Hello! I’m Sam van Zweden, Online Editor of Writers Bloc. This is my first post as editor, and I’m thrilled to be introducing myself to you. Writers Bloc is such an exciting project, and I feel lucky to be involved.

I won’t be too long-winded with my introduction, as Geoff’s already given you a brief run-down of what I do and have done, and in more glowing language than would be becoming for me to use about my own stuff. I blog, I write reviews for The Big Issue semi-regularly, and my current passion is creative nonfiction, particularly memoir and personal essays. I’m interested in the ways that people make sense of their experience, and what writing a story down does to it. I am a bit of an academia-junkie, and I’m returning to post-grad next year.

Writers Bloc is concerned with the how and why of being a writer. There are plenty of people in the world ready to tell you that you’re not a writer and why. They’ll give you a specific and conditional formula for what a writer is

I recently came across a reference to one well-known writer claiming that you can only call yourself a writer when you’ve written at least fifty stories.  I’ve seen another “writer’s diet” that requires, every day, four hours reading and four hours writing. Some writers need total quiet, while others work best in loud cafes. Morris Gleitzman likes to have his stationery at right angles. My point is that what’s involved in your “writer” status is entirely up to you.

Personally, I think this flow chart has got it nailed:

Even then, the “professional writer” thing is a bit problematic.

You’re a writer because you do writing. Yeah, it’s a little tired and obvious, but I think that’s about as complicated as it gets.

I’m excited to be on board with Writers Bloc – Geoff has done a fantastic job of talking about and prompting writing, and finding interesting people to give you their thoughts and insights on this strange thing that we do. I’m looking forward to continuing to bring you the series that you know and love (Writers’ Other Jobs, Literary Cities, Picture Fiction and BookNooks, in its new incarnation as What’s My Scene?), as well as introducing new ones and hearing from people involved in the writing community all over Australia and beyond.

I look forward to demystifying the somewhat mystifying parts, and providing you with ways to get involved. I’m particularly looking forward to the blog working in tandem with the forums, to help you figure out your own parameters for the “I’m a writer” problem, learning about your own process and sharing skills. I can’t wait to hear about your work and goals, and do what we can at Writers Bloc to help you reach them.

In the last few weeks I’ve had a great time talking to people about Writers Bloc. You’re probably someone I’d like to talk to, too, so check out our submissions page, and feel free get in touch with me at

There are big changes afoot at Writers Bloc, and more regular blog content is just the beginning. I’m stoked to be here, and look forward to getting to know you.


Sam van Zweden is Online Editor at Writers Bloc. She tweets @lgwabp  and blogs.

If you’d like to contribute to Writers Bloc, please get in touch with Sam at

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