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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Main image courtesy of Pixabay

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Life Lessons · This Writer's Life · Writing

Having a Writing Plan.

Giving up work to write full-time I think is every writer’s dream come true. The thought of simply writing what we want to write in whatever hours that suits us, sounds appealing, but that’s far from the reality. I’ve found out the hard way that writing takes a lot more time and energy than what we’ve all been led to believe.

A few months after I got married, I handed in my notice to my employer of almost ten years. It was a decision that was not made lightly, but one I knew had to be made. I had tired of my job and as far as I could see there was no future for me there. It was time I moved on to something different.

Excited by the prospect of fulfilling the writing dream of writing full time, I gathered enough notebooks and pens to last me a good while. I spent time making sure the computer had enough space to accommodate my works, and living in the Blue Mountains at the time, I had an inspiring view of the Grose Valley from my balcony. I was in a perfect situation in which to write.

With so much time on my hands, I began to squander it. Projects I had eagerly begun were tossed aside for the next project, only to see the process repeated. After these ‘failures’, doubts began to fester until I dreaded starting anything new and spent less time writing altogether. It was about this time that my husband landed a job in the country, and we relocated, giving me the chance to have some casual work within the same department. Almost two years later, I became pregnant with my first child. Writing during this time was very much on the back-burner.

Looking back, I realise that although I wanted to write, that period in my life was not the time; clearly I was not ready. Also I did not have a plan. It may sound simple, but in my eagerness, I had no idea where I going. Before handing in my resignation, I should have put more thought into what exactly I was going to do, have some kind of back up plan, consider finances, etc.

These days, I’m working to two different pieces of advice: plan your work, work your plan and finish what you started. Planning ahead can save you a lot of time and effort. It also allows you to focus on the task ahead and gives you the confidence you need to reach those goals.

Have you ever stopped working to pursue writing full-time and it didn’t work out? Do you feel guilty when you squander your time rather than write? Do you have any writing projects that are incomplete? 

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Images courtesy of Pixabay

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Writing

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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Image courtesy of Pixabay

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Writing

A Writer’s Journey: At a Crossroads.

crossroads

Have you ever had the feeling that you were at a crossroads in your life? That you are about to dive off and take a plunge into the great unknown, but at the same time you are also holding yourself back?

This is how I have been feeling these past few weeks. Perhaps it’s because there is a change in the air as Spring is beginning to reveal itself or perhaps because I’m feeling more confident in myself that the time has actually come to take a new step when it comes to writing. And yet there is that niggling doubt – fear, uncertainly and a lack of confidence. Once I step forward into that new sphere, what I’ve left behind will stay there. Where I am now will be gone; there is no turning back.

The reality is I’ve been in this current state for quite some time now. I’ve become too comfortable and therefore I’ve become scared of changing the status quo. When we are faced with this situation, and we sit on that fence for too long then all our efforts to get this far will be wasted. You will feel that you’ve become a failure and live the rest of your life with regrets, which only makes you unhappy. You won’t be living up to your true potential and you’ll begin to feel that you have let others down as well as yourself.

It’s a big step, an awkward step, one that you should be prepared to take, however tentatively. If you’re anything like me, you’ve spent years practising and learning your craft; all it takes now is to face the great unknown. That is the biggest challenge.

I know that I have people around me who are urging me forward and a husband prepared to support me every step of the way throughout that new journey. I hope that you too have found that support, even if it is only with one person; that can make all the difference in a writer’s life.

I’m prepared to take the next step into my writer’s journey. I hope you are too.

Are you at a crossroads in your life? Are you prepared to face your fears and take the next step forward? Do you have the support of others with you throughout your journey?

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Image courtesy of Pixabay

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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This Writer's Life · Writing

Keep the Dream Alive.

kangaroovalleyhouse2

I’ve been away for a few days – a combination of my birthday and our 20th wedding anniversary. Our accommodation was our dream home in our dream location. During every birthday I contemplate what I’ve achieved so far and what my future goals are – this birthday doubly so. This eventually made me think what dreams are the most important to me.

We dream because we really want something. We then have to set ourselves goals in order to help achieve those dreams. We’re told to dream big and big dreams can mean big goals – as long as we have the persistence and determination to see it through, as well as an awful lot of hard work. Our success in achieving our dream is a result of how badly we want it.

When I was younger, my dream was to become a writer, but now I realise I always was a writer. The difference is simply to either be a writer or a published writer. I have always had more than the one dream, but it has always been a matter of priorities. Sometimes we have to sacrifice our other dreams for the one that is the most important to us. Yet, who knows? The dream that is of the utmost importance may lead us to those other dreams, therefore making that one really big dream all the more valuable.

Just like coming back from any holiday, it’s hard to get back to reality. The reality is that to become published, we need to put in the hard work. These days with the rise in self-publishing, having such a dream can come true. If we dream long enough and work hard enough, anything is possible.

Have you always dreamt of being a published writer? What other dreams do you have? Have you ever had to sacrifice some dreams for others?

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This Writer's Life · Writing

Writers: Choose Progress Over Perfection.

MushroomsRecently my husband suggested I should start sending my writing off for people to read. He came up with a few names, but I found myself ultimately tensing up and disagreeing with those names he had suggested.

He then raised a very valid point – if I don’t want anyone to read my writing, then I don’t want to get published; I’ll only be writing for myself. As an unpublished writer, at the moment I am only writing for myself. I’m finding out where my strengths and weaknesses are and I want to build up a body of work so that when I do publish, I’ll have more than one book on offer. Sounds reasonable, however, the problem with that is that it could take years, so why wait that long?

During our conversation, a voice in the back of my head screamed ‘I’m not ready!’ Fear took hold of me once again. Why? I then realised that my fear stemmed from perfectionism. I can’t let anyone read my work – it needs to be perfect before I can do that!

The trouble is there is no such thing as perfect. It’s an illusion. We admire other writers – their writing can look so damned perfect, yet we only ever see the finished product. Years of hard work and persistence enabled these writers to reach such a high standard and yet they learned to let go. They knew when their best was good enough. Like any art, not everyone is going to like everything you write. In order to do the best we can at our craft, we need to make mistakes. If we’re not making mistakes, we’re not learning. Participating in National Novel Writing Month  is the ultimate way in which writers can lose all pretence of perfectionism, and author Anne R Allen lists several ways in which NaNoWriMo can help.

Change your way of thinking. Instead of aiming for perfection, think about making progress instead. Learning to progress increases your knowledge, which can make you an expert in certain areas. It broadens the mind; makes you a more interesting person and can become a great motivator. It will also help you decide that, you too, have done the best you can do and can move on.

Aiming for perfection can be crippling as it helps feed those self-doubts. Perfection doesn’t help you to move forward as a writer, instead strive for progress and you’ll never look back.

Do you struggle with perfectionism? Does perfectionism hold you back from achieving your goals? Will you be participating in NaNoWriMo this year?

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