Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

blogwala's blog

Grant Writing: Lottario Logic and Dos and Don'ts

I hate writing grant applications. I especially dislike the non-electronic versions (kudos to the Canada Council for eliminating the need for postage and 11 copies of everything). And when you’re unsuccessful it can be worse than receiving yet another publisher’s rejection letter.

The Ontario Arts Council’s Writers’ Reserve season is the worst for me. Using Lottario logic, I apply to all the assessors, hoping to get lucky. During a sweaty three-week period, I open my mailbox with bated breath, both hoping for, and dreading, a self-addressed envelope. Before tearing one open, I hold it up to the light, say a prayer, and squint to read the publisher’s scribbles.

Writers' Groups: on playing nice and riding the changes

Have you ever been part of a writers’ group? I’ve participated in a variety of workshops, courses and closed writing circles. When they function well, they offer opportunities to network, give and receive feedback on works in progress, and to talk about the industry. They can renew confidence and provide a shelter from the publishing world’s storms. On the other hand, writers groups’ can be dysfunctional, poorly run or have the wrong mix of people.

The Care And Feeding of My Inner Critic

Now that my writing retreat is over, I’m back to my day-to-day writing routine, which competes with my day job and a half dozen other distractions and responsibilities. Sometimes I get in a good hour. Other days, it’s an entire morning, or a beautiful, uninterrupted afternoon.

For years, I’ve obsessed over finding the optimal balance between writing and other paid work. I’ve been convinced that one day I’ll settle into a perfect routine. I’ve daydreamed about it, discussed it over lunch with my friends, made special notes in my day-timer in green highlighter. What I’ve come to understand is that a successful writing life has little to do with time management.

On Fans, Pronouns, and Stories that Win Hearts: An Interview with Elisha Lim

I first met Elisha Lim years ago at a Ladyfest event, where I was invited to read. For those of you who’ve never attended the feminist arts festival, it’s kind of like a giant love-in. Its organizers, including Elisha, made me, a new author at the time, feel like a star. Elisha is known for this kind of generosity, and a spectacular talent for writing and illustration.

What I learned on my summer writing retreat

I've just completed an eight-day summer writing retreat. Most writers I know love retreats for getting big chunks of work done, but few of us can manage to get away from day jobs and other responsibilities, or afford the cost of leaving town. I normally write a little each day, and the few retreats I’ve taken have been incredibly productive.

After winning the Dayne Ogilvie grant in June (thank you, Writers’ Trust of Canada!), I made a commitment to take one week off each season to just write. So, at the end of August, I closed my psychotherapy office, limited my activism (during the War Show, no less!), and hired a dog walker.

Community and Creativity

I live in a west-end neighbourhood called Brockton Village, which realtors used to describe as “up and coming” and now (dubiously) label “trendy”. Over the eight years I’ve resided here, I’ve come to love this ‘hood. Its streets inspired my second novel , Six Metres of Pavement. I know people here, helped to start the local residents’ listserv, and two years ago, along with poet and café owner Melanie Janisse, began the Brockton Writers Series.

Although I’ve organized many events in the past, this is the first time I’ve curated a monthly reading series. Each month brings new talent, challenges, and changes.

On becoming a Blogwala

WordPress tells me I’ve been blogging since February 2007. I started because I was supposed to; with my first novel being released later that year, I needed to build my digital “platform”, now a standard requirement for authors. For the same reasons, I needed a Facebook profile and had to start tweeting. What began as self-promotional chores turned into regular parts of my writing life.

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