Best of 2009: Benjamin, the Writer

I think 2009 has been a big year for me in terms of my progress as a writer, in terms of putting myself out there and becoming known, as well as improving in the actual writing process.

I’ve summarised some areas of progress or highlights for the year.

Festivals, events and the real world writing community

I’ve discovered this year a friendly literary scene in Melbourne around events and festivals. Previously, the contact I had with other writers was mostly online but after attending the Emerging Writers’ Festival, my second Melbourne Writers Festival and some launches, I’ve met some cool people a few times and this has given me a boost.

Novella, All Fascists are Zombies!

Whilst not writing a whole lot at the start of the year, this novella length zombie story with themes of racism and fascism was probably my main project. Whilst longer than a short story, it was shorter than a novel and allowed me to work on something that seemed achievable.

At that point, finishing the first draft was finishing the longest complete draft ever not counting unfinished novels. I’m still working on a new draft.

Blogging and Twitter

Whilst I will publish a post wrapping up 2009 in blogging, I thought I’d mention a bit about it in relation to writing. Alongside meeting some Melbourne writers in the real world, I connected with them via our blogs and on Twitter.

Some of my posts relating to writing and the publishing industry were shared and read amongst writers and publisher types in the city. I’m pretty chuffed with that.

Writer’s group, zine and launch

My first writers group, zine, launch and reading all in one.

The writer’s group was a really valuable experience this year, pushing me to refine my best piece to date, mixing with more writers in real life and gaining some valuable feedback.

The zine experience was totally new and now I’m really curious to explore it further. Producing a zine and launching it was exciting and giving a reading really made me feel like a bona fide writer.

Capital Comes Dripping and short fiction

Aside from work on the novella, short fiction was a major focus this year, working toward completing some pieces that were much more achievable than a novel.

Editing, drafting, submitting and switching between multiple pieces can make it hard to maintain an overall focus. So, around August, when the writer’s group got together, I decided to make a project out of it all and work on the shorts together in a collection, Capital Comes Dripping, a collection of Marxist horror, with the title coming from the famous Marx quote, “Capital comes dripping from head to foot, from every pore, with blood and dirt.”

My focus and motivation improved as a result, before being derailed by NaNoWriMo.

The Reader

I don’t know why, but being interviewed by Lisa Dempster for an article in The Reader and going to the launch is one of the highlights of my year. Perhaps it’s a weird ego thing where I get a rush out of getting my name somewhere.

I guess this goes under events and real life community stuff, but it stands out.

Barbarism and NaNoWriMo

I guess this should really be my number one highlight of the year in regards to writing, and perhaps in all areas. I fucking wrote 50,000 words in a month; half of a novel’s first draft and a massive boost to my confidence.

I showed myself that I can make the time to write if I push myself, that a story can be semi-coherent and it doesn’t matter because I can redraft.

Truths I learnt:

  1. Need to keep reading to keep inspired to write
  2. Redrafting and rewriting is a lot of fun and use it heaps.
  3. There’s a world of real live writers in Melbourne

9 thoughts on “Best of 2009: Benjamin, the Writer

  1. Great post, Ben! You accomplished a lot in your year. You should be very proud of yourself!

    You forgot to mention the money you raised during Nano – I think you deserve a nod for that as well. :-)
    .-= Carol´s last blog ..The Sin of Greed =-.

  2. Well done Benjamin….. I know you’ll probably hate me for saying this, but speaking only of myself, I admire you for getting out there and fighting the fight. I think you’re actually doing it on my behalf and everyone else who reads of your adventures.
    I wonder what 2010 is going to bring for you?
    .-= Kath Lockett´s last blog .. =-.

  3. Lisa: I hope so too! Still waiting for that reply from Voiceworks

    John: Try searching on

    Carol: Of course! Raised almost $500, but am still collecting donations :-)

    Kath: Thank you. Hopefully some people will be inspired to join the fight too :-) And 2010 is of course a subject for another post entirely.

  4. Pingback: Benjamin Solah, Marxist Horror Writer » Writing Goals: Old Year, Old Month; New Year, New Month

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