The Ultimate Writer’s Guide for the Novice Author

Dysfunctional Literacy

If you really want to be a writer, don't let anybody or anything discourage you. (image via wikimedia) If you really want to be a writer, don’t let anything discourage you. (image via wikimedia)

An Ultimate Writer’s Guide is not about giving advice.  Writers can get advice all over the internet.  An Ultimate Writer’s Guide is about discussing what’s in store for novice authors without discouraging authors or scaring them off.

It’s true, being a novice author can be tough.  The money might be nonexistent.  Since most writers don’t make much money from writing, almost all of them have to work full-time jobs, and that means writers don’t have much time for writing.  Even with blogs and social media, there’s no guarantee that a writer will be able to build an audience.  Despite these challenges, being a writer can be worth the time and effort.

The money issue isn’t everything, but it can’t be ignored.  Even with easy self-publishing and ebooks that don’t cost anything to create, it’s still…

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The Citrus Chronicles

Day 24 in Mildura

The Italian poisoned dwarf seems to have switched tactics. Taking a more modern twist in the good cop bad cop routine, she has switched to the bad cop, even worse cop routine in order to break our spirit.
We are unsure what her aim is but one thing we do know is that it will not break us.

Our numbers continue to deplete at a rapid pace. More prisoners arrive at the packing shed for work and then leave! Never to be seen again. We can only suspect that the dwarf has killed them and packed them into boxes, we will pray for our fallen comrades. We believe the only reason we are still alive is because we are still useful to her. We can only suppose that the orange packing is some sort of test of endurance and only the strong shall survive. The dwarf and her minions continue to monitor us closely. We refuse to give up!

I am still haunted by oranges in my dreams. The citrusy odour continues to follow me. The siren that indicates that we should get back to work plays continuously in my mind. If one day I should gain my freedom from this place, I fear I will never be the same.

We have 76 more days to plan an attack and hope it will gain us our freedom in this land. However our living quarters seems to have had a rapid increase in Italian prisoners. We suspect that they are spies! They have built their headquarters in the kitchen. They must be reporting back to the poison dwarf. The Italian spies have over compensated in trying to blend in by buying too many ingredients. They seem fearful of anything that resembles fast food, therefore our headquarters shall be in KFC.

If you do not hear from me again you must assume that I have succumbed to the fate of my brethren and have fallen at the hands of the poison dwarf. If this comes to pass we must spread this story far and wide to raise awareness amongst the backpacker race. Cherish your freedom my friends.

Pray for the Mildura two.

Oranges make me want to kill myself

Have you ever looked at an orange and wanted to kill yourself? I do… Every damn day. 

This is my life now. Living in Mildura VIctoria trying to complete my farming to get my second year visa. Im currently packing oranges… For the devil reincarnated. I’ve never met a more hellish woman. A tiny Italian lady who scrutinises every aspect of your working day wasn’t what I envisaged when I arrived here. 

Yes! The work is horrendous. It’s tedious, monotonous and mentally challenging. Who would have thought packing boxes would be so bloody hard. But when your standing with an orange in your left hand and an orange in your right hand and you can’t work out if they are really oranges anymore, you know your in trouble! 

But I always knew this would be hard graft, and it is ridiculously hard graft. What I wasn’t prepared for was the psychopath woman saying, ‘pack faster, pack faster.’ I also didn’t know how bad an orange could be but apparently you need to be some sort of orange guru to get it right. 

You must also be prepared for her to pick up the oranges you’re throwing out in order to make sure that they should be thrown out. ‘Don’t pack that it has marks on it’, ‘why didn’t you pack this? It’s only got some marks on it’, ‘why did you pack that orange, it’s ugly.’

Your ugly you crazy Bitch!! 

The straw that broke the camels back was when she took an orange out of a box and replaced it with one that was ten times worse. Then came back a minute later and asked me why the hell I had packed that. I didn’t pack that! You f&@king packed that!! You nutcase! 

It is laughable really, in a I could laugh so much I could cry kinda way. 

I’ve been dreaming about bloody oranges! I smell of oranges! I will never eat an orange ever again!! 

The resemblance to prison here is remarkable. We live in our tiny cell room where people have written on the walls. We wear our prison uniform/ Hi Vis t shirts and pile into the prison van to go to work under the nose of the warden. We then get back in our van and go back to our cell. Lights out at ten o’clock! 


Prisons better. You can stay there for free! 

So if everyone could say a small prayer for the Mildura Three it would be greatly appreciated. 

Did I mention it’s only been a week? 

P.S. The girl next doors been in psych ward for the last five days… What the hell am I doing here? 

Saying goodbye to Sydney

  So this is my first post in a long time. Originally that was due to lacking inspiration. What a lot of people don’t tell you about travelling are the down days. Days when you wondering what the hell you are doing on the other side of the world. Days where you have no money and you are constantly worrying about how you will pay your rent or where your next meal was coming from. It was those times where my family always pulled me through and kept me moving. The most important thing I learnt during those dark times while I was in Queensland with very little work was that this experience is all about the people you choose to surround yourself with. 

For the past two months I have been living and working in Syndey after I flew back down in the hopes of getting a job. Within that time not only did I get some work in a call centre where I met some awesome people but I’ve been staying in a home away from home and it has been my greatest two months in Australia by far. 

When I flew from Brisbane to Sydney on 23rd June, my main emotion was determination. I was determined to make the most of this experience. I was determined to enjoy my trip again. I arrived at the Blue Parrot hostel that evening and noticed a remarkable difference in comparison to other places I had previously stayed. Mostly it was the lovely homely feel of the place. For such a small hostel there were people everywhere. After a few days of becoming accustomed to life in Sydney I had a new job and some amazing new friends. 

The biggest difference was that most people in the hostel were positive happy go lucky individuals. Most of whom were also working in the city and enjoying the vibrant night life in King Cross where the hostel was located. A group of people after my own heart, nights consisted of drinking cheap goon, singing at the top of our voices and partying hard. 

When I was in Queensland I had no inspiration to write this blog. Since I’ve been in Sydney I haven’t been writing because I’ve been having too much fun. 

I had soon become a long term resident of the Blue Parrot. No longer needing to spell or explain my ridiculous name to people. Along with the other ‘long termers’ we made the hostel our home. While some other great characters brightened the place up as they passed through. The rooms and halls were constantly filled with laughter. 

I’m taking so much away from the past two months, the most important lesson is that you need to surround yourself with positive people. People who can lift you up when you’ve had a rubbish day at work and remind you that you are here to have fun. 

Unfortunately my life at the Blue Parrot is coming to an end and the next step of the adventure is farming in Mildura. I am delighted to say I’m leaving knowing I’ve made some of the greatest friends I’ve ever had. 


Port Douglas in Pictures. 

Been a while since an update it has been a pretty slow month. Instead I thought I would post some pictures of the beautiful little town I am currently staying in called Port Douglas. 

It strange because I remember looking at photo’s of people travelling and beautiful places in the world and wondering who the lucky people were that got to see such amazing things with their own eyes… And now I’m one of them. 


Travel: The one thing you can buy that makes you richer. 

Flying from Brisbane to Cairns was probably the best decision I’ve ever made. Not because I wanted to see Cairns so badly that I would willingly miss out on the best bits of the East Coast but simply because I didn’t travel in the car with the four other idiots who thought they could make a 1700 Kn journey in a beat up old ford falcon and not run into any problems. Don’t worry they aren’t dead but after 27 hours driving with one blown out wheel and no petrol in the middle of the outback I’m sure they were glad when they reached their destination.


No Cairns wasn’t the top of my list but after waiting out for work in Brisbane which seemed like it would never come we set off in search of farm work in Northern Queensland. Of course when we got here we discovered there wasn’t any work here either. It’s also wet season so the weather quickly moves from a 34 degree blistering heat to a rain storm that leaves you soaked in 0.01 seconds. In short, we f#%ked up! 

Looking for work was never going to be easy, it never is, even at home so we’ve reached an impasse where some days are spent in the hostel applying for jobs we will never hear back from and others are spent exploring the area. One thing I can say for Cairns is that this place is absolutely beautiful. Lack of work equals lack of funds though so Great Barrier Reef tours, bungy jumps and skydives will have to wait. However the most beautiful places can be seen for free in the surrounding national parks. 

Our first visit was to Davies Creek in Mareeba, it wasn’t our original destination (we got lost) but it was an adventure all the same. We spent the day climbing over rough terrain to get as high as we could. It was definitely worth it! 

We stopped at a lookout point over Cairns on the way back. Photographs couldn’t do it justice. 


Most nights are spent watching movies in our room and moaning about needing work whilst others are occasionally spent on a night out the town. Cairns nightlife is great, mainly made up of backpackers everyone is out to have a good time. Gillian’s and Woolshed are both great spots and the Irish Bar PJ O’Briens is always pretty lively. 

After a few more days spent around the hostel mostly due to the adverse weather we set off again for another popular location in Cairns. The Crystal Cascade waterfalls, where if you are brave enough you can part take in the popular activity of cliff diving. The highest point being called ‘no fear’, local youngsters braved the steep and slippery climb to jump into the frothy water below while bewildered tourists looked on in awe. 

Check this out;

After a few more days with no more luck on the job front we once again set out to Josephine Falls. I can honestly say it was one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to in my life. In the middle of a humid rainforest the waterfall drops with a fast current into stunning fresh water pools. The best part of all is that you can swim in the bottom pool and even go down a natural water slide embedded in the slippery smooth surface of the rocks. 


Waterfall video;

The best part about all these adventures is the realisation that even though we are complaining about work and money or lack of it, that there are some things in life money just can’t buy. When you are sitting in a natural fresh water pool in a rainforest in Australia then you must be doing alright for yourself. 

Brisbane City  

Arriving in Brisbane we instantly booked into the YHA and set off for Jucy rentals. Although the hostel costs slightly more than any other it really is worth it. You don’t need a deposit for your key or your cutlery and it’s always clean and tidy. By far the best hostel chain in Australia. 


We arrived at Jucy Rentals half way across town, the young man who served us unfortunately hadn’t been forewarned that four very angry young women would be dropping off their campervan that day. He seemed slightly perturbed after he suggested that we would need to be filling up the petrol as it was stated in the contract. Evidently he had never faced the wrath of the Irish before and was told in no uncertain terms, ‘I’m not going to lie to ya mate, but we aren’t filling up the tank.’ After a quick word with his manager we were sent off with our refund and probably a sigh of relief from Jucy. The poor guy! 

The next day was St. Patrick’s Day!! It’s better than Christmas, New Year and your Birthday combined. It was a slightly odd affair as this year I would spending it with people who normally wouldn’t celebrate it. We started the morning with a hearty Irish breakfast and a few pints in the pub aptly named Irish Murphys. We ended up spending the majority of the day there with Irish traditional music and others celebrating the occasion. 

For me it was a bit of a roller coaster, with being so far from home and the only Irish person in the group I ended up wishing I was in Belfast again. Don’t get me wrong, I love my Paddy Englishmen and if it hadn’t of been for them I wouldn’t have enjoyed the day one bit; but it would have been nice to see a familiar Irish face. I didn’t realise how much I missed the comaradarie of having someone around who completely understands both your accent and your culture. Or even the enormity of the day that is St. Paddy’s Day. We might all live fairly close geographically but our cultural diversity is unmistakable. 


The majority of our time in Brisbane has been mixed between, job hunting, apartment hunting and experiencing the nightlife. Along the way though I have grown to like the city. So many people advised me to skip it along the coast but when we all get some work I imagine we will be able to make the most out of what Brisbane has to offer. 


The man made beach in the centre of the city is incredible when you are there. Although many would say lack of a natural beach is a downfall we rather enjoyed spending time in some water where you weren’t trying to avoid the crashing waves. Lying on sand in a bikini surrounded by high rise buildings is certainly an experience. 

Another great thing about staying in the YHA or any of the hostels on Upper Roma Street is that the Sunicorp stadium is literally around the corner. So on game day we walked to the ticket office and bought a ticket for the Brisbane Roar game against league leaders Wellington from New Zealand. We were all pretty excited (the guys and myself especially) to get watching some football. 


With Wellington leading 2-1 after 75 minutes, only we could have attended a football match in Australia and see it abandoned due to a water logged pitch! Regardless Brisbane Roar are my Australian team whilst I am here. It seems only fair since it was the first live game I’ve seen in Australia and with the stadium practically empty it seems they need all the support they can get.  


Hopefully we all can find somewhere to live and work soon and settle for a month or two before continuing our travels; but with a decent nightlife and roof top pool with stunning views I can’t say I am in a rush to move just yet. 


Surfers Paradise and saying good bye to Jucy


 After all our trouble with Jucy rentals we decided we needed a break from the van for a while. Having researched some nearby hostels in surfers paradise we discovered that renting out an apartment would work out around the same price. So we booked into Surfers Del Ray apartments and hit the jackpot with a newly renovated apartment, it certainly was paradise. 


Described to me as the Australian Magaluf, Surfers Paradise is a party town with a host of clubs and theme parks yet very little else. The majority of high rises were designed as accommodation and there was very little opportunity to find any work.

As a group we decided to enjoy ourselves and participated in a variety of club crawls and visited each of the theme parks. When we booked our club crawl we got ripped off by the stalls on the street so ask your hostel for the best deals and how to find them. 

The first theme park we visited was Sea World which was a great day out. We got to see a whole host of sea animals and they offer a range of activities such as swimming with sharks. Unfortunately we narrowly missed the time we could do this and it was booked out so ring in advance to secure a place. 



The second theme park that was worth a visit was Wet n’ Wild. Great for thrill seekers there was a huge range of slides and rides to go on. The best water ride was definitely the Aqualoop, An Aqualoop is a type of body water slide where single riders are dropped down a near vertical slide and into an inclined loop. Your heart is in your mouth every time the floor is taken from beneath your feet.  

There’s a non water ride called the sky coaster where you pay an extra $20 to be flung through the air from the height of 167 ft. Wearing a harness you have to fall forward until you lying vertical and then the start to hoist you up to the top. On the ride, riders in groups of 1 to 3 are winched to the top of a launch tower and then dropped towards the ground, swinging from a cable tether back and forth until brought to a rest. Definitely worth the extra cost. 



The final theme park we visited was Movie World, the home of some great roller coasters, such as Arkham Asylum,  Green Latern coaster and the Superman Escape. Surprisingly the best ride was the Scooby Doo Spooky Coaster, starting off as a lame ghost train and turning into a fast and exciting thrill ride, it was by far the most fun. 



Following ten days of partying it was time to leave the Gold Coast and head for Brisbane. We were sad to leave but the best part about going was knowing we would be saying goodbye to our Jucy rentals nightmare camper van. After weeks of hardwork talking to the company they had finally conceded and would allow us to return the van early and give us a refund for the remaining days we would have had it. It was the best we could have hoped for. Although we missed our trip to Fraiser Island as a result, we were just glad to leave Jucy Rentals behind. 

Realising we no longer had any time restraints to make it up the coast we have decided to stay in Brisbane for a while and get some work done. In fairness a two month holiday is long enough. 

When in Nimbin…

The strangest hippie town in Australia was our next stop. We had been previously told that it was either a place you would love or hate, but either way it was somewhere we needed to see. 

Wanting to get the full experience and escape the confines of the van for a night, we booked into the Nimbin Rox YHA where we would actually be staying in a teepee. On top of that it was my birthday so when we left Byron Bay the girls had filled the van with balloons and a banner, which was a nice touch to the day. 

We arrived in Nimbin and parked in front of our home for the night. We knew we had been deprived for two weeks when sleeping on a mattress on the floor in a teepee seemed like luxury. We were shown around the hostel where our host kindly pointed out where we could and could not smoke (not tobacco). The hostel was a pretty laid back place with bean bags and hammocks lying around and a twenty four hour pool. As we were guided around the unmistakeable aroma of incense mixed with weed greated us. 

Having got our bearings we ventured the short distance into town to have a look around. 

We had arrived in the sixties!

Not that I would know but I just assume that Nimbin is exactly the way it would have been at that time. Stuck in a time warp the locals walked around with no shoes or shirts on and kindly offered you weed, mushrooms and cookies (not the chocolate chip kind) at the side of the road. 

In earnest it was a stoners dream but for us, we just didn’t get it. How could a whole town very openingly engage in such activity and to be left to it by authorities, it all seemed strange, cool but strange. 

We somewhat dabbled in the local trade and returned to our teepee for the night. I’d never smoked weed before and quickly discerned that it wasn’t for me. Fairly opposed to smoking not only was it horrible but it didn’t have any effect. (Sorry mum and dad) An experience all round but not one I would rush into again. Not only that but I was pretty ill at the time and turned in early to get some well needed rest. I’ve had better birthdays. 

Nimbin was definitely an experience and another place I would recommend every traveller to visit. You might love it or hate it but it’s certainly somewhere that you need to see for yourself. 

Van trouble in Byron Bay

The next lap was Byron Bay. The notorious chilled out town in Australia, where life is relaxed, laid back and appreciated. With a chilled out vibe radiating round the city it would be difficult to stress out about anything here. 

With a decorative nightlife, beautiful beach and gorgeous views from the cape lighthouse Byron Bay has so much to offer for a weary traveller. Great eaterys line the streets catering for everyone, as well as plenty of travel agents competing to sign you up for the best activities in Australia, shop around and haggle to avoid being ripped off. There is also a great shopping scene with small boutiques scattered around town it was tough not spending any money when you’ve been wearing the same clothes for a month. 

The locals are a colourful collection of travellers and Australians who live for the surf and the health foods that can be easily located throughout the town. Even car trouble couldn’t upset or relaxing week in Byron Bay, with days spent on the beach and nights spent in the clubs it was a great week. Byron Bay was certainly somewhere I would visit again or even consider living, anyone visiting Australia needs to spend some time there. 

Unfortunately the Jucy van had become a complete nightmare. With the ‘penthouse’ closing sporadically, the battery continued to die every morning, we ended up spending a lot of our time trying to sort out our engine trouble. We were told by mechanics that the fridge would drain the battery, a light on the dashboard because the doors were open would drain the battery. Basically using the vans facilities would drain the battery. It soon became clear that the van was pretty inhospitable. It slowly began to taint our trip with unpleasantness. So for anyone considering a camper van trip, I say go for it!! Just don’t choose Jucy Rentals. We felt that they had given us the dud van, which we soon christened ‘The Shit Tip.’

Don’t get me wrong the freedom of travelling in this manner is second to none but choose a good spacious van. Don’t let travel agents sell you short, do research first. 

Next stop: Nimbin.