Writing on, and about, an island

Posts Tagged ‘Blog’

Snacks of the Great Scribblers

In Books, Career, Crime & Mystery Writer, Writing on June 19, 2012 at 9:36 am

This clever article was originally in the NY Times book review, but I first discovered it on Sarah Wilson’s blog. I am obsessed with food, so cannot imagine writing slightly starved, like Lord Byron… and I am still learning how much wine I can drink before it goes from helpful to unhelpful.

If you’re interested in a murder-meets-food story, I’ve just added one of my short stories – Death is Served – onto my author site.


Crafting a Creative Tasmanian Life

In Career, Freelance, Island Life, Minimalism, Tasmania on February 14, 2012 at 11:28 am

How to succeed as a creative in Tasmania? Get creative with how you present your message…

Recently, I worked on a story for House & Garden, featuring some good mates – Nick and Kerry – who’ve moved to Tasmania to renovate a minimalist-in-a-cool-Danish-way, 1960s weatherboard cottage. They love their food, so I love them.

They also live in a totally out-of-the-way place: in the beautiful, sleepy village of Middleton. Yet their careers are not suffering. Quite the opposite, in fact.

Nick’s a sought-after blacksmith and Kerry’s a talented creative director, and they both enjoy an amazing country lifestyle while maintaining their impressive creative careers. Kerry divides her time between their farm and Melbourne’s CBD for work, and Nick spends his days in his forge (on their 23-acre property on the banks of the D’Entrecasteaux).

They’ve also launched a blog, The Tassie Menagerie, which documents life on the farm, and how they juggle creative pursuits with herding ducks…

While their current arrangement seems idyllic to most, they are aiming even higher. Their goal is to live sustainably and independently – not just in terms of producing their own food, but also in working where and how they choose.

They say their move to Tasmania has enhanced their creativity – has given them a real point of difference in their work (which their clients are noticing).

To me, they are an example of how you can have your Tasmanian lifestyle while not compromising on the quality of your creativity. How you can use Tasmania as your USP (unique selling point).

To do the same, you have to:

1. Be flexible in how you deliver your message and product (think laterally);

2. Make sure you’re visible online (blog, website, guest posts…); and

3. Keep speaking to your audience as if they are global (not just local).

Too many freelance or independent creatives in Tasmania make the mistake of thinking and acting insular, of feeling they can’t compete with interstate and international creatives.

Clearly that’s not true – and it always pays to check out what other successful creatives are achieving. Be inspired and informed.

(Pics by Kerry and Nick, of their farm and forge)

Not Using Images

In Writing on January 6, 2012 at 3:42 pm

I’d always thought it was a given that I would use images on my blog.

This comes not just from personal persuasion – I am drawn to anything aesthetically interesting – but also from ‘training’ in the publishing environment. Words and pictures must go together. One without the other is a risk. And it’s the done thing with blogs, right?

But this year, I’ve decided, is a year where I’m going to rediscover my natural tendency to question the status quo. (Who says X is the way things should be?) And also free myself from obligation (in 2011, I was massively over-obligated, with full-time work and freelance work, and volunteering and family and…). So, I have made the decision to not upload images.

It goes against everything I think I should be doing. And everything I’ve been taught is convention.

But, I also know that my perfectionist values will insist that I produce the perfect image for each particular blog post. I actually tried adding images with a few posts, and it didn’t inspire me… it hindered me – I procrastinated about writing because I felt obligated to create a corresponding image. I am so sick of feeling obligated.

It also didn’t feel completely honest. With my days spent creating things for other people – things that are not of my voice – I started this blog so I could speak freely and unencumbered by expectations (mine or other people’s).

There will always be a battle between my puritan side and my bohemian side. Sometimes I love visual clutter. But there is enduring elegance in simplicity – whether it’s a blog or the decor of your living room.

Writing without images means I have to mentally and visually focus on the words, with no distractions. Writing in itself is visual – seeing stories in your mind… and the actual shape of the letters and the words is a visual experience in itself. The white space allows your imagination to fill in the gaps.

So, no pictures. For now. I guess I may change my mind one day.

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