Another ending…

Sunday Blog 75 – 12th March 2023

Map from the State Library – part of the real trial of the murder of Jock King or Little Jock in the 1880s – this story is woven into the novel The Sinkings by Amanda Curtin and this was one of the artefacts she reviewed in her research

It’s coming dangerously close to the one year anniversary of my final day of regular work – 31st March to be exact. I am thinking that I will have to stop calling it a menopausal gap year as this new life is becoming my new normal. Not retired, but working much less and picking up some of the strands of the work I once did, leaving others behind.

And Saturday was the very last workshop for the Emerging Writers Program I have been on for the last two years. I spent an hour before the workshop continuing on going through the edits from my mentor assigned to me as part of this program. (The wonderful Nathan Hobby, since you’ve asked.)

He rather innocently suggested to me during one of our meetups that three days per week work is the sweet spot for a writer. Next time we met I advised him I had quit my job. He blanched a little but this unconscious prompt for me to quit my job to spend more time on writing has been a game changer. Along with his thoughtful and incisive editing, which has seen a completely trashed five year old manuscript come quaking up out of the ashes into a tentative baby phoenix draft novella.

Our final workshop for the program on Saturday was a grab-bag of topics. Danae Gibson of RTR FM discussed radio interviews and how to ace them. Natasha Lester was interviewed about author branding and reflected on her journey to international bestselling author status. Amanda Curtin shared some of her experiences and tips about researching in the State Library. If you haven’t read any of her novels or non-fiction, do so immediately!

Then we got a tour of the library archive. The map in the picture above is an actual artefact from the trial of John Collins for the murder of Little Jock. This real event is woven into Amanda’s novel The Sinkings. We got to see the map up close and I took a snap–I found the book a compelling read and loved learning more about the stories behind its writing.

Today I sent of another draft of my novella to the ever-patient Nathan as we become closer to finalising our mentor relationship (I have a few more weeks yet!) It’s time to think of a new description for what I’m doing now, other than being on a “menopausal gap year.” A bit of work, a lot of writing, that’s my new normal. Semi-vagabond creative, if you will.

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