Walking and thinking are truly a cure for a bad case of procrastinating starting something new.
Recently I have been constantly perched at my desk, and sometimes a lovely green recliner chair in front of the fish tank (that is when I can ‘rent’ some time from my daughter who just loves this chair) planning and planning a new novel, character by character, scene by scene, and furiously studying how to build scenes through reading a text-book.
I’ve been researching setting (more still to do) and yet the first pages remained unwritten for several weeks.
I’ve been writing other things; four poems, a short prose piece, a short observation piece; as well as editing several picture books.
I’ve been reading quite a few books for children, young adults and adults to see what I like in my own reading and what techniques I like from other writers.
I’ve been avoiding my novel project.
But a couple of days ago I knew I just had to start doing the hard yards of writing and completing my first novel, lest this become the novel unwritten!
I began to do more walking. Something about the fresh air, and moments to observe and day-dream suddenly lead to a productive writing session of the opening! As I walked the voice to open the novel became clear. That’s it! I suddenly felt like the journey of writing this novel was on!
Now heading into my third day of writing I have four scenes, and have established three central characters. I have made a pledge not to miss a novel writing session every day, even if its short, it is the sticking at it that is going to get me through, together with some change of scenes, and thinking breaks when required throughout the day, and of course I do have other things to do, being a mum, running a household, being a tutor and conquering some other things in life to enable me to grow as a human being.
I am doing the first draft, and have a goal of when I would like to complete it.
The outline does make me feel more confident that I can do this, although the characters may do some dynamic things, but I have a compass for them to help us all make it to the end.
Switching from short forms to long forms and finishing long forms has been a bit of an issue for me, and a recent realisation that many of my short stories are novels, or novellas in the making is a jolt to the writing senses. I have actually started three novels and not completed them. I could sigh, and say, ‘I just have to do this and make it through the first one!’ But I want a better attitude than that, and want that being in the flow writing experience. I do so love these characters and want to honour them!
On one of my trips out into the real world – I came across this random cafe poetry. It made me chuckle. It reminded me this novel cannot be completed by being chained to my desk.
Wondering about the opening
Apathy sets in
Lingering on other tasks until
Kickstarting this dream with the first scene after a walk.
Well I can’t stop in too long to this blog because there is a novel waiting for its next scene and a few submissions to put in so as to earn a crust.
Yes, I am walking today, and who knows what novelistic ideas I will daydream whilst I walk through my next scene.
Have a brilliant week wherever you are, and don’t forget the power of a walk and dream session!
June said: This is a triolet using the prompt ‘Blurred.’ The first words that came into my head were, ‘outlines crash into swirls’.
The trickiest thing with this poem was picking the artist. Would they be someone I personally knew who painted, a fictional small child, or someone who everyone knows that paints? I thought of a famous artist who used swirls, Vincent Van Gough.
I added the dedication to help with understanding of the poem.
I imagine this poem is an art class for early childhood with a teacher who likes to introduce the children to great artists, and likes to encourage them to look beyond the surface of the painting, into what it means to the artist who paints it. I decided to name the teacher after my favourite art teacher at high school.
(Published March 3rd at Australian Children’s Poetry Blog)
Nearly one year since our successful kickstarter and there are now many copies of Magic Fish Dreaming ready to find homes for. I picked up our full print run Tuesday this week!
Since our launch last October, nearly 300 books have headed out to the public and are now doing their magic; this has been from: kickstarter preorders, library supplier sales, the launch, individual direct orders, and one bookshop appearance.
We have had a review in Reading Time with CBCA (children’s book council), and have sent the book for review to several others and so we should see those in coming months, and I continue to search out more places for reviews. Sometimes these take a while to hear back from.
In the meantime the truly hard work begins; we strive to reach more schools and libraries, bookshops, and obtain even more reviews, and locate conferences, festivals, potential sellers, and events that will help put the word out about Magic Fish Dreaming.
Last week I received the exciting news about participating in a festival in April(I sent out a query straight after the kickstarter and it took a while to hear back) and in March, I am chatting with libraries and environment centres to see how I might work on something to share the book in their spaces.This is so exciting and can’t wait to share with you the outcomes of these discussions.
I am about to put in some proposals to other places but am on the eagle eye look out for opportunities to share a product our team are very proud of.
Whilst distributing this book, I am polishing up a number of picture book manuscripts with my invaluable writing mentors, a new poetry collection (sequel to Magic Fish Dreaming), writing a novel, and continuing to work as a tutor in the Keystones program for Indigenous students at QUT. I am not sure if these new works will be self published, or if I can find traditional publishers for them.
I have been totally inspired by the feedback we are receiving from our kickstarter sponsors about the journey of the book. We have readers from Philippines, Canada, New Zealand, France, Papua New Guinea, and the United States. We don’t yet regularly distribute in these countries but feel blessed by the response our kickstarter supporters there have given Magic Fish Dreaming and would love for it to continue to reach a global audience when we work out the best way to do this.
We know the book has made it into Australian libraries and schools in two countries through our kickstarter buddies and we thank them so, so much for the love! Presently I am doing some final edits on our educational materials and notes relating to the book especially for teachers and parents.
An unexpected blessing, was Helene having an artist card with AVANT CARD and it mentioning the poem that inspired it and title of the book and featuring one art work from on it. This is all over their stands now, and if you find ‘River Song’ do let us know. We’d love to know where the card appeared.
As a self publisher I have a few more things to work out in this learning by doing especially in the distribution journey, but thank you for following and supporting.
In Australia you can order the book directly from me as well as presently obtain it from bookshops in Brisbane, Townsville, Kuranda, and the Gold Coast. If you live in the area of one of the shops best to buy it there as this will save you postage. Libraries can obtain it from Peter Pal.
You should know bookshops will often only stock any book for a limited time, 3-6 months, and the sales of the book determine if they purchase more stock and keep it on their shelves longer.
All queries regarding Magic Fish Dreaming can be made to firstname.lastname@example.org
It was a magical day of discovering and hunting for poems at Riverbend bookshop.
Vicky from Riverbend books gave a warm introduction, and shared that our book was crowd funded, beautifully done, and well supported by the local community.
I let our audience know where the book was set, but think maybe next time I might need a compass for this.
I found out that nearly all our audience loved fishing! Which is great as we have two poems on fishing in the book. I read ‘Wishing for a Fish’.
It was lovely to hear some laughter when ‘Discovering Magic’ was read! To have the jokes of this poem appreciated was awesome.
When I asked them what they would wish from a fairy’s tooth, one child said she would love to fly.
The perfect opportunity to read a poem about birds next. I chose ‘Tawny.’
The audience loved nature, and knew a lot about cassowaries and Tawny Frogmouths, and maybe some learnt about the Tasmanian Tiger, or Thylacine and quolls for the first time.
Some had Tawnys in their back yard and others had been on nocturnal walks to see them. We could have talked all day about Tawny, but just one more poem – on ‘Hunting for Poems’ and time to go hunt for some of our own. Time to use the imagination we use when playing games of deciding what a cloud might be when it forms a shape in the sky.
Thanks so much to Vicky at Riverbend for preparing the workshop space for us and for photocopying the education materials that I had developed. And thanks to all our enthusiastic participants.
It was lovely to have a bit of a chat with children, parents and grandparents and to sign books for some of our lovely guests. It means a lot when people buy your book!
The children loved Helene’s illustrations and I told them I would pass this message on to Helene Magisson, who would have just loved this adorable audience.
Well done to all our young poets!
(Thanks for the kind permission of our participants to share photographs of our first event for the year. Thanks to my daughter Sheridan and Vicky from Riverbend for the photography and helping us pack up afterwards)