Writers’ week wrap-up

As predicted, Adelaide Writers’ Week was as inspirational as always. I have over 3,000 words written as proof that the writing monster has finally awoken, so I hope I can keep leveraging off that motivation.

It was interesting to hear how others approach their craft. Alexander McCall Smith told us all that he wrote 5,000 words a day, no wonder he can manage to publish four books a year! Others seemed to hit on the golden 1,000 words a day, which certainly makes my 300 word goal seem pretty sad in comparison. I do wonder if maybe setting the bar too low leads to less than ideal results.

Again it was interesting to hear how others get their novels written. I’m always amazed to hear how some writers just write the bits they see and then collect it into what they think will be the order of the book, and then they finish off by writing all the joining bits. Hannah Kent even had a folder with dividers marked up for her (at the time estimated) 13 chapters. She just put the bits she had written behind the chapter tab that she thought it might end up in.

Many were write-by-the-seat-of-your-pants writers, which I’m starting to believe is the most common approach, where you just sit back and see how the story unfolds as you are writing it from start to finish. This does lead to some serious editing work though, so while these writers tend to push out their novels in 3-6 months, they also spend nearly twice as long fixing up the second draft.

Finally it was nice to hear from many authors who did not get published until later in life. I’m sure it is just my own paranoia and selective hearing, but many of the authors I’ve listened to in previous years either got published on their first attempt after they had decided to write a novel, or they were first published under the age of 25. This year there were at least two authors who had started seriously writing in their thirties, but not found success until their forties. So there is hope for me yet.

Adelaide Writers’ Week is so good in that you get to see so many authors from so many backgrounds and writing in forms you may never have read, let alone attempted to write. And it is all free. It is such an injection of inspiration for readers and writers alike and I hope the festival continues long into the future.

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