Life Lessons, This Writer's Life

A Slow Start to 2019.

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all had a good Christmas and relaxing break. I know mine has been so relaxing, I’m finding it difficult to get back into my writing (including blogging). 😉

Just before Christmas, my household had no internet (I know, great timing), and we went without it for about sixteen days. The kids weren’t quite climbing the walls, as they were aware of the issues. They managed to survive alright though! This is where I managed to relax and catch up on podcasts and watch some DVDs.

Just when I thought I could get back into writing once again, the temperatures began to rise, and I began to get sick. After a few days of abdominal pain, I spent some time in hospital, was told I was very dehydrated and had undergone a variety of tests. My health improved about a week later after taking some antibiotics.

The main take away from this experience was that sometimes life throws us some unexpected curve balls. We have to learn to adjust and be flexible (and in this case, I had to be more careful with my health). I had all my plans for the year worked out and ready to go, but I needed to take a step back for a little while. Now I’m getting back into it, slowly but surely. Which is also a very good reminder that when it comes to writing, it is a marathon, not a sprint.

I’ve tried to lower my expectations a bit this year, but as usual, I can’t resist making some big plans, such as losing weight, attending the RWA Australia conference in Melbourne and self-publishing. Sometimes having big plans can not only help us to stay motivated to achieve our goals, but also help us to get out of our comfort zones.

It’s hard to believe we are half way through January already! Let’s get moving! 🙂

Did you have a relaxing Christmas/New Year break? What are your plans for 2019?

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This Writer's Life, Writing

What Would You Have Done Differently in 2018?

Towards the end of 2017, I concluded that if I could do it all again, I would have written more during that year. I needed to remove a lot of distractions, especially those that I could control, mainly the internet and social media.

So, what about this year? When it comes to 2018, I’ve done a few short writing courses, began setting some boundaries (which has been very liberating), joined the Romance Writers of Australia (where I think I’ve finally found my ‘tribe’) and stepped out of my comfort zone by writing an 80k paranormal romance.

And it is with that last point, the 80k novel, that gives me pause for thought. This novel (where I still need to come up with a title), I had basically spent the entire year writing, which in this era of instant gratification is far too long. Stephen King recommends about three months, which I think is reasonable, provided of-course you have your plot well sorted out beforehand. I thought I did, but I wasn’t happy with it, so I started all over again. I learned the hard way that this story idea needed more time to simmer.

So basically in 2018, I should have written faster. The only way I believe I can really achieve that is to work harder on those distractions, stop with my perfectionism as well as stop thinking so much and just do it! Our time is short enough as it is without worrying about the little things. Self-doubt has plagued me for so long, that there are times it can be crippling and that is why it was so good to remove some of those boundaries. It’s been a long, slow process, but I think I’m finally getting somewhere.

Of-course, I did not self-publish this year, however, I’ve been reading up about the subject, done a short course through RWA and have been looking into copy-editors and cover designers, as well as coming up with some kind of plan. There’s a lot to self-publishing and I want to make sure I make as few mistakes as possible (yes, that’s the perfectionist in me talking once again). Either way, I will be making the plunge in 2019 (takes deep breaths)!

So that’s the year that was and my hopes for the year ahead.

Let me take this opportunity to wish you all a Happy Christmas and enjoy your holidays. Thank you so much for reading and being a part of my blogging community. I look forward to seeing you all again in the New Year. Let’s make it a good one! 🙂

As you look back on 2018, with all its successes/failures, if you could backtrack, what would you do differently? Have you learnt something about yourself this year? What are your plans for 2019?

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This Writer's Life, Writing

Making Plans for the New Year.

It’s difficult to believe that it’s that time of year again. Christmas is almost upon us; it happened so fast in fact, that this year I was caught completely unaware. It was a good thing then that I had already begun to make plans as far as writing is concerned.

Looking back over 2017, this has been quite a personal journey for me. I have high hopes for 2018 and whether I accomplish all that I intend to remains to be seen, however, I have come to believe that small progress is still progress.

I seem to have become a slave to social media and the internet. I tend to spend a lot of time, if not on it, then thinking about it. Listening to all the advice of ‘experts’ telling us what we need to do makes one want to tear one’s hair out. My husband tells me to take these people’s advice with a grain of salt. Just go with your gut and do what works for you. I have seen other people lately take a back seat to social media and prioritise their writing, their families and their health. This will also be my plan for the coming year. I will continue to blog and be involved in other social media, but not quite so much.

Let me take this opportunity to wish you all a Happy Christmas and enjoy your holidays. Thank you so much for reading and being a part of the blogging community. You guys make this all worthwhile!

I look forward to seeing you all again in the New Year. Let’s make it a good one! 🙂

What are your plans for 2018? Do you hope to have more time to write? Will you also be spending less time on the internet in the new year?

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Where Do You See Yourself Five Years From Now?

sparkler-677774_1280As the year is heading to a close and we’re about to see in another year, this months’ question is appropriate. It’s one that, as writers, we need to consider every year. When it comes to making long term plans, sometimes life can get in the way, steers us off course and before we know it, time has passed us by.

So in terms of writing, where do I see myself five years from now? The answer to that is: published. That has always been the goal for me. Unfortunately, fear has prevented me from doing so, long before now. I’ll be honest with you; I’ve let fear and the negativity of others prevent me from moving forward.

So, how do I plan to get there? By writing like crazy (and yes, writing can make us a bit that way at times too 😉 )!

computingI have some incomplete novels, novelettes/novellas and short stories waiting to be worked on. I also have a list of story ideas that have been waiting (some impatiently) to be told and there is always the new shiny idea that is prepared to show itself. So, as it stands, the ideas are there, they just need to be written or improved upon.

I plan to start getting published by sending out my short stories. My husband has read over them for me recently, and believes with a little bit of tweaking, they will be good to go (one he says can be sent out already). This is just the first step in swallowing that fear in letting others read my writing and I’m hoping to find some other beta readers before I hit that ‘send’ button. This will, I hope give me the courage to begin the road to self-publication.

mouse-stressOf-course, there is also a lot of reading to be done to help improve my craft, as well as attending courses and conferences, learning as much as I can about the publishing industry and being part of a writing community.

The road to publication is a long one, which is why in order to succeed we need to be in this for the long haul. As the industry changes so rapidly these days, we must also be adaptable and that can sometimes include our writing goals.

In terms of your writing career, where do you see yourself five years from now? What’s your plan to get there? Do you stick to your New Year Resolutions?

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Life Lessons, Up Close & Personal, Writing

Learning to Let Go.

Girl jumping

Years ago when both my children started school, it was an emotional time for me. I didn’t want to be one of those clingy, emotional mothers that couldn’t be parted from their child, but yes, I caved in. As a mother I would watch anxiously as the hours ticked by slowly, yet as a writer I relished in the peace and quiet.

Now in 2015, another adjustment needs to be made within my family dynamics. My son has finished school and will undertake study in the same town where my husband lives and works during the week – 95 kilometres (59 miles) away. Although he will be staying with my husband, my son will be ‘leaving the nest’ to some degree. This will take some getting used to, but in order for my son to grow and gain independence, I have to learn to let go.

As I need to learn to let go of my children, so too, must I learn to let go of my writing. For me, 2015 will be a year where I must learn ‘to ship’ as the saying goes. The fear of putting my work out into the world needs to be addressed if I want to be published (which of-course, I do).

During all those years of studying at University, writing essays taught me two things; that

  1. Not everyone is going to like what you write or agree with your opinion – it’s a matter of personal taste.
  2. No matter how many times you go over your work, it will never truly be ‘perfect’.

Yes, our writing does feel personal; a part of us is put out into the world and we long for acceptance. Yet if we continually keep our writing away from others, in order to prevent ourselves from getting hurt, we can never really grow as writers and our message will never be heard. Sometimes what we really fear is fear itself. It’s time to be brave and just let go.

What are your goals for 2015? Have you learnt to let go of your writing? How did you overcome your fear of submitting your work? Have you discovered it’s not a bad as you thought?

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New Year’s Resolutions – Using the KISS Technique.

Happy New Year!

It’s that time of year again when resolutions get made, but personally, I’ve never been any good at keeping them.  Like everyone else, I start off with good intentions, but I’m usually lucky if they live to see past the end of March.  Either I’m just completely hopeless at keeping them, or I’m choosing the wrong resolutions at the wrong time.  This is why I usually ignore them and just review my year’s progress every birthday instead.

As some of you would already know, 2011 was such a lousy year on the personal front, that I believe 2012 will make up for it.  This year, I’ve come up with some simple resolutions I believe should be applied every year.

  • Keep a positive attitude.
  • Healthy body, healthy mind (believe me, I could do with losing a few kilos, and the exercise will do my brain good).
  • Just do it! (I have a tendency to spend too much time thinking about my writing and writing projects, instead of just getting on with it).
  • Ignore the progress of others, unless I need some inspiration.
  • Attend some writing classes and conferences, as well as read books on writing to help keep the fire going.
  • Send work out to publications/publishers – you don’t know how things will work out unless you try.

As you can see, when it comes to resolutions, I’m a strong believer in the KISS technique.  By keeping them simple, if you stray off the path a bit, it’s so much easier to get back on it again.

Have you made any new year resolutions?  Are you aiming high this year or are you planning to keep it simple?

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Writing, Writing Process

New Year, New Beginnings

Christmas is finally over, my mother has been and gone and now it’s time to concentrate on writing once again.  January is always a trying month – with the children on school holidays I usually find it difficult to write, which is never a good start to a new year.

For the first day of 2011, I took time out to reflect upon my goals and plans for the year ahead.  In order for me to make any progress with my writing career, I came up with a couple of things and listed them below:-

  • Allow yourself to be reflective. Take the time to be alone with your thoughts, be it once a day or once a week.  Exercising or going for a walk helps clear the mind and helps to keep you focused upon your writing goals.
  • Keep away from negative people. Unfortunately you will get these people in your life.  My mother has always been negative in my choice of career, but with these negative people you need to remember that it is your choice and your life.  Negative people do nothing for your self-confidence and keep you away from your writing goals.
  • Write every day. During my mother’s visit over Christmas, I couldn’t get any writing done, so that when she left I found it difficult to get writing again.  Writing every day keeps you into the writing habit.  It’s much better to write something daily, rather than wait for the inspiration to turn up.
  • Focus on your goals. When you’re not focused on which direction you are heading with your writing, you tend to go off into different directions.  I had been doing that for a couple of days – working out which genre I write in.  A lecturer once told me that the best essays are those written on a subject you feel passionate about, and I found that to be true.  So focus on writing what you want to write about; things like genre will come later.
  • Use your time wisely. Good old time management skills come in handy here.  Have everything organised well in advance; plan your days the night before.  Make sure you get some writing done every day, no matter how small.  Before you know it, months may have gone by with very little progress being made and you begin to feel despondent and question your own abilities.

I know it is early days yet, but how are your writing plans going so far this year?  I hope you have all begun on a positive note and I look forward to hearing about your progress.  I wish you all a happy, productive and successful writing new year.

University, Writing

New to Writing? Start Small.

I  was never big on new years’ resolutions.  Whenever I made one, they usually never lasted longer than a couple of months, so why should 2010 be any different?

Looking over my accomplishments during 2009, although a busy year, it came as quite a shock to realise I had not written anything other than essays for my study.  I feel like a fraud in calling myself a writer.  My studies somehow managed to overtake my life during 2009.  The trouble was (as is always the case for me) the issue of time management.  Surely, I could have managed to squeeze some of my own writing in somehow?  It’s a question of priorities, and seeing in the New Year will also see in some changes.

Sometimes I rush right into things without considering the consequences.  Other times I take too long to come to any decision, and the opportunity is wasted.  This is my second attempt at University studies and I intend to make it to the end this time around.  At the same time, I have every intention of making it as a writer.

I know now that in order to see the big picture, I have to start small.  Things like writing poetry and short stories, editing and re-writing novel drafts, researching, and writing plot outlines are all small steps in the road to publication.  I have been published in smaller publications before.  It gives me hope and the will to keep going forward, one small step at a time.