Interview with QWC

edwina pic

Guess who got her noggin in the most recent Queensland Writers Centre (QWC)newsletter?


I did the interview so long ago now I’d forgotten about it, so had a wonderful surprise when I opened the newsletter yesterday.

It includes such words of wisdom as …

“I just glue my bum to the seat and write until something worthwhile comes out.” 🙂

and a few hints and tips on the writing life.

Click HERE to read the full interview.

I have been a member of QWC since 2002, when I first dedicated myself to pursuing writing as a career. They hold great workshops by fabulous local and international authors on the craft of writing, and run a number of programs to assist emerging and mid-list authors as well.

I am a mentor for QWC’s Writer’s Surgery Program, guiding new writers and advising them on their works in progress.

In other news, I’ve submitted my screenplay to Screen QLD and am now waiting (as patiently as I can!) to hear back from them about the next steps forward.

Happy writing everyone! xxx



success story

Recently, I was chatting with my writing friend Fiona and she reminded me of a golden rule for finding success as a writer – SUBMIT!

I’ve known this all along, of course, as you probably have too, but in the process of working on several full length works, my submissions to journals and competitions had dropped right off. I’d focussed almost exclusively on the creation of work, forgetting that it needed to go somewhere. Do the writing is the very first rule, but just as important is remembering to send it out. Having the courage to do so.

Fiona told me about a group of writers who devised the following golden rule for success.

At any one point in time, you should have 20 points worth of your work out in the world looking for good homes. That means SUBMITTED!

One point for each short piece submitted and eight points for each full length work.

When I was talking to my writing buddy Helena about instituting this rule for our writing group, she suggested we add three points for each grant/residency or other proposal. Yes, three points does seem a bit much, but those applications, especially the ones with imaginary budgets, are so odious that the three points we’d score dangles the necessary carrot to get it done.



1 point for each short piece

3 points for each grant/residency etc application

8 points for each full length work submitted to a potential publisher or agent.

20 points out in the world consistently is (apparently) the magic number to ensure success.


The day Fiona first mentioned this I had a pathetic total of one point. Since then, I’ve got it up to 12!

One other helpful tip I’ve remembered is that when you send your precious creative children out into the world, imagine that you are addressing them to “The Publishers who Love My Work”.

If they are returned to you unpublished, know that they’re stamped with “Not at this address!”. Give the returned piece a quick once over and send it straight back out to another opportunity, addressed to that publisher who totally gets you. You’ve got to keep up your points tally remember?

So who’s with me? Let’s get our 20 points magic happening. Come join me for the ride!



white roses

About a Circle

We all know that in order to succeed at writing we need to persist. But the truth is that sometimes the going gets pretty tough. There are no longer “Patrons of the Arts” to support us creative folk while we slave away, which means our financial situations (especially if we’re devoting a lot of time to our art) are often precarious. On days when the rent is due, or the electricity bill, or the school fees, the nagging doubts –  about whether we’re doing the right thing, whether we’d be better off just chucking in the towel and getting a Real Job – are deafening.

What keep us writing then?

Strength. Strength of will and mind,which enables us to keep on going even though the promise of reward may still be far in the distance. Strength to endure rejections and losses and go back for more. The strength to see it through, to give it one more year, one more month, one more day. To write one more word, even when we don’t feel like it.

Courage. You have to be either brave or foolish to take on writing, or any other art form for that matter, and try to make a living from it. It takes guts. The courage of the fool, stepping blithely off the precipice trusting she’ll be  caught.

Faith. Faith in yourself. Faith in your work. Faith that one day, some day, hopefully sooner rather than later, all the work you’ve been doing will be rewarded (and by that I mean paid for – with money!) You have to believe that being called to pursue art seriously was not just the whim of the Gods, but an offer. Trust that your dreams will come true.

My friend Stephen Nothling, who currently has an exhibition showing at Eva Breuer Galleries in Sydney, is a great example of these three qualities. When I first met him in the mid-eighties he was living rough in his studio in the Metro Arts Building in Brisbane, painting every day and holding shows regularly. One of his early murals still decorates the ceiling of the foyer. These days he lives with his partner, Dierdre, and their two lovely children just around the corner and he’s still painting. Six days a week. He’s had years of success and acclaim and others that were lean and mean. But still, every day, he gets up, goes to his studio and paints something beautiful. And they are beautiful as you can see from the picture above. Click on his name at the Gallery site for more and you’ll see what I mean.

If that isn’t strength, courage and faith enough for you then factor into the equation his visual impairment. Stephen can hardly see and paints his massive canvasses with tiny brushes, his nose millimetres from the cloth. He is an inspiration. He once told me that the world needs artists, just as much as it does butchers and bankers. And I agree. Without art, in all its forms, we forget how precious and beautiful life is.

Thank you Stephen and all those artists who never give up.

Sending you all the strength, courage and faith you need.




Just past the 30 000 word mark of the first draft of my new novel manuscript. I’m glueing my bum to the seat and getting the words down but not without some hideous self-doubts raising their ugly heads.

When I first started seriously writing fiction, back in 2002, I wondered why more experienced writers talked about their fear of the blank page with such horror.

Now I know why. Even if you have some success, once you’ve been writing a while and some of it has been good, then the fear of crappiness sets in.

If you’re lucky the creative process will whisk you away and you’ll forget to check for shittiness of writing. But if you’re stuck in that, “Will it ever be good enough?” head space, then it’s best to work with the screen covered. (I once spent a whole month typing with the screen of my laptop turned down.)

On my very darkest days thoughts of quitting, cutting my losses and finding a real job that actually pays, make every word I smear on the page seem worthless.

That’s when I stop and ask myself, “Should I go on? Is it worth the effort?”
And every single time, this is the answer I get.


So, if you’re in that dreary self-doubting place, I want you to hear these words too.

JUST KEEP WRITING! Your writing is good. Your work is valuable.


with love,