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Sunday Times Books LIVE

Máire Fisher

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Live! After a 12-month gestation period it’s …

When Colleen Higgs and I sat down one morning and mulled over the question ‘What do writers need?’ I had no clue of the enormity of the job that would follow; nor that what was to follow would take so long! It all sounded so good – to set up a website that would cater to the needs of writers – and South African writers in particular. (The decision to call the site was a very meaningful one).

We talked about looking beyond tips, resources and exercises and the like and offering freelance opportunities to writers. And over and above all of that we wanted to see if there was some way in which a community of writers could offer financial and material support to writers of exceptional talent but limited resources. Although this was to be my project, Colleen, in typically generous fashion, gave hours of her time to helping to formulate exactly what it is that writers need.

The next step was to look at what sort of website I would need. I won’t bore you with details – suffice to say that the wonderful team at Create Design gave me detailed advice and suggestions. I needed a Content Management System, not cheap or easy to set up, and so began the next round of what to do and how to do it. I approached seda (the Small Enterprise Development Agency) where a wonderful man called Thobela Ndlebe devoted hours of his time to ensuring that I, a true naïf (should the feminine of this be naïve?) when it comes to business, had some idea of what I was letting myself in for. I received assistance from seda for the web design and CMS and in the meantime another application for funding (from the National Arts Council) bore fruit and I was able to spend some time on writing the basic content for the site and to offer support to Epiphanie Mukasano – the first recipient of assistance from the Live Writing fund.

And so it went on: meetings with seda, approaching writers and editors, trying to get content written. (Hours and hours of work there, with hours and hours still to do – welcome though it was the NAC money covered a fraction of this time.)

It’s been a wonderfully collaborative effort and I can’t say thank you enough to all the fantastic folk who have listened to me going on and on, offered their time and resources and firmly believed that Live Writing was going to happen – because there were times when I certainly didn’t!

It’s still not perfect – I have piles to do and write yet – but it’s a bit like having children, or going sailing, or embarking on anything where the unknown beckons – if you wait for the timing and all else to be just right you’ll never take the plunge!

And then of course there’s taking this plunge too – writing a blog post for as opposed to lurking on the sidelines and popping my head up to make the odd comment. Somewhat nerve-racking!

But here it is written and yet another proof positive that the baby’s (a)live and kicking. Let’s hope I can keep it fed and clothed!


Recent comments:

  • Janey
    November 29th, 2008 @14:09 #

    It's a fabulous website - just what writers need. Congratulations Maire!

  • Maire
    November 30th, 2008 @02:17 #

    Thanks so much Janey - I do hope so! As I said, there's still piles to do there, once I get back from holiday I'll really get cracking on it!

  • Maire
    November 30th, 2008 @02:27 #

    PS I thought I'd managed to delete my botched attempt at a first post, where I spelled Live with a vw - but see that this only worked for the title of the post and not in the BOOK Chat forum latest comments on. Sorry about that everyone!

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Colleen</a>
    November 30th, 2008 @10:10 #

    It is a brilliant site and I think you are offering a service that writers of many stripes and persuasions will be lining up to use.

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    November 30th, 2008 @10:21 #

    Well done, Maire! Have a wonderful, well-deserved holiday.


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