Why go to the Emerging Writers’ Festival?

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The Emerging Writer’s Festival is a 2-week festival held in Melbourne, where it gathers a bunch of emerging writers together. Panels are held throughout the 2 weeks, and an intensive 2-day conference on one of the weekends.

This year, it was held from Tuesday 26 May to Friday 5 June, with the hashtag #ewf15.

I went for the conference. Why did I go?

Because it’s an amazing place to connect with other like-minded people. Such conferences and events are always an area where people who have that one interest can get together and get inspired. It’s always motivating to go to such events and listen to someone’s philosophy to understand how they work it out.

People who have to juggle jobs and kids and writing, and have successfully done so. People who have faced persecution for having less-than-ideal job titles like writer or author than more prestigious job titles.

The Novel Writing Panel boasted Kylie Ladd, who is a psychiatrist, Sulari Gentill who is a lawyer, and William McInnes who is an award-winning actor. Oh, and all of them have kids too.

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Some panellists also share their struggles with issues like clashing with publishers or receiving criticism for their work. They share about new trends, like self-publishing and how to do it right (yes it can be done right!).

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Ali MC from the Travel Writing panel had published several of his books on his own, and suggested that we should check out Amazon CreateSpace if we’re ever thinking of going into self-publishing.

And this is the kind of first-hand information we might not really get, or the answers we might not find otherwise. The Internet exists for people all over the world to congregate, but it’s a different environment when people congregate together in person to share what they know.

Conferences like the EWF are good to have a stronger understanding of where others are coming from. It gives us a better idea of how others have been able to map out their life and their writing, to grill them about how often they write or where they manage to get inspirations, or any of the multitude of questions that have been thrown out to the panellists.

And the best part is when ideas get churned out and thrown around, there’s bound to be plenty of inspiration, whether for something completely new or something you’ve been sitting on for a while.

I was sitting in one of the panels when I thought about a few previous work and fictional stories I’d written halfway and left to languish in my hard drive, and they’re something I’m going to look at and start working on again.

And most of all, being at the conference made me feel excited to start working on them again.

I’ve spoken to some people I met, who also said they have something they’ll be working on after the Festival, or even something new they’re going to start like making podcasts.

Examples of work I’d been working on that I’d abandoned. Follow me on Twitter for more Twitter fiction!

Festivals and conferences like these are a way to help you jumpstart a project, whether it’s starting a new one or reviving a tired old one. Mixing around with other people also helps you check out what others are doing, and ask for advice on something. Or even start collaborating on something new.

If you’re thinking of following a few writers in Melbourne, here’s a few I met to get you started:

1) Philippe Perez, writer and podcaster

2) Sonia Nair, Tweeter extraordinaire

3) Eliza Henry-Jones, the moment she realized her book was sort of like The Saddle Club for young adults was HILARIOUS

4) Sulari Gentill, loved how she was discussing her conversations with Rowland Sinclair (her books’ main character) while driving

5) Nick Founder, we didn’t talk but he was active in every panel

Want to know more about what the EWF 2015 was like? Have a taste as I go through the highlights:

How’s your experience at the Emerging Writers Festival or Melbourne Writers Festival?

Much Love,

Fari Wu

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