Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Gift Ideas for Your Writer Friends

It could be for a birthday, or for Christmas, or a housewarming. At any time of year, there may be an occasion where you need a good gift idea for a writer in your life. It might be a little easier for writers to shop for other writers, but in case any non-writers are out there thinking of gift ideas for their writerly loved-ones, here are some suggestions.

1. Notebooks 

This might seem lame at first, but think outside the box. What does the writer in your life like? Colours? Paterns? Animals? Notebooks come in all shapes and sizes if you know where to look. Here are some of the gems in my collection. 

I prefer to take A4 notebooks to uni or if I'm writing a story by hand, but I also like a notebook that pops. Typo always has great notebooks with funky colours and patterns and quotes. Here's one with shiny pineapples. 

This little guy was a gift from a few years back. My partner found it on Etsy and it's perfect for jotting down little one-liners and ideas. Look out little it is next to my hand!

I got this one for myself earlier in the year when I saw it at Officeworks. The cover is made of wood, with an owl stenciled into it with hot pink card attached to the other side to make it pop, and the branch has a bumpy texture too. I haven't decided what to use this one for yet. Possibly a little writing reflection journal? 

You could also turn this into a budget-friendly gift by putting it together yourself. Get something nice and sturdy for the cover and some craft glue to put the pages in, or if you're feeling super crafty, stitch it together! Mix up the paper you include inside, with some lined, some blank, some grid paper—look for different textures and patterns to make it unique. If you're a bit arty, you could design the cover yourself, or you could decorate it with some funky book coverings. 

2. Stationary.

A lot of writers use a computer these days, but that doesn't stop us carrying around a notebook. And if we have notebooks, we need pens, and possibly other stationary. So get your writer friend some colourful, good quality ball-point pens or gel pens, depending what you think they might be into. Or get them a gift card for their favourite stationary shop, like Smiggle. Typo also does some funky stationary, with novelty pens galore. Personally, I have more pens than I have room for in my pen-jar ... but they're bloody good pens! 

3. Gift vouchers to their favourite book stores. 

People who write books almost definitely read books (and if they don't, they should!). A gift-card to the local Dymocks or Readings store, or their favourite specialty book store, will never go astray. 

4. Subscriptions to literary journals. 

I love seeing writers support other writers and the publications of their local literary industry. Find out what magazines or journals your writer friend might be interested in—just make sure they don't already have that subscription! 

Pro tip: Keep an eye out for subscribe-a-thons; I subscribed to 6 Australian literary journals in October, who were all participating in a discounted joint-membership deal. 

5. Memberships to a writers group or organisation. 

Writing groups and organisations give the opportunity to engage with a wider writing community. Whether it be the writers club at your university, or your state's primary writing organisation—if your writer friend isn't already a member, and you think they'd like to be, sign them up. 

You all know I ran a writers club at my university for a couple of years there. I'm also a member of Writers Victoria, and would never want to stop being a member with them because they run so many excellent events all the time. 

6. Tickets to a workshop, reading, or other writerly event. 

Sometimes, writing groups and organisations run events. Or your local literary festival is just around the corner, and you know your friend would like to go to one of the workshops or attend a certain author's reading. Maybe you could even find something you'll both enjoy and go together! This year I saw Jeanette Winterson read an excerpt from her novel The Gap of Time, following by an entertaining question time at the end. 

7. Send them to a writers retreat. 

If you've got the room to spend big, research writers retreats or residencies that your writerly friend might be interested in. For example, some of the cells at the Old Melbourne Gaol can be hired out as writers' studios, which I think is pretty great and would definitely like to try some time. Maybe the writer in your life would prefer a cabin in a forest, or a little house overlooking the sea. 

So there are a few gift ideas for any occasion your writerly friend might be celebrating. Or if you are a writer, you could use some of these suggestions to treat yo'self. 

What are your favourite gift ideas for writers? 


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Aussie adventures

I've been on a few little adventures in the last couple of weeks. 

First, I was invited on a spontaneous road trip to Loch Sport where I hung out near a beach and a lake and got a little sunburned. There was lots of junk food and drinks. Good times were had.

The weekend just been was spent at Phillip Island with two of my best mates from uni, significant others included. Of course, our thesis results were FINALLY released as we were driving there, and I am happy to brag that I did amazingly (I literally pulled over to check my results)! It was not great beach weather, but we went to the wildlife sanctuary where we hand fed some wallabies, kangaroos, and ill mannered emus. And all weather is good weather for a chocolate factory visit (note: do not leave chocolate in a car on a hot day). And the Penguin Parade.  It's not a trip to Phillip Island without the Penguin Parade. 

Look at the cute little pademelon and its baby! Squee! 

Finally, today I spent a couple of hours bush walking in the Dandenong Ranges with the bf. It was supposed to be a 7-8km hike, but we were rudely interrupted by the sound of distant evacuation sirens which we only determined was a nearby school doing a fire drill AFTER heading back to the main picnic grounds to see if there was a need to leave. Better safe than sorry. Still a fun day. 

I need to pull my finger out and start writing things now, get out of holiday mode. My honours supervisor and I are writing an academic paper for a peer reviewed anthology together for fun, but I know it's going to be a bit more work than I've put in so far and I want to do my best. Also, back to general writing endeavours. I NEED to write/edit things. 

What have you guys been up to? How are your NaNo projects and other WIPs?


Tuesday, November 15, 2016

So you know how I said I finished uni ...?

In the midst of all the job hunting, attempts at writing, and finding places to submit, I ended up talking to my Honours course director. Who also happens to be the course director of the Masters of Writing and Literature.

Aaaaaaaannnnddddd I enrolled in Masters for 2017.

Apparently, I don't want to stop being a student. My enrollment is still a bit messy. My Honours thesis marks haven't been finalised yet, so I haven't got all of my Credit for Prior Learning registered. But I am definitely going to be able to fast-track the Masters to (hopefully) just one year of coursework towards a Creative Writing specialisation, with editing and publishing units to boot.

I am still job-hunting, but have re-secured a place on the WORDLY team again. Honestly, I wish I had made this decision before the Writers Club AGM, because I would have LOVED to stay on the executive committee for another year. Alas, a new team was elected in September, and although they're a little relieved to hear that I'll be sticking around to support them, I don't want to take this great learning opportunity away from them by over-imposing myself on my old role. I'm excited to see what they'll do with the club and the magazine (and let's be honest, it'll be nice to attend a magazine launch without having to stress over a running-sheet or if we budgeted for enough food).

I was going to hold off confessing this piece of news until my enrollment finished sorting itself out, but it's been over two weeks since I applied, and nearly two weeks since accepting the offer. I think I've been patient enough. Let's see if I can keep up the blogging at least until I start back in March.

How are your writerly endeavours going? NaNoers? All others? 


Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Good Luck NaNo-ers!

I've decided not to participate in NaNoWriMo this year. I am in the midst of redirecting my life and I think it's about time I went back to edit some of my old manuscripts instead of cranking out something new.

But I wanted to wish everyone who is participating this year the best of luck! No matter whether you're in it to win it, or just having a bit of writerly fun with a ridiculously supportive online community. Be proud of whatever you accomplish this month and know that it's okay if this isn't your year, or if it just isn't the right way for you to produce a creative work. 

Now get off the Internet and write! 

- Bonnee.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Keeping it Tea-gether

My sister came down with tonsillitis last week and my immune system is doing everything it can to stop me from coming down with it too. I've been coughing and waking up with a sore throat since the weekend and producing more snot and phlegm than usual, but I have not let it knock me down. Hopefully I'm past the thick of it and will start feeling better soon.

I had a stroke of luck over the weekend and scored an interview for a content writing position. But in the end, I decided it wasn't for me—the recruiter was a self-publishing platform, and the deal-breaker for me was that there was no editing process. As an editor, I didn't feel comfortable signing up for that, so after a 45 minutes Skype interview I decided to withdraw.

I also decided to start writing a review of all the tea in my cupboard. Incredibly pretentious, I know, but I needed to write about something and thought it would be good for a bit of fun. I own 10 different types of tea at the moment and am constantly looking for more. I have a problem. Don't judge me.

Otherwise, this week has been mostly dedicated to working. Lots of working. I think it's dangerous for a writer to work in an academic library, especially at a university with a good writing and literature course. Even though my studies are over (for now), I still managed to come home with four library books about editing and literature in the past fortnight. Oh well.

How are your writerly lives going? 


Monday, October 3, 2016

Out of Touch

In the past year, I've done a whole lot less creative writing than I'd like to admit. Between writing my Honours thesis, staying on top of the coursework, moving houses, editing for the student magazine, and working, I've barely had spare time to write. Not to mention enough energy. I have legitimately been wishing for days to have more than 24 hours in them over the past year. 

I'm hoping this lack of time to write will be alleviated now that uni is over. I've now handed in my thesis and my final essay, so the coursework is done. I'm tying up loose ends with the student magazine before I part ways with it (so emotional), which means I'm not going to have anything to do in the way of editing, except where my own work is concerned. 

My job at the library is continuing on a casual basis, which is nice. I enjoy working there. My dilemma at the moment is whether to look for some casual/part-time editing work to fit around it, or to spend that extra time on my own projects, at least for a little while. Both, would be nice, but perhaps not with immediacy. It would be nice to relax and have a little time for myself, though I definitely don't want to be away from the editing scene for too long. Let's face it—that's where my heart is on the professional side of the coin.

Most of the writing I've produced this year has been academic, and I am damn proud of the thesis I produced. I'm not done with academia just yet, but I'll elaborate on that in another post. Aside from essays and a thesis, most of the rest of my writing this year has been articles and nonfiction. Most of it is also under a pseudonym. There was one exception to all the non-creative writing very early in the year, where I stayed up til 3AM to crank out a short story that wouldn't get out of my head. I was proud of it, redrafted it a couple of times and submitted it to a lit journal who rejected it and got back to me with some really good constructive feedback that I'm hoping to use to redraft again. But I miss working on long-form fiction. I want to get back to revising WALLS or one of the other manuscripts I finished back in high school. Maybe my head is clear enough now.

How do you get back into the swing of things? 


Saturday, October 1, 2016

So let's try this blogging thing again

I have been a very bad blogger since ~2014. I am sorry, but uni/work had to come first. 

The thing is, I have now finished uni. Almost. On Friday, I handed in my Honours thesis, and I'm one essay away from complete freedom. It's exciting and daunting. I'm glad it's over, but I'm going to miss it. And most saddening of all, I am in the handover process for the student magazine and writers club, saying goodbye to my role in a community I've grown so incredibly attached to. 

I've got a steady casual job at the Deakin Library, and I wouldn't mind a little editing gig somewhere. But most of all, I want to take a bit of time to focus on my own writing now that I'm not nose-deep in thesis and other assignments, or completely over-committed with other extra-curricular activities. 

I don't know where this road is going to take me, but I'm excited to find out. To quote one of my dad's favourite bands, 'Life's a journey, not a destination', and I can't wait to see where I end up next. (That was Aerosmith, btw.)

So here I am, looking into the blogosphere once more. I want to start writing one post a week and reconnecting with the amazing people I used to follow. Maybe make some new friends along the way.

Hi. How are you? 


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