Saturday, 22 August 2015

3 things that have inspired me recently

I've written about them in G+ and you can find them here:

At some stage I'll update what I'm thinking of doing with this inspiration. Just have to let it percolate for the moment. ;)

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Vlog Update - back on track! :)

Image courtesy of Prawny at
I thought I'd do something different for this update so I put together a vlog in which I briefly discuss some of the writing resources that have gotten me back on track with my novel. (See list below video.)

Bear in mind that I am not aiming to be a Professional Writer - I lean far more towards the Writer-Artist end of the spectrum (or Artist-Author as Jami Gold describes it in her post) - and my writing goals are something similar to Diana Gabaldon's when she first started writing:
  • I will not stop, I am going to write and finish the whole novel (no matter how long it takes);
  • I will do my best each time I sit down to write.
These are my goals because, very simply, I want to write the sort of book that I love reading. That's my focus. And just as it was for her, I'm learning how to write a book as I go along. This is going to take as long as it's going to take and I'm ok with that. :)

One thing I have learned is that until I have gone as deep into the story as I can, there's no point in trying to fit the "bare threads" story onto the frame called Structure. Story and Structure are equally important, but Story has to come first, otherwise there's nothing to fit over the Structure.

And so, onto the vlog. Apologies for the traffic noises in advance! :)

This is a blog hop. Check out my fellow ROW80ers.

List of resources mentioned in the video:

  • The 90 Day Novel by Alan Watt (available on Amazon and at Kobo)
  • Take off your Pants by Libbie Hawker (Kindle ebook)
  • The Anatomy of Story by John Truby (print book, Kindle ebook, Kobo ebook)
  • Super Structure by James Scott Bell (Kindle ebook, Kobo ebook)
  • Jami Gold's beatsheets 

Also, I will not be taking part in Round 2 as our second child is due not long after it starts, so I'll wish you all the very best with your Round 2 goals now. :)

Monday, 2 February 2015

My First Writing Playdate!

Image courtesy of aungkarns at
This weekend was very productive. I was supposed to write during my son's swimming lesson on Saturday, but I actually got to do a lot more than that - Saturday AND Sunday!

Achievements this week

  • Sorted out the details for my opening scene (brainstormed it during my 15 minute sessions during the week, but I haven't written it yet);
  • Put together my heroine's playlist for Act 1;
  • Put together some images for my writing vision board (hero and heroine so far);
  • Wrote what might turn out to be a prologue or a flashback - a scene that explains something important in the story;
  • An Active Imagination exercise to discover why I was feeling resistant to writing
This last was very informative. The reason I was resisting writing was because writing = giving, and I just didn't have anything left within me to give. Which meant I was in urgent need of some self care! As well as doing some small things for myself during the day, I've also looked at how I could make my writing space more attractive.

So I set up my writing room to appeal to my senses:
  1. I started burning benzoin and bergamot essential oils (appeals to sense of smell);
  2. I created the vision board of my characters (sense of sight);
  3. I write with a coffee/tea and some chocolate to hand (sense of taste);
  4. I put together the playlist for my heroine for her Act 1 arc (sense of hearing);

I'm working on what to do for sense of touch...

What I'm reading

Write Time by Ken Atchity has just been added to my Kindle library as it was recommended by Mary Carroll Moore in a recent post on her blog. Atchity was the inspiration for her finishing and publishing her first book, and it's where she got the idea of "islands" from. Right now I'm working on establishing a process that works for me. 15 minutes per day during the week followed by the playdate at the weekend worked well this week, and I want to make sure it's a sustainable habit.

One thing I am noticing, on the downside, is that whenever I immerse myself in writing, I find it hard to come back out of writer mode. And that doesn't work when you have a youngster around.

For instance, this morning I went to jot down some notes for a couple of scenes that were in my head as I woke up, and emerged three minutes later to find my offspring had disappeared from where I left him! A quick hunt out in the garden revealed his whereabouts, but it's not really the way I want to parent.

So, somehow I've got to limit myself during the week to just those 15 minutes and try and convince my Muse to percolate quietly until I'm ready to jot things down. :)

Thursday, 8 January 2015

ROW80: The Writer's Playdate goal

"Eisman-Semenowsky Dame mit Kaffeetasse". Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons -

I have one (writing-related) goal for this round, and that is:

  • To keep a Writer's Playdate on the Saturdays when my son has swimming lessons. 
In my last post before Christmas I mentioned that writing is no longer a priority, and that is true, but it doesn't mean that I want to give up on it COMPLETELY. Writing every day was not working for me. Working out the nitty gritty of my novel, documenting it, and daydreaming about it wasn't compatible with the other demands on my time and attention.

But two or three hours for a playdate? That, I think, is do-able.

I'm going to give it a go, anyway.

An Experiment

Some time ago, I blogged about a writing craft book I'd read called Writing in Overdrive by Jim Denney. In the epilogue, Denney describes an experiment based on something Dorothea Brande wrote about in Becoming a Writer. It's a 5-step process to write a story at a particular time and date. I'm not sure how well that process as it's outlined by Denney will fit into my schedule, but I do have an alternative and that is to use prompts to simply free-write a story for the playdate.

Let's see how that goes! :)

As always, wishing the best to all my fellow ROWers, and hoping 2015 has gotten off to a wonderful start for you all.

Check out their blogs here.

Friday, 26 December 2014

Making Choices

We've reached the end of Round 4 for 2014 and this blog has been very quiet. Let me explain why.

Not long after posting my goals, some small voice inside me spoke very frankly and said, "You cannot do justice to two significant commitments in your life." (I think there's a quote in the Bible somewhere about a man not being able to serve two masters... That was the gist of the idea here, too.)

I have a vision of the type of Mother I know is right for me and my family. I also had a good insight into the type of Writer I am, delving deep into the process and staying there for hours.

Never the twain shall meet, as they say. Because the delving deep is part of who I am, and delving deep into Motherhood is no exception.

Trying to fulfill both commitments was making me very unhappy. I could not fully concentrate on either one. I'd have ideas I'd be daydreaming over when my family needed my attention,  or I'd be pondering some family issue while I was supposed to be writing.

Commiting to something means making sacrifices somewhere else, and when I looked at it clearly, time with family was not something I was willing to put aside. It just wasn't working, and it was this struggle that was causing me grief, a lot of which spilled out into this blog, and I thank all my fellow ROWers for their support during those times.

So, I made a decision. For the foreseeable future, writing is no longer a priority. My focus is solely on my young family and my husband.

And that decision has given me so much relief. I can breathe again. No more torment over not reaching goals. No feelings of frustration any more. I've freed up so much energy and time and I feel far more relaxed than I have in ages. I'm actually enjoying myself again, living in each moment as it arrives. And I can see the difference in my family. They are also more relaxed and calm.

It's not a farewell to writing for ever, just farewell for now. It's the right decision and, in the end, it wasn't even a very difficult one. It made sense. For me and for my values and for my family.

Wishing all my fellow ROWers a happy holiday season and many, many blessings in 2015. :)

Monday, 6 October 2014

Another Round Beginneth!

I'll make this short and sweet, although I've a lot I'd like to say about the whys and wherefores.

Let's skip that for this post.

Goals for Round 4

  • Write the 5 short stories/flash fictions for the Bingo Card Challenge
  • Bonus Goal: Working on the revision for TWB (there'll definitely be a post about this soon).

This is a blog hop, so be sure to check out the other ROW80ers here. :)

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Round 3 2014 - Final Check In

"Alice Springs ridge". Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons -
I was away on a 5 day retreat a couple of weeks ago. In Alice Springs. And since then, something has shifted inside me. I still can't pinpoint exactly what it is, but something seems to be simmering away. Calmly, but simmering nonetheless. :)

So, I'm not sure what this means in terms of writing, but for the final check in, let me share what I was doing before I went to Alice.