Friday 3 July 2015

2015 Write-ability Fellowship Applications are open. Time to suck up the self-doubt and apply.

Writing has been a godsend for me over the last nine years of illness. I'm not quite sure what I would have done if I hadn't found my words again. When illness came knocking I fell apart. All the pieces of me were scattered on the floor and I had no idea where to start to put them back together. Now as I sit here typing I realise I have managed to glue most of me back together. Not necessarily in the same way as before I became ill, but that's not a bad thing.

In many ways illness has allowed me to reinvent myself and pursue paths that I had shoved aside in favour of career, family and life. Writing was a natural outlet when I was younger. I used to watch black and white movies on the weekend and write myself into the plots. I'd read a book and write myself into the pages or fantasise alternative plot lines where I'd be slaying orcs or wandering over English moors alongside the main characters. Poetry and short stories were written in blue biro in the back of note books and in secret diaries. It was an important part of my life. 

Over time that writing went by the wayside, to be replaced by writing protocols and lengthy patient reports. Then illness hit and nothing. When 2 years later a social worker suggested that I start writing again I was unsure. But I took the plunge and rediscovered that old love. And those words and the process have had a healing effect. But my confidence still wasn't there.

"Each time the words build up and there is no room to breathe. Then slowly they trickle from my mind to my fingers and fall on the keyboard. I watch them appear on the screen in front of me, slowly drawing the venom from the bite of bad news. And then there's room to breathe again. My spirit is lighter and I can face the day. That is writing for me." (Writing Myself, 2014)

When the Write-ability Fellowships came up in my timeline I was reluctant to apply. I had been to a few Write-ability workshops and been both inspired and worried that I was in over my head. I saved the application form and closed the tab. I reopened it and closed it more times than I could count, convinced that I had no hope and that my writing was too poor. I wanted to write my memoir, something that was scattered in pieces throughout my computer, but my confidence and organisational skills were a mess. On the last day I had a "Stuff it!" moment and sent in my application with a sample of my work.

When I was selected it didn't seem real. I was shocked. I double checked the email to see if I'd read it right. And there it was I had been selected and was paired with a mentor. Sam Twyford-Moore was incredibly supportive and helped to build my confidence and writing skills. Books and writers I would never have found now fill my bookshelf. Aspects of writing I had never considered were discussed and knowledge generously shared. I was also given the boost I really needed to continue and finally a real "maybe I can do this" moment. 

To have someone in the field help, encourage and guide is a fantastic opportunity. Since that time I have direction. Outlines have been created to tame my scattered mind. And I received the kick up the bum I needed to get excited about writing again. Amazing what you can get out of 6hrs! 

Being part of that program opened up opportunities that I would never have imagined and while I still have a shocking case of Imposter Syndrome I am also content to call myself a writer without cringing (okay so there is still a little cringe of unworthiness, but it's a process and I am working hard to reign it in.)

I have been lucky to be introduced to what is a very welcoming and encouraging Victorian writing scene. I have spoken at the Emerging Writers Festival and had two pieces published by Kill Your Darlings and been part of the Day in the Life series during the Digital Writers Festival

Kill Your Darlings: 21
Sucker Punched: Ducking and Weaving Through the Grief of Chronic Illness

A month ago I sat in a freezing warehouse in the Melbourne CBD watching writers speak about their weird obsessions. I had just been up there myself, microphone in hand, opening up about my love of zombies. And I realised that life truly is unexpected and sometimes absolutely fantastic.

Now while not everyone dreams of talking about zombies at a writers' festival, you never know what the future may hold. If I had never taken the plunge to apply for a 
Write-ability Fellowship last year I know it would not have happened.

If you are a Victorian resident who lives with disability and loves to write I encourage you to apply. Poetry, screenwriting, memoir or fiction writing it doesn't matter. If you think you've got what it takes, or even if your confidence is not just in the toilet but flushed and on the way for processing, take a deep breath and apply. You can hyperventilate into a brown paper bag later.

Even if you don't get selected in this round, I encourage you to head along to one of the 
Write-ability workshops or monthly get togethers and join Writers Victoria (very affordable if you live in country Victoria.) 

Applications close: 5pm Monday 3rd August 2015
4pm, 4th July 2016
4pm, Monday, July 10, 2017

Apply here


I thought this an appropriate musical accompaniment. I used to have a very particular view of what of what I wanted and what my life would look like. Then my world fell apart and came back together to give me just want I needed. 

1 comment:

  1. Damn, I did it again. Lost my comment. AAARRRG. This second attempt will be short but sweet: I love The Walking Dead, too. And get excited when I open my inbox to find another email from Living with Bob. Thanks, Michelle


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