Winter is coming–My favourite winter writing events in Victoria

When the weather gets cold, my thoughts turn to afternoons in a warm room, cup of coffee or glass of red at the ready, and some writing. Warm and embracing environments sometimes make the words come a little easier, even when I’ve come back after a break.

Keys from an old Spanish typewriter, including 'Mayusculas' (Shift) key
Looking forward to making some winter words (Photo by Nina PhotoLab on Unsplash)

Luckily, Central Victoria is full of events for writers. Here, in approximate date order, are just a handful of the writerly delights we can expect over the colder months.

June 8-11–14th Woodend Winter Arts Festival

Now in its 14th year, the Woodend Winter Arts Festival is a major event on the calendar. This year, there will be events for those interested in writing, music and poetry, to name but a few of the arts that will be featured. Of particular interest to me is the Write right now poetry workshop with award-winning Australian Poet Emilie Zoey Baker; the booking page notes it will be an ‘intensive writing workshop with live prompts, exercises and take-home plans’.

June 19-29–Emerging Writers’ Festival (Melbourne CBD)

EWF is a favourite of mine. I have fond memories of taking time off work, buying a Golden Ticket and wandering around inner-city Melbourne, from panel to workshop to author event for several days straight. A highlight for me was the two-day National Writers’ Conference, occurring on the weekend of the festival. Now, as a parent, I don’t have a lot of time, particularly not on weekends, but I’m looking forward to any remote, free events I can take advantage of. And of course, I’ll be monitoring the twitter hashtags.


August 10-12–Bendigo Writers’ Festival

I must admit, this isn’t a favourite–yet–because I’ve never been to Bendigo Writers’ Festival! But I might try and make it this year. Keep checking at the BWF website for event and ticketing details when the festival program becomes available in June.


August–Words in Winter

This sizeable writers’ festival occurs in Daylesford and other towns across the centre of the state, about an hour out of Melbourne. A highlight for me last year was the ‘Writing in cafes’ event, where Trentham writers met up in a cafe for chat, sharing their work and writing. I’m hoping for a little free time to catch some of the free events in 2018.

View down a winter tree-lined road on a cloudy cold day, parked cars.
Looking for a warming cup and a place to write in gorgeous Trentham in winter. (Photo credit–Kellie Flanagan)





What are your tips for writing in the cold? Leave a comment!

Bootstrapping for business capital

It is possible to start a writing business without breaking the bank–as long as you spend wisely

You’ve heard the bad news about how many small business fail in the early years, I’m sure. And while it’s true that many small businesses do not survive, this is often for good reason. You may feel put off the idea of starting a freelance business, but you don’t have to.

Here are some things to think about when setting up.

You can start small

  • All you need is something to write on and somewhere (preferably ergonomic) to sit! My big executive chair with wheels and 360º seat rotation looks very flash at my working space (the dining table).
  • Write a basic business plan. I like this ‘The $100 Startup One-Page Business Plan from Chris Guillebeau.
  • Platforms can be free, or really cheap. to make yourself known and get the word out about your services—website, business page, social media accounts.
  • For Australian freelancers: Get an ABN. It’s free. It demonstrates you’re getting serious that this fun thing you’re doing is actually a business. It also means more organisations will want to do business with you.
  • Think hard about your spend; only spend the money if there are real, quantifiable benefits, or your business activity can cover it.



Stacks of notebooks bound together on an old shelf
One writer’s archive?–Photo by Simson Petrol on Unsplash (

Use your existing technology if it’s reliable and safe

A good reason to replace your technology is if it becomes unreliable and threatens your ability to deliver quality service to your clients.

Consider your options. You don’t have to start big; in fact, it’s better if you start small. I started out freelancing using a fully-functioning Windows tablet that was barely bigger than a hardcover book, that fitted easily into my daily tote bag. It was only after I gave up the daily commute (and also realised that a tablet was not safe to use long term) that I bought a new laptop.

Don’t rush to leave the day job–if you don’t have to

It’s true! Day jobs, and their associated salary and benefits, can be wonderful. Particularly if your business planning suggests it will take a while to build a clientele for your offering. There is no shame in keeping the day job for now, if it keeps food on the table and maybe one day your side hustle will become the day job.

But more on this topic later…

So tell us in the comments…do you have a day job? If you have a side hustle, how did you get started?