Sam Elkin: I would love to come back to KSP one day
I was lucky enough to be offered an opportunity to spend two weeks as a writer in residence at KSP in May 2023.
I grew up in Boorloo but have been living interstate for a long time, so it was extra meaningful to get a chance to do some dedicated writing on this land.
I generally do my best writing first thing in the morning, so I made myself an early morning coffee and did some unstructured writing for around two hours. I then worked on structural edits and broader planning in the late morning, and after lunch I did another writing session.
Some of my highlights from my trip west included walking in the John Forrest National Park, having a beer with my mum at the Mundaring Weir Hotel and checking out the Bilya Koort Boodja Centre for Nyoongar Culture and Environmental Knowledge in Northam. I also loved dropping in to Rabble Books, Beaufort Books and Planet Books while I was in town. Rabble books in particular had a great range of LGBTIQA+ cultural theory texts which were really exciting to see in the flesh, and I was grateful to attend their Voice to Parliament author talk with Sisonke Msimang, Thomas Mayo and Kerry O’Brien at Edith Cowan University too.
I ran a Rainbow Storytelling workshop at the KSP writers’ centre on a Saturday afternoon while in residence. It was an absolute pleasure meeting a number of emerging writers from across WA and tackling a number of interesting debates around #ownvoices writing. I really wanted to get down to Cool Change Artist Studios in Perth to attend one of their reading groups, but sadly had to get on a plane back to Melbourne. I would love to come back to KSP one day, and would highly recommend a stay to anyone who has a big writing project that they need some dedicated time to work on.
TOP TEN TIPS
1) Submit to writing call outs and competitions, they give you a deadline and if selected, the editors usually help refine your work.
2) Support your local writers centre and attend their events, they do so much vital work to keep the Australian writing community connected.
3) Consider doing Nanowrimo this year! It’s a great way to get a first draft done.
4) Join a local writing group or start your own. You learn so much editing other emerging writers work.
5) Experiment with different ways of writing. I personally like writing first drafts long-hand on a tablet and editing on a laptop with an extra screen.
6) Read literary journals. It’s great to see what’s going on in the world of writing and getting a sense of which journals might be a good fit for your work.
7) Read widely and graciously. Not every book is for everyone. Think about who the author’s intended audience was and whether they met their goals.
8) Read in your genre. If you didn’t like a book or article, think about why. Take notes to help you better understand how you want your work to resonate with readers.
9) Attend writers’ residencies or find other ways to get prolonged time to write if you can.
10) Support other writers. The Australian literary community is small so it’s really important that we check in with each other, provide encouragement and buy each other’s books or request them from libraries.
Sam Elkin, KSP Fellow - May 2023