Goodwill hunting

In March this year I undertook an unusual project that merged long form non-fiction and fundraising. I tried to sell my long form article After Shock (about my experience of the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown in Japan) to raise money for victims. It was an idea that appeared in the lead-up to the […]

E-books: starting with a big bang

New media technology empowers writers to avail their work to billions of readers and tap new sources of income. Well… in theory anyhow. The truth is it’s difficult to reach readers and get an income. If you simply publish they will not come. For any chance of readers (and returns) you’ll have to do some […]

A contractual obligation

Looking from a tall city window I see the uniform shape of panes in the building opposite. Each gives me a little scene (of desks, chairs, shelving and cabinets) in a cookie-cutter tableau. I see a world of difference between these offices and my humble desk at home. It’s a distance from ‘business’ that is […]

Lost in translerpretation

That I don’t know the right word in my native tongue shows how fraught this activity can be. I’ve googled ‘journalist translator’ and other variations of these words for weeks. The results are not what I’m looking for. Finally one link takes me to another and I realise my problem: what I’m trying to understand […]

The sound of wise words

If I stop typing now there is relative silence. There’s no editor talking shop while pacing through my room. No fellow writers sit nearby. I can’t overhear someone conducting a difficult phone interview the in the next cubicle. I don’t get ongoing circulars to all staff about new research tools or resources. I can’t ask […]

On story and spin: Remembering 3/11

It’s that time of year. I want to add the word, ‘again’ – but the repetition is pre-emptive. Today is the first time I mark the anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake outside of Japan. Last year I went back for the official memorial service. Two years ago, when the earthquake struck, I was […]

The feedback loop

It’s interesting that the Macquarie Dictionary defines feedback in the mechanical manner first, ‘1. The returning of a part of the output of any system, especially a mechanical, electronic or biological one, as input, especially for correction or control purposes, to alter the characteristic sound of conventional musical instruments, etc.’ It’s the second meaning that […]

Looking at literary culture

There’s a slight reflection on the bookstore window. In it I can see the streetscape – pedestrians, a café and a tree behind me. But I ignore the reflection and peer into the store. Hundreds of books sit on shelves and tables and in potential buyers’ hands. These books have made it. They’ve been written, […]

Follow your heart

Last week, a writer-friend whom I greatly respect told me I was ‘dedicated’ to my writing. Embarrassed, I brushed her compliment aside. But later I had to accept that what she said was partially true – at least in the context of my own life. I am now more dedicated to my writing than ever. […]

International Research II: ‘As long as I don’t die, this will be a great story.’

Long ago, when I returned from a year of working and backpacking overseas, I lived in a shared house. A few months into my tenancy, my birthday came up and I was chuffed that my five other housemates cooked me a simple meal to celebrate. In the chilly winter air we talked over candlelight and […]