John Bartlett knows the realities for - as he puts it - 'the virtually unknown writer'.
'I was invited to the Ballarat library recently to promote my book,' he says. 'Nobody turned up.' It is a tough business, but John appears to relish "the writing life."
John has worked as a priest, kitchen hand, waiter, masseur, funeral assistant, community development worker, call-centre operator.
'I came later to writing,' he says.
Perhaps, but it's hard to imagine a better resume for a creative writer than the above list. John also read - as writers should - obsessively. 'When I was 15 I worked through every (Thomas) Hardy book in the library,' he says, 'one after the other in a sort of bucolic haze.'
John writes feature articles on social issues. His articles have been published widely throughout Australia. He also writes fiction, and has had stories published in several magazines. He tries to work on longer fiction projects every morning, even if only for an hour. 'It's amazing what you can achieve over a long period if you are consistent,' he says. In the afternoon, he teaches, mentors, edits and writes shorter works. A successful writing life often hinges on achieving this sort of balance between concentrated effort and engagement with the world.
His first novel 'Towards a Distant Sea' was published by Indra Publishing in 2005.
In 2009 John self-published 'All Mortal Flesh' a collection of short stories as part of the Creative Incubator Unit and in 2011 he graduated with a Master of Arts in Professional & Creative Writing.
Currently he's working on his second novel 'The Waiting Girl' and his website www.heartsongcreative.com gives further information on his writing successes.