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Literary Guidance: Kat Hartmann

If there is one thing we’ve learned since we started this writing project, it’s that independent publishing in Sydney kicks ass – we don’t really need to make it sound too flowery. From magazines such as Oyster, Yen and Russh to the plethora of online sites devoted to telling stories, the passion the people in the industry have for their chosen profession is glorious. If you happen to be in it, you know that the reason is because you can’t do anything else. You’ll chase opportunities until you become irritated with yourself, and when you get sick of that, you’ll create them yourself. You’ll put up with no money and no sleep to no end, all in the name of sheer adrenalin.
Kat Hartmann is a bit of a indie publishing veteran. As the founder of the online mag Kluster way back in 2005, she’s made sure her vision does not go unnoticed. She completed this little fill in the blank for us, and we tell you… we could not have said it better ourselves.

Hi, my name is… Kat Hartmann
And some of my projects include… Kluster Magazine, where I am co-founder and editor-in-chief. I am also Creative Sydney’s producer.
And other places I write for are… In print: The Australian and Yen. Online: The Blackmail and Creative Cities.
I started writing when I was… too young to remember.
And got my first break when… a friend suggested I submit some of my then mediocre, overly juvenile drum & bass reviews to ThreeDWorld. He knew the editor. To my surprise said editor deemed them publishable. It all just kind of snowballed from there.
And the hardest part about starting out was… working up the guts to submit my work. Then quickly realising that shooting straight for a byline in The Australian and Harpers (not necessarily in that order) fresh out of university was not the best way to get a start in the industry. Due paying, although tedious, is still an important part of career progression.
I write because… I am useless with a paintbrush. And Photoshop. And all musical instruments.
And I know I can’t do anything else because… I dream in words.
Some of the main topics I write about are… creative culture, emerging and established artists of all disciplines, the cities that surround us and the people who reside within their limits.
And the reason I write about them is because… the creative industries are filled with the most inspiring, interesting individuals I have thus far had the pleasure of working with.
And this suits me well because… in my experience inspiration is tantamount to satisfaction.
The hardest thing about what I do is… the abysmally bad pay and long hours.
But it’s made up by the fact that I… get to spend my days talking to and writing about the aforementioned inspiring creative souls.
And even though… I may never be able to afford that beachfront four-bedder...
I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else.
My advice to aspiring writers is to…
Apply for internships. The skills you learn from older, more experienced writers are absolutely invaluable. Not to mention the contacts you make. People, especially editors, remember writers who work hard and leave a good impression.
And don’t… forget to keep submitting your work anywhere and everywhere. No job is too small and every word written is experience gained. Follow up on submissions but don’t be too pushy. Don’t be afraid to approach experienced writers for advice and always take said advice gracefully. Don't get too precious about your words; editing is simply part of the process.
And always… Have faith in your skills and surround yourself in words. Read quality published work as often as possible and tap away on the keypad in your spare moments. Writing is like all crafts: the more you practice, the more proficient you become. Right, that's enough of the work-related cliches for now.
I dream of one day… finishing that novel I started a few years ago.
And this is how I’m going to try to get there: by creating an eighth day in the week. I plan to utilise the extra day to hone my cloning skills. Once I have mastered the science I will replicate myself twice over, demanding my second clone to dedicate its time entirely to the pursuit of literary perfection. The first will be used for various unmentionables.

fill-in-the-blank: Seema Duggal
words: Kat Hartmann


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