KSP Writing Residency Round-Up

I spent the last month as writer-in-residence at Katherine Susannah Prichard (KSP) Writers Centre in Greenmount, Western Australia. Over the course of the month I visited many of the writing groups that meet regularly at the centre to critique each other’s work, learn about the craft of writing and produce anthologies. I was struck by the wide range of people that attend these groups and the incredible variety in terms of the work they produce. I particularly enjoyed visiting the children’s writing groups, led by the gorgeous Meg Caddy. The kids had such spontaneity in their approach to writing and weren’t constrained by notions of what ‘writing’ should be like. They were writing stories about space pirates and fatal equine viruses and they were hugely inspiring.

I was the guest of honour at a lovely literary dinner at which I got to meet all the members of the committee and many members of the centre, as well as a fellow writer-in-residence. I read extracts from two of my three published novels, and from my work-in-progress Monkey See. It was really strange to hear them read aloud in such quick succession and really made me realise how very different in tone they are. I also realised that putting so many Spanish names in Monkey See made reading it aloud quite the challenge!

SAM_2882

I delivered a workshop on social media for writers, an area of passion for me, which generated lots of lively discussion. One night my son came for a sleepover in the cabin. He drew me a portrait which indicates that apparently I look to him like Freddy Kruger. I guess I need to work on my parenting techniques.

Freddie Krueger

The centre is in a really beautiful setting and I loved watching the sun set and the moon rise over the city skyline in the distance.

IMG_0850

Mostly though, I sat at my huge desk in front of my huge window and typed ferociously on my brand new novel – my fifth – a work about depression which I hope will also be funny – a difficult balance to strike. I wrote 23,000 words towards this new book! I was ecstatic with this outcome. I was producing work at four times my usual rate and had my personal best – a day in which I wrote just over 3000 words. It was really exciting to get on such a roll.

Wordcount

The residency was a valuable opportunity to learn some lessons about my writing process. What I learnt is that I can, when I get going, write a lot faster than I usually do. But I can’t sustain this for more than a few weeks. By week 4 I felt like I had fried a circuit in my brain. I had no ideas left and realised I needed  some precessing time before I can continue with Self/Help. Instead I used the last week to creep towards the finish line of my fourth novel Monkey See, which is very close to completion (first draft). It was a wonderful and incredibly productive month for me and I’m so grateful to KSP for giving me this opportunity.

11 thoughts on “KSP Writing Residency Round-Up

  1. Four weeks of solid writing is a big ask of anyone’s brain. I agree that a distraction-free setting and being able to live in the world of your novel makes writing so much easier. It’s great that you wrote so much! Well done.
    PS. I like the sound of a book about depression that is humorous, and I know you have a wicked sense of humour!
    PPS. I don’t know that I would have recognised you from the portrait your son drew—you look like a single-haired Edward Scissorhands. I do believe he might have a cartoon career ahead of him!

    1. Yes, I’m always amazed by those writers that can knock out a book in 4 months. Their brains must work very differently to mine.

      Thanks for the vote of confidence – I hope my sense of humour is up to the task!

      I do not know WHAT was going on with that single hair!

  2. This is so inspiring Annabel. What an incredible output. I really hope I can do the same when my residency comes around (though I’ll be editing rather than writing – I kind of hope I can wrap the editing up quickly and grab some writing time while I’m there).

    1. Hi Jodie, first up, I recommend becoming a member of KSP Writers Centre. They have lots of great one-off events, and are a great information source for early-career writers as well as a way to make contact with others who are at the same career stage. Their residency information is here: http://www.kspwriterscentre.com/#!residency-program-1/cju7o

      You might also want to look at FAWWA who offer many of the same services, as well as residencies.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *