At our most recent meeting, we were lucky enough to have Melinda Tognini talk to us about her writing and the evolution of her book, Many Hearts, One Voice: The Story of the War Widows’ Guild in Western Australia, which was published by Fremantle Press last year.
Melinda told us of her long journey to writing. For those who missed out, here a few key points from her talk:
1. Use any available time to write. Melinda used to write while her children napped, and now they’re at school and she has all day, she’s not sure she accomplishes any more than she did then. The point being that we can always squeeze in time to write, no matter how small that window is, and when we only have a little time, we somehow use it more efficiently.
2. ‘Trick yourself’ into writing. If she was tired, Melinda used to tell herself she only had to write for ten minutes and then she could stop. She found that once she started, she didn’t want to stop. The key was to make a start.
3. We must take our writing seriously and prioritise it.
4. No writing is wasted. Everything is writing practice. Melinda wrote a YA novel and won a mentorship for it. It was eventually rejected by six publishers and still sits in a bottom drawer, but she believes if she hadn’t written it, she wouldn’t have learnt the skills necessary to write Many Hearts, One Voice, the book that did get published.
5. Melinda has a personal interest in empowering people to tell their stories and be heard. Many of the war widows she interviewed for her book believed their stories were boring and unimportant, when in fact they were full of courage. Most of us believe our lives are boring, when the opposite is true and there’s much power in telling our story.
6. The power of perseverance. It took Melinda eight years to research and write Many Hearts, which she did as part of a Masters Degree. Many times over that period she wondered why she’d ever taken it on and wanted to give up. However, she persevered and the book was published.
7. While researching Many Hearts, One Voice, Melinda used Trove extensively, and found it an invaluable historical research tool. It’s an online record of most/all newspapers published in Australia up until about 1954. She also used the Battye and National Libraries.
8. Lastly, Melinda had a message about not comparing yourself to other writers, especially prolific authors! Your writing takes as long as it takes!
Thanks, Melinda, for being so generous with your time and talking to us. We hope to see you again at future meetings.
WHAT’S ON AT THE FAWWA
Creative Conversation with Meg Caddy, author of WAER, on Sunday 10 April (10.30am – 12pm). Tickets $10 FAWWA/KSP members, $15 non-members.
World Building Workshop with Meg Caddy, on 17th April (2pm – 4.30pm). This workshop will teach you a ten step process aimed at building functioning, realistic fantasy worlds. Tickets $35 FAWWA/KSP members, $45 non-members.
Creative Conversation with Natasha Lester on Wednesday 4 May (7pm – 9pm) for a Creative Conversation with Natasha Lester to discuss her third novel, A Kiss From Mr Fitzgerald (Hachette). Emerging writer Emily Paull will be our interviewer, with audience Q&A to follow. Wine and nibbles will also be provided! $10 FAWWA/reciprocal members, $15 Non-members. More details to come.
Workshop with Natasha Lester on Sunday, May 15: How to Get Started (And Stay Motivated!) Writing a Book. This course will take you through the 5 key steps that will help you make a commitment to your writing and finally fulfil your dream of finishing a book! $35 FAWWA/reciprocal members, $45 Non-members. More details to come.
Creative Conversation with Michelle Michau-Crawford on Sunday May 29, author of short story collection, Leaving Elvis and Other Stories (UWA Publishing). Audience Q&A will follow. Drinks and nibblies will be provided. $10 FAWWA/reciprocal members, $15 Non-members. More details to come.
Workshop with Michelle Michau-Crawford on Sunday, June 12: ‘Creating Place’. This workshop will teach strategies to enhance your writing and enrich the sense of place, and by drawing from the five senses, memories and emotions, we will undertake practical exercises to develop a more textured sense of place in a piece of writing.$35 FAWWA/reciprocal members, $45 Non-members. More details to come.
Every Tuesday fortnight at Mattie’s House between 6 and 8pm, our very own Belinda, Emily, and Mikhalina facilitate two distraction-free, forty minute writing blocks. So come along! The next session will be next Tuesday, 5th April.
We welcomed Bruce Willett, who has already written a children’s book, ‘The Adventures of Milly Wheatseed’, and Susan Preston, who has published a series of Christian historical fiction. Click on the links for more information about their books and blogs.
Sunday, April 17th, 10am-12pm.
We’ll start with a presentation on Dealing with Feedback. It goes without saying that if we want to be read, we must show our work to others, and at some point we have to hear feedback. We pour our hearts onto the pages of our manuscript and metaphorically strip ourselves naked, and we then ask others what they think of it. It can be hard to cope with criticism, but it’s important to be able to and not to take it personally.
After the morning tea, we’ll talk about any issues you’re having with your WIP and we always love hearing people read from their work.
I’ve lined up a few very interesting guest speakers for future meetings, so please stay tuned!
Until next time,