Writer, reader, traveller, nature lover, storyteller, poet, cat lover

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Writing in the bush! © Sherryl Clark

I remember only one story I wrote as a kid. Later, I wrote funny poems about people, long letters to my dad, and then some little stories and poems for my writing class. I know people who’ve taken 50 years to write what’s in their heart, because a school teacher or someone in their family criticized them. For me, it took about 30 years, and publication in an anthology. Starting small. Slowly getting serious.

My oldest writing friends have been hanging out with me, drinking coffee, workshopping and writing for all of those 30 years or more. We started together, and grew together. I ended up teaching creative writing as well, helping other people while I wrote my own stuff. It was always a balancing act. …

As more countries return to lockdown, there may be unseen benefits for you

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Photo by Manuel Peris Tirado on Unsplash

Melbourne was in lockdown due to Covid-19 twice in 2020. The first time was a bit of a shock but we all went into full social distancing mode, with hand sanitizing and following all the guidelines.

Then we had a second wave. And lockdown came back in full force. Some people who made a huge fuss and got media attention called us a dictator state, refused to wear masks (and were fined) and ran protests that made them look stupid. And risky. And the rest of us got mad at them for endangering us all.

By the rest of us, I mean the more than 70% of people (some surveys say 80+%) who agreed with the lockdown rules and gritted their teeth to get through it. None of us wanted to catch it — more importantly, since the majority of our deaths were in aged care facilities — none of us wanted to infect our elderly family and relatives. …

Or do you need a critical, professional appraisal of it?

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Photo by David Iskander on Unsplash

We all want to write novels that people will love to read. Probably most of us would celebrate a bestseller, too. Who wouldn’t? But there is a great deal of joy in having readers tell you, either via reviews, emails to your website or in person, how much they loved your novel and then ask, with bated breath, “How long before the next one comes out?”

The problem is this. You, as the writer, are probably the worst person in the world to know if your novel is any good. (The second worst person is your mom or dad. Especially if they aren’t readers.) You write, you finish a first draft, and the euphoria is huge. You did it! …

And once it’s on the page, you can burn it if you want to

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Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Oooh, this is tricky. Why would you want to write a poem about hate? Isn’t there enough hate in the world already, without adding a poem to the morass?

True. But there are a lot of reasons why you might. One of those reasons is that most of us don’t like to feel real hatred. It’s a powerful, negative emotion that can lead to disaster. It can lead to actions you later regret. Worse, it can lead to nothing and sit inside you and fester.

And what about other people’s hate? Isn’t it enough to see it on the news and in the many media we consume? …

Start your novel now — and keep going — this is how

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Photo by Maxi am Brunnen on Unsplash

There are two ways to write a novel. One is to wing it. Start writing. Right now. Just start. Go on. Free write, banging down whatever comes out of your head, pushing it further and further until you have a thousand or two thousand words. Then see what you have. And if you like it (you probably will unless you’re too self-critical, so don’t be), then keep going.

This is how a writer friend of mine wrote her first published novel. She called a friend, said “Let’s just write”, and they did. Both of them ended up writing completed novels from that first burst. …


Sherryl Clark

Writer, teacher, editor, book lover — www.sherrylclarkwritingcoach.com is where I offer editing and manuscript development services.

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