In the first of our blog series created in conjunction with RMIT Horizons, Tash McGirr, Jessie Berry-Porter and Michael Crane offer advice on how they motivate themselves to write outside of the crushing panic of the end-of-semester assessment period.
RMIT Horizons is a creative writing lab for final year students. Tash, Jessie, Michael and their Horizon peers are the creative minds behind EWF 2017 event, Double Exposure.
I find I get the most work done first thing in the morning, somewhere between the first coffee of the day and the early morning walk to clear your head. At the moment my work centres around daily domestic life so I’m inspired by doing the dishes and hanging out laundry. I always make my bed. I also tend to make notes on my phone of conversations I’ve had with friends or overheard in the supermarket. I glance back at these when I’m struggling to write something. Looking at old photos of past relationships can be a big motivator, as can watching a really good movie or discovering a new favourite poem. Coffee helps too.
Inspiration from other artistic mediums e.g. film and music encourages creative expression and enhances creative flow (alongside sleep deprivation, caffeine intoxication and late-night ocean swims in winter – all intended to dissociate and remove self-consciousness). I write because I need to release pressure/heaviness, it is more of an essential practice re: ‘how to make the self feel lighter and thus remain functioning’, than a forced daily routine. I utilise public transport as a way to accommodate this, as when transitioning from ‘a’ to ‘b’ I am between spaces and am more able to access clear/true ideas.
I actually find it harder to write during assessment time. Outside of class, it’s easier to write. I have a large body of unpublished poems, micro-fiction and longer stories I plan to submit locally and internationally. Locally, Writers Victoria send out a weekly newsletter with writing opportunities including publishing in journals and competitions. Internationally, there are portals for micro-fiction, short stories and poems. Some of these portals have links to the actual websites of the journals, some are online, and some are print. I find submitting work enjoyable and find it helps to motivate myself to work outside of assessment. I also often rewrite my work which usually inspires me to write new work.