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Fellow Platform: Amelia Schmidt

We sure do love the people who have supported us here at Side Street Sydney, especially those who have been with us since our early days. One of the first interviews we were asked to do was for Throw Shapes, a local site that shares many of our philosophies - namely, supporting local creativity and offering a platform to tell our city's stories. They also happen to be a talented little pool of wordsmiths, and since we're big fans of talented wordsmiths, their editor, Amelia Schmidt, contributed a short story to our creative writing section - one she later won a John Marsden prize for. Anyway, the point is, Side Street Sydney and Throw Shapes are friends, and so we asked Amelia to do a little fill in the blank for us to get some insight into her writing world.

Hi, my name is Amelia Schmidt
And I write for Throw Shapes.
My role there is ‘Managing Editor’
which means I commission and publish articles by contributors, write a bunch of them, moderate all comments, write the newsletter, update the thumbnails and calendar, organize events and go to meetings.
I started working for it when Steph Harmon, who now edits the Brag and began Throw Shapes in 2007, asked me to come on board and help her in early 2009. I said yes and now she is also one of my greatest friends.
The concept is all about helping artists, musicians, creative people doing creative ventures on a grassroots, independent kind of level (mostly) get some really good press – proper interviews where they can really speak, and thoughtful, honest reviews.
And some of the topics we cover are local arts, music, theatre, charity events, community events, festivals, emerging creative ventures, great ideas, important issues and amazing people.
And this is because we care about it pretty passionately and are sick of seeing things getting covered by online press in 250 words and a mention of free booze.
I also write for The Brag, Groupie Magazine, Music Feeds and sometimes other places. I’m also a short story writer, so I write for myself.
Some of my greatest writing achievements so far have been winning the John Marsden prize last year and having a meeting with Picador books about writing a novel.
I write because I don’t know what else to do with myself, and because I seem to be OK at it, and because I love the independence of writing.
And I couldn’t do anything else because I’d get bored, or frustrated, or something – writing is hard, and it doesn’t pay heaps, but it’s where I belong.
But the worst part about this passion is trying to make ends meet sometimes.
But it’s made up by the joy of meeting people and writing things that people enjoy reading.
I started writing when I was in the womb.
And I got my first break when my HSC major work was published.
But it wasn’t an easy road, especially when I ran out of money… and keep running out of money…
I’m incompetent at a lot of things, like maths, and playing guitar
But highly skilled at punctuation and putting one word after another until you mean what you want to mean.
And so, I write.
When people ask me what I do, I tell them I am a writer, and that I run a website.
But they often think it means I drink lots of wine and smoke all the time
And that’s just not true. Well it’s not entirely untrue. It’s a little bit true.
This role involves a lot of wine and cigarettes but also a shitload of effort, a lot of panicking and passion and drive and energy.
My advice to anyone aspiring to get published is to keep aspiring until it happens
And don’t ever stop reading because reading is the most important thing in the world for anyone, especially writers.
My main goal is to one day write a nice book or maybe be a columnist for a magazine like The Believer or Harpers
But for now I’m doing what I do and doing some other things on top and generally doing a lot of things but they are all writing things.
And that suits me just fine.

fill in the blank: Seema Duggal
words: Amelia Schmidt


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