Volunteering for the Writing Community

Portrait at 53

As frequent readers of this blog might guess, I am a strong believer in giving back to the community. Since I am still unemployed (alas) I have volunteered to help out at my local writing festival (yay). My excitement and enthusiasm for the Brisbane Writer’s Festival reminds me of my first writing conference, now over ten years ago.

At that first conference, I felt like I was ‘cheating’ to be there. I hadn’t started my writing degree, and I only had one or two serious writing credits. What I found was my tribe, and I felt more at ease in the group than I had ever felt anywhere before. I got them; they got me.

Since then, I have discovered pop culture conferences, which are another part of my tribe. However, as much as I enjoy Supanova and its ilk, nothing has quite the same buzz as a writers’ conference. I have volunteered at ‘Voices on the Coast’, which is for YA and Children’s authors, and at Reality Bites, the conference for creative nonfiction writers. I always learn something new at every conference, even if it just about just how friendly the Australian writing community really is. As an attendee or as a volunteer, writing conferences energise and inspire me.

I love hearing about other writers experiences with the writing process. If there is one thing I know, it is that no two writers have exactly the same process.

This festival, I am in the Green Room team. This means I have to rein in the fangirl and remain completely professional for the talent. They are the stars of the show, and my job is keep them happy and unstressed – well, as unstressed as you can be when you know you are about to front up to an auditorium full of excited festival attendees.

If you are one of the lucky people coming to the Brisbane Writers Festival, you are in for a real treat this year.



Filed under Community, writing

6 responses to “Volunteering for the Writing Community

  1. Jolly good show!

    – i did a stint at that even some 12 years ago. i was a big hit. They never got me back. (I suspect anti-kiwi bias – but cannot prove anything, of course.)
    So go on: fangirl all over those children’s and YA authors!

    I never go to it myself. Can’t stand the pain of being ignored in my own town.
    (Does my bitterness show?)

    • I can’t think of anyone less ignorable than you.

      • Thanks.

        It’s about recognisability, top-of-the-mind recall, familiarity, being in the loop. In one word: ‘known’. But I’m not known in Aus. I made a few inroads some 2 decades ago, then lost them. Tried again when I moved here. Kept pushing myself forward, sending CVs. I created a school presentation (“Colour the Dog Green”), got certified to visit schools, and it was all just shituphill. Gave up.

        The other thing is, one needs to keep putting out *books*. Getting in front of school librarians, getting reviews and into the lit mags. Short-listings….
        Everything that flowed for me in NZ simply didn’t exist here. Worst career move ever! (Not that it was a career move.)

        Anyway, it’s up to me to own my bitterness. It’s just some old childhood feelings still operational. I’m not all blame-y bitter. And giving up on being a children’s writer has helped a lot. I believe I’ve just about completed that transition. I can only say “I was – ” now.

      • I still think of you as a children’s writer. And a writer. You are the whole package! You are an excellent speaker, charming and interesting; you can draw and do graphic design; your cosplay is unique and well crafted.

        You sound quite down on yourself. Remember, many, many people love and respect you as a writer, and for yourself.

  2. Thanks. I am all of those things; true.

    The problem is my constantly clamouring child-need for recognition and acknowledgement from all those ‘adult’ organistations, the funders, schools, literary societies, reviewers, etc.
    If I didn’t feel that then I could probably float through these years of obscurity and lack of working opportunities like Buddha would’a. But I’m not Buddha. Maybe his left elbow at best.
    This is how I currently see it, *intellectually*, but making the changes at an deep emotional level – not as easy. Hence my efforts entirely give up. That is the path of no more pain.

    Sorry to commandeer your joyous announcement with my own troubles. The bitterness – it lingers. (BTW – when I said “– i did a stint at that even some 12 years ago” I did mean it was a paying gig, and I was written into the program. Maybe they just weren’t happy with my two shows, is all.)

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