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Reading

Women’s Nature Writing

flatlay image of autumn leaves, glasses and a notebook on a wooden table, with the text 'Women's Nature Writing'

Kathleen Jamie’s new book Surfacing landed in my mailbox last week, and I can’t wait to read it. Kathleen is a Scottish poet and essayist, and Surfacing is her third collection – following Findings and Sightlines – of what you’d probably call nature writing, although that term does little justice to her delightful touch.

I was interested to read an interview with Kathleen in the Guardian last week, which dealt with the question of whether contemporary nature writing is overly dominated by white men. (Spoiler – it is.)

That’s not to say that there aren’t some wonderful men out there, producing great work – there are, and you’ve probably read at least some of them. (Hi, Robert MacFarlane…) But the natural world is too beautiful for us to only read about it through that one narrow lens.

Unfortunately, what the Guardian piece didn’t do was highlight any of the alternatives, of which there are many. So I thought I’d take sometime to pull together a non-exhaustive list of writers, books, essays and sites that you might like to explore if this subject interests you. It really is just a way of dipping your toe in the water – there’s so much out there and if you’re anything like me you’ll discover that following one interesting link leads you to a dozen more.

Have fun getting lost in nature! And feel free to leave a comment below with your own recommendations.

Continue reading “Women’s Nature Writing”

Copywriting

Tasmania: Come Down for Air

Tourism Tasmania Come Down for Air campaign launch image

I was really excited yesterday to see that Tourism Tasmania have launched their latest campaign – Come Down For Air.

The behind-the-scenes details of the brand launch, which includes commercials, videos, adverts and a dedicated Come Down for Air website can be found on the Tourism Tasmania website, while the public facing site is DiscoverTasmania.com/air. Continue reading “Tasmania: Come Down for Air”

Reading

Do you need to own books to love them?

Weekend of Reading Tasmania - Do you have to own books to love them?

The inaugural Weekend of Reading took place in Hobart over the weekend. It was a fantastic three-day event, organised by Kate Harrison and Jane Rawson, which kicked off on Friday night with the announcement of the Tasmanian Premier’s Literary Prize shortlists.

I was really pleased when Kate and Jane – who work together under the banner of Read Tasmania – asked me to take part in one of the panel discussions. Along with fellow Hobart writers Peter Timms and Ruth Quibell, I tackled the question ‘Do you need to own books to love them?’ Continue reading “Do you need to own books to love them?”

Feature Writing

Guardian feature on Aurora Australis

Screenshot of a Guardian Australia Feature on the Aurora Australis by Ruth Dawkins

I have a piece up at Guardian Australia today about the final season of the icebreaker Aurora Australis, which has spent the last thirty years transporting cargo and crew to Antarctica.

This was a lot of fun to write, and I’m very grateful to the researchers and writers who took time to speak with me.

One cool fact that didn’t make it into the article – the ship is painted the same colour as San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge!

freelance life

How to deal with disappointment as a freelancer

Woman sitting alone looking out to sea, captioned 'How to deal with disappointment as a freelancer'

Disappointment is part of life when you work as a freelancer – whatever your industry.

Even within the narrow field of writing, opportunities for disappointment abound. There will always be a pitch that is rejected, an editor who doesn’t respond, a client who thinks your rates are too high, or a project that just doesn’t turn out quite right…

In order to succeed as a freelancer – and for the sake of your mental wellbeing – it’s important to accept that you will encounter disappointments both big and small. The best way of dealing with disappointment looks different for everyone, but I’m sharing some of my own strategies below.

This is a timely post, because last week I heard that I hadn’t been successful with a grant application. Even though the news was expected and didn’t come as a surprise, it was still disappointing to have it confirmed, and since then I’ve been working through some of these steps. Continue reading “How to deal with disappointment as a freelancer”

Copywriting, freelance life

Working from home as a couple

Work desk with books, pencils and glasses. Captioned 'working from home as a couple... here's how we do it.' by Ruth Dawkins

My husband and I have just survived our first year working from home together.

Actually, let me rephrase that. My husband and I have just finished a fantastic first year working from home together.

I’ve been a freelancer working from my home office for almost ten years. The amount of work I’ve taken on has increased as my son has grown older and spent more time away from me – first in childcare and then at primary school. But throughout that time I’ve had the chance to put systems and processes in place that maximise my efficiency, and I’ve developed the required discipline to ignore the piles of laundry that always need putting away and instead sit down at my desk, day after day. Continue reading “Working from home as a couple”

Copywriting

Freycinet Resort website – done!

a screenshot from the Freycinet Resort website in Tasmania

I spotted earlier today that a project I worked on in June and July has now gone live – and it looks fantastic!

Freycinet Resort offers beautiful eco-accommodation on Tasmania’s East Coast. The property has recently come under new management, and the owners wanted to completely refresh their website to reflect the new direction they’ll be taking the resort in. Continue reading “Freycinet Resort website – done!”

Feature Writing, Reading

The best essays of 2019… so far!

Old typewriter on wooden desk with caption 'The best essays of 2019 so far' by Ruth Dawkins

According to my blog stats, a post I wrote back in 2017 about 20 Places to Read Great Personal Essays has proved to be enduringly popular. I suspect it’s mainly other writers who seek it out, looking for publications that might be a good fit to submit their own personal essays to. But perhaps there are also a few people out there – like me – who just really enjoy reading good quality essays and feature articles online.

One problem I’ve found over the years is that I tend to lose track of those favourite reads. I save the link on Facebook, or favourite it on Twitter… but then never manage to go back and read it a second time. Sometimes I forget to save it at all, which can be infuriating if I’m trying to find it again later! I’ll remember a great turn of phrase, or a theme that resonated, but no combination of Google search terms will bring the piece back to me. Continue reading “The best essays of 2019… so far!”

Reading

The Best Books about Motherhood

silhouette of mother and child with text 'The best books about motherhood by Ruth Dawkins'

Quite accidentally, I seem to have found myself reading a lot of motherhood memoirs recently.

My own son is now ten years old – the drudgery of sleepless nights is well behind us – but the tears and laughter that have been prompted by my recent reads would suggest that the memories of those early days are still quite raw.

I thought it would be useful to compile a list of my favourite reads about motherhood. Others may well disagree, but I always found fiction, memoir and poetry to be far more useful than how-to manuals and parenting guides. Sometimes all you need to know is that someone has else lived what you’re currently living, and come out the other side of it alive.  Continue reading “The Best Books about Motherhood”

Copywriting, Feature Writing, freelance life

How to get out of a writing slump

Image of crumpled paper in a bin and wording 'How to get out of a writing slump' by Ruth Dawkins

Write a content calendar, they said!

Plan a year’s worth of blog posts in advance, they said!

So, I did, and yet somehow it’s May 7th and I’m only now publishing the post that I’d planned for early April… I’ve had two big copywriting projects on the go, both of which required me to work through the school holidays, so when I did have spare time it felt much more important to spend that with my family rather than tinkering away in the back of my website.

However, school is now back, my diary is a little more under control, and I’ve got a chance to share this post that has been sitting in note form in my drafts folder for several weeks.

Somewhat ironically, given how busy I’ve been, I decided that in April I would write about how to get yourself out of a writing slump. Continue reading “How to get out of a writing slump”