Behind The Laptop (Aussie edition)

For the last few weeks, I’ve been going up to strangers in coffee shops and asking them what they are working on. Recently, I met a writer on Twitter who loves writing in coffee shops and we decided to do a special international edition.

Lee Kofman is the author of four booksincluding the memoir, The Dangerous Bride 
(Melbourne University Press), and co-editor of Rebellious Daughters (Ventura Press), an 
anthology of memoirs by prominent Australian writers. Her short works have been 
published in Australia, UK, Scotland, Israel, Canada and the US

Meet Lee Kofman

Below are her answers to the three questions I’ve been asking writers in coffee shops.

Screenshot 2016-03-30 09.57.38

Me: What are you working on?

Lee: “In the last two years I’ve been greatly enjoying writing short pieces: essays, memoirs and short stories.Right now I’m translating into English and revising a short story about a female suicide bomber which I wrote a long time ago, way before women committed such atrocities. At the same time I’m working on a new essay which explores – surprise, surprise – my lifelong obsession with cafés (and not only as a writer who loves writing there).”

M: What’s your next stage and what do you need to get there?

L: “I want to make a start on a new book/long manuscript. I’m hoping to do this later in the year. To get there, I first need to decide what I’m going to write next. I’ve got at least three or four quite firm ideas for books and this confuses me immensely. One is for a novel and the others for my currently favorite genre, creative nonfiction.
Once I make a choice, I need to also decide that I truly want to go back into the ‘seriously-commited-writing-mode’ and declutter my life a bit by doing less paid work (I teach writing and mentor writers for a living). Lastly, I need good coffee and quiet cafe nearby.

M: What does a writer need?

L: “I think it’s crucial for writers to get to know how their creative processes work, what is most effective for them. Are they the kind of writers who need to plot their first draft before the actual writing begins, or write spontaneously? When is the optimal time for them to start seeking external feedback, if at all? And even, are they comfortable writing at their desk, in bed or perhaps on trains? Another crucial aspect of creative growth, in my view, is learning to read like a writer, critically analyzing other books in order to learn tricks that other writers use. As Picasso said, ‘all art is theft’. Following on this, reading obsessively and adventurously is the most important thing one can do to keep improving as a writer.”  

You can follow Lee on TwitterFacebook, and her website.

These conversations with writers are such great affirmation of the effort I’ve put into  Writers Work. I’m proud to be creating a supportive community to help writers develop their craft, career, and community. I’m hosting my FIFTH conference on Saturday, April 9 and it’s going to be a great place to find a community as well as get inspired and informed. I hope you can come and spread the word.

*** As a side note, I’m still working on the film. We’ve finalized our cinematographer. I will be writing about it soon, but in the meantime you can get more updates by liking the Lily and Mara facebook page.***