Today’s Fully Awake Dreamer doesn’t need much of an introduction. You’ve seen her around here before! Her gorgeous poem Nightfall, graced my second official #sharingsunday post and she is one of the most adorable women I know. Get to know her a little more, you won’t be sorry.
Tell us a little about yourself and what you write.
My name is Avrille Bylok-Collard and I’m a terribly shy writer from Melbourne. Raised in the south eastern suburbs for the majority of my life, my hobbies include illustrating pictures that spur in my mind, watching reruns of Pushing Daises and Six Feet Under, learning new facts, writing Fan Fiction, and reading voraciously.
My writing mostly consists of non-fiction articles that can be found online. Currently I’m working on my first novel, Clockwork, a children’s fantasy adventure set four billion years in the future, and my Fan Fictions Sixth Solstice (Marvel Cinematic Universe)and Ugly (BBC Sherlock).
What is your burning writing desire about?
My burning writing desire involves a steam-punk inspired academy, space pirates, religion and mythology, and what happens to deities that are no longer worshiped; adventure and a group of young kids getting up to shenanigans while realising they’re destined for more than mediocre existence.
Are you working on anything right now? Can you give us a little bit of a sneak peak?
Currently my writing catalogue is huge and very daunting for me [insert crying Avrille here]. Besides working on Clockwork, Sixth Solstice and Ugly, I’m rewriting my first TV script Wish, a series that explores the wish granters who are prevalent in Western folklore, and writing a verbose blog post about extroversion and introversion and their stigmas, as well as related psychology and neurology studies, for Philometric Heartstrings.
Below is an excerpt from my blog post:
Belle Beth Cooper outlined the most common preconception about extroversion and introversion in her post 22 Tips To Care Better for Introverts and Extroverts, ‘Extroversion relates to how outgoing someone is [and] Introversion is the same as being shy’, before she disproved mythology. Cooper stressed that extroversion and introversion relates to our preferred method of expending energy and gaining energy (commonly referred to as ‘recharging’). Introverts expend energy through social interactions and recharge through being alone and doing activities that they find enjoyment from, i.e. reading, painting, etc. Inversely, extroverts expend energy through being alone and gain energy through social interactions; hence, why extroverts are often regarded as gregarious. Though this helps dispel the common myths about introverts and extroverts, is there a biological reason for this difference? According to neurologists, there is.
What nourishes your dreams besides writing?
What a good question! My dreams are sustained by my innate desire to have a home of my own one day and live a fully-rewarding life. Swiss psychiatrist, Carl Jung believed that people need to live life wholly in a way that coincides with their values to achieve true happiness; I am of this notion too. Family, friends, home, and an occupation that I love are fundamental to my existence. These aspirations motivate me to become the best writer I can be, so I can have a job that fulfils me wholly. I have faith that everything else will follow on from that.
What inspires you?
This a very difficult question for me. Little things inspire me: children laughing, nonchalant comments between friends that provoke thought and reflection, the sun rising, that satisfying feeling when you have a really good sleep. What do these things have in common? Life, I suppose. Life is my greatest inspiration.
What’s the biggest thing you’ve learned from writing?
Writing has impacted my self-esteem, perfectionism and work ethic grossly. As someone with relatively low self-esteem, writing has taught me not to be so critical of myself. It has helped me accept that I work at my own pace — but that doesn’t necessarily mean that my quality of work is impeded by slow pace; and it has taught me to stop comparing myself and my work to others. Ultimately writing has taught that I’m an incredibly conscientious worker who needs to invest time into my work to refine it to a standard that pleases me.
What’s the hardest thing you’ve had to overcome when it comes to your writing?
Comparing my work to others. It belittles my strength at writing and makes me so self-doubtful that ultimately I end up self-sabotaging through stubborn procrastination and self-deprecation.
What advice can you give to buddying writers?
Believe in yourself. Any reservations of self-doubt you have, battle through them because if you do you’ll produce something that might even surprise you.
Stop comparing your work to those whom you idolise. Remember that your voice, proses and poetry are your own. They define you and someone will love them just as much as you love Neil Gaiman’s words.
Have good writing habits. This includes using tools such as outlines, free-writing, research, etc, to help you understand your work greater. Essayist and journalist Joshua Wolf Shenk once advised:
‘Get through a draft as quickly as possible. Hard to know the shape of the thing [story] until you have a draft. Literally, when I wrote the last page of my first draft of Lincoln’s Melancholy I though, Oh shit, now I get the shape of this. But I had wasted years, literally years, writing and re-writing the first third to the first half. The old writer’s rule applies: Have the courage to writing badly.’
Essentially, remember it doesn’t matter if that sentence isn’t perfect when you first write it. D.M. Cornish, author of the Monster Blood Tattoo series debated this with me once, that he needs his sentences to be perfect the first time. Personally, I digress. Free-writing is so essential to writing because, as Shenk illustrated, it can tell you what you want to write and how to fix plot holes, etc, and create a work you can be proud of.
Know what you need as a writer, and what you don’t need. If you need people to read your work for constant feedback, find someone who’ll do that for you. If you’re in need of a program where you can keep your story research, writing, and drafts in one file, find that program (Scrivener’s good). If you need to have a goal checklist, make one. It’s essential to fulfil your needs as a writer so that you can write comfortably and relatively stress-free, but remember: if you’re eating that chocolate to procrastinate writing, put that chocolate down and write, okay?
Write regularly, as it’s the best way to improve your writing and refine your voice. Additionally, it’s therapeutic and can filter out ideas that are weak for your story, article or poem.
Mostly importantly: have patience. It’s takes a minimum of one thousand hours to master a skill, so remember that next time your story is taking forever to write itself.
Are you dreaming fully awake and how did you get there?
I don’t think I’m dreaming fully awake because the majority of my life I’m incredibly sleep deprived. However, I’m on my way there.
About the Dreamer:
Hello there, my name is Avrille [pronunciation: av–rule]. Though it may look archaic when typed, I’ve been told it sounds prettier aloud. However, my family and friends told me that, which makes me suspicious that they’re just saying that to keep the harmony.
I have a very sarcastic sense of humour that I employ in my university assignments—I’m currently studying a Bachelor of Writing & Publishing, with aims to complete a Masters afterwards—and daily life. It often gets me into trouble, but it makes life exciting at least. Honestly, I detest writing in first person, but I ignore it through watching a plethora of TV shows and reading voraciously.
Check out more of Av’s work here.