Bri Lee is a final year law student, emerging writer and fashion freak – she blogs regularly here about these three things, sometimes separately – sometimes together – always beautifully compiled. Bri and I have been following each other’s blogs for a little while now and Bri recently got in contact and asked if I’d like to participate in a blog-hop. I love finding out about the processes of other writers so of course I agreed. Bri is also entering this year’s SLQ Young Writers Award and I wish her the best of luck. Winning the award two years ago was a definite turning point in my writing career.
1. What are you working on at the moment?
I’m currently working on what looks to be my next book (!) A collection of short memoirs exploring the streets of my childhood and the slipperiness of father figures – the two knitted together – fathers and place. The collection is in the very very early stages so talking about it feels fraught with danger but right now that’s my messy working description.
2. How do you think your work differs from that of other writers in your genre?
It’s hard to say exactly what my genre is. I find almost always – story dictates form. I work across forms – at the moment that consists mainly of poetry and memoir. I love the diversity and freedom that working in different forms provides and I don’t know that I could ever commit myself to just one. Though I sometimes worry about being a Jack of all trades and a master of none – the never-ending prospect of writing and learning and writing some more brings me much joy and excitement.
3. Why do you write what you write?
I write about the things that haunt me. Most often, loss and longing, grief, mental illness, characters on the margins of society. I am eternally searching and seeking out what will complete or fulfill me – this usually comes out in my writing. I write what I write because it is both haunting and healing..
4. What’s your writing process and how does it work?
My writing process always begins with three key ingredients. Coffee, chocolate and music. These are non-negotiable elements. Very rarely can I write without music on. I listen through novelty sized headphones which helps me drown out the outside world and anything which can potentially distract me (which is just about anything!) I also create special writing playlists for my different projects. These consist of songs that reflect the mood and tone of what I’m going for. While writing my novel Gap I had a playlist of 5 songs on repeat (click on picture for full size)
Back when I was a terribly undisciplined writer, the next step in my writing process was to play a few rounds of Spider Solitaire to get my mind ticking over. I eventually realised this often resulted in playing Spider Solitaire for an hour and writing for ten minutes. So, I’ve learnt to turn off the computer which – because I write by hand – is an unnecessary distraction. Now my next step is to read a chapter or so of either the book I’m currently reading or something in the genre I’m currently writing in. If I’m writing a piece of memoir I’ll often pick up a book that is going for something similar – likewise with poetry. This helps give me focus and put me in the writing frame of mind. Then, I’m ready to write! Unless there are cakes to be baked or leaves to be raked.
So, who’s next?
I have tagged Kathy George – a friend and fellow emerging writer I met at uni. Her novel Sargasso was picked for the QWC/Hachette Manuscript Development Program last year (and having read it, I can say it is brilliant!) In 2011, Kathy won the QUT Undergraduate Creative Writing Prize. Kathy’s writing has been published in Rex and Stilts and she blogs regularly here. You can check out her blog in a week to read her answers and see what emerging writer she’s tagged.