In December 2015 I was lucky enough to be chosen for the Busybird Creative Fellowship. The fellowship aims to help an emerging writer through their current project. For me, this meant developing my skills as a writer, starting my own writing group, meeting a vast network of amazing people, and ultimately, bringing my novel up to a standard so I can start submitting.
Now, as applications open for the 2017 fellowship, I urge anyone who is looking to take the next step in their writing journey to apply. Whether you have just finished a first draft, are thinking of self-publishing, or even believe you’re ready to submit, the Creative Fellowship will help you.
I received the fellowship when I was hallway through writing my second draft. I was feeling quite confident with it, thinking I might even be able to submit by June 2016. However, during the many courses that Busybird offer FREE with the fellowship, I learned so much that made me take a step back and analyze certain aspects I had previously thought needed no improvement. Through Busybird’s mentoring with Les Zigomanis, I went from having five protagonists in a 95,000 word novel, down to three protagonists in a 45,000 word novel within the space of a month. That was due to how much unnecessary information I had repeated, repeated, and repeated again. I learned to be succinct and trust the reader, and I’m not sure I would’ve have been able to do that so readily if not for Busybird.
The networking aspect of the fellowship also helped me a great deal. At events such as the Busybird Open Mic Night and their Publish for Profit workshops, I’ve met many people with such vast backgrounds in writing. Through these events I have been able to organize and facilitate a fortnightly writing group, in which sessions are broken up to critique and give feedback on an individual’s piece. Not only does this help improve my writing in general, but it adds a certain social aspect to the experience that really helps to network.
Again, anyone who is considering applying for Busybird’s 2017 Creative Fellowship, I urge to do so. It is a great initiative for an emerging writer, and will absolutely help you take your next step.Read More
Just like that the sun is setting on 2015, and it’s about now that we get contemplative. How did we fare this year?
At the start of any new year, we’re just about always optimistic. Even if we’re coming off a shocking year (or perhaps especially when we’re coming off a shocking year), we think, This year will be better. Or perhaps we’ve been waiting for a break in our lives, either personally or professionally. Then it’s case of, This year will be the one. Or you might have specific resolutions to quit smoking (always a popular one), to get healthier, to find love, etc., that are meant to start with the new year.
But the reality is nobody really knows how things will turn out. You can plan, you can think positively and/or constructively, you can try to action it into reality, or you can just wish it upon a falling star, but who knows what life has in store for you?
Health’s fragile, the world grows ever-more violent, and – perhaps most insidiously (although some may disagree) – our lives have become so frenetic, that we don’t always appreciate what’s right in front of us, instead focusing on what we don’t have, rather than enjoying and cherishing what we do have.
So as 2015 comes to a close, it’s great to look forward. Plan for the future. Aim high. Lift those aspirations and strive for greatness – whatever your particular greatness might be. Don’t hold back. Keep life in perspective, stay realistic, but nurture those dreams, because while some may consider them a whimsy or a luxury, dreams are our lifeblood. Without them, what is life, but just something we navigate?
Most of all, though, and arguably most important, don’t be afraid to slow down. Your life might be hectic. That might be all you know, and you might claim you just don’t know how to stop. Maybe that’s true. But that sort of frenzy is unhealthy – not only for ourselves (physically, intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually), but in regards to how it impacts every facet of our lives, whether it’s our relationships, our work, or our outlook.
Learn to pause. Force yourself to take a respite every now and then. Insist it of yourself.
And remember what matters most.
If you search deep within yourself, you’ll know what that is.
From everybody at Busybird Publishing, we wish you a Merry Christmas, and a Happy, Healthy, and Prosperous New Year.Read More