#1400 Ninety-three thousand words before midnight

Right down to the wire.

I F^&*ING did it.

Okay well I didn’t actual ‘do it,’ yet… if I did I would be bathing in Moet.

Remember that for when I get published. πŸ˜‰

But tonight, was the night. It was the night I let go of the reins of the horse that has been gallivanting around in my head, vibrating from my fingertips, and taking up creative space on my computer for the past roughly 7-8 years.

Tonight was the night we submitted our full manuscripts!!!!

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Oh my.Β  I actually thought I’d be more nervous, but getting to this point has been gradual, what with submitting 5000 words of our novels at each submission point.

Relief is an understatement.

I am so glad for it to be off my hands for the time being… and having a break from, well what else…

NOT having to write anything.

Oh man. Right on time for Christmas and ALL. Goodnight πŸ™‚

#1391 The writing group

The other night my phone did that messenger ‘ding!’ And without fail I said to Hubbie, “that might be my writing friends.”

😁😁😁

That’s it. I’m done.

I have made it.

I have a writing group. βœπŸ“–

It was such an amazing realisation. They are the people I’ve met in my online course, and we have been reading each other’s work for months now, getting revved up and also totally paranoid and anxiety-ridden over the fact that we need to submit full novels for review and feedback by next weekend.

Not stressing… much… ???

But they make everything okay. We added each other as friends on facebook and have started our own chat away from the restrictions of the online classroom. Most days someone will post something helpful or share some personal writing thoughts, or just cry that they are about to pull out of the course and we will all be like “don’t you dare!”

It’s a lovely place to be, and be a part of. I shared my own structural journey with my novel, taking a photo of the unique way in which I am trying to work out the narrative and see where my themes, characters and rising tension is occurring… yeah unique way, on the floor.

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Yep, there you have it. Your first look at my novel! Good luck making sense of it though (I am struggling too). 🀣

But having people to bounce off ideas, inspire you to keep going, and remind you that after all of this they will be attending your book launch (!), well it’s completely heart warming.

Amazing. It’s a bloody great place to be, and I am so chuffed to be a part of it.

β™₯β™₯β™₯

 

#1367 Bathing it away

I’m actually kinda surprised. After getting rained on after school drop off, and having to witness my cat totally drugged out with pupils like saucers due to his new meds… I was almost laughing today.

You know when thing after thing goes wrong, and you literally look up to the sky and say “what now?”

But I amazed myself in my strength. I thought all this crap would have worn me down… but instead, like the main character in my book says “BRING IT ON.”

Maybe I’m somehow channeling her. Maybe I’m gaining inspiration through her fictional self. Either way, I moved on from the crap, and set myself up for…

A blissful bath.

There is always a reason why I shouldn’t have a bath. There are always 58 things I should be doing instead of lying in water, alone, breathing in to my thoughts.

But I’ve learnt by now that time like this isn’t a luxury… it’s a necessity.

So. Candle light. A steaming bath. The meditative sound of a slowly dripping tap, against the backdrop of howling winds outside the window.

Steam rises above me. The air is damp. I sink into the watery cocoon and let it swallow me whole, my body submerged by all that is peaceful, all that is good.

And with it my mind and soul slide into a place where my equilibrium is restored, and everything makes sense.

 

#1362 Of course Mate

I’m just a little bit happy.

Nothing major. But I think you should know by now that I celebrate the little things as much as, if not more, than the big things.

Sunsets. Dancing. Food. To name a few.Β 

But I am really loving my writing course… my ‘novel writing’ one. I have to explain, because yes, this week I started another. These online things are bloody addictive.

And soooo much fun. I’ve been chatting to the same group of people now for months, sharing our stories and words and giving each other inspiration and ideas and insight, and it is just bloody brilliant.

I am reading things I never would have normally read, getting all excited about the worlds they have created, they are giving me pats on the backs about my stuff, and all in all I feel like I have made a bunch of friends… friends who I don’t know, friends who I may pass obliviously on the street… but nevertheless, friends.

Writing buddies. I am having fun.

That is all πŸ™‚ And that also is everything.

#1344 A different festival

It’s that time of year where Mornington puts on a show and has it’s annual Main street festival.

We have gone every year since sea changing… it’s been 3 years in a row.

Today would have been 4… if we had gone.

But I had a more important festival to attend.

The Mornington Peninsula and Frankston Writers and Book Festival.

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Even the trees outside the venue, are MY trees. I love them. I see them all around the Peninsula. They are also the trees my story characters pass by on their way to school each day.

πŸ˜‰

It was an insightful couple of hours. I had booked into a workshop on ‘publishing.’ And though I got great tips and information on the industry, heard about the pros and cons of traditional versus self-publishing, I still walked away going “huh. I already knew a lot of that.”

It wasn’t that it wasn’t helpful. Just being in the room and sharing a table with other aspiring novelists was HUGELY beneficial. It motivated me in my writing dreams even further, and made me realise how important being a part of a writing community is, in sharing ideas, teaching each other information, and engaging in that writer-ly camaraderie, that feeling we get when we hear the other’s woes and go, ‘Ahh. I feel your pain.’

But the point at which I realised knowing what I already did was to my advantage, was when the workshop teacher, an editor and business owner of her own publishing company said to us –

“Often when I tell people all of this they become discouraged.”

A few people voiced their joking concerns.

“Ahh traditional publishing is too hard.”

“Self publishing is just as trying.”

Me? I was sitting there going… nope.

Been there, done that.Β 

Nothing about that process could scare me. I have been through the scenarios a million times in my head before. Sure there is a lot of luck and perseverance involved in finally getting your work out there and published…

But there is no other way for me. There is no other outlet. There is no alternative option.

Writing is the ONLY WAY.

And can I tell you a secret? Years ago when I used to read up on writing and publishing, the information I got back suggested at ‘if you are lucky enough to get published…’

Whereas nowadays it isΒ “when you get published…”

Either my sources have grown in reputation, maybe it’s the courses I am doing, or maybe I am deciphering the messages differently, as I grow more confident and positive, so too what I read becomes so…?

But I truly believe that to be the case. WHEN.

I got home from my workshop day, and then sat at the computer to do, what else…?

Work on another submission for my online course.

As Elizabeth Gilbert asked in Big Magic, “What is your flavour of shit sandwich?”

Guys, over and over again, I will pick writing. All flavours of shit just to be able to write.

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#1338 Hearing the Novel name

I don’t know how I am going to say this. It’s a bit hard to talk about something when you don’t want to use real names.

So I will use pseudonyms. It comes natural for me, being SmikG and all πŸ˜‰

Let’s say the over-riding name for my novel, the series as it were, since I have written the first, and have started the second (albeit very s-l-o-w-l-y) with my intention for it to be part of a very long series…

Is ‘Mountain Peak.’ Yeah that’s about right. Let’s call it that.

But that’s the title of the series, so it comes to reason that each novel would need an individual name, right?

So for this current novel that I am working and re-working and re-working ’til FOREVER it seems, it is called…

‘Experimentation.’

YES! Perfect. No that is not the name, but for purposes of this experimental exercise and real-life scenario, let’s go with that.

Mountain Peak: Experimentation.

That makes sense! You experiment while climbing a mountain’s peak, right?

Tee hee hee.

I was at swimming with baby girl today. She was doing her thing in the pools, while I was doing my Mum thing… having a quiet moment. In the peak of swimming centre traffic, with kids entering pools excited, then exiting the same waters drenched and exhausted, with parents amidst it all watching the clock and holding out towels, and ordering that wet clothes go into plastic bags, I sat with my head lowered, looking at all of social media and trying to remember if there was anything I needed to look up during this temporary moment of non-interruption.

I was getting bored while scroll scroll scrolling, as a Mum sat beside me with her older primary school aged daughter. They were doing something, I didn’t really look up to see, and I just figured they were waiting for a child/sibling to get out of the pool.

Then all of a sudden…

“Experimentation.”

Huh? Had my ears deceived me?

I looked to the side where the Mum and daughter were. They were doing a crossword puzzle. Not wanting to stare and be obvious I quickly looked away, wondering to myself…

‘Did I just imagine that? Did I just hear the name of my novel? I must be kidding myself.’

I went about getting out baby girl’s towel as the end of her session drew near, and the curious cat that I am, I just couldn’t help myself…

The mother-daughter duo were positioned to my right and baby girl’s class was also in that direction, so it made perfect sense to linger my gaze a little longer to watch her retrieve dive sticks from the pool…

(Meanwhile my eyes were insanely scanning their crossword from a distance, looking at all the long words to see, if really…)

BINGO!

There it was. Experimentation.

They had it crossed off.

They had found it.

OMG.

I found it the oddest, funniest, yet also spookiest thing to have someone whisper to themselves, loud enough for me to hear sitting beside them, the name of my novel!

And this name, it isn’t even as common as ‘experimentation.’ Sure, for one particular group of people it might be a daily utterance … but most folks would usually say testing, instead of experimentation, you know?

Yeah, I know, you don’t know… ha ha ha.

And I was just like… woah.

Before I had time to smile or ponder any further, baby girl came over to me soaking and wet, with raindrops of water cascading off her hair and swimsuit, as if it were falling out of the sky… πŸ˜‰

 

#1288 Planting synopses and seeds

First, it was the SYNOPSIS.

Baby girl came up this morning but then proceeded to sleep, loudly. Congested or not, she was breathing so deeply and we just couldn’t sleep anymore. Hubbie and I got up, leaving her sleeping alone in our bed, and went to have breakfast.

She was still sleeping after that, so I thought it was the perfect opportunity to spend time doing what I hadn’t been doing for the LONGEST TIME… which was working on my novel. I was due to submit a synopsis of it at midnight tonight for my recent course, and I hadn’t really started.

So off to work I went.

As I looked for plot points and complications, the turning points and climax, I realised something… I had forgotten a lot. When something is amassing 97,000 words, you can understand that some things may be forgotten… and every time I have gone to re-edit, I have generally read the first few chapters, before getting distracted for a while, and then coming back to it… only to start at the beginning AGAIN.

And also, I finished writing this novel, let’s see…. sometime in 2012. That’s a whole 7 years. A LOT can be forgotten in that time.

And I had. Forgotten a lot. I had to bring up my original manuscript, pour over sections, and something became very clear, very quickly.

I really liked it.

I know that is a massive breach of what you are allowed to say as a creative person! You are meant to say things like –

“oh, that old thing.”

OR

“Yeah, it’s ok (hair flip) I could’ve have done better.”

OR

“It is a piece of shit,” (with a hyena-type laugh because you’ve just scored yourself a major contract).

But I found myself more times than not, reading things over even when I didn’t have to.

I was re-discovering my story. I was finding twists and surprises I had put in there long ago, and I was pleasantly surprised I had managed to do that, even before my online writing courses had been a glimmer of a thought.

Clearly I still have a lot of work in front of me. But I felt the structure, was pretty good. The premise, was entertaining enough.

I liked my characters.

I liked my overall meaning.

I liked my ending.

I was proud of myself.

(Pat on the back :))

So I sat there, in my pjs ’til about 1pm (baby girl did come down and I did stop to give her breakfast) at the laptop, pouring over my novel and expelling more of my soul into the synopsis than I even thought possible.

I planted the synopsis.

And then I planted the SEEDS.

Or should I say bulbs. Tulip bulbs. And before I have gardeners sending me angry emails of “how dare you plant in Winter,” be assured I FORGOT to plant the bulbs in Autumn, I really did.

After the tulips I got from the Tulip festival last year had their run and their petals fell off, I did as recommended and gathered the bulbs and put them in a plastic bag, to lay dormant over the year so that they could be re-planted the next.

Sure, I missed Autumn. But I read somewhere that these flowers were hardy AS. They could handle almost anything. I was urged to try regardless, and so today we finally took them out of the bag…

And shock horror… they had SPROUTED!

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In the bag! It gave me hope! If they could sprout in the bag, imagine what they could do in SOIL????

We covered the 8 bulbs we had and fertilised and watered them, and then I told baby girl and Hubbie we all had to send it lovely positive thoughts.

It is in a pot outside the room where I sit and write. So hopefully sometime in Spring, I will be reaping the fruits of both my SYNOPSES and SEEDS labours….

;);););)