Brisbane Writers Festival 2017

Yesterday I attended a few panel discussions that were held as part of the annual Brisbane Writers Festival. I’d previously only attended the BWF once before, several years ago, and, for various reasons, hadn’t been back since. I was either too busy, or had other things on; perhaps I found out about it too late, and didn’t have a chance to get tickets for the talks I was interested in; or maybe there was part of me that thought my time would be better spent actually writing rather than hearing about things that other people wrote.

This year, however, I felt compelled to go, and thank goodness I did! 

I’d heard about it several weeks ago because my old uni is the principal partner of the event, and they’d sent an email about it (they’re pretty good about keeping their alumni up to date with their happenings). I’ve had a bit of a disengagement from writing this year (story-writing, that is, not so much blog-writing, although I’m managing that differently now too) so I thought the BWF would be a good way to get inspired again and to re-engage with my creative writing. That’s one of the reasons why I felt compelled to go.

The other reason I wanted to go was because I just wanted to be around other like-minded, writer-y people. You know that feeling of being amongst people that share some part of you? I felt it when I went to concerts by artists whose music has had a big impact on me. I remember it strongly from when I saw The Script in concert a couple of years ago. I’ve felt it at sporting events too, and I’m sure it’s a common feeling amongst spectators.

I basically just liked the idea of immersing myself in this crowd of people who appreciate and value words. Apart from the bloggers I follow, I don’t really know many people who have a similar passion for reading novels, and even fewer (if any, apart from bloggers I follow) who have a similar passion for writing. But I know there must be people like me out there, and some of these people must be in Brisbane.

I didn’t necessarily expect to meet other writers by attending BWF, or even to talk to them, but I wanted to be amongst them, and to attend these panel discussions, and just feel like I was part of something bigger, something greater.

And, yes, I achieved that. And, yes, it was amazing and wonderful and inspiring, and I feel like I might finally be ready to re-engage with the story I’d put into hibernation at the start of the year. To be fair, I was thinking about resurrecting the story prior to attending the BWF, so the wheel was perhaps already in motion, but attending the festival was probably the right push to get the wheel rolling at a noticeable pace and determinate direction.

It was only by luck that I actually had the Friday off in order to attend the festival (it’s held over several days, but I reckon the best talks were mostly on Friday (but I’m probably just biased because I didn’t spend nearly as much time browsing events on the other days)). Yes, I could’ve asked for the day off if I’d been more organised, but it worked out fine because, due to a roster/workload change, I had my Friday shift changed to Sunday. So, with just under a week to go before the BWF kicked off, I bought myself a day pass, and booked tickets to three panel discussions, plus a storytelling event.

Even just booking the tickets was exciting. I spent the rest of that week looking forward to Friday.

Each panel discussion was inspiring and thought-provoking in its own way, so I’m actually going to dedicate separate posts to each one. I’d gone into each of them with notebook and pen in hand, intending to write notes as I listened, but as the writers talked, I didn’t want anything to detract from my attention – I wanted to absorb everything they were saying – so I kept my notebook shut through them all, only writing quick, brief notes at the end.

The storytelling event, which was the final event I attended that evening (the events I attended commenced at 2:30pm, and thus went into the evening), also presented its own revelations, but I’m undecided about whether or not I’ll write a post for it.

Anyway, I’ll get these posted over the next couple of weeks or so. Then I’ll probably return to what has become my usual rotation of Meditations, Japan and Thursday Doors posts, interspersed here and there with random ponderings and happenings.

P.S. I also intend to write a post about why I disengaged from the story I was writing. I say “disengaged” because I don’t want to call it a writing slump – not because of the negative connotation, but because putting it to rest was a conscious and thoroughly considered decision. Arguably it was moving that way anyway, but I won’t go into that now.

One thought on “Brisbane Writers Festival 2017

  1. Pingback: snapshots – Transient

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