I wanted to send you this email, with no expectation or want for a reply, just to tell you how grateful I am that one week ago I came to your Gunna’s Masterclass.
When I came to class I was on my second-last day of 5 weeks of annual leave. I didn’t have a lot planned for that 5 week period, but “a shitload of writing” was high on the list (I had started my novel 6 months prior and had squeezed out just shy of 2000 words at that time and never gone back to it).
On the day of the Gunna’s I had been on annual leave for 4 weeks and 5 days and I had not written a single word in that time.
Since last Saturday at Gunnas…..
1) I submitted my piece that Saturday night which has since appeared on your site (the first thing I have written and let someone read in about 17 years since I finished school);
2) I have accepted the Gunnas Challenge and sat down on four occasions this week with the intention of writing for 1 hour. On every single occasion I have written for in excess of 1 hour (on one occasion it was closer to 3);
3) I have read “Bird By Bird” by Anne Lamont in a single siting;
4) My novel now has in excess of 10,000 words and is growing everyday…
5) I worked a 40 hour week at my full time job and functioned as a human being whilst completing all of the above.
One final thought. I sat down this afternoon and started to write a scene which is set in the conservatory of the Botanical Gardens. I was going from childhood memory and then thought “fuck this” and packed up my laptop and headed into the actual Gardens. In my scene the conservatory is closed to the public but my characters are still able to go inside, and when I got to the Gardens this arvo the conservatory WAS closed to the public due to a wedding!! I was ready to go home and call it a day but instead I had a chuckle to myself about the irony of the situation (crazy writing gods fucking with my head!!), had a wander around the place and ended up with SO much more material which I will can use for either this piece or something in the future. So it wasn’t a wasted trip at all!
So thank you, thank you, thank you for making me see the light, inspiring me to pull my thumb out of my arse, and bestowing on me the knowledge that to get something written you just have to sit down and damn well write it!
I feel that in terms of my writing, my life will forever be divided into “pre-Gunnas” and “post-Gunnas”!
I hope you’re well. I did one of your Gunnas classes in Melbourne in December, and just thought I’d give you an update on how things are going.
That five minute non-stop writing exercise has transformed the way I write – it’s made it possible for me to make use of all sorts of gaps in my schedule. For so long, I thought that there was no point in trying to use a two-hour window (or whatever) for writing, because I’d need at least a day to produce anything worthwhile. Well, that counter-productive attitude has now gone, and I’m really pleased with some of the material I’ve produced in those gaps.
Another thing. I’ve really kept in mind the mantra about making this a summer of writing, rather than a summer of reading. I love reading, but whenever I’ve thought about grabbing a book, I’ve reminded myself that this is my time. My time to tell my stories.
Last week I had a free afternoon. I was going to go to the pub with a book, and lose myself in someone else’s story. But I decided to take my laptop instead, and do some editing on one of my projects. On the tram ride to the pub, the idea for another piece sparked in my mind, and when I got there I just sat down and got on with it. No nonsense, no “let’s workshop this idea” procrastination. Just a couple of beers, my laptop, and the resolve to just type and type like my life depended on it.
Within a couple of hours I had a down-draft done. Later that evening I returned to it and edited it a bit. The next day, I gave it a sober look over, edited it some more, and decided to send it to a website that had previously published some of my work. They ran it.
It is far from a perfect piece (it could be briefer, it could be neater), but I’m pleased with it. It means something to me, and (I’ve been told) it has meant something to some of the people who have read it. If I’d still been hung up on the idea of ensuring everything was perfect before I shared it, or on the idea that a few spare hours could not be put to meaningful use, then the piece would not have seen the light of day.
So thank you, for helping me de-clog some of the attitudes and misconceptions that have been holding back my writing. I hope your Gunnas students this year have a similar experience, and I look forward to reading whatever stories they have to share.
More lovely things people have said about Gunnas here.
Next Gunnas, Gunnas Self-Publishing and Gunnas Stand-Up Comedy with Rachel Berger here.