Uses This

1214 interviews since 2009

A picture of Kylie Maslen

Kylie Maslen

Writer, critic

in mac, writer

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm Kylie Maslen. I'm a writer, critic and author from Adelaide living on Kaurna Country. My first book – Show Me Where It Hurts: Living with Invisible Illness – was released by Text Publishing in September 2020. It's an essay collection that combines pop culture criticism with my own lived experience to illustrate what it's like to live with chronic pain, chronic illness and mental illness.

I write across the areas of feminism, cultural criticism, regionalism, class, sport and all of their intersections. My work is informed by my lived experience with disability and mental illness. I have been published by outlets including The Guardian, Meanjin, Kill Your Darlings, Adelaide Review, Crikey and Junkee, among others.

What hardware do you use?

Like many writers my entire career and ability to earn income relies upon a dilapidated laptop, that I say tiny but desperate prayers about every single day. It's a 13" MacBook Air that I bought new in 2013? I think? Maybe 2014? Unfortunately that's about the limit to my understanding of "hardware" other than the fact I get multiple pop ups every day telling me I need to do something about storage, which I assume is bad. All of which to say, if you're reading this and would like to become a benefactor of the arts my DM's are open.

And what software?

Every single writer, editor and publisher on earth hates Microsoft Word and yet it is the dark overlord that punishes us all. Sadly nothing beats it for editing and changes so we continue to suffer year upon year. Occasionally this will be done in Google Docs, but it just doesn't work as a like-for-like replacement.

I do my early drafting in Pages, because I much prefer the clean interface. I'll export to Word when I'm ready for it to go up the supply chain. Editing is a messy business, so it's nice to keep things tidy for as long as I can.

My own editing while I'm still in the drafting stages is done in an extremely analogue way. I struggle to focus on a screen so I try to I save that energy wherever possible, so I print drafts as a hard copy that I can mark up with pencil. I'm also a huge fan of editing using the extremely technical Crafternoon method, where pages are printed single-side, the segments cut up with scissors and then taped together with scribbles all over them, before coming back to the computer and hoping it all makes sense. My entire book was constructed using this technique.

I also do much of my research on paper because again, my disability means I don't have the energy to focus on a screen that long, or take in the information as well. Notes and ideas are almost always composed on paper, too, other than when I'm in bed or don't have paper with me. In this case it ends up as a note on my phone, which is mostly likely promptly forgotten. Right now I'm in the research and development phase of my next book, and it essentially looks like that Always Sunny conspiracy meme.

I used to be obsessed with productivity apps and project management tools but now I am too disabled to give a f*#k. (Productivity is an ableist construct! Late capitalism is pushing us all into an early grave! I have to use a shower stool now and you know what? Washing your hair is actually much more tolerable when you can sit down and maybe take a cup of tea in there with you!) The few basic things I do rely on are: Otter.ai for recording interviews and providing somewhat intelligible transcriptions; Gmail where I use my inbox as a to-do list; Squarespace for my portfolio site; Moleskine notebooks (those cheap three-packs with the kraft cardboard covers); and a frankie magazine diary which, for some reason, is the best format I've found for the bullet journal/planner hybrid style I heavily depend on to balance all my medical appointments with the stuff that pays for the medical appointments.

What would be your dream setup?

  • Having a desk in a room I could close the door on (I'm currently set up in a corner of my living room in a 48sqm apartment)
  • Being able to afford a new laptop with more storage capacity, as well as a screen to go with it (my laptop is currently propped up on a stack of books with a keyboard and track pad nowhere near as ergonomically set up as they probably should be)
  • Going on a three-month sabbatical every winter in order to escape the cold weather, which destroys my health. I'd get more writing done too, I guess.

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