community

I’m that rare thing, an extroverted writer. I think most regular readers would have guessed that by now.

I mostly get my energy from being around people. I love live music, noisy dinner parties, cooking for my friends and family, meeting new people. But I am also very accustomed to being alone and I have found lately that I can also gather energy from long solo walks, from swimming in the sea, from writing in an empty house, from sitting alone in a crowded cafe and watching life unfold around me.

I miss coffee because there are few things better in this world than finding a table in a cafe somewhere, preferably in Europe, and drinking coffee while scribbling in a journal. Is there any better way to tap into your inner Simone de Beauvoir?

But at the crunch, give me raucous conversation over good food and wine. Give me bookish conversations. Tell me about your favourite movie of all time. I love talking and listening and hearing all about what makes people tick. Tell me why you loved Prague. Tell me about the cake you made yesterday.

Let’s talk about how we can all love each other a little more.

Tell me about your frustrations with your partner by all means, but then lets move on to how we can all get more joy in our lives. This is how we grow and this is how we heal.

I love to share and support other writers and artists. Community is essential to all of us. We evolved in communities. As we learn how to live in this new world that seems hell-bent on dividing us and telling us that safety is in separation, we need to double down on what brings us together.

Writing can be a lonely occupation so finding our community of writers is important. Sometimes we meet people and gel with them immediately, but others take a bit of time. Trust is a two-way street. Our own writing association has had a rocky time over the past few years and it’s only been saved by the hard work and, yes, love, of some members who just weren’t prepared to let it die.

We can lift each other’s boats in the rising tide. (I promise that is not a euphemism…)


Last Tuesday I found out one of my short stories has been Shortlisted for the Sister’s in Crime 28TH Annual SCARLET STILETTO AWARDS, a women’s crime and mystery short story competition.

Who are the Sisters in Crime?

From their website: Launched at the Feminist Book Festival in Melbourne in September 1991, Sisters in Crime in Australia was inspired by the American organisation of the same name, which was founded in 1986 by Sara Paretsky (creator of Chicago PI VI Warshawski) and other women crime writers at the Bouchercon crime convention.

The Plot: To celebrate women’s crime writing on the page and screen and bring a collective critical eye to the field.

The Motive: To share our collective passion for women’s crime writing.

The idea for a national award for short stories, written by Australian women and featuring a strong female protagonist, was cooked up over a few glasses of wine in 1994 at a convenors’ meeting in St Kilda, Victoria. The purpose was to support and unearth new talent.

See, these are the kinds of conversations I love!

I decided to enter the Scarlet Stiletto after writing a short story with my friend Kate Kelsen. We’d both attended the Rainforest Writing Retreat in June and the retreat publishes an anthology each year. I don’t know why I suggested we write it together. I think it just seemed like a big thing to do and there’s safety in numbers!

We had so much fun creating our retired detective, Denise! Then Queensland member of Sisters in Crime, Paula Duggan, visited us at our writers’ association to talk about the Scarlet Stiletto Awards. One of our members also gave a talk on Getting Your Work Out There. (You can read this here on our GCWA blog.) After Judy’s talk, I decided to enter at least four competitions each month for the foreseeable future. One thing led to another and a bunch of us at the GCWA committed to entering the comp. My little posse encouraged and supported each other through the process.

So, I was blown away when I received the call that my story had been shortlisted. I love the story and I so proud that people enjoyed it.


Images from my most recent walk.

2 Comments

  1. Anitha Krishnan

    Congratulations on the shortlist, Christine!

    I came here from 20Books several months ago and I used to check your site almost daily for new posts (you’ve trained me to check weekly now :D). I just love reading your posts. Your words resonate with me so much, and so does your journey — all your inquiries into spirituality, healing, community, your writing journey! Like you, I too am an extroverted writer, craving both that need to be with others as well as intense silence and a quiet space to lose myself in writing. So I look at you as a companion in my journey! Thank you for continuing to post on your site! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Christine Betts

      Thank you so much for reading and for taking the time to comment. Because you’re a writer – and an extroverted one at that – you know how much it means to feel like our words connect with the world. Waking up this morning to your encouraging words makes we want to run to my desk and keep writing. (Which I’ll do anyway because I’m addicted…) 🤷‍♀️
      So often we feel like we’re shouting into the wind but once again, I’m reminded of the power of community, wherever they may be in the world.
      You’ve made my day. 🙏

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