Guest Post: Maree Gallop

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My interest around creative writing was sparked about three years ago. I was finishing my last subject for my Masters of Mental Health Nursing Degree and we were asked to develop our own philosophy about teaching and learning in the clinical context. After years of assignments and referencing, and quoting other people it was such a freeing experience to express myself through creative writing. I was hooked.

Being an avid reader I started to look at books differently to try and find the right recipe behind a masterpiece. I soon realized there was so much more to writing than just simply putting words on the page. So about a year and a half ago, I signed up for the WEA Creative Writing courses and Workshops to uncover the hidden code. I realized that there is a lifetime of learning associated with this and it just so happens that I’m addicted to learning! This has opened up a whole new world for me. Writing has become my passion.

I’ve always been a keen listener to other people’s stories, observing people and discovering the world around me. Now I feel that all those elements will enable me to create my own stories.

Over the years (before husband and kids) I travelled widely overseas. Two of my favourite experiences included backpacking around South America for a year with a friend and spending two months trekking through Africa. More recently (with husband and kids) we’ve travelled in a camper van (and tent when necessary) throughout Australia to some outback and remote destinations. Cape York and The Kimberleys are two of the many highlights. I feel lucky to have experienced such amazing places, people and lessons along the way, which I hope to use in my writing.

Another passion (besides family, travel and writing) is my nursing work in mental health and my voluntary involvement in charity work in the local disability community.

One of the most exciting things I have done in a long while was to be able to combine my experience in mental health with creative writing. The Hunter Writers’ Centre ran a competition in August for Grief Awareness Month.

The focus for my 500 word short story was based on the loss and grief that families affected by dementia experience. The story is called The Clothes Heist and uses clothes as a metaphor to symbolize grief and loss when words are difficult to find.
 
There were 25 shortlisted stories chosen by four judges. These stories were read by experienced readers at the Grieve Live Read at The Theatre Lane Hotel. The audience voted. There were three prizes. I was honoured on the night to receive 2nd prize.
 
The winning and shortlisted stories will be e-published soon on the Hunter Writers’ Centre website for all to read. The e-book will make an important contribution to the issue of grief and loss.

So I guess my tip behind gathering ideas for meaningful and enjoyable writing are

* to actively listen to others and value their stories

* observe people and places with an open mind

* explore the world around you

* make life an adventure and uncover the treasures.

To develop skills

* meet with other writers

* welcome their critiques

* challenge yourself with new thoughts, ideas and perspectives.

Lastly, write with passion. Happy writing!
 
 

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9 Responses to Guest Post: Maree Gallop

  1. Margaret jackson says:

    Hi Maree
    Great post. Really helpful advice on gathering advice and gaining skills. Sometimes getting the idea for a story can be hard and sometimes it just comes. It’s lovely to share the learning experience with such a talented person as you. Congratulations again on your success with the grief competition – your story was amazing.
    Margaret Jackson

    • Diana Threlfo says:

      Maree
      Loved reading about your adventurous and fulfilling life. I totally concur with your sentiment to get out there and live life to the fullest. This would be an end in itself, but the added bonus is the fodder it provides for a passionate writer. And how well this is reflected in your writing already.
      Congratulations!
      Diana T.

      • Maree says:

        Hi Diana,
        Thank you.
        I’m glad you agree about living life to the fullest, I have no doubt you do the same. Life is full of adventure but with that comes challenges, some of which we don’t expect. I have found that writing helps to explore those moments and channel them into something creative and meaningful that we can all share.

    • Maree says:

      Hi Margaret,
      Thank you for your kind words. My travels have provided me with some great backdrops for stories, but sometimes my best ideas come from a simple morning walk along the beach, or dare I say it, doing the dishes!

  2. Hi Maree! Great post and congratulations for getting 2nd in the comp! I always loved reading your stories, so I’m glad you’ve got the recognition you deserve. Thanks for the insight into your creative life too – hope to see more from you in the future!

    • Maree says:

      Hi Jessie,
      Lovely to hear from you. Thank you for such encouraging words. I guess in the process of getting out there and just living life, especially with children, my creative side has been unearthed. Sometimes it’s the tricky situations that bring out the best in us. Congratulations on your new edition to the family, I have no doubt that your creative side will only be enhanced by the adventures your baby will take you on!
      Thanks, Maree.

    • Aidan Walsh says:

      I have to second this! Very well done and even more well deserved, bravo Maree!

  3. Maria Jarrott says:

    Hey Maree
    What an inspirational woman. It was really great to read your post. You have accomplished some wonderful adventures in your life and are very passionate and dedicated to many things including family, work and your charity organisations I wish you the best with your creative writing too.

    • Maree says:

      Hey Maria,
      My inspiration comes from others, so thank you for taking an interest in my post. I will keep on writing because it brings me happiness and a sense of achievement. Best wishes to you.
      Regards, Maree.

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