GCWA Meeting, November 18, With Rachael Bermingham, Was A Day To Remember!
It’s not often one comes away from a presentation that offers logic clothed in simplicity and humour. For the lucky attendees listening to Rachael Bermingham’s talk at Gold Coast Writers’ Association meeting on Saturday, November 18, such was the case. As Guest Speaker, Rachael captivated her audience with personal anecdotes of her writing experience laced with logic, and delivered with bubbling charm. A combination few could resist.
It all had to do with writing stories—good stories. Rachael is an author of international repute, with a track record that could make an audience of aspiring authors feel somewhat inadequate. Instead, Rachael replaced blinkers of indecision and self-doubt with lenses of possibility and know-how.
You might ask how she did this. The answer was simple. Rachael demonstrated her approach that included the basic elements of passion, truth, and perseverance.
For all writing, the initial step is to have an idea of what you’d like to write about. Naturally, this notion is inside your head, so you need to get it to the outside. A good way to do this is to tell someone about your story in just a couple of minutes.
To demonstrate this, Rachael asked a fledgling writer in the audience to unlock her idea. Hesitant at first, the voluntary ‘target’ opened her mind. And, immediately Rachael began jotting the flow of ideas on the very wobbly whiteboard—urgency dictated note points—nothing more.
Within a few minutes, a “shopping list” of story events was made in marks on a surface outside the head. This showed how it’s possible to arrange the marks into a story outline.
The logic in this process is so basic that it’s often overlooked. But, once marks are “out there”, the next step is to question “why” the marks came into being. Only then can you embark on the journey of writing about the child of your mind—your ideas encapsulated in jotted marks.
Next, you need to question WHY, (how and to whom), is your mind-child important.
Do you wish to leave your story as a legacy to family members, related kin, and friends?
Do you hope to pass on valuable knowledge?
Do you want to make money?
Do you desire to entertain readers?
Your list may be quite long, but focus is important. Your answer will become the driving force behind the next vital step—PLAN.
Rachael stressed the importance of using points again to devise a map to direct your peripatetic ideas emanating from your reason for writing the story. In similar fashion to planning a holiday, you need to create a plan showing a route from beginning to end with various strategic ‘pit stops’ along the way. Planning elevates the journey of writing from laborious trudging to a signposted march to victory.
Underneath the above two vital points—WHY? and PLAN—is the oil that few writers think about until words fill pages, and pages squeeze between covers of THE book.
That oil finally erupts into MARKETING that has sunk many a good story—if the writer hasn’t tamed it through constant investigation and business awareness during the birthing of the book.
Of course, writing a story involves ‘blood, sweat and tears’—a phrase so common, and similar to innocuous music, it is ignored by many. But it’s true.
Writing a book requires much effort, lots of time, endless endurance, and passionate perseverance. However, the simple logic of Rachael’s three beacons is illuminating, and easy to remember.
Gold Coast Writers’ Association members certainly enjoyed and benefited from Rachael’s inspirational talk to shine us on the way of writing. Thanks Rachael!