Since moving to the country, I particularly miss the opportunities that are so easily accessed in Brisbane. I love my property. Sitting at my computer right now, I can look outside across my twin rose gardens, across the paddocks and keep going for an uninterrupted view all the way to the horizon. I can see two houses way off in the distance and some smoke on the horizon. And that’s it. What can I hear? Right now, birds chirping (oh yes, and the clothes dryer).
All this peace and quiet is delightful for ‘setting the mood’ for writing. But I do struggle with the isolation. There are no cinemas to distract me with movies that serve as fodder for the mind. There are no cafes at write at. There are no shops to shop in and no friends to chat to. It’s just me and the furry kids.
So what am I doing about it? Firstly, since attending Kate Eltham’s workshop in online savvy for writers, I have been embracing the opportunities to make contact via the web. And I have to say that it’s been more satisfying than I first thought it would be. Secondly, I have organised a small DIY writers’ retreat for four days in Maleny (starting this Friday) with four other writers. Thirdly, I have just submitted an application to Varuna (The Writer’s House) in the hope that I might be selected to attend their annual LongLines live-in retreat program for regional writers.
Country living, like city living, offers advantages and disadvantages. The trick, I think, is working my way around the disadvantages. It is SO important for writers to make contact with other writers. I can honestly say that there is no way I would be where I am on my journey right now if I hadn’t had the support and friendship of QWC and other writers (that I have met there).
I have come to believe that “success” (a slippery notion) in writing is a strong mixture of craft and contacts. I encourage all writers to reach out and make contact. Your local/regional writers centre will probably be your first and best start.