Word Con 3 – Robyn Doreian

Robyn conducted an interview for her session with Andrew Mast. Mast is the group managing editor for The Music in Melbourne.

These are my notes and thoughts during the session.


Andrew Mast spoke a lot about how The Music is moving towards longer form journalism. He was saying that the website for The Music is receiving many more hits on the longer, more details pieces.

People may want deep, long pieces because they can’t get it elsewhere. From the new generation, there should be new kids starting quarterly.

Zines are completely independent but have the opportunity of creating more sales.

Entry level into The Music’s team is through writing ‘live reviews’. This is not paid writing. You only get paid for features. From the feedback, you can get tips on the writing, which is a great way to patch holes and errors within your work and figure out why something did not get published or why something did.

You can also apply for internships. Mast said that they hire a lot of people from their internships. Although, ‘a lot’ is relative considering that The Music is a small publication.

10 people in Sydney

1 person in Perth

2 people in Brisbane – Fortnightly magazine

12 people in Melbourne (full time) – Weekly magazine

They are real writers, writing real stories.

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Word Con 3 – Brad Webb

Brad Webb’s session was all about landing a commissioned book deal and I am posting this for Pre-Press Publishing because Brad spoke about formatting the book, and I feel that this session related the most to what we do in Pre-Press.

Anyway, here are the notes and thoughts I had during the session.


People remember the mistakes more than the good things. Brad spoke at length about all the mistakes that the editor and the publisher made but only stopped on the good things every once in a while. It is clear that the bad things, the frustrating, easily fixed mistakes are what have stuck with Brad the most.

CHECK ALL THE FACTS!

Several times Brad said that he had to go into the proofs and edit things that he’d edited in previous proofs. He was constantly fact checking the things that the publisher was putting in the book. And with something like Ned Kelly, you have to make sure that you are 100% correct because there are fanatics out there who will slaughter you online if you don’t.

Probably the thing that I found most astonishing about Brad’s session, is that the editor did not read the whole work until several proofs had been done. How can you understand and edit the content if you haven’t even read it?

If you have an existing audience, you are more likely to take it to an editor or publisher.

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Word Con 3 – Memory Writing

Here is a piece that I wrote during the memory workshop. I felt that this would work well for the Writing Life, Self, and the Other blog post because it is similar to the work we have been doing in class.


Heightened emotion: rewrite

It wasn’t the actual death that was the worst part. No, his death would have been fast, and quick. ‘Oh shit,’ and it’s over. He feels nothing.

The worst part was the funeral. Watching the family stand at the front of the room and openly weep for their son, their brother.

My best friend standing up there with her mother and her father and her stepmother and half-siblings, she held her stony face. She was staying strong for her mother, but the pain was clear in her eyes, if you knew how to look.

But, at that time, I’d know Monica for 13 years. So I cried for her. Jarrod was a fucking pain in the arse but losing a brother, even one so annoying as him, is unthinkable.

So I sat there in that pew, listening to the priest throw abuse at young people doing stupid things, and I cried for Monica. I cried for her mother and the pain I knew would never leave her.
And let me tell you that it does not leave. Now, in 2017, it has been almost two years since that fiery car crash (not a stupid thing, priest, you fuckhead), and I see Monica frequently. I’ll be seeing her this weekend. Just last Friday she was trying to get out of homework by hanging out. I know her. She’s been one of my best friends for a long time now, and I can see that pain.

I see it when I go to her mum’s house, when I walk through that door and the pictures of Jarrod are hanging on every wall and sitting on every flat surface. Apart from the silence, you would think he never left.

I see it when Danielle, Moni’s mum, comes over to chat with my own ma. She asks me to plug in her phone to let it charge and the screen lights up with last picture of her and her son.
But I don’t grieve for Jarrod. He’s gone, he’s not thinking or feeling or reeling in pain like those he left behind. No, I grieve for my best friend.

Moni’s mother is so trapped in her own pain, leaving images of Jarrod around the house, leaving him as her screensaver on her phone and no doubt her computer, and where is Monica?

In this life carved out in the wake of Jarrod’s death, where is my best friend left in this family? She’s there to tell the story.

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Word Con 3 – Andrew MacRae

This is a compilation of the notes taken during Andrew’s session and my own thoughts on the session.


The Freelance Life

The knowledge economy – emotional labour that makes a connection – meeting someone else’s needs.

Cognitive bias/mental traps:

  • Survivorship bias > do not focus on the exceptions, pay attention to failures rather than successes
  • Imposter syndrome is an inability to understand competence (I love that statement. It works both ways for people who cannot understand their incompetence and for those who underestimate their ability).

The fear will never go away. Expect it. Fail more, and fail harder. After all, it is hard to succeed if you don’t know what doesn’t work.

Andrew also talked about looking at the failures. If you only focus on the good things, then you leave yourself and your work open to destruction, but if you patch up the mistakes, then you end up with a piece of work that is indestructible.

You need to find a niche, and you can expand your clientele by just checking in with who you know.

Build a folio of things that expand on what you love. Andrew has a more secure workforce where Robyn is constantly pitching to editors. Work tends to pop up in Andrew’s field. Robyn works about 70% of the weekends (I very much love my weekends, so that’s a good idea for me to know what line of work not to go into: freelance journalism).

Don’t miss deadlines, say ‘no’ when asked to go out. Robyn and Andrew both stressed how important it is to meet deadlines.


I did enjoy this session. I really like the part about focussing on the weaknesses to make everything stronger overall. I do tend to focus on the good things, which would then make the mistakes more obvious.

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Word Con 2 Day 2 Part 2

Hi everyone, so like last time I had word con, I will be posting a blog post for each of my teachers to have a look at and comment on. Please expect to see this message at the beginning of each blog post.


 

Finally, this is the last session and it was with Adam so I am just going to write out some of the stuff that I wrote for his session.

Write 1-2 paragraphs imagining yourself in darkness and describing the objects around you that you can’t quite see.

Your eyes open and you almost expect light. There is no light except that of the phone charger in the corner. It’s a red light that never seems to switch itself off, even when there is no phone plugged in. Stupid thing.

Your eyes are open and there is only the small red light. You think that perhaps this is your room, but you can’t quite remember where you went to sleep so perhaps this is not your room. The carpet appears red around the light and yours is blue but the red from the charger might be disrupting the colours.

You close your eyes again and count to fifteen. When your eyelids hit skin, lashes up and about your brow bone, you can look out at the room. Your eyes have adjusted, but the utter darkness and that one red speck is still not as illuminating as you had hoped.

You can see the light bulb hanging from the ceiling. Well, you can’t really see it, but the black is shaped much like you know a light bulb to be shaped. And you can feel the string brushing against your forehead if you really concentrate. You thought it was dust before, so light and flittering across your skin, but now it makes more sense as a string for the lamp.

And so, this is not your room. For your light is in the wall and not hanging from the ceiling. Which means, this is someone else’s room, and this is someone else’s bed.

You try to lift your head from the bed, but you cannot. Moving your head too much triggers lightning behind your eyes, and that might be helpful in a room so dark but it’s not worth the pain. You must have been very drunk.

You flick your eyes a little to the left, and then you grit your teeth as the pain shoots through. There is a window in the room. You can tell because of the slight change in colour from the darkness of the room to the darkness of the world outside. You wonder where the curtains must be.

The darkness outside is only slightly lighter than the darkness within the room and it only shows the surrounding wall. Thus, you can almost make out shelves under the window. And the ticking of a clock coming from that direction would indicate that the square lump sitting on the top shelf, is, indeed, a clock.

But now you’ve focused on the clock and your brain is swearing at you to stop the ticking but you can’t get up and this isn’t your room and you cannot speak to ask if someone’s there to help because the alcohol must have burnt your throat dry.

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Word Con 2 Day 2 Part 1

Hi everyone, so like last time I had word con, I will be posting a blog post for each of my teachers to have a look at and comment on. Please expect to see this message at the beginning of each blog post.


There were definitely a lot of tips and tricks in Rob’s presentation on money making in copywriting. And I will definitely be sending the role opening notes at work for a copywriter when they get them all set up. But that’s something for work to figure out.

Anyway, even though the presentation did seem to be focussed on how to handle the shitty parts of money making in copywriting, Rob did reiterate that there are many positives to the job. As someone who sends invoices for the band I kind of manage, I found that it was very helpful just to have that extra info on how I can make my communication with clients better. Especially when it comes to invoices. I haven’t been calling people after I send the invoice but that is definitely something that I will start doing.

I also like the idea of keeping all the correspondence. And whilst I am not in the habit of deleting emails or throwing out paper documents, I have started some new folders in my inbox for managing the various activities that I do for the band and for work.

I always strive to be professional in my manner at work and with the band but that reiteration that it is incredibly important to job life as well as everyday life was nice. It feels good to know that you are doing the right thing.

And finally, I would like to mention that opportunity cost is not something that I was aware of but it makes complete sense and I will definitely be using it as a method of calculating how much the band/I am owed.

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Word Con 2 Day 1 Part 2

Hi everyone, so like last time I had word con, I will be posting a blog post for each of my teachers to have a look at and comment on. Please expect to see this message at the beginning of each blog post.


This time the session was with Andrew McRae, the author of Truck Song. Okay, so I think I need to reiterate that I did not like Truck Song, it did not appeal to me at all. However, in saying that, I found Andrew McRae incredibly interesting.

His ideas on language and how the language had evolved into that used within Truck Song was incredibly insightful into his thought process. Although, I do agree with his publishers when it comes to publishing something with language that evolved, there is no way I would have read it if it were any worse than what it was.

I loved looking at the Art Trucks of Japan, and that was definitely helpful when it comes to envisioning McRae’s thought processes for his trucks. I know that Sarah went home and bought one of the Art Trucks books because they were just that cool.

Even though I could kind of pick it when we were reading Truck Song, I like the way that Andrew confirmed that the book is meant to be Jon Ra’s diaries through his time searching for Isa. And I am also grateful that Andrew could see that he was writing a toxic unrequited love (probably more aptly lust) relationship between Isa and Jon.

I also can completely see the trucks as dragons or thunderstorms, in that they are unpredictable. I think that is completely what they are and I definitely agree with Andrew on that one.

I did not ask any questions, because I do not feel that I could keep my disdain for the book from showing through if I had. But from the questions that were asked, I did find the answers to be quite interesting.

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