Sunday, November 29, 2015

Tiny Tales from Sydney: The Grounds

Sunday, November 29, 2015

The first day in Sydney, we were up and ready at 8am and I couldn't wait to bolt out the door. I had one place and one place only in mind for breakfast that morning: The Grounds of Alexandria. I discovered their cafe via instagram (generally where I find most hip and happening eateries) and despite getting lost on our way there, that extra mile was worth it. Breakfast isn't the sole draw card. True, I had one of the most decadent chai lattes ever which, despite the $6 price, was worth every cent. My avocado toast was far from ordinary, as the heirloom tomatoes, pomegranate, za'tar and garden mint and micro herbs elevated the simple dish. But what is most appealing about the Grounds is the grounds. It's such a beautiful and meticulously kept space. There's a petting farm with resident pig 'Kevin Bacon', pots aplenty and a florist with the most stunning blooms (I was very snap happy in there). At the weekend, there are also food stalls, selling such things as lemonade and fresh berries. I was a little disappointed to miss out on the produce, having visited on Monday, but overall, it didn't deter from the wonderful morning.

The Grounds is a landmark spot in Sydney, and I'm glad I made the trip. My morning there definitely lived up to the hype.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Having my Work Published in Kindling Anthology Vol. II

Thursday, November 26, 2015

I've been keeping quiet for quite some time about a 'lil something something that has been in the works, but I am now so happy to post that I am a published author! That's something I honestly thought I would never write. It still feels surreal to know that my work is in a physical bound book which is currently sitting on my book shelf among some of my most treasured titles.

The story behind my non-fiction piece titled 'Eat, Memory' being published is something I feel particularly compelled to share. Last year, while contemplating which English unit to take for the second semester, I discovered a creative writing unit about autobiographical writing. Having never taken a creative writing unit previously, just the thought of having to share my work frightened me. What was even scarier was the fact that this unit required the sharing of very private and emotional information, as the main project was to write a 3000 word autobiographical piece. Unlike other units I had completed, in which I was only too happy to thrust an essay on anyone willing to read it, I felt nervous about unearthing raw feelings from my past, for fear that no one would be interested in the story I had to tell. However, I decided that pushing myself into doing something I wasn't familiar with could only result in a positive experience. And that unit turned out being my favourite of the seven I have completed for my degree thus far.

Every week, each student would get the chance to workshop their piece by reading it out and receiving comments from peers. I distinctly remember reading mine aloud, my shaky voice failing to hide how utterly terrified I felt. But the feedback I received was not scathing. Nobody hated my story. It was far from perfect, sure, but it was certainly not a failure. I got a certain thrill after that class, and couldn't wait to make all the improvements that were suggested while still making sure that the piece was a clear expression of myself.

Aside from the fact that this class gave me a boost of confidence and necessary tools to help me improve my writing, I was also amazed by the stories I read by my peers. Everyone in the room had a unique one to tell, and ever since, I've been fascinated by the histories of strangers on the street, customers at work and the everyday people I come into contact with.

There are so many stories to be told, so much talent yet to be discovered. Writer's Edit Press is one publisher that is helping grant exposure to emerging writers. Upon seeing a call out by the press asking for writers to submit their work, I thought about my autobiography piece which had been sitting in my documents folder for about 6 months. Once again, my nervousness resurfaced. I thought that my submission would come to nothing. But I eventually realised that I'd rather give my work a chance than no chance at all.

A few months after I submitted, I was informed that I had been short listed. Weeks of editing with my editor followed, and I felt that my piece eventuated to be even better than what it was when I submitted it as a final assignment.

Another couple of months passed and then, I was informed that my piece would be published in the anthology along with over 30 talented writers from around Australia and abroad. I didn't have to think twice about accepting an invitation to attend the launch evening in Sydney, which was a week ago. I met a number of very interesting women in the publishing business, as well as fonder of Writer's Edit Press, Helen Scheuerer. I am so glad I attended, as it made the whole experience all the more real, and I felt proud to have contributed to a press so passionate about helping emerging writers.

So, to sum up this rather long winded post: If I took anything away from this, it's that you should never be afraid to do something that may seem challenging or scary. What's more, it always pays to try and get your work out there. Having dabbled in freelance work, I have had my fair share of rejections. But this shouldn't discourage you to at least try. With every rejection, you become determined to improve. With every acceptance, you become all the more inspired to keep doing what you love. I may have never set out to be a creative writer, but for the time being, I will continue to find enjoyment in writing for pleasure. And if I do wish to get anything else published, I will know to never be afraid to just go for it.

Kindling Anthology Vol. II can be bought via the Writer's Edit website or on Amazon
If you wish to get your work published, keep an eye out on Writer's Edit as they will be publishing Vol. III next year.
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