My First Writer’s Residency

Dear readers,

I woke up to some incredible news this morning. I found out that I’ve been accepted into the “Gullkistan Residency for Creative People” in Iceland for March next year. A couple of weeks ago I wrote to them about the novel I’m currently working on, and the plan I have for the month in residence, and now it’s all happening. I have wanted to visit Iceland for almost three years, and I can’t believe that I will be there for a month, doing what I love. I can’t wait to finish the first draft of my manuscript and hold it in my hands. Suddenly the end of my university degree doesn’t seem so scary.

Thank you so much for reading my blog and leaving such lovely comments; I can’t wait to take you along on this exciting path with me. Stay tuned for failed photos of the Northern Lights.

 

I hope something amazing happens for you this week.

All the best,

Tamara

P.S. The October issue of Spinebind goes live the day after tomorrow! It’s been a big weekend.

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Update – Issue #2 of Spinebind – Ideas

Hi everybody,

I hope you’re all doing well. I am up in Cairns visiting family, and am finally getting some much-needed down time. For any of my new readers out there, I’m the editor of a literary magazine called Spinebind. Up until a few days ago, my time was all being put towards the magazine and getting the second issue ready. I am so happy with how it turned out. The response to the second issue has been great so far, and it’s so nice to see that people are enjoying the work inside.  You can read all about the magazine here!

My own writing has been slowing down a bit lately. I know all of you writers out there understand the feeling of finally having time to work and then not getting anything out on the page. It’s as if all my ideas come along when I’m meant to be focusing on other things, and disappear with the rest of my worries as soon as I have time to dedicate to my creative projects. It’s during times like these that I stress myself out about my future. It’s silly, really, because I know from experience that the flow of ideas always starts back up again. But until that happens, I just keep reading over what I already have and edit, delete, edit, delete.

I do think I need to remember to allow myself a little bit of down time that doesn’t involve writing. That’s why I’m trying not to feel guilty about this past week. But I also think I need to get better at just writing through the uninspired times, otherwise I’ll never finish anything. I’ve been listening to music by Kodaline and The Apache Relay on repeat – their music always seems to inspire my writing – so we’ll see how it goes from here.

I hope you are having a great day,

Tamara

Writing Quote of the Day: Kafka on the Shore

Hello everyone,

I have around 10 thousand words due on Thursday, the same day as a proofreading exam, so this is going to be a very short post. I felt I had to update you though, because I think I may have a new favourite book. I’m currently reading Haruki Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore (let’s call it Kafka for short), and there are so many things about it that I just adore. I love Murakami’s stripped back style, mixed with the surrealism in his novels. It’s such an odd and fascinating combination, and I find that I’m enjoying every second of reading Kafka. As well as the intriguing style, the book is laden with really beautiful quotes that I want to write on my walls. I’m not going to because I’m renting, but if I had enough money to buy a house, that’s what I would do.

Here is one of my favourite quotes that makes an appearance quite early on in the novel:

“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”

– Kafka on the Shore, by Haruki Murakami

Have you read any Murakami? What do you think of his writing?

Thanks for reading,

– Tamara

My Creative Writing Playlist

Good morning everyone, I hope you’re all doing well. I’ve been doing a lot of writing on a new project this morning, and I realised how much listening to music helps me to get in the right frame of mind. It’s not just any music though – I can only write to very specific songs. I love reading about other writers’ processes, so I thought I’d share a list of my favourite songs to write to. Of course, it varies depending on the scene I’m writing, and the project I’m working on, but currently, this is what I listen to to get into the zone:

  • Good as Gold by the Apache Relay
  • Dancing in the Dark by Bruce Springsteen
  • Mission Bells by the Apache Relay (this one is perfect for sad/emotional scenes)
  • Golden Slumbers by the Beatles
  • Never Coming Down by Willamette Stone (for fast-paced, happy scenes)
  • Brand New Day by Kodaline
  • The Happiest Day of Your Life by the Apache Relay (makes me sad which makes me write sad scenes better)
  • The Only Thing by Sufjan Stevens (perfect for those character reflection moments)
  • Love Like This by Kodaline (Acoustic version)
  • Something by the Beatles

That’s it for now, but I’m sure I’ll be adding to this list as I get further into my work-in-progress. What music, if any, do you listen to while you write? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading,

Yours truly,

Tamara

 

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