May Meeting Round-Up


My apologies that it’s June already and I’m only posting this now. Here’s a quick recap of our May meeting:

Text to Speech Apps

Bruce told us about Adobe Acrobat DC, an app he uses that converts PDF text to speech. Bruce has found it incredibly handy for picking up errors, like repeated words, that the eye doesn’t.

I was playing around and discovered that my Mac laptop already has a text to speech app installed, which can be found via: System Preferences—>Dictation & Speech—>Text to Speech.

There are many languages and voices with different accents to choose from, and initially I chose ‘Karen’, because she was Australian, but it wasn’t the best choice! All you have to do is highlight some text, select your pace, press ‘Option-Escape’, and she reads …

Like Bruce, I found it particularly good for picking up repeated or omitted words, misspellings because she couldn’t pronounce them correctly, (She also mispronounced a few normal words, like ‘Ornty’ for ‘Aunty’), and clunky sentences and errors. It’s also kind of fun to hear your words read aloud!

Building an Online Platform

The general consensus is that it’s important, even essential, for a writer to have an online presence. There are many platforms: blogging, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. It’s impossible to do them all, especially if you’re starting, so begin with one and go from there. Some will appeal more than others, and after a while, you’ll find the ones that suit you, and stick with them.

Reasons to build your online presence:

It gives people somewhere they can go to find out about you, and find your books or articles.
It builds a relationship between you and your readers, somewhere they can contact you directly, and they feel as if they know you.
It showcases your writing.
It showcases your personality.
If you write non-fiction, you can show your credentials or research in this way.
It can be regularly refreshed with new material for your readers.

Belinda talked to us about setting up a newsletter via Mailchimp, which is free app for up to 2,000 subscribers, with many templates and formats to choose from. The advantage of a newsletter is that it’s mailed directly to your subscriber’s inbox, with all the information you want them to have in a single click.


If you’ve not received notification via email about this blog post, you may not be on my contacts list. Please let me know via the Contact page (or the FAWWA), and I’ll add you to the list, so you can be notified of upcoming BLPG meetings and events.

Next Meeting

Laurie Steed will be our guest speaker at the next meeting on 19th June.

Laurie is the Patricia Hackett Prize winning author of You Belong Here, and his work has been broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and published in Best Australian Stories, The Age, Meanjin, Westerly, Island, The Sleepers Almanac and elsewhere.

He teaches Advanced Fiction for Writers Victoria and is a member of the Editorial Board of Margaret River Press. In 2014, he became the first Australian writer granted fellowship in the history of the Sozopol Fiction Seminars and, in May 2015, he was selected for The 2016 Bernheim Writers Residency in Kentucky, USA.

Laurie’s going to speak to us about his (still continuing) journey towards full-length publication. While it’s not all cheers and gold jewellery, he says there are many lessons in his story, which he’ll tie in to talking about Margaret River Press, and his own journey in the industry. He’ll give us submission and publication tips, and answer any questions.

I think it will be a particularly fruitful session, so don’t miss it!

Forthcoming Events

Well Versed: WA Verse – Past & Present‘ on June 6th.
Aim to Entertain – Book Buzz with a Splash of Song, with Annette Raison on June 8th.
Creating Place Workshop, with Michelle Michau-Crawford, on June 12th
Creative Conversation with Ron Elliott on June 19 (the afternoon of our next meeting
Introduction to Screenwriting Workshop with Ron Elliott, on June 26th.
More details are available from the FAWWA website.

A reminder that Write Night is on at Mattie’s House every Tuesday fortnight, and the next one is on 6th June.

Quote of the Month:

‘Our power is patience. We have discovered that writing allows even a stupid person to seem halfway intelligent, if only that person will write the same thought over and over again, improving it just a little bit each time. It is a lot like inflating a blimp with a bicycle pump. Anybody can do it. All it takes is time.’


A Funny to Finish Off: Do you do any of these?

26 Obvious Signs You’re a Writer

See you all again on the 19th June.