Saturday on the Couch – and Writers’ Festivals 1



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I used to think that one day I would write a best-selling novel!

The trouble is, I’m now 63 and it’s still not written. My ex-husband always says “have you written that book yet?” when I bump into him, and that makes me even more annoyed with him than usual.

Why? because I’ve put writing a novel into the too hard basket, emptied it out of the bucket list and I just write a blog and various book reviews instead. I think I have found my forte. Something short, pithy, relevant and hopefully a little humorous.

And it’s done quickly. So, on the pretence of being a bit literary, I can swan into a writer’s festival and know that I dabble a little, but it’s nothing serious, but hey – I have a right to be there.

From the few writers’ festivals I have been too, I realise that writing is really hard work; there is commitment involved, possible rejection from agents and often a critical public waiting to check you out (that is if they even bother to find, buy and read your book).

So it’s so much easier to just write the things that I do. My own personal weekly blog #heavenlyjava is a discipline. I mull on the content of my next blog post and then have it up and ready to be read by Friday afternoon every week.

Then Books at 60 send me a great array of books, some fiction, some non-fiction to read and review. I enjoy this, and as I love books themselves, the piles on my coffee table are also decorator items until they topple and come crashing down.

I did venture into the What Pisses Me Off  blog genre on the main Starts at Sixty website, but as I’m a sensitive soul, I found the amount of nasty comments from people who did not get my sense of humour or ‘tongue in cheek’ view of life put me off doing more of these.

So back to the writer’s festivals. I have been to a few, but last week was lucky enough to hear four authors who were doing a brief ‘five days five cities’ tour as an offshoot from the Byron Bay Writer’s festival.

Four great writers briefly shared their work, their motivation and their tips. It was enough to get me thinking about breaking out of my own writing shell and getting involved in a broader range of writing. Jesse Blackadder, Kate Forsythe, Gabbie Stroud and Luke Carman were all inspiring in their own way.

Those piles of books on coffee tables, bookshelves and book shops and libraries have to be written by somebody. All of these writers must have had doubts, knockbacks and rejections.

That is why listening to writers who write is always a good thing to do if you are keen on writing. It hopefully stirs you up to remember your own gift (if you have one) to take it out, re-examine it and see what you can possibly do with it.

Starting small is better than nothing, and who knows what the future holds. You might be the subject of the next Books at 60 review or one of the authors on my coffee table which sits right beside where I spend my Saturday on the Couch.

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Karen Jones

Born in New Zealand, Karen now happily lives in the mid-north coast of New South Wales. She retired early due to ill health and now focuses on her love of walking, writing, reading and spending time with her grandchildren. With a degree in writing, Karen became a blogger and book reviewer for Starts at 60, which has enabled her passions to become enjoyable pastimes. Her recipe for bliss is a well made flat white, a friendly cat and a sea view.

  1. Hi Karen,
    You are never too old to start writing. I was in my mid fifties before I started writing novels, historical romance is my field, and oh I just started writing Western romance novels. I have about 20 novels published now, mainly with a medium size Canadian publisher and my westerns are self published (well, I couldn’t publish to save my life, my computer skills aren’t good enough, but a friend did it for me). So, I say, go for it. If a novel is a bit too much, try a novella, they can be anything from about 10,000 – 40,000 words.

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