This year I was the lucky recipient of the 2017 Busybird Publishing Creative Fellowship.
As an aspiring writer, I love to write, although all I’ve had published is a handful of articles for a sporting magazine years ago. I’m most certainly a complete novice, so I was overwhelmed and so very grateful to be awarded this honour.
It has been a fantastic experience, where I have learned a lot both formally and informally from the team at Busybird. Over the last twelve months my confidence and skills as a writer have increased and I have made some wonderful new networks and friends.
A big part of the fellowship has been having the assistance and support of Busybird writer, co-owner and publisher Blaise Van Hecke. Blaise has been a brilliant mentor and support throughout the last twelve months. She has spent sessions with me brainstorming and assisting me to make sense of my writing and the story I have been constructing.
My project is a collection of stories and experiences of women (including my own) and their recovery post Black Saturday Fires. At times, it has been challenging to pull it all together, due in part to the sensitivity of the subject material and also as I am relying on others to tell their story. Blaise really helped me through some of these obstacles, encouraging me to persevere, brainstorming, and helping me to think laterally.
From the very beginning I wanted this project to have meaning. As a social worker and survivor of Black Saturday, I really wanted to share the stories of survival, recovery and resilience and to help others who may be struggling with some sort of adversity. Blaise has at all times been encouraging and nurturing, and I have really appreciated her sharing her wealth of knowledge and experience with me. Through this process we have become good friends and shared many laughs and stories.
As part of the fellowship I was also fortunate to have the opportunity to attend a number of very helpful workshops on developing writing skills, editing and publishing. I really enjoyed these events and learned a lot, with my favourite being Book Camp. It was also an opportunity to meet and network with other writers. It was interesting and insightful to learn from others and to hear about their writing projects.
A big thanks to Blaise and the team at Busybird. It was a pleasure to attend the Busybird Publishing space, where I was always welcomed, supported and encouraged. I look forward to not only seeing my writing come to fruition and having my book published in the not too distant future, but also to the continued friendships.
The winner of the 2018 Busybird Creative Fellowship will be announced at the Busybird Christmas Party/Open Mic Nic 50, held on Wednesday, November, beginning from 6.00pm.