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The writer’s process: An interview with Jaidyn Luke Attard

A two-time graduate of RMIT, Jaidyn published his first book, The Street Poet, earlier this year. In this interview, he talks to the Swanston Gazette about his relationship with writing and shares advice with creatives and aspiring self-publishers.



Photo supplied by Jaidyn Luke Attard

What is your history with poetry and writing? 


I’ve been a writer for as long as I can remember, really. From horror stories to fantasy novels.


By the time I came to RMIT’s Professional Writing and Editing program, and my Bachelor of Arts after that, I guess you could say I’d experienced more of the world by this point and had a lot of things to say that I had never thought about in adolescence. I write about the reality and grit of the city and share my poems with the very streets that inspire them, by sticking them up for people to read  – it’s very cathartic. 


What is your writing process/routine?


Working a day job in retail makes time management a little…all over the place. The real problem is my own time management. It’s a discipline thing.


I’m a night-owl by nature, so my general routine is three hours a night, after dinner, in my home writing studio at my desk with the door shut. I put on some music – sometimes Leonard Cohen, sometimes Nirvana, sometimes a whacky mix of jazz and rock and reggae and blues.


A few times a week I wander the CBD or sit on the State Library of Victoria lawn and people-watch. I search for something eye-catching or unique or perplexing, and I take notes. I use these notes to then write a poem, line by line, sometimes starting at the end or half-way in the middle, often just expanding on a single line that has come to mind. And I’ll often revisit it a few days later to make any changes. Sometimes ideas come to me while I’m on the train, the bus, on my work break, or even at work. 





What were some problems you encountered with self-publishing?


The biggest obstacle I had to face was self-financing. In this cost-of-living crisis, as a working class retail worker with no grants or funding, I had to self-source the funds to independently publish this book. That meant putting away money anywhere I could spare, asking for donations from my readers, and going into serious debt. I would not recommend the debt part – but next time, I’ll hopefully have some cash stored away to self-fund my next project. Or maybe I’ll seek out a grant. That’s probably the smart thing to do. 


What were some difficulties you encountered while writing your book?


I definitely struggled with my routine. Sometimes I was so burnt out I wouldn’t get any productive writing done for such a long time that starting back up again felt like torture.I think it’ll be good if I organise my time better so that I’m not neglecting any one aspect of my life, or my other projects, while working on a major writing project.



Photos by Jaidyn Luke Attard



Is there any advice you could give to people looking to self-publish?


My biggest piece of advice is to use the Ingram-Spark platform. It’s great for independent authors looking to print paperbacks on demand, it has ebook options, and it allows bookstores to order in your book and stock it. As an independent author, you will have to do a lot of shameless self-promotion, and you should absolutely be shameless with it. Reach out to radio stations, feature social media accounts, blogs, influencers and book reviewers. Go guerilla if you have to – read at open mic nights, set up a stall at the local market, even travel the country if you can do it. 


Do you have any advice for creative students? 


When I was an RMIT student, one thing I didn’t do was actively seek out like-minded creatives around me. Your future writing companions are right around you. Maybe one of them will co-write a novel with you. Maybe one of them will be your partner in a magazine, a journal, an online blog. Maybe you’ll start a podcast. Ask around, because chances are they’re just as nervous as you to do the same thing. 

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