All posts filed under: blog

I’ve finished my novel. What now?

Last week I finished my manuscript, Wherever You Go. My write-a-novel dream has come true. So what’s next? Some say, print it out and leave it for a while. I’m three-quarters through the first polish, checking for things like timing … so will I print it and put it away for a few weeks? Kind of. My next step is to send my manuscript to three wonderful beta readers for their feedback. Just thinking about that makes me shiver. Self-Doubt hovers closely when a writer’s finger is poised above the send button. It asks questions like: “What if they don’t like it?”, “What if they think it sucks?” and … horror of horrors, “What if there’s a spelling mistake my Perfectionist Self missed?” One of my beta readers is my critique partner, Maureen Eppen. So far her feedback has been wonderful … that is, she loves Wherever You Go. She’s cried and laughed and asked for more. But still … she’s only read half way through. I guess I’m going to have to, in teenage-speak, …

Midweek Moment #60: Energy from nature

Flowers give energy. Do you agree? This fortnight I’ve been buffeted by crowds of people at work, sapping my energy and draining my desire to do anything but the necessary. During the day, I’d be up and down like a yo-yo, attending to multiple demands for tickets, food, explaining the same things over and over. Each night, sleep eluded me and I’d wonder how I’d stand up the next day and do it all again. And then this morning, as I embraced a day at home and the promise of nearly three weeks’ break, I took time out to breathe the fresh air, feel the warm wind on my skin, and look at how Spring has dressed my garden. These Californian poppies stand tall, day after day despite the wind – and there’s been plenty of that lately. Today, they are my inspiration to dig deeper for energy and keep on going. The wind isn’t going to break me yet. It was hard to decide which photo to share, so I’ve shared two. The soft …

How I write

I’m sorry. Did you come here to learn something meaningful about my writing process? Forgive me. Today’s post is not about how I perch myself in front of my desk, words and fingers at the ready. It is not about how I plot or don’t plot and which software I use (Scrivener and Word, if you are interested). It is about the reality of writing when you are a writer with a cat. Lately my cat has taken to hanging around whenever I’m writing or editing. I love her, and when I’m not writing, I’m happy for lots of cuddles (usually when she isn’t as inclined to hand them out). This must-hang-out-with-human-at-desk is new. It started like this – I’d like to think it’s about keeping my chair warm, but I suspect this move is more about my comfort than hers: Then it became this: How am I supposed to resist this? If I don’t respond, this is the next move: Followed by this: And then on to this. Note, there is no actual invite to …

Write your way, not mine

When you’re a new writer, you soak up advice like a thirsty sponge. On the one hand, you have a dream, a vision. Perhaps it’s to write a bestseller. A memoir. To write from the heart for your eyes only. On the other hand, you have questions. Where do I start? How do I start? How often should I write? How long should I write for? Should I outline or let my story evolve? Should I draft or should I “slow-cook” my work? What should I write about? What should I leave out? For every question about the writing process I have listed, there are so many more. And for every question, there are several answers. I’ve been working on my novel, Wherever You Go, for a year now. I’m three-quarters through. Maybe a bit more. And I have learnt so much along the way. Here’s what I’ve learnt about my writing process: I don’t write fast, throwing words into a pressure cooker that will eventually yield something special. I “slow-cook” my words. Some parts of my novel …

Midweek moment #58: Everlasting love

I had a plan. A plan to walk down the hill and take photos of my neighbours’ everlastings. And due to other commitments, I’d settled on Wednesday evening for a quick photo shoot. So, I was surprised when Louise revealed she had taken photos of everlastings already. What should I do? Stick to the plan? Or come up with something else? With little time and a coffee waiting, I stuck with the plan. The wind, however, had other plans. It wanted to make the flowers dance and sway instead of pose prettily. Still, I stuck with the plan, hoping I’d at least get an arty shot out of my attempts to tame nature. Here’s what I came up with: I love the way the petals seem to be floating. It’s an unusual shot but the more I look at it, the more I like it. Down the street from Louise’s house there is a ‘forest of them (everlastings) on a verge’. They cover the whole verge, and have turned a boring streetscape into a floral …

What it means to be a writer

When Louise Allan asked me to take part in her ‘What it means to be a writer’ series, I jumped at the opportunity. Here’s a teaser from my post – click on the flower to read the rest.  What does it mean to be a writer? I could answer this question in a myriad of ways. I could be funny, and talk about ridiculous Google searches, writing on napkins when there’s a lack of paper, writing love scenes when the kids are wandering about. I could be practical and use words like discipline and commitment. I could philosophise about the need to witness reality or imagination, or like, Elizabeth Gilbert in Big Magic, wax lyrical about creative energy needing an outlet. All of these answers would be ‘right’ or ‘good’ in so far as such answers could be evaluated. At different times, being a writer is all of these things. But underneath the laughter and the hard work, there’s another aspect of being a writer; all writers understand it, even if they don’t often talk about …

Why I don’t feel guilty about non-writing days

I’ve been reading a few articles about guilt lately. Specifically, the guilt that settles on most, if not all, writers’ shoulders. There’s the actual writing guilt: Did I write enough this week? Did I use my writing time well? What do I have to show for it? And then there’s the family/life guilt that comes when you share your life with others. Is it okay if I use this time to write? Have I spent enough time with the kids/partner/spouse/mum/dad (and so on)? Should I be doing something else (like housework)? I don’t want to re-hash what others have written about so well. But I would like to share a couple of things. Firstly, I have reached 70,000 words on my novel. 70,000 since I started this journey around a year ago! I know some writers get out 50,000 in a month for NaNoWriMo, but if you’ve been following my journey, and you know that I take my time, this is huge! Which brings me to my second point. While Blue Eyes is very supportive …

Midweek Moment #54: Rain, shine and nature

Rain and shine … this week, Louise and I have taken photos reflecting both weather conditions. Last weekend Blue Eyes and I took advantage of spring-like weather and drove to York, not quite two hours from where I live. We were on a mission to find wildflowers. It took more than two hours to get to our final destination but that’s because we kept stopping to take photos. The canola was in full glory and I took photo after photo of sweeping fields of gold. I chose this photo because the sprig of canola pops out from the field. As for other wildflowers, in particular the fields of everlasting daisies I’ve heard so much about, it looks like they are yet to bloom in this area. Another week or so, and I think the area will be bursting with colour. Louise says the weather can’t make up its mind lately, changing from rain to sunshine to rain again. One day it’s warm enough for short sleeves, and the next it’s wild and wet again, and out come the winter woollens. …