Writers festival a chance to strip bare

SUBMITTING a manuscript to a publisher "is like running naked down the middle of a highway”.

According to Laurel Cohen, respected script editor who was running a workshop on the structural editing process as part of the Byron Bay Writers Festival, this vulnerability is something prospective authors should expect to feel.

She was quoting another writer but I got it, which is why I am revealing here that I was part of her workshop on Monday.

I am close to a final draft of my own manuscript and, while not yet naked, I am contemplating the thought of getting undressed in front of a bunch of strangers. By writing this now, I am sort of desensitising myself to the process, taking baby steps.

With the advent of the BBWF, it has struck me how alive and well the process of writing is here in the Northern Rivers.

We may all be going digital but the desire to relate and engage through words will never go away.

The workshop was a sell-out - which means more than 20 manuscripts and roughly 1.6 million words were on their way to being finished in that room. I was so impressed.

Thanks to the organisers of the festival. It is key to the cultural vibrancy of our region and plays a big part in who we are, inside and out.