Category Archives: Discipline

Managing Kids, Writing And Insanity

It’s school holidays.

My son is chasing his sister around the house with a broomstick.

I’ll intervene shortly, but I wanted to capture the insanity in its wildest moment. I asked for just one hour. One hour of tranquility to write so that I could give the rest of the day to them, satisfied, no begrudged feelings.

Ahem. One moment please…

Broomstick is back in the laundry where it belongs. Trip to ice-cream parlour is cancelled. House is quiet again.

They were sent to bed early last night after a supposed ‘play-fight’ ended with my son wearing an icepack on his private parts. I managed to write a thousand words, punishment couldn’t have been more suitable – all round.

Don’t get me wrong, I cherish the holidays – all six weeks of them. But it’s not easy finding periods in the day that are long enough to write. Rather I steal disjointed snippets of time between shoving a wash on, taking the kids to the movies, clearing up breakfast, lunch, dinner, a dash to the park. There’s the normal work too, piles of invoices, bills to pay, emails to respond to. When I read over what I have managed to write, it’s rushed and shallow. I haven’t been able to shut off and find that place in my mind that enables me to write freely, imagination flowing.

Perhaps it’s about accepting the school holidays are a write-off, or rather an off-write. Or perhaps it’s about being super organised – even more than usual. Rising before the kids do and stealing that precious hour while the sun rises. Or in the evening when the kids have gone to bed, if your mind is still functioning.

My snippet is already over – my son has squashed up next to me for a cuddle. I know it won’t be long when those are hard to come by, so I’ll have to make the most of it and say goodbye for now.

I’d be really interested to find out how you juggle your writing with the distractions in your life?

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Filed under Discipline, WritingTips

Ever feel like it’s all too hard?

Do you ever drop your head in your hands and wonder if it’s all too hard? 

I do. Frequently. And the truth is – it is.

Here we are, slogging away at our keyboards hour after unpaid hour, blurry-eyed with lack of sleep, coffee-fuelled and hunch-backed with arthritic fingers, and we don’t even know what will happen from it all.

So, if we’re realists, we consider the possibility of self-publishing even before we’ve finished our manuscripts. We throw ourselves into the blogasphere thinking we’ll get ahead of the game, plan ahead, gain a following. Until we realise there are already a hundred bloggers to every novelist – we’re flitting around amid a galactic swarm of them. It’s probably more competitive than the publishing industry itself.

So we have to pull ourselves back to reality and ask ourselves, why are we here? What do we want from this?

When the distractions of the outside world begin to choke me and lure me away from my intentions, I remember this quote –

‘You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.’  Ray Bradbury

Of course, he meant it a little differently, but it works for me by reminding me why I’m doing this – a love for writing.

I enjoy this blog because I’m learning about a new medium and reaching out to new and interesting people. I’ll embrace the world of social media because it’s another learning avenue and it can be fun, but primarily it’s the writing and communicating that’s the motive for me.

In his blog ‘Ten Commandments For The Happy Writer’ Nathan Bransford mentions‘Enjoy the present. Writers are dreamers, and dreamers tend to daydream about the future while concocting wildly optimistic scenarios that involve bestsellerdom, riches, and interviews with Ryan Seacrest. In doing so they forget to enjoy the present. I call this the “if only” game. You know how it goes: if only I could find an agent, then I’ll be happy. When you have an agent, then it becomes: if only I could get published, then I’ll be happy. And so on. The only way to stay sane in the business is to enjoy every step as you’re actually experiencing it. Happiness is not around the bend. It’s found in the present. Because writing is pretty great — otherwise why are you doing it?’

To read the whole article click here.

It’s easy to feel lost and overwhelmed within this industry, but if we try and remember what our most important motives are, we shouldn’t lose our way. I try to keep my blog and my novel separate by setting aside specific days to write them. I find this helpful.

I’d love to hear about your own motives and how you deal with overwhelmed feelings, no matter what industry you’re in?

(The photo below has nothing to do with my blog, but I took it and I like it – so I thought I’d share it with you!!)

Keeping A Clear Mind

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Filed under Discipline, Inspiring Articles, The Publishing Industry, WritingTips

New Year Writing Resolutions

They’re saying the world might end tomorrow – in which case this will be my last blog. It doesn’t feel like my last blog, so I choose to side with the sceptics. In which case, a fresh, new year is approaching and I thought I’d share my top ten New Year Writing Resolutions with you. If you can, I’d love you to do the same. Hopefully, we shall inspire each other.

WRITING RESOLUTIONS 2013

1. Unplug kettle. In fact, get rid of it altogether, it’s an unhealthy distraction.

2. Stop using Thesaurus on first draft – and stop referring to it as a The-o-saurus.

3. Colons: stop using them.

4. Rouse from coma when not writing.

5. Tweet no more than three times per day. Stop checking Follower stats.

6. Read more, write more, drink less wine.

7. Get novel published before I die or the world ends – whichever comes first.

8. Write first draft for me, subsequent drafts for you.

9. Clean house at least once per month.

10. Learn, evolve, enjoy.

What are yours (writing or otherwise)?

I shall be spending time with my novel after Christmas, far from Twitter and my blog, immersed in the wilderness with the kookaburras and koalas. Hopefully, I shall draw inspiration from my surroundings and finish my book. Look forward to catching up in the New Year!

Until then,

Happy Writing and Merry Christmas.

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Filed under Discipline, Editing, WritingTips