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…

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© kevin-butz-FvFuMYVbhzE-unsplash

A poem

Rural settings can be just as dangerous as big cities

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Photo by Manuel Meurisse on Unsplash

There’s a tendency to think major crime only happens in the city — “down these mean streets” where dark alleys and doorways inspire murder and mayhem. Cities make perfect places for murder, where people are more anonymous and someone going missing may not in fact be missed. But small country towns and villages also can be a hotbed of crime, both fictional (Midsomer Murders) and true. Australia is no different.

Over the past few years, both novels and true crime books have explored some of the bizarre or brutal crimes that can happen in small places here. Australia is a…

The more poem titles you come up with, the better you will get at it

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Photo by Jr Korpa on Unsplash

Nobody ever said coming up with a good title was easy. If you are publishing a novel, it can feel like a huge amount rests on a great title. But writing titles for poems isn’t any easier. Many poets wrestle with the challenge and end up using what is called a “label”. So their poem is about whales, and they call the poem Whale. Or after trying a few different titles, they decide to call it Untitled (or to be clever and call it Untitled 23).

A poem without a strong title is a missed opportunity. …

Where does the urge to travel come from — our ancestors?

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Carousel at Montmartre, Paris © Sherryl Clark

Go: 1. move from one place to another; travel.

2: leave; depart.

My earliest urge was to go. Get out. Run away. Be anywhere but here. It’s never left me.

New Zealanders joke about going OS, always have. My eldest sister left when I was ten, and sent me postcards. My favorite was of the cliff divers in Acapulco. She went to England on a ship, the Northern Star. In those days it took six weeks. I wanted to be like her, but more than that, I wanted to go. Somewhere, anywhere.

I did finally go when I was 20…

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…

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…

Sherryl Clark

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

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