Nothing says “versatile” as well as a writer whose resume can boast magazine and newspaper journalist, columnist, editor and novelist. This resume belongs to Sarah-Kate Lynch. With her eighth novel The Wedding Bees due out in April this year (in New Zealand and Australia, and 2014 internationally), I ask her about how she became a writer, what her writing life is like and glean some tips for aspirant writers.
How did you become a writer?
I read a lot of books when I was a kid, that’s probably the first thing, that I liked reading and I liked writing stories, even when I was a child. So I used to write little fiction stories for myself, that was the best part, for me, of being at school.
But the next step for me was journalism. So, after I finished high school, I worked for a year in the newspaper first, in the advertising department, and then went to journalism school. And from then on I have been professionally writing.
And I’ve gone where the jobs have taken me, which is what you have to do, and I think that is one of the tips I would give people as it was indeed a tip given to me.
What’s your greatest writing achievement?
That’s a tricky one, well for me I guess, the achievement is sticking with it. The greatest writing achievement would be to be publishing my eighth novel because I know it is not an easy thing to do.
But stickability is the big key to it and persistence and boxing on even when it’s not what you want to do. And in fact I think one of the biggest misunderstanding about writers, especially novelists, is that they write when they feel like it. And that could not be further from the truth, because a novel takes hours and hours, and weeks and months of just sitting at the computer working, typing, thinking and typing.
What’s your “writer’s life” like?
So pretty much, I have a 9-5. I try to pretend that I don’t, because I think one of the great things about not being in an office is not having to do a 9-5, but there is really probably that much work to do every day.
My days are filled with writing, or thinking about writing, or collating writing, or something to do with writing.
It must add to your workload given that writers are also expected to utilise social media?
I resist that a little bit to be honest, because I am old and I am a little bit grumpy. What I feel that I’m good at is writing – books and columns, and everything else (Facebook, and blogging and Twitter) is just extra work that I don’t get paid for and there aren’t enough hours in the day.
So, if I do have time on my hands I try and update my blog and I try and update on Facebook. But it is not a top priority for me and I know that goes against advice from just about everybody, but I don’t care. Honestly, I spend so much time at the computer that any opportunity to not be at it, I’ll take it. I’d rather walk on the beach!
What are your plans for 2013?
This year I have got a lot of travel in the first part of the year. And I am considering writing a non-fiction book, which would be a kind of follow up to the first book I ever wrote, called Stuff It: A Wicked Approach to Dieting and it would be sort of part memoir, part guide to life.
Also I have got two ideas for other novels which I will approach at some stage. It’s definitely going to be another year sitting at the computer, that’s for sure.
About the Author
Melissa Parkes has worked in fundraising and communications for two years. When not at work, she can be found either reading, writing, or walking with her faithful shadow, Coop the dog. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Media Studies from Victoria University and has recently completed the Magazine Journalism Course with NZ Writer’s College.