don’t hold a hot iron in your palm, do you? You let it cool. You think on it slowly.”

I haven’t quite finished reading it, but I’m definitely planning on writing a review once I’m done. Let me know in the comments which quotes from which books have stayed with you long after you finished reading them; I’d love to hear them!

Yours sincerely,

Tamara Drazic

Book Review: “A Visit From the Goon Squad” by Jennifer Egan

a-visit-from-the-goon-squad

Think old school rock n’ roll. Think corrupt music industries, secrets, bands, friendships, family relationships, and the strange interconnectedness that music brings us. “A Visit From the Goon Squad” is best served in an off-beat laneway cafè with a side of soft electric guitar.

I haven’t read many books that have affected me quite like “A Visit From the Goon Squad” by Jennifer Egan did. If you haven’t read it, I highly suggest that you go out and pick up a copy right now. If I had to say what the book is about, I’d say it’s a satire on the music industry, but there is so much more to it than that. It reads almost like a collection of short stories; I’d heard about this before I started reading it, and it kind of put me off. I love reading individual short stories, but the thought of reading a whole collection back to back kind of exhausts me. Despite this, I thought I’d give it a go, and I’m so glad I did.

Each of the segments pretty much stands alone. So much so that the opening story, “Found Objects”, was published in The New Yorker as a short story back in 2008. When you read the book all the way through however, it really does feel like a novel. The stories interweave in just the right way – not too much, not too little. The crossovers are hidden in the minor characters, as the individual stories slowly reveal each character’s backstory until you realise how they’re all connected.

The book starts out following Sasha, a kleptomaniac who works for Bennie, a music producer. The subsequent story is then told from the point of view of Bennie, and so begins an intricate web of character relationships that spans years into the past and future, all the way until the epic, spec-fic ending. I’ve never come across a novel that brings together different genres into a literary work so flawlessly.

“A Visit From the Goon Squad” has a kind of melancholic, almost doomsday mood to it, but this is balanced out by the sharp humour and truly believable and lovable characters. The characterisation is so subtle but so precise, and when I finished reading the last page I felt like I’d lost touch with my childhood friends.

If you like stories about artists, families, music, and human nature, you should definitely add “A Visit From the Good Squad” to your to-read list.

Yours Sincerely,

Tamara Drazic

Dealing With Self-Doubt While Pursuing a Creative Career

Hi everyone,

Thank you so much for sticking with me during this busy time. I know I’m not posting as regularly as I’d like, but now that the first issue of Spinebind is out (finally), I’ll have more time to focus on this blog.

Today I want to talk about self-doubt, particularly surrounding career paths. As you may know, I’m studying Creative and Professional Writing at university, and I’m really enjoying it. I want to write books, personal essays, columns, articles, web content, and poetry, and I also want to edit fiction and non fiction, and write manuscript assessments for publishing houses. There are jobs available, and although it’s going to be hard, I think I’ll be able to get a job that I love. So why is it that I used to just add “it’s like journalism” after telling people what I study? Why was I so scared of telling people I was studying something creative? I think it was because I didn’t want people to think that I thought I’d make it. I was afraid of seeming like I believed in myself.

I also had a habit of mocking myself, so other people wouldn’t do it.

“I don’t have a plan, I study creative writing.”

“I’m used to being unemployed, I study creative writing.”

“Don’t ask me, I study creative writing.”

This sort of thinking doesn’t help anyone with anything, least of all yourself. In the past year I’ve come to realise that the people who try to tear you down and who think badly of you for trying to reach your goals really shouldn’t matter to you. It doesn’t mean they’re bad people. I think we’re all guilty of looking at other people’s life choices and measuring them up against our own. I just mean that other people’s opinions shouldn’t have control over how you feel, or the goals that you set, or the career that you pursue. In the end, it’s your life, and yours alone.

If you are struggling with self-doubt, I’ve found it really helps to look at your intentions. You want to achieve something. You want to do what you love every day. You want to try, even though you know it might not work out. That’s pretty admirable, in my opinion.

So next time you tell someone what you want to do with your life, don’t mock yourself. Don’t feel stupid. Don’t think about what the other person is thinking. My lecturer read us this quote just last week:

“We’re all failures, at least the best of us are.”     – J.M. Barrie

No creative person will go through life without failing at some point. In fact, no person in general will always succeed at everything. And that’s ok.

I hope this helped at least a little bit. I think that self-doubt and fearing other people’s opinions is just a part of learning what is really important. Be proud of yourself that you believe in yourself enough to pursue what you love, and don’t give up.

I’d love to hear your stories, so if you’d like to share, please feel free to start up a discussion in the comments section.

Thanks so much for reading.

Yours sincerely,

Tamara

The Connotations of Ink on Paper

Hello everyone,

I’m currently anxiously awaiting my first order of print copies of Spinebind Magazine! (if you have no idea what I’m talking about, click the hyperlink). Initially it was going to be a purely online magazine, set up as a kind of flip-book format to view in the browser, as well as a downloadable PDF. As the release date drew nearer, however, I started getting emails asking me if there was any way I could do a print run. Well, of course there was a way.

I had to completely change the design software, and therefore basically started from scratch. As a writer, I should know by now that first drafts are always awful. The second time I designed it, it looked so much more professional, and I was extremely thankful for having to start over.

When I talked to some friends about putting the magazine into print, many of them reacted in the same way – “That’s so exciting! It’ll be so much more real.” It was refreshing to see that in this age of screens and virtual reality, physical reality in the form of a book or magazine is still highly regarded.

Another common response was that it would be a lot more credible if it were in print. This got me thinking about the connotations of actual ink on actual paper. There’s something about the “product” passing through people’s hands to be created, packed, and shipped that adds an air of sophistication and importance.

Spinebind will still be available to view for free on the website because my main goal is to get as many people to see the work inside as possible, but it is also going to be something that can sit on a bookshelf, or a coffee table, or a waiting room. It’s something that can be shared while sitting down for coffee, not only by sharing a link, and it would still be around if the internet stopped working.

I understand that there’s an environmental issue with printing on paper and am definitely going to look into recycled and sustainable printing in the future, but for now I don’t expect many copies to be printed. I don’t even know how the future of the magazine is going to look, but for now I’m happy doing it as a hobby, beside my studies.

Most people will probably still view the magazine online, and that’s totally fine. I just found it really uplifting that, as a young generation, we are still very much grounded in the physical world, and haven’t lost the use of our senses other than sight. Smell, touch, and sound are all senses that are engaged when I pick up a book or a magazine.

I will definitely write a post on the arrival of the first order, and on my experience with self-publishing a magazine in the near future.

Thank you so much for coming along for the ride,

Yours,
Tamara Drazic