Thursday, 27 March 2014

When do I write best?

Scientist still can't solve the puzzle of the human mind and maybe it is simply because there is no need to solve it. Let it be mysterious, let it be difficult, let it be unique.

I know that my mind works in mysterious ways; it doesn't seem to have a direct path, she never wants to think the same at all times, she's wayward, whimsy and clumsy. After reading Mindy Kaling's (my current girl crush and idol) ridiculously cute, humorous and relate-able little autobiography I got thinking. Where is it that I write best? When is it? I realised like Mindy it isn't sitting at a beautiful mahogany desk in one of those architectural designed chairs but more likely under the bed sheets or lying on the floor at strange hours of the day with unkempt hair.

I have spent today in my hoodie tucked under my union jack throw trying out a new atmosphere. I was relieved to read that Mindy the brilliant comic writer that she is is also monstrously guilty of procrastination. She can't help but spend hours preparing to write, watching tv, fetching a snack, doing other chores and by the time that's all over she's only got an hour to write. A tutor once told me that we journalists as a breed thrive on pressure and that's why we are prone to procrastination; I'm relieved to hear that this is a real thing, this prone to lazy personality is simply a trait of my profession.

In truth that is exactly what I have done today. I crept slowly off my bed, made some breakfast, did some house work, contemplated writing which in turn led to browsing pinterest for inspirational writing quotes which then led to my mind thinking it needed more inspiration and thus headed to YouTube and watched 2 hours of famous screenplay writers talking words of wisdom which then of course got me on an Aaron Sorkin fan girl crush and hence the need to watch an episode of The West Wing while eating lunch. And finally I am sitting outside under the comfort of my patio listening to the blissful sound of steady rainfall, drinking tea and writing this. When do I write best? God knows. Sometimes it's an early morning thing and other days it's 1am or nothing at all. I think I like this new found atmosphere, I think this shall be my writing spot for now. My indecisive mind may grow tired of the atmosphere in due course but for now she is content.

During my 2 hours of watching creative inspiration something stood out. Beau Willimon, writer on the hit netflix drama House of Cards very accurately said "we are all professional thieves". Good writers steal from better writers and I will do just that because stealing from minds far greater than mine will enrich my work. It isn't plagiarism, it's creative thinking, it's collaboration. The creative world is all about inspiration, it's about pulling off branches from different trees to form the best kind of tree. One that blooms all year round and will never fall victim to the ravaging skies. My mind will only mature if I feed it well.

And on that thought I feed you with something far beyond well, I give you the words of Aaron Sorkin. Oh how I would love to steal a fraction of this man's mind.

This commencement speech inspires me each and every time I watch it. So I would like to share it with you because everyone should hear this wonderful mind at work.

In the words of Aaron Sorkin "Develop your own compass, and trust it. Take risks, dare to fail, remember the first person through the wall always gets hurt"


Saturday, 22 March 2014

The business of unpaid work

Internship is a synonym for slave. That’s what my parents and entire family think anyway. Unfortunately in my field of work unpaid labour is a necessary evil.

When you tell anyone outside of the creative world that you are not getting paid a cent for turning up to an office where you work the usual 8 hour day and sit in front of a computer doing actual important shit that needs to be done and requires your immediate attention they give you a look a child gives you when they cannot comprehend why they are not allowed to eat lollies for dinner. Or sometimes it’s that same look someone gives you when some heinous putrid, road kill type smell suddenly appears out of nowhere. These are smart people, these are all the people I know with respectable well paid jobs. I know they are just looking out for me, a writer cannot live on passion alone. Even when I try to explain unpaid work I swear their brains shut down and are left pondering in a dark corner why on earth anyone would ever do anything for free.

Unfortunately both employer and employee directly benefit. The employer obviously gets free labour and the employee thinks they are getting the ferociously important experience and professional exposure needed to crack into the industry.

I tell myself daily this most certainly is a throbbingly ruthless joke made by cheap-ass big wigs and yeah I’m pretty sure there’s a lot of truth to that but I don’t see this changing anytime soon.
You see I’m all for a little bit of unpaid work. I have been an unpaid writer for some time and it has taught me one crucially important truth; this is where I belong. I wouldn’t sit in a law library perusing case by case for free, I wouldn’t walk the grey sterile walls of a hospital shadowing a surgeon free and I would certainly not happily sit at a desk doing calculus all day for naught. But I’ll happily write words and string them together to make an entertaining read if all I get in return is the satisfaction of knowing people are reading something that I created and they are hopefully gaining something from it, a snigger of a smile is all I ask.

My very rough draft of a life is slowly and lovingly turning into a pile of almost readable pages and I will happily say unpaid work has contributed to this improved draft. I am making a promise right now that the day my first paid article is published I will not only shout my closest family and friends to the best celebratory meal there is – Maccas obviously (I’m a writer, my money can’t pay for the fancy), but I will also do something outrageous with my life – heck maybe even get a tattoo (I kid, let’s not make permanent changes that quickly, I’m not a bohemian free spirit just yet). Hmmm I thought I could give you a definitive answer on the precise details but suddenly I’ve fallen into one of those rooms with several unopened boxes and I’m not sure which one to open. So I’ll get back to you on that.

I know it is hard to comprehend why anyone would gladly complete work for free but I’m just here to tell you that sadly there is no alternative. You either be a modern day slave to professionals worth listening to or a slob who wears no pants all day, binging on the contents of your pantry re-watching The West Wing and occasionally prying open your laptop when an idea pops into your head and that idea never sees the light of day. Okay, guilty as charged I have lived both of these lives but the second will get me nowhere, unless it’s winning the Einstein Factor with a brain full of West Wing knowledge.

So that is my ramble for the day. Bless you all for taking the time to read my strung together words, it means more than you can imagine.

Thursday, 6 March 2014


It's amazing how happiness can come about. New shoes, a warm hug, a day off, new love... But my happiness today is career driven.

On this very fine Thursday a new street press has hit this city of mine and not only is this free magazine one fine looking thing but my words are in it! My first feature article is out there for the world to see "WORDS: Alicia Moo" it strikes a chord in my heart and brings a smile to my face - to see that in print has cemented all aspirations of being a writer. I was a little shocked at how much it made me smile, but I knew then that this was it for me, I would be a writer and there is no more questions after that.

It's our first issue ever so apologies for any small errors you may find lurking in and about but I'm sure you are going to love it as much as me and all the team behind it.

You'll find them in cafes all around the city and inner city suburbs - Newstead, Valley, New Farm etc etc. Keep an eye out for it, grab a copy and spread the word, Sartre is here to stay!

Be sure to see my story on page 32 and sit down with a good coffee as you flip your way through what in my books is definitely a labour of love and a publication Brisbane has been missing all these years.

We are hoping to get the next issue out in two months so get excited and feel free to stand on your soap box and promote like it was your last day on earth.