So this has been a week of longing to creatively write and being busy with so many other tasks.
I have the longing of this girl staring into the banana field. My finished novel and books are somewhere in the distance. But now I need to use that longing to walk into that path and continue, and to keep searching for pockets of time to write.
I managed to figure out a new approach to a tricky picture book idea and write half of it down. Then another task demanded I do it.
I gave myself one session on my novel, but longed for more. But Sunday is looking good to continue on this. The novel is ticking away in my head even though I am not writing it.
I kept editing a piece written for my brother’s memory. A writer generously gave me the tools to find the most moving and emotional way to write this story. Sometimes writing can take a lot out of you. I understand now why my memoir (which I have done a lot of work on) needed more time. I think I now know the way to write it, although I don’t have time for it just now. I realise it is going to be a roller coaster ride to write, so I will have to brace myself for that one.
I know that Sunday writing session is going to be great! But I want to build up my writing sessions to be more regular and give them some priority.
I am working on a project which is shaping up to be interesting and helpful to others, and just have to bring together the whole proposal and find the funding. I will allocate some time to it in my work diary. I just love it, and hope others will as well. The team for this project are just wonderful and I look forward to sharing our plan with you. I do love collaborating.
I’ve had some wonderful guests from the Sandcliffe Writing Festival on the blog, and tomorrow I am on a panel. Doing some more rehearsal for it today!
I am loving the energy these blog visitors bring and am delighted they are happy to be in this space, and am set to have more of them.
It has been empowering to connect with many other poets for children. Two so far have guested on the blog.
I just found out one of my childhood friends will be in the Sandcliffe Writing Festival audience. So excited about catching up with her and it will help having her and a few other people I know there and know some of the journey until now.
Those who are there at the beginning often understand just how hard you have worked, and how many obstacles you have had to achieve your dreams.
I love guest blogs, interviews, and connecting to other creatives, and so a huge highlight for me was meeting Melissa Lucashenko who I had heard so much about for so long.
I’ve completed some more reading for a spirituality and arts course (including writing) online and journalled some poetry ideas (again really keen to do more work on this once this week is over). I have a month to do a creative piece for my assessment for that. Thank you creative journal, as I know there is something in you that I can develop now. Why do study when I have so much else to do? The course has enriched my creative practice and given me a new found sense of purpose and direction.
I wrote one blog this week, inspired by a conversation with a writing friend about the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels. I think I will come back to this topic again, as it intrigues me my grandfather and other relatives possibly were there for that time in Australian history. I wrote a photo essay about visiting Bullimba to drop off some books. Sometimes just doing fun things like this give me more energy.
On top of this is the usual balancing with life, and stopping to discuss philosophy with my daughter in the kitchen, and movies with one son, and life in general with my eldest who is a third year uni student, as well as meet with my children’s teachers and thank them for the work they are doing to educate my children. Too often as a society we don’t thank teachers, we choose to ignore the wonderful work so many of them do. Being married to a great teacher makes me appreciate their role so much. He works so hard, and cares so much about his students that he inspires me every day.
I do wish I had a bit more time to catch up with friends, but there have been a few social media and email chats, especially to people understanding where I am this present moment in the creative and life journey. I love that we all find a bit of time to support each other, even if it is virtually a midnight email or a catch up when we are selling our books outside a shop.
Dear hubby is a great sounding board. Some times writing puzzles are worked out when we are just having a quiet chat. Something about vocalising to him some things troubling me with a plot, or a character helps the problems unravel. I am appreciative that he seems to help by just listening.
Magic Fish Dreaming has arrived at a new book shop, Chapter in Yeppoon. (They aren’t open yet, but Magic Fish Dreaming is there for opening day!) The book is now in ten Queensland bookshops.
I received a replenishment order for Riverbend Books, who had sold out, and also another library order from Peter Pal. Hoping so much that sales continue to rise.
The new shops stocking the book love it! Hope their customers do too.
I’ve been asking some successful indie authors for tips on how they streamline their distribution and printing, and save money. They are just wonderfully generous in sharing this information. Many of them are just so good at what they do and I hope to learn from them.
Looking for Balance
As for the future, I am working hard to pace myself and find balance. I don’t want to be skit, skatting, and not attending to my writing. I want to find a rythmn to my creative day and somehow maintain it.
I want to plan far enough ahead to prepare well, and to have my bigger pockets of creative writing time.
I want to limit more of my time on social media, as once in there I just follow so many trails, of interesting things to look at and read, and I need less of that and more time writing! True it is space of finding opportunity, and for that I am grateful, and true it does make me less lonely on writing days.
Maybe I need to be more lonely until the book is finished!
With perseverance I hope to get there. Ah the life, work balance that dedicated parents, and peace seekers, seek. True my children are teenagers now, but I like to be there for my family, community, students, and my spiritual self as well.
All the best to my friends, extended family, and readers seeking their balance in life. I like writing you letters on my blog as it allows me to reflect on what I can do to improve in my life journey. It also lets you know why sometimes I take so long to call, email, phone or visit.
I haven’t forgotten you but am just trying to find a balance and pace to fit everything together, in some cohesive way. Somewhere amongst all the writing, parenting, community, connecting, there is the writing of the eternal spirit onto mortal paper.
Keep well and all the best if you too are striving for balance.
And thanks to all my understanding friends, whose kindness and care, gives me the courage to keep on with this quest for balance, and to write to the very best of my ability for the very best of reasons.
Last year when I was running my kickstarter campaign I came across the Sandcliffe Writing festival whilst online, and it looked kind of cool because it was concerned with diversity and was in Brisbane.
I emailed them to let them know I thought their festival looked great and to say I had a book coming out, Magic Fish Dreaming, would they be interested in my participation.
I promptly forgot all about it, and then early this year an email from the lovely Adele Moy arrived, with a phone number and asking me to ring her about the Festival, she apologised for taking so long to get back to me.
I phoned Adele as she requested and had the most beautiful conversation about diversity, life, writing, family and my book which went much longer than I think we both expected, and next thing I know I am on a panel to tell my unique story.
I met Adele for the first time in person at the Insights of an Outsider Panel last week, and felt like I had known her for years. She greeted me with such friendliness and warmth. Thanks for that Adele.
I am going to give you three photographic hints about my presentation on Saturday, and well you will have to attend to find out fully what this all means. I am going to share the story of my main inspirations, and the things that compelled me to write.
English Grandmother and Me
My favourite literary character, Mma Ramotswe, in The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency novels, by Alexander McCall Smith, because she is curious, caring and looks for the most just resolution to any situation. She also knows a story for almost every situation.
Now I don’t have to tell you to go to any links really because this is my main blog home and if you are reading this well you are here. But I can also be found on twitter, instagram and facebook.
Join authors Duncan Richardson, June Perkins, and Michael Aird as they talk about their inspiration and ideas and what compels them on their creative journey, where they are today, and where they hope to be in the future.
A huge thankyou to the Sandcliffe Writers Festival Organisers for giving me the opportunity to share the story of why I love writing so much and how I set about becoming an author! I also look forward to the literary dinner with Matthew Condon on Friday and the panel following ours (and the lunch!) and catching up with Lauren Daniels.
PLEASE NOTE FOR SALE
I will be selling copies of Magic Fish Dreaming, $18 each and signing them at the event.
Please bring cash, exact change if you can is much appreciated.
For $25 in total you can receive a custom printed calico bag along with your book.
Lauren Daniels has worked in publishing since ’92 with Ziff-Davis in Boston. In ’99, she completed her MFA and moved to Australia where she has edited 70 titles of fiction/non-fiction for the literary publisher, IP, among others, and supports authors who seek publication both here and overseas.
Since winning the Newport Poetry Contest in ’87, Lauren has published work in various international periodicals. The manuscript for her novel, The Serpent’s Wake: A Fairy Tale for the Bitten shortlisted with the 2016 Half the World Literati Award in Singapore and her essay, ‘Maternal Lines’ appears in Australia’s Antic Literary Magazine this year.
Lauren served on the Board for the Erica Bell Foundation in Hobart and as a Youth Arts Queensland mentor. She taught writing at UQ and TAFE and directs the Brisbane Writers Workshop.
1.Have you been to the Sandcliffe Festival Before?
This is my first time and the line-up is wonderful. The dinners and panels are a tremendous Queensland roll call.
2.What are you looking forward to and how did you become involved in it this year?
First, I’m excited for the collage of viewpoints. The topics are rich and provocative across the schedule. Late last year, I chaired the Alice Award panel with Shelley Davidow, Kris Olsson and M.K. Hume for the Society of Women Writers Queensland and Brisbane Square Library. The topic was gender bias in the publishing industry and I have to hand it to the Society: they have brilliant events and know how to gather our talent.
3. What is the main focus of what you will be speaking about at the festival (A short sneak peek )
I’m chairing the event at the Brisbane Square Library with Veny Armanno and Melissa Lucashenko for ‘Insights of an Outsider’; a theme that underscores much of their literary work and serves up as a familiar perspective for writers across the globe.
For ‘Write of Passage’, Susan Johnson, Jacqueline Henry and I will be discussing the power of language as a societal catharsis and catalyst. That is both an immensely personal and vastly universal topic and I’m excited to see where it will go.
4. If you could choose to a favourite literary character, who would you be and why?
A tough question, considering all of my favourites are mired in conflict and usually end in tragedy. Still, I’m a New Englander called due south, so call me Ishmael. The consummate writer—though he himself doesn’t write a word—observes everything meticulously and disappears into the action to offer as objective a vision as possible. Ishmael survives an alien, dangerous world captained by a madman and befriends those worth befriending, especially Queequeg. His wisdom is hard-earned as it shapes every page of Moby Dick. There are so many potent one-liners like this one: ‘Better sleep with a sober cannibal than a drunken Christian’, sharp as scrimshaw carved from a sperm whale’s tooth.
To find out more Lauren Daniels visit the following links
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!