05 Jan Why writers need time for the big picture
Last August, I was fortunate enough to receive a 12-day writing residency at Bundanon, where the artist Arthur Boyd once lived. It’s deep in the Australian bush. The only sounds come from a mob of kangaroos thudding past.
I’ve talked about how important immersion time is for a writer. This time at Bundanon, I was in the cavernous artist studio with a paint-splattered floor (you can see it in the photo above). I only had 3 days to work on my current novel, so I made the most of them by doing one all-nighter and working into the early hours the next night.
I managed to get a top-down edit done (how to do that will be in the next newsletter) and used every available space to spread out my notes: trestle tables, floors, walls. Often writers get lost in the detail so this kind of ‘big picture’ time is invaluable. Now I’m all set to get on with the next draft!
What I really love about artistic residencies is meeting other artists. At Bundanon there was a composer, a film-maker, a craft artist, a visual artist and me. Within a day Gina Kalabishis’s bare studio was full of paints, three easels with canvases, and delicate plant sculptures fixed to the walls (pictured above). I said to her, ‘The process of writing feels so boring! All we have is a pen and pencil, or computer.’ But I suppose we do get to paint with our words… 🙂
You can see more photos of my time at Bundanon on my Facebook page.