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Working with Words: Naomi Higgins

Read Sunday, 18 Nov 2018

Naomi Higgins is a writer and performer based in Melbourne. She spoke with us about the power of panic, getting attention and deleting old Facebook posts.

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What was the first piece of writing that made you laugh or cry?

Photograph of Naomi Higgins

A book called Chocolate Magic. It’s about a girl who wished that everything she touched turned to chocolate. Her wish came true and eight-year-old me found this absolutely hilarious. I won’t spoil it for you but let’s just say chocolate – like most things – might be better in moderation! She accidentally kills her dad.

Did you write during your childhood and during your teenage years? What did you write about?

I had a sporadic diary and wrote a song about love. It was about waiting for a knight on a horse that never arrives. The hook was ‘that’s why I hate falling in love’. I was 11 at the time and had been burned by my many, many love affairs up until that point.

What day jobs have you held throughout your life, and how have those experiences influenced your writing?

I work at a very stereotypical tech start up which, by complete coincidence, is the same job my character has in my comedy pilot, Why Are You Like This. The character works much harder than I do, though.

If you weren’t writing, what do you think you’d be doing instead?

I had a sporadic diary and wrote a song about love … I was 11 at the time and burned by my many, many love affairs up until that point.

Probably still acting or doing local theatre or something. Basically anything that would get me attention. I love attention. Please follow me on Twitter.

What’s the best (or worst) advice you’ve received about writing?

Not to have three people sit down and try to write one script in tandem. We could have saved a lot of time and a co-writer having an angry meltdown that we have thankfully worked through.

Have you ever kept a diary? Do you keep one now?

I tried to keep a diary but was hopeless at it. It was mostly just me whinging that boys would only like me once I grew boobs. I was right.

Which classic book/play/film/TV show do you consider overrated? Or which obscure, unsung gem do you think is underrated?

The Heathers TV series is an amazing show has been panned by a bunch of people who are extremely incorrect. I’ve been yelling about it at everyone because it’s such a unique, hilarious, diverse show that should be picked up for ten more seasons. I could write an essay about this. It’d be in all caps and ten pages of keyboard mashing but the passion would be there.

Do you have any strange writing habits, customs or superstitions?

I basically can’t get anything done unless I have a deadline. Overcommitment is the only reason I’ve achieved anything at all. So I guess if I had to label my main writing habit I would call it ‘panic’.

Have you written anything in the past that you now wish you could go back and change?

I guess if I had to label my main writing habit I would call it ‘panic’.

About three years after doing my Year 12 English exam, I thought about how I could have improved my short story while lying awake one night. I also make good use of the ability to delete old Facebook posts. The world was a very different place in 2009 and I was a problematic little bitch.

Which artist, writer or character would you most like to have dinner with?

Amy Poehler. Reading her book was the thing that pushed me over the edge into trying stand-up comedy and I’ve loved and been influenced by so much stuff she’s had a hand in. As with all people I admire, I’d be over-the-top weird about it, tell her how amazing she is while not being able to make eye contact, and she would avoid me in the future.

Naomi’s comedy pilot Why Are You Like This is part of ABC Fresh Blood. It airs on 27 November at 9:30pm on ABC Comedy and will be available on ABC iView from 20 November. She also hosts a weekly podcast Batch Bitch with fellow comedian Danielle Walker.

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The Wheeler Centre acknowledges the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation as the traditional owners of the land on which we work. We pay our respects to the people of the Kulin Nation and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders, past and present.