Another update!

Hello there! Long time, no speak. Yet again I have let this blog fall by the wayside a bit, but I can assure you there are very good reasons for doing so.

Last time I wrote, I was in the thick of my internship at the exquisitely ebullient little hub that is CityMag. I was there for about ten weeks in the end, researching and cold-calling and interviewing and tap tapping away on stories. That experience was a real eye-opener to the fast-paced world of journalism and really helped me sharpen my writing, as well as forcing me to not be so precious about how and what I write due to the speedy turnaround times for online publication. Funnily enough I ended up with a few articles about local eco-fashion businesses (read them here and here), which was really thought-provoking for me.

I’m most proud of the last couple of articles I wrote, which were way out of my comfort zone in terms of content and also presenting myself as a professional journo (which I guess you could say I am now… but more on that later). After a bit of a double-booking kerfuffle one afternoon, I was asked if I could help out by covering the launch of JamFactory‘s new furniture line. I thought I’d pop down to their Light Square workshops with a photographer, ask one of the designers a few quick questions and then just write up a very general, “LOOK AT THIS COOL STUFF” kind of article… But Josh and I arrived to find that we were in fact getting a bit of an exclusive sneak peek before the rest of Adelaide’s media, and that I’d get to interview all of the designers as well as Jon Goulder, Head of Furniture, and CEO Brian Parkes. No biggie. I was terrified but threw myself in anyway, and the article got a great response, even from JamFactory themselves, so that felt really lovely. Interviewing some of Adelaide’s best emerging health and medical professionals from SAHMRI was similarly daunting, but was also completely fascinating (all three women were what you might call “kick-ass”) and again, had a really positive outcome, with the article being shared on SAHMRI’s Facebook and other platforms.

Thanks to CityMag’s partnership with InDaily, some of the articles I wrote also got picked up for InDaily’s site, so I have a contributor page with them now (squee!) and also had quite a few pieces featured in their weekly emails. Yays! I miss popping into the office and seeing these charming folks on the reg., but I do have a contribution coming up in the next print edition of CityMag (014), so I still get to be part of it all – albeit from a bit further afield now.

The main thing that’s keeping me away from town geographically is that I’ve got a new job! I’m still doing the retail thing on weekends because it’s fun and I love my workmates and I kind of never want to leave them, but now I’m a proper employed editor person, which I’m still pinching myself about. Empire Times is the student magazine at Flinders Uni, where I’m completing the final semester of my highly-prized Arts degree (you’ll be glad when I save you from the robots). One of their 2016 editors, Simone, completed her Honours mid-year and as such could no longer be a student editor so they were on the lookout for someone to step in and wrap up the second half of the year (issues 43.6-43.10). I applied, I interviewed, I pitched my heart out, I got the job and I leapt straight into the deep end. Armed with my linguistic and journalistic know-how, one InDesign lesson and the support (and patience) of my co-editors Liam and Eleanor, I’m already well into the thick of things! Issues 6 and 7 have already been released, 8 is about to be printed and today we’re starting work on 9! People keep asking me what exactly we do as editors and the answer is basically everything except the actual printing: recruiting and liaising with contributors, editing, sub-editing, graphic design, distribution, social media, writing articles ourselves, producing content for our blog… the works! It’s a lot of work, but it’s work I take great pride in doing and which brings me a lot of satisfaction and even the occasional squealy moment of joy.

Also at Uni, I’m taking a Life Writing topic, for which I get to read and study some of my favourite authors like Helen Garner and Benjamin Law (Joe Cinque’s Consolation and The Family Law, respectively). I woke up in the middle of the night and scrawled through my journal like a woman possessed; my final piece for the topic spilled out of me like it had always been there waiting for the right moment. I’m looking forward to submitting it, and I may even share it on here down the track depending on how it goes.

On the side of all of this, I’ve been doing some freelance copyediting and copywriting as a sub-contractor for Little Bird PR & Communications, which has helped me hone a whole other set of writing-related skills. Producing copy for an exhibition is very different to writing a journalistic piece, as is reducing articles to 140-character Twitter posts. Each form has its own challenges, so combining them all keeps my overactive brain occupied.

I’ve also been reading a lot of Rookie (try this article here) and Lenny (especially this) and Darling (this was pretty inspiring) and Frankie (the cover art of their current issue is a dream) and Womankind (this story about the women of the Italian mafia was fascinating given my background of studying Italian), all of which are fabulous for reassuring myself that I’m on a promising path and that I am a perfectly flawed but full and whole human being. I recently spoke to some folks from Frankie at Finders Keepers markets and they were such darls and really encouraging, so that was a nice little moment.

So, what’s next? We Empire Times editors are heading to NYWF soon, which I’m hoping will basically just be a whole weekend of stimulating conversations and speeches and… well, just a whole lot of words really! I’ve tentatively agreed to do a spoken word piece at the next Speakeasy event on campus. I’ve got about 8 weeks left of my undergraduate degree and then who knows what’s next! I’m tossing up between a few options at the moment but am open to the possibilities, and feeling more and more comfortable with the unknown.

Until next time,

Lxx

 

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A Letter to My City

As you may have noticed, writing is an activity I find quite therapeutic. The focus it requires helps me clear my head of all the ‘stuff’ that I have going on in there and see things in a new light, or at least help me affirm how I feel about them. Sometimes when I’m struggling with something especially big and scary, or if I’m having problems connecting with a particular person in my life, I’ll get my thoughts out onto paper in the form of a letter. Recently, on returning home from my travels around Europe, I found myself with a bit of a case of post-travel-blues. I was happy to be home, sure, but the comforting cosiness of my little town felt claustrophobic and limiting and I was finding it difficult to feel settled again after my time away. So what did I do? I wrote a letter to my city. I thought it might be nice to share some of it here.

Dear Adelaide,

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I hope you’ve been enjoying yourself while I’ve been gone. It certainly seems like you have! Cruising through your familiar framework of streets, I noticed you’ve gone and fancied yourself up a bit. New cafes (they seem to be all organic or burger places; what’s up with that?) and bars seem to have popped up all over the place. I see you’ve finally listened to at least one thing I was raving on about before I left and started to include some cool little arts spaces in your mini makeover too. Props for that one (pun intended)!

I don’t think your changes are entirely superficial though, are they? Something bigger’s going on here, I can feel it. Well, whatever happens, however you think you need to change, remember you don’t have to try and compete with the sleek, sprawling metropolis of Sydney or the quirky cool of Melbourne. You don’t have to copy the ‘big kids’; you can go your own way, babe. And you don’t have to figure out what your ‘thing’ is straight away. It could be your sumptuous food and wine, your unspoiled landscapes, your country town charm, your hidden laneway treasures, your festivals, your business start-ups, your sporting events, anything. It could be all or none of those things. Don’t rush to find it, it’ll happen. Try new things, make mistakes (you know how I feel about the debacle that is Rundle Mall) and figure it out as you go. You have time.

You’ve had a lot of people leave you over the years (myself included) for brighter lights in bigger cities. A lot of us come back, though. And even those who never do end up realising what a brilliant foundation you’ve laid in our lives so that we’re prepared for the glare of those brighter lights. Adelaide, you’re like a microcosm of the big scary world out there. You’ve taught me so much, not least of all that humble ambitions are no less valid than grand plans and that sometimes the safe path isn’t a cop-out, it’s looking after yourself. Now that I’m back, I’m committed to making the most of the rest of the time I have with you, however long that may be. I might come and go, like so many of the others before me. But you’ll always be ‘home’ to me and I know I’ll always be welcome.

My dear Adelaide, you’ve got a lot going on these days and a lot to be proud of, so don’t let those cocky Victorians tell you otherwise. Keep changing, keep growing, but don’t lose what makes you, you.

With love,
Lauren xx

Hey, Hi, Hello

So, you’ve somehow stumbled across this here little blog I call Big Shoes to Fill. Awesome! Rad! Ace! All of those positive adjectives and countless more to you; you’re ahead of the pack. You see, I have might have modest expectations for the reach of my ‘little nook of loveliness’, but I have big hopes for it and even bigger ideas for its content. So consider yourself a trendsetter, a trailblazer and please spread the word about me, if you’d be so kind!

A little about myself, and aforementioned exciting content, before we get started good and proper… I’m a student, retail gal, keen traveller and reacher for the stars from the (underrated, in my opinion) little city of Adelaide, Australia. I love all things fashion, language and literature, theatre, artsy craftsy, foodie, home interiorsy; the list goes on! I’ve just come back from a life-changing 2 month trip traversing parts of Europe (which you can catch up on over at The World Is Her Book) and decided it was time I turned my never-ending notebooks, Pinterest boards and computer files of ideas, lists and loves into something more substantial.

I’ve been inspired by some of the lovely feedback I’ve had about my travel blog as well as the success of some dear friends and acquaintances’ blogs (remind me to tell you about them soon..) to keep writing, so here goes.

I have big shoes to fill and big dreams to chase from my little nook in this little town. I hope you’ll follow me along the way.

Lauren xx

P.S. follow me on Instagram at @bigshoestofill for more!