Events · Publishing Journey

Attending My First Writing Workshop

Last Sunday I woke up at 5.30am to drive the two hours to a beautiful coastal town to attend a workshop at the Batemans Bay Writer’s Festival. My boyfriend alerted me to it when he heard it advertised on the radio last Wednesday. I knew I could only go to one days as we couldn’t stay in the Bay, but unfortunately I could only book in for one of the workshops I wanted to go to on Sunday – I should have gotten in earlier! Luckily it was the one I really needed: Creating Compelling Characters by Chris Andrews.

I am not a great early morning person, but it was definitely worth it! We arrived in the Bay at 8am and had a revitalise at McDonald’s. I, stupidly, researched how to get there whilst in the car (boyfriend was driving) and felt unwell for the second half of the trip. No food and a nice cup of green tea, had me feeling better as we drove to the venue. I was still ridiculously nervous, but that couldn’t be helped!

Everyone was super nice at the festival, from the parking attendee, to the helpful lady who showed me where to register, to the register personals, to the presenter, and of course the other workshop attendees.

I had a super lovely lady sit next to me. Sadly, I didn’t get her name, but we chatted about our own writing projects in the workshop lull, and she even recommended a fantasy book she loved: Battleaxe by Sara Douglas.
[If, in the one and a million chance you’re reading this, feel free to add me! I’d love to follow your journey 🙂 ]

Being a major YA reader, I haven’t read much fiction by Australian authors, and I had no idea who the presenter was. The workshop was well worth the experience. Chris Andrews gave us all real practical advice on how to create compelling characters. I particularly liked his suggestions of interviewing your main character to learn things about them. I’ll definitely be doing that.

I took a bunch of notes – I did bring my own purple notebook, but I couldn’t resist using the pads there. They’ll add to my souvenirs.

After the workshop I walked out into the sunny day at 10.30am and meet my boyfriend again. We went and got some sushi for me and sat down in the glorious sunshine. We caught a few Pokemon, and I saw a ferret for the first time! It was super cute and tiny!

By that time I was exhausted after the early morning. We went home and I had a three hour nap at my boyfriend’s house before driving home.

Overall, it was definitely worth the experience. It’s even inspired me to get more involved with the writer’s group in my area. I want to go to the workshops they host monthly in the afternoon from visiting authors. There didn’t look like much was coming up I’d want to go to in the next few months, but I’ve rethought this since the Bay trip.

There’s an introduction to crime coming up in October. I want to attend because one day I think I may try to delve into that area, but more important to now is because I think it’ll make the small mystery in my manuscript better. It’ll improve my skills and that is never a bad thing.


Thanks, Batemans Bay! I’ll see you next time!


– Jo Carter 🙂 x ❤


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