Monday, April 10, 2006

Raring to go

I'm safely back from Melbourne in the little bush house.

Melbourne's great - vibrant, cold, OPEN - like, shops and things past five pm, and restaurants on a Sunday night, can you believe it? There was so much stuff on my head was spinning with possibilities - a Thai cultural festival, and a book launch I would love to have gone to (Illegal Abortion Stories by Jo Wainer) and the Emerging Writers' Festival...posters everywhere for the Comedy Festival, which opens next week, and cafes and little specialty shops and stylish people everywhere... I was quite the country cousin in my favourite top and bellbottom corduroy pants that had been the height of fashion when I left Melbourne five years ago.

I noticed that this season winter knickerbockers seem to be in, worn with boots and a natty nipped in waist length jacket. Knickerbockers are definitely something one has to acclimatise to slowly - arriving in Melbourne out of the blue and seeing several people in (admittedly stylish but oh-so-eighties) knickerbockers - well it's a fashion leap that I am not prepared to take yet.

I spent most of my forty-eight hours in Melbourne on the fifth floor of the Medina Hotel, stationary and spellbound and slightly intimidated at the Freelance Writers' Conference. Some great speakers - documentary maker Bob Connolly was inspirational, and radio reporter Sharon Mersham (??) was full of energy and surfing photographer Alison Aprhys was very funny. I didn't really learn anything new from a 'how-to' perspective - it's all the same stuff - be reliable, don't make typos, submit on time, make sure your piece is the length you have agreed to make it. However it was great to get ideas and inspiration and to see other freelancers, put faces to some well-known names and really pay attention to how unprofessional I am in the field of freelancing. I need to practice my photography and my writing and brainstorm lots of ideas and different angles on the ideas - not just what everybody else is submitting - and I need to do these EVERY DAY.

Also some ideas for new skills: learning an Asian language, just enough to have a basic conversation and be polite, so I can work for English-language papers overseas. And learning about something no one wants to write about, becoming a specialist in an odd area, like something financial.

So it's back to the prioritising. I've got a day job for the next six months so what am I going to do with my spare time?
- Hone freelancing basic skills (writing, photography, ideas generation, querying)
- Develop extra skills - learn a language, or about money or agriculture or something
- Give it all up and go back to the idea of the PhD...I keep coming back to this, I think it's just the status of having a PhD that appeals to me as I can't think of anythin in particular that I want to research.

Speaking of research I need to write up my conference paper, the one I have to present in two weeks. Now that's a bit daunting (haven't done enough of the research, really hoping I can bluff my way through).

1 comment:

Alison Aprhys said...

Hi Mikhela,
Glad you enojyed my session girlfreind!
Now if you have any ideas on topics for the 2007 freelance conference, please get in touch with the gals at the Alliance as they are always seekign new presenters and are very receptive to constructive feedback.
Wishing you all the best with your writing.
hang ten
Alison Aprhys