Monday 19 September 2022

#RWAus22… Baby, we’re BACK!

Over a month ago now, #RWAus22 wrapped up in Fremantle and, as usual, I’m only now getting to wrap my head around the absolute whirlwind that was our first fully national, in-person conference in THREE YEARS! #RWAus19 in Melbourne was SO LONG AGO!

This year, I’m blogging my takeaways for Breathless in the Bush, and those takeaways can, for me, be grouped into three main headings: Decisions, Consequences, and Character.

Check out why these three headings below.

#1 Decisions

International guests Becca Syme and Zoe York both talked at various times about decisions, and how those decisions then impact on writing, and writing careers.

One of the fundamental skills Becca teaches is to ‘question the premise.’ I can hear you all asking what that means, so, to illustrate, here’s an example from Becca’s book, Dear Writer, You Need to Quit (which I have bought in actual book form, read twice, highlighted and it now lives on my desk):

Good writers write every day.

But, do they?

Here’s another one:

You can’t edit a blank page.

But, can’t you? (And, sorry to all the La Nora Stans who are stoning me in their heads right now for challenging this one. I love La Nora too, promise)

Becca’s whole perspective is about finding what works for you, given your particular bundle of strengths and characteristics and ways of doing things. To stop making decisions about how you do things based on how OTHER people do them and make decisions that WORK FOR YOU. And, if you want more about that, check out Dear Writer, You Need to Quit by Becca which is an easy, and FABULOUS read.

Similarly, Zoe also talked about not just doing what everyone else is doing and thinking that will build your career. She talked about not seeking ten-word answers (i.e. the easy answer) but asking better questions (see the three minute scene from The West Wing here which explains this way better than I can, and you can watch the BRILLIANT Martin Sheen doing the BRILLIANT, albeit pretend, Josiah Bartlet). She also talked about questioning the goals of the person giving you advice and making sure that their goals align with your goals before making the decision to TAKE the advice.

#2 Consequences

Following on from Decisions – we have consequences.

Another message I took away from the conference was to be aware of where I expend my energy.

Becca uses the idea of energy pennies to illustrate this idea: imagine you have a finite number of energy pennies to use for each day, and every decision you make expends a certain number. One penny when you decide what you have for breakfast, twenty to process all the negativity when you start scrolling through Facebook or Twitter, even more when you start fighting with posters, whether online or in your head.

The limited number of energy pennies you have is why you need to make good decisions! You don’t want to be expending energy on decisions that aren’t the right decisions for you, or for your writing career.

#3 Character

And then, decisions and consequences come together in your CHARACTERS!

We were lucky enough to get a two-fer when Maisey Yates and Jackie Ashenden presented their Driven by Character session. Maisey and Jackie are both great - #BFFGOALS – and they talked some about the push/pull of decision and consequence as driving characters along.

They also talked about those decisions and consequences having to be in accordance with the character’s character (i.e. what makes them them), and those decisions and consequences having to have emotional ramifications.

You know, it all sounds so easy when I write it in one little paragraph but… This stuff is hard, and this session was a great reminder.

And, finally, the Award Winners

Last, but not least, CONGRATULATIONS to all of the RUBY award winners for 2022 (list here at the end of Amy Andrews’ latest Booktopia blog), and to the EMERALD (Carrie Clarke) and SAPPHIRE (Tanya Nellestein) award winners.

If you were there, tell us below what were your take aways from Conference? If you weren’t there, do any of my take aways resonate for you?

Kristine Charles writes sexy tales where coffee (and red wine) is abundant, designer shoes and handbags are cheap, chocolate has no calories, and men always put the toilet seat down. Find her at or on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You can also get her latest - Catch and Kiss - in the It's Always Been You charity anthology (proceeds to breast cancer research) here.

LOVE TO LOVE: the book I’m reading, Ainsley Booth’s PRIME MINISTER, book one in the Frisky Beavers Series (Ainsley is also Zoe York!). This book is fabulous!


LOVE TO LEARN: From Becca Syme. Her Write Better-Faster courses, and Need to Quit books are the BOMB!