THE SISTERS' SONG coming in January 2018 from Allen and Unwin. Sign up to my newsletter.

This week’s guest in the attic is my busy writerly friend, Tabetha Rogers Beggs.

Tabetha is mix of all things creative; performer, playwright, writer and philosopher. She is the Chairwoman of the historic Katharine Susannah Prichard (KSP) Writers’ Centre, the founder and creative mind behind Perth’s Little Black Dress Productions, and the former director of arts and culture website, Perth Culture.

She works as a marketing officer for the City of Perth, juggling motherhood, work and a busy schedule of events, and meetings and marketing activities for the KSP Writers Centre. Tabetha also writes for various local blog sites.

Tabetha is a dedicated advocate of the Perth arts and literary scene and spends much of her time reviewing and writing about it. She lives in the hills with her husband and two young children and is currently writing her first novel The Second Husband.

What Tabetha’s bio doesn’t mention is how willing she is to put herself out there and give something a go. She’s an inspiration for anyone reading who might be asking themselves whether they could, or should, take the plunge and follow their passion:

Little Black Dress Productions taught me many things, not least that it is possible to raise well-adjusted children and pursue your dreams.

You can find out more about Tabetha at tabethawrites.com, and on Facebook and Twitter.

Please read on …

 ~

A Writing Whirlwind

It’s Sunday afternoon. The waft of lamb roasting in the oven consumes the house, prompting my 16-year-old stepson to ask at regular intervals, ‘When will dinner be ready?’ Admittedly, it does smell good.

My husband is watching an Adam Sandler movie with our two younger children, supposedly giving me uninterrupted writing time. I am grateful, but also aware I only have two hours until the movie ends and they will return, expecting me to instantly shift from writer to mum again.

Like the eye of the storm, I observe this cyclone as it whirls around me. Watching, listening, occasionally ducking, taking it all in for later use on the page. This is the life of an aspiring author.

I am still dumbfounded at times, how my simple lust to be a writer escalated into more of a lifestyle change, the same way one might approach adopting a healthier eating plan. Instead of locking myself away to pen my masterpiece, which I foolishly believed was the way to do it, I learned many new things, the most important of which: how to juggle!

I am the Chairwoman of the KSP Writers Centre, a board member of writingWA and one of the instigators behind the new WA Writers United collaboration.

I run a weekly writing group, write theatre reviews for news site SoPerth.com and occasionally indulge in telling my travel tales at Ladywanderluxe.com

Finding other platforms to write for has been so rewarding and an excellent way to experiment with different writing styles.

I also work at the City of Perth as a marketing officer, and while this is my paid role, it seems to be the one of least importance to me.

My life is a rich circus and I’ve become the master of multitasking especially if you add being a FIFO wife into the mix.

But I love that my kids believe that all dads go to work on a plane and all mums are permanently attached to their laptop or hanging out at ‘her school’. The novel I am currently writing, The Second Husband is so riddled with these sorts of anecdotes, it could be mistaken for my memoir.

If I ever develop a signature style, I guess that will be it. Fictionalising characters and embellishing events from real life to create stories readers can resonate with. Why make it up when the material is there?

Finding time for my own writing often takes a back seat but I have to remind myself why it all started in the first place. I joined the KSP Writers Centre to develop my skills and elevate myself from writer to author.

Before KSP I was managing my cabaret company Little Black Dress Productions, a theatrical group I started for women wanting to continue performing, while juggling motherhood and work.

My own children were toddlers at the time but I wanted to prove I could be a good mum, a businesswoman and a successful creative. I hear the collective breaths of mothers the world over saving, ’You’re kidding right?’ And no, I wasn’t.

Little Black Dress Productions taught me many things, not least that it is possible to raise well-adjusted children and pursue your dreams.

It was the success of Underground Motown, a cabaret show I wrote about four Perth girls who became Vegas Motown stars that cemented my decision to start writing seriously.

Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t exactly Andrew Lloyd Webber, but I was proud of the script and felt slightly Barbara Streisand-ish having written, directed, produced and performed in the show.

Basking in the glow of that achievement, I signed up for a writing course at UWA with Natasha Lester. I still get teased about being her ‘fangirl’, even though we are now genuine friends. She was the reason I discovered KSP.

I’ll save the rest of my ramblings for my memoir, because seriously, there is so much more to this story. But the message is simple:

Things don’t just happen, you have to go out there and make them happen. Want to be a writer? Then start writing. Too busy? Make time. It’s hard but not impossible.

I’m busy, but I am committed to finishing my manuscript, and even though calling myself a writer feels fraudulent sometimes, I’ve learnt to celebrate the small successes along the path. My published reviews, blog posts, short stories and I am thankful for the knowledge I’ve gained, the people I’ve met and the opportunities it has afforded me.

Writing isn’t always about publication, sometimes it’s simply about writing something beautiful and being grateful you have the skills to do so.

As my parting words, I will share with you the advice I was given 27 years ago, when I auditioned for WAAPA:

 ‘Get out there and live your life, only then will you be able to be a good actress. Life is the experience you need.’

I have lived by this mantra as both a performer and a writer. If I hauled myself up in a room, trying to be the next Hemingway or Austen, not only would I miss out on all the best things in life, I would never be able to authentically write about it.

What does being a writer mean to me?  Being brave, being kind to yourself, and writing what is in your heart.

SAMSUNG CSC

~

I hope this inspires any reader contemplating a creative pursuit to go for it! Take the plunge. Pick up that pen, or open up that Word Document, and put your thoughts into words!

You could start by writing an essay for this series! I’m booked through November, which means there’s only December left, so please send one in or you’ll have to wait until 2017 (I can’t believe I just wrote that! Didn’t the year just begin?).

The topic is what writing means to you but I’m not strict about it. Nor am I strict about the word length, although 600-1000 words seems to suit best. I also offer a small gift as a thank you for your time.

Let me know if you’re interested via the ‘Contact‘ page above.

Subscribe To My Newsletter

Keep up to date with all the latest writing news, and receive a copy of my short story, 'Metaplasia'.
(Published in the anthology, 'Jukebox', OOTA, 2013.)

You have Successfully Subscribed!

%d bloggers like this: