the process

Workin’ on my …


Totally fascinated with Iggy Azalea at the moment. Pale-skinned blonde girl from Oz goes to the States, renames herself, and then creates a rap career with more chutzpah than Portia de Rossi? I can only admire it. I like reinvention. I’ve done it myself and it’s been good for me. If you go from sitting at a trading desk moving lots of money around to dish pigging, voluntarily, extraneous ego shit gets stripped away. For a while anyway. 

(At this point, I should break into a whole self important explanation on what I think about Iggy using her assets (arsesets?). She says it herself – in order to connect, she’s had to wrap the message up in stupid paper. I’m just glad she hasn’t had a boob job, and I’m not interested in flaying her. I’m more interested in the BRAIN behind the ARSE.)

I wanted to share this INTERVIEW where Iggy talks about work. How it’s the difference between you wanting to be something, and actually being that something. It’s the lesson I’ve had to re-learn this year (more on that later – because I have actually been writing, not that you would have known it from the lack of communications). There is no magic formula, there are no guaranteed connections that will pull you up to the place you want to be – actually, there might be, but only if you’ve got stuff for them to push. What matters is work. And that is good news and bad news at the same time. Because it all comes down to you. And it all comes down to you. It’s okay to be scared – I battle with head chatter every day. I can come up with thirty-seven reasons for why I shouldn’t bother writing another book, and only four for why I should. The only trick is doing the work. (Salty language warning on the interview, by the way). 

Writing …

Look, I don’t often say much about writing, mainly because there’s already a lot of good stuff out there, said by much more experienced and far more articulate people than me.

HOWEVER, I recently answered some questions from a charming guy called Broede Carmody (you can check out the full interview here …) And because this is National Novel Writing Month, and you may be needing some inspiration, and because I have been meaning to have at least one entry on this subject, here is an extract:

BC: Lastly, if you had the ability to implant a recording of your voice within the head of every young, aspiring writer, what would you say?

KE: Look, I was going to say work hard, and don’t beat yourself up when it’s not perfect. But I can be a terrible slacker, and I get crippled by the fact that my attempts are crap. So I don’t know. Maybe the most important thing is to keep returning to it. This will be easier if you write about the thing that’s gotten under your skin; people, places and situations that fascinate you; the things that you want to hold on to; the things you need to let go of. Write, write and write. Keep a journal of your process so that when doubt bites you next time around, you’ll have proof that you’ve gotten through it before. Don’t give up: success can mean a lot of different things, and failure can be the making of you. Although it doesn’t matter what other people think, the right ones will tell you to get back to work, so listen to them. Make writing your Plan A. Forget Plan B. And by that I don’t mean quitting your job or uni and no longer doing other things. I mean, arrange your life so that you can write. Make it your discipline. Invest in it – your time, your heart, your patience. And you will be so, so glad, because it will give you more than you ever dreamed of.

I hope this helps.

How a book gets its cover … the process

Want to know how this: …………………….and this:………………………….fed into making this?



Then take a trip over to between the lines for a fascinating insight into the book cover design process – it’s the most in-depth post on this subject that I have ever read. It also includes some of the alternative cover designs for Saltwater Vampires. There were 70 of them. 70. Thank you, Marina Messiha (the cover designer).

Left wanting more? You can check out Tony Palmer talking about how he designed the Raw Blue cover here

Writing a second book … the process

With the publishing date for Saltwater Vampires looming, I thought it might be good to post something on the writing process. Not mine (that would be a shambles), but the writing process of someone who is articulate and thoughtful and able to inspire.

Lisa Heidke’s first novel, Lucy Springer Gets Even, came out in January, 2009, and won her many fans. A year later, Allen and Unwin published her second novel, What Kate did Next. Lisa was kind enough to spill the beans on how she went about writing such a lovely, likeable second novel …

So how did you do it? How’d you write Kate?

With the first draft, I wrote it as a blurt fest. I started with an idea and ran with it. I knew that the main character, Kate, was a wife and mother and had sidelined her career to raise a family.

I put myself in her shoes and have Kate ask, ‘Is this all there is?’ Where were the dreams she had for her life when she was twenty? Twenty-five years later, Kate is no closer to fulfilling her dreams.

That was the basic premise and I developed the story from there.

In order to get the first draft written while it’s fresh in my mind and the ideas are flowing, I try to write at least 2,000 words, four days a week. When I’ve finished the first draft which can be anywhere from 60 -70,000 words, I’ll step back and try to rest the manuscript for a good month before I read at it again. During that month I’ll write notes and consider how I can improve the story, make the characters more interesting and the details, relevant and fresh. More

Sliding head-first down a track, really, really fast … the process

The idea of the process section of this blog is to talk to people who are doing things – making music videos, editing books, dancing, designing – which will hopefully provide you with inspiration for whatever it is that you’re doing (or want to do). Emma Lincoln-Smith does the skeleton – a sport where you slide head-first down a track at speeds of up to 143 km/hour and most runs are over in under a minute. What sort of work goes into something like that? Read below and find out …

(If you missed Emma’s intro, go back a few posts, or clickhere …)

What’s your process? Can you talk us through your training regime?

My training regime is very demanding. I base my training around a four-year cycle to make sure I peak at the Olympics and during that final world cup season. For the last two years leading into the games, my training has to be my absolute priority. I train 6 days a week, 2-3 times a day. More

Skeleton teaser …

Okay, so as we’ve all noticed I’ve been beyond slack on the blog front lately … BUT I do have a great blog on process coming up. Years ago now, I got to know this laidback lass who surfs where I surf. At that time she’d just been selected by the Australian Institute of Sport as part of an elite squad put together with a view to competing at the highest level in skeleton. Something she had never done before.

Her name is Emma Lincoln-Smith, and in February this year she competed at the Vancouver Winter Olympics. In just under six years, she has gone from never having tried the sport before, to competing at the Olympics. Amazing, hey?

Anyway, I thought it might be interesting to talk to her about her process, given that her pursuit of choice is to hurtle face-first on a sled down a track where athletes have reached speeds of 143 km/hr. Yeesh.