Joy of Writing in Feilding, Manawatu

Manawatu Writers' Festival 2017, September 8-12

Tomorrow I’ll bus to a little town two hours north of Wellington for the inaugural Manawatu Writers Festival. An impressive programme includes more than 40 sessions over four days. I was asked to speak at the official opening and to run a workshop, and am delighted to be part of this boutique writers’ festival.

This event is special because the population of Feilding is a mere 14,000 — on the other hand, it’s only 20 minutes from the provincial capital of Palmerston North. At least three writers’ groups are active in Feilding.

In my workshop I’ll be asking participants about their main source of joy as writers. I know what will happen: each individual will have a definite answer — and their answers will be varied in the extreme.

I’ll also ask them to state what spoils the joy of writing, for them personally. Then I’ll ask everyone to place the kill-joys on a wonky chart on a scale between unchangeable and changeable, and external and internal factors.

  • What would you say were the greatest enemies of your own joy in writing?
  • Where would you place them on the chart below?
  • That’s all: now I’m interested in your thoughts!
Chart for the factors that kill your joy as a writer
Chart for the factors that kill your joy as a writer

21 thoughts on “Joy of Writing in Feilding, Manawatu

  1. Having to go to work/do housework. Parental duties ‘Mum what’s for dinner?’. Fear of being judged. Fear of failure. The need to be ‘successful’ & productive…

  2. Fear of not being good enough. Fear of not knowing what I am doing. Fear that I won’t get to the end… fear, fear, fear! The festival sounds great and your workshop looks like it will be great too!

    1. You know yourself! For you that fear may be a strength, who knows? Part of you knows your fears are begging for you to prove them wrong, which you do over and over again, don’t you? I am loving the festival and am feeling revitalized as a writer. Today, “deconstructed vindaloo” from Leith St. Clair Butler…

  3. You ask hard questions Rachel. Writing for me is a compulsion. I feel joy (sometimes) when I’ve finished. Writing helps me find out what I think: of myself, my life, others – indeed the world and beyond. I journal, write fiction, poems and non-fiction and of course I write blog posts. Each, has its own challenges and satisfactions. But joy? So where would I place any of these writing activities on your chart? Mmm, I may have to write about that to find out.

  4. You do, you do (have to write about it)! Your profile is rather similar to mine, I think: I need to write or bust, and it’s never a simple hydraulic transference of thought to screen or paper, always a dynamic trip to unknown parts.

  5. First, congratulations on being asked to be the opening speaker and to conducti a workshop. Both are well deserved. I’d be there to hear you for sure. As to the interesting task you posed us, I’d say the only thing that kills my joy in writing is being overwhelmed by too many writing obligations, which is internal and changeable. However, i can’t seem to muster the strength to quit doing some of what I do regularly or to say no to occasional things that come along. So….here i sit, overwhelmed.

    1. First, thank you for your kind comments—I thoroughly enjoyed the festival. Now, I wouldn’t be surprised if, having written down for all to see and for yourself to reconsider, you brutally cut a couple of obligations today. Which ones do you least and most enjoy? This pruning tends to happen suddenly, impulsively, with me. I hope you can ambush yourself, because if writing isn’t a source of pleasure, why do it? (I’ve just decided to crop this website back until it’s nothing but a blog. Then my other site will be worth keeping…) Best of luck. I’ll be rooting for you.

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