Time Travel: Would You Go Backwards or Forwards in Time?

back-in-time-rose-1706449_1280If I could travel through time, I wouldn’t hesitate in going back in time; reliving my carefree days as a kid or even venturing to a different time period altogether, just for a day. Personally, I wouldn’t care for travelling forwards in time. Having two kids, I naturally worry for their future and I don’t like the way this planet is heading. Besides, travelling to the future takes all the mystery out of it, and I guess I’ll get there eventually. 😉

I’ve always been a sucker for the past. I guess from an early age I continuously romanticised it. Whenever visiting old towns and houses in and around Sydney as a child, I liked to imagine what life was like back then. My childhood fantasies fired my imagination and elicited a life-long interest in history. From the ancients and medieval times to the Victorian era and the 1950s, there were very few periods in history that I didn’t wish to find out more about. I absorbed what the teachers taught us throughout school and I had no hesitation in choosing history subjects at University level as my electives. To travel back in time I hold no illusions though; the days of early medicine before anaesthetics and just being a woman in general was a tough life, but the past fascinates me and we can learn so much from it – there have even been reality television shows based on this very premise.

As a writer, the past has always been an endless source of inspiration for me. Travelling back in time and really living the experience would make the best possible research material for our stories, don’t you think?

If you could travel in time, would you go to the future or the past? Why? Is there a period in history that you like best?

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 Image courtesy of Pixabay

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#IWSG: When Do You Know Your Story Is Ready?

mailbox-808152_1280It’s time once again for this month’s post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. A different question is asked each month, where your answers are shared and you encourage others who are struggling. It’s a great way to meet fellow writers, so if you’re interested, you can join here.

A previous question from the IWSG was to discuss our first piece of writing. Unfortunately, I sent my first piece out too soon – back then I had very little knowledge of how the journey to publication worked. These days, I have a better understanding, however now I guess I’m overly-cautious in sending any work out (perfectionism can be a curse). I have a tendency of going over and over my work until I get sick of looking at those particular pieces of writing; case in point are some of my short stories.

frustration

I’ve been sitting on some of these for years; I’ve even had some beta readers look over them for me. Recently I have gone over them again and am now waiting for another round of beta readers to read them. This time, though, I know my short stories are ready as the changes have been minor (sad I can’t say the same about my longer works just yet). Janice Hardy has a helpful post on this very topic, so perhaps that’s a good sign. 😉

push-it

Years ago I learned the hard way of sending my work out too soon. As an insecure writer, one of the biggest challenges is letting other people read our work before sending it off into the big, wild world. With persistence and Insecure Writers Support Group Badgehelpful critiques, you’ll know when your story is ready.

When do you know your story is ready? Do you have a tendency of going over your work so many times that you get sick of it? Do you suffer from perfectionism?

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Image courtesy of Pixabay

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Back to the 80s: K is for Kids in the Kitchen.

kids-in-the-kitchenIf I was having a tough time coming up with band names for last month, it’s nothing compared to this months challenge for the letter K. I could only come up with one – yes, one! – that really stood out. And they are once again, another Aussie band.

Kids in the Kitchen were formed in Melbourne in 1983 and their debut single ‘Change in Mood’ reached No.10 in Australia later that same year. The following year, they were nominated for ‘Most Promising New Talent’, as well as ‘Best Debut Single’ at the Countdown Music and Video Awards. In 1985, they released their debut album Shine, where the single ‘Current Stand’ became a hit overseas and reached No.12 in Australia. Their second album, Terrain was released in 1987, which failed to chart. Unfortunately the group could not emulate their earlier success and broke up in 1988.

Other bands formed or who had hits in the 1980s starting with the letter K include:- Kajagoogoo, Kraftwerk, Kool and the Gang.

What other bands of the 1980s that begin with the letter K can you think of?

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Emulating Other Writers

anne-hathaway-in-becoming-janeYears ago when I started taking writing seriously I wanted to emulate a particular author I was reading at the time. By this stage I had done a fair amount of reading and I was doing a couple of writing courses by correspondence. It may sound silly now, but back then I was a Jane Austen wannabe.

In High School, some of my reading involved books such as the Sweet Dreams series (which I bought by the truckload) and borrowing Mills and Boons romances from one of my girlfriends. I was smitten by the ‘love bug’. I began writing my own romances, but I soon abandoned them as my plots were paper thin.

After leaving school, I persisted with the romance genre, despite my poor writing efforts. Romance novels were popular; there must be something I was doing wrong. So I sent away for a tape from Mills and Boon on how to write a romance novel. I went over that tape a number of times; trying to work to their formula, but still I couldn’t master it. It was around this time that I had moved on to different reading material, such as Richard Laymon and Catherine Cookson – I even struggled through Lord of the Rings (and struggle I did, but I eventually made it to the end). I even read the Brontes, re-visited some Stephen King and an old favourite, a gothic romance named Dragonwyk.

I soon discovered I had moved away from being a Jane Austen wannabe. I could never really write a Mills and Boon; there was no ‘passion’ in it for me as a writer (although these days I may still try writing romance – never say never  😉 ).

It took a while, but I found that there’s no harm in emulating other writers when we start out. It helps us to learn our craft through reading; we discover our strengths and weaknesses, our likes and dislikes, our genre or genres, as well as finding our own voice. That’s the time when we need to stop emulating others. Just like there is only one Jane Austen, there is only one you. Let your voice be heard.

Have you found your voice by emulating other writers? Who was your ‘wannabe’ author? Have you tried writing in a genre that just wasn’t really your ‘thing’?

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The Inspiration to Make Good Art.

Make Good ArtLast week as I travelled around the internet, courtesy of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, I came upon a number of helpful and inspiring posts in answer to finding the time to write. As a result, I discovered more about myself and learnt the best ways in which to get more writing done.

One helpful post I came across was by author Donna K Weaver (thanks Donna). She had posted a speech by author Neil Gaiman that I had never heard before (yeah, I know, I’m so with it). In it, he states that despite how bad life may treat you, keep on going – ‘make good art’. I have posted a short version but if you wish to hear the entire speech, you can find it here.

It was after the discovery of this speech, that I heard the full speech by J.K. Rowling for Harvard graduates back in 2008. Although twenty minutes long, I recommend you to take the time to listen (see below). In the speech, she talks about the benefits of failure and the importance of imagination. One statement really stood out to me, which was this:-

‘Had I really succeeded in anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one arena where I believed I truly belonged’.

Like J.K. Rowling, the arena I truly belong to is writing; it is my art. It is through authors like her and Neil Gaiman that have come before us, can we really find our inspiration to keep going.

What inspirational speeches have you seen lately? What inspires you to keep going to ‘create good art’?

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Image courtesy Unsplash

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#IWSG: Finding the Time to Write.

laptopIt’s time once again for this month’s post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. A different question is asked each month, where your answers are shared and you encourage others who are struggling. It’s a great way to meet fellow writers, so if you’re interested, you can join here.

Years ago there were many times I wished I could just spend my days writing full-time; where I didn’t have to worry about work and looking after kids and a household. Now that my kids are older, I’m no longer working and completed my University studies (yes, I did that too), I can finally say that I’m fortunate enough to write full-time. It’s every writer’s wish come true, right?

Sure, some days can be like this:

ktpngwhile other days it can be more like this:

secret-windowThe reality is that sometimes I think I wrote more when I had less time to write; I valued my time more and therefore spent it more wisely (and we didn’t have such things as social media as a distraction). Writing full-time, especially when you are unpublished, makes it very easy for one to goof off (yes, guilty as charged).

If there’s one thing my university studies taught me, though, it was to learn to become self-motivated. I studied, not for change in career, but because I Insecure Writers Support Group Badgewanted to. My studies were completely on-line; no need for me to attend a lecture once (much to my husband chagrin), for several years. I sat at my desk and at the keyboard day after day, forcing myself to get that work done. It’s the same when it comes to writing. Nobody is forcing us to write; we write because we want to. We need to make that time to write, no matter how small.

And as far as housework goes? Pft! Let those dust bunnies come – I’ll get rid of those once they become antiques. 😉

How do you find the time to write in your busy day? What do you do to stay motivated?

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Image courtesy Unsplash

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Back to the 80s: J is for The Jam.

The JamWe’re back to the 80s again this month, and this one had me a bit stumped. I was racking my brains trying to come up with bands starting with the letter J, which is why I’ve cheated a bit as this month’s band starts with ‘The’ (yeah, real naughty of me). The Jam happened to be one of those bands that I was fortunate to discover back in the 80s as my sister worked in a record store at the time, and as she was introduced to new bands, so was I. 🙂

The Jam were formed in England in 1972, and were influenced by the Mod music and lifestyle. They gained a small following on the punk scene and incorporated 1960s rock and R&B influences within their music, which would later have them tagged as ‘revivalists’. In 1977, they signed with Polydor Records and released their debut album. A second album was released later that same year and it was around this time that the bands lead singer, Paul Weller, became the chief songwriter.

In the years that followed, they released three more albums, including Sound Affects in 1980, which included the song ‘That’s Entertainment’; one of the bands most celebrated songs. Their next album, Start! reached No.2 in the U.K and would become their most successful album in America. The album The Gift released in 1982, not only reached No.1 in the U.K, but also became their final album. It featured ‘Town Called Malice’, which had become a No.1 hit. The Jam played a farewell tour of the U.K before disbanding in 1982.

Other bands formed or who had hits in the 1980s starting with the letter J include:- Joy Division, Japan, Judas Priest.

What other bands of the 1980s that begin with the letter J can you think of? How have you discovered new music?

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