Writing at the Convent

Fabulous weekend in sunny November talking writing, books, and storytelling with a smart, super engaged and highly entertaining bunch of aspiring writers, all at the lovely Abbotsford Convent (Melbourne) for the Australian Writers’ Centre.

The course is a full weekend of looking at the fundamentals of creative writing, from character development, writing scenes, including dialogue and narrative, structure, genre, and a full session of workshopping. Throw in some fun writing exercises with a supportive and encouraging group of aspiring writers.

If you’re keen to come along to the next one, currently scheduled for March 2023, contact Australian Writers Centre here: Melbourne workshops.

NaNoWriMo 2022

It’s November now which means it’s NaNoWriMo time! Also known as the National Novel Writing Month. It’s the one month of the year (if you exclude the mini NaNo in July!) where writers around the universally agree to try to write 50,000 words in one month.

While that’s not technically novel length, unless you’re writing for children, it’s still a pretty impressive feat if you can manage it.

Let me restate the key issue here… If you can manage it. Many can’t. Many see it as a failure if they fall short, or abandon it midway, or simply underperform according to their own expectations.

This is not helpful, IMHO. And not how I approach this month or this campaign. I make my own overarching goal, try to be realistic in setting daily targets, and forgive myself – or my family! – if I fall short, or bail midway. Because the truth is, the fact that I started almost always means I’ve written more than I would have if I hadn’t.

So, instead of seeing this as a thing I will likely fail to complete, I see it as a bonus opportunity to write more, or edit more than I would have without.

My goal this year is to write the final scenes of my YA novel. This novel is also part of my PhD. With the leftover weeks, I’ll focus on the critical part of my thesis, setting goals each week.

Whatever happens, however much work I accomplish, the fact is, I’ll have done more because of my determination to play along with what is meant to be a community-minded, inspirational, and encouraging environment of creativity.

So that’s my NaNoWriMo. What will yours look like?

What I’ve been up to…

For the duration of the AFLW series, I’ve been sharing a column with the glorious Rana Hussain to discuss weekly issues surrounding the AFLW.

There have been a LOT.

So here are some links if you’re keen to read them, starting with this week’s contribution.

AFLW, elite sport, and the issue of Body Shaming

Predicting a winner? I dare you.

More than pride on the line

Concussion, sport, and other stories…

Little Legends kicking goals!

It’s been a huge year — or two, but who’s counting? — for our Little Legends and, well, the authors too. Adrian Beck and I have both spent approximately one million years (220 plus days) in various forms of lockdown, not to mention the many other levels of restrictions, which has made it virtually impossible to visit schools, or bookshops, or each other.

Despite this, we had a ball devising this series, and managed to send each book on its way into the wide world regardless. This is the whole set of the regular editions.

This is the Australia Reads Special Edition:

Like I said, it’s been quite a year.

So if you’re looking for the perfect Christmas gift for your own little legend, here’s a bunch you can choose from.

You can buy online, or check out your local bookshop, supporting local authors and bricks and mortar businesses, all of which have struggled under the weight of lockdown and restrictions, and general COVID chaos.

Hope you’re all safe and fully vaccinated, and if not yet, are on the verge of living your best lives.



It’s still Thursday, isn’t it?


Time is a weird and woolly thing, isn’t it? We’re currently in lockdown Mark 2 – or is it 3? – in Melbourne, Australia, and the days, while full and busy, run together at the same time that they drag and slow. It’s odd and unsettling, but also, almost feels normal. We adapt, don’t we? In unexpected ways.

So I’ve tried to use the time to work productively, while also cutting myself some slack about off days. Days that fade before they seem to have started. Where energy flags, or life closes in, or the smallest of tasks seems impossible. There have been a few of those.

But that’s on me. Here’s what you need to know:

The latest Little Legends is out and the readers are loving it. Feedback has been lovely with a lots of questions about the next book in the series.

Hold on for the specifics, but it won’t be out before 2021. Hopefully, alongside an actual footy season? Global pandemics notwithstanding.

In the meantime, I wrote about writing for young people at the Australian Writers Centre.

You can read it here.

And I’ve been teaching and critiquing and offering feedback to other writers.

I’ve also been talking footy with my team at The Outer Sanctum — latest episodes here.

And I’ve been a guest panellist on Colour of Your Jumper with the gorgeous and brilliant Shelley Ware, and the erudite and entertaining, Osman Faruqi.

The latest episode is here, but go back and check them all out. Great chat, fun format, excellent guests.

And in between all that I’ve been writing my little heart out.

On what, you might ask? That’s a very good question. As soon as I know, I’ll tell you.

But in the meantime, check in with me on my socials:

Facebook: Nicole Hayes (author)
Twitter: @nichmelbourne

Don’t forget to mask up, wash your hands and keep your distance.

We’ve got this, people. We’re nearly there.

Nic xx