#1581 Day 83 of getting there: the inspirational Zoom chat

I spent my Saturday morning in a really lovely, relaxing and uplifting way.

And no, it wasn’t just because I ate breakfast on the couch (I know it’s a day off when my butt is firmly planted there as I eat my toast), and no, it wasn’t because I was in my PJs ’til past midday…

But I was in my PJs past midday, because I got majorly distracted at 11am.

I’ve done 5 online courses now with The Australian Writers’ Centre. It is truly an addictive thing if you love the craft of writing, and seriously, I can see myself doing more of them… at some point in the future.

For anyone that loves to write and wants to make it part of their work, even if you live outside of Australia, the AWC is a tremendous resource, I know.

Go to https://www.writerscentre.com.au/ for more info.

And at the moment, I think their online Zoom chats with esteemed writerly professionals are just awesome.

They have been running for a while now during iso, and the topic for this morning’s one was of utmost interest to me.

AWC founder Valerie Khoo was talking to a children’s and YA literary agent!

YA! That’s my genre. πŸ˜‰

I accidentally stumbled across the Zoom chat reminder, and then started to listen… and then couldn’t put down my phone. I even asked a question about what trend publisher’s are looking for at the moment in YA, and along with getting my question answered, I walked away with so much information, tips and people to look up and read more on.

Most of all, I walked away with so much inspiration. It gave me purpose and hope and light again.

It’s a long road ahead, and it requires a heap of work. But at the same time, this morning’s Zoom chat filled me with as much excitement as it did focus, and I really feel I am on the right track.

A great frame of mind to start your morning? I’m definitely grateful for that.

#1565 Day 67 of getting there: hooked on the River

Last night, I was brainstorming.

I’ve been trying to get into ‘book mode,’ or rather, ‘editing-book mode.’

I recently got some feedback on my YA novel that I needed to up the ante for my main protagonist. I needed to make more happen… I needed to really make it, a page-turner.

Those words have been nagging me, haunting me, ever since.

So I’ve been thinking.

Reading over my notes.

Reading over all the feedback.

Tapping my chin with my pen.

Staring off into the distance.

Thinking some more.

And trying to think of some way to up the ante!

Firstly… I’m cutting out 3 characters. Just, gone. Albeit they’re side characters, but still…

Slaughtered. In place of them, a character I really didn’t think would be loved, is actually, LOVED, so he is getting a much-needed identity boost.

But that’s it. Plot points otherwise, at a nill.

I even went so far as to look up the psychology of teenage emotions, to try and get some inspiration and motivation for storylines that might fit my cast.

Fascinating stuff, let me tell you. The amygdala has A LOT to answer for. (Psst, it’s a part of the brain).

But still, no new stories.

What did I need? I needed an injection of teen stuff. I needed to immerse myself in their world, their lives, not to think and act and be like them, no, that I have down pat (part of me will forever be 18…)

I needed to know what goes down.

Books? Could I read more YA books?

Hmmm. Considering that part of my life is a huge work in progress, and I am already time poor…

This writer, more than reader, had to say, NO.

For now.

What was more immediate, than a book?

What could I access, like, right NOW?

NETFLIX.

I jumped on last night and started searching. I had Stranger Things come up repeatedly, and was actually thinking that might be the answer. I had heard about it heaps, had always wanted to watch it… could that be my YA key card?

But as I was watching a preview of it, something else was recommended, as Netflix does so well.

And without even knowing why I was drawn to it, I just knew, it was IT.

Because I have a thing for water. Clearly. (This will become blatantly obvious when my book is released πŸ˜‰ )

So good!

Riverdale!

I started watching last night. I continued more this afternoon, after work. And by the end of the second episode tonight, I even had Hubbie watching.

I am hooked.

Firstly, what is with Archie’s red hair? It is drawn on, it has to be! And his eyebrows, oh my God so thick!

The small town vibe, I am digging, only because I dabble in it myself. πŸ™‚

The love triangles.

The Dawson’s throwback to teacher tryst…. nice nice. I wasn’t expecting that.

A murder always makes things more enticing.

The crazy twin. Like, sooo crazy!

I am just loving it.

In fact, I finally have one good reason to be coughing non-stop. I am coughing, baby girl is coughing, and you know what, if that means I will binge on Riverdale this weekend and not be social, well…

Oh well. I will have to deal (happily!)

Hold up, what was the point here? Research? For my book?

Sure, sure. I am totally getting ideas. I have no time to write them though, I have a new show I need to watch…

KIDDING!

#1557 Day 59 of getting there: a day for my book

I go from one hat, to another hat, to another hat.

ALL DAY LONG.

Work hat. Mum hat. Teacher hat. Cleaner hat. Chef hat. Pet owner hat. Wife hat. Washing hat. (Did I say cleaner hat?)

Emotional hat. Maintenance hat. Finance hat.

Where is my ‘me’ hat?

Sure we are in lockdown, but all it means for me is I’m doing everything from home now, instead of leaving the house for things that I used to.

It’s now the work and the home schooling, as well as trying to do all of the normal everyday tasks that keep the house running,

I jump from one thing to another thing to another thing, all without taking a breath.

Overwhelmed is an emotion I am all too familiar with.

I asked myself the other night “where is my ‘me time'”?

Sure, I do this at night. Everyone goes to sleep. I blog, I journal.

Other times I am so spent I watch my guilty pleasure Bold and the Beautiful on repeat, or just scroll aimlessly through social media.

But then, that other big question… the question that I’m sure A LOT of us has thought at one point or another during this lockdown…

What is it for?

What is the point? Where am I placing my valuable time, and is it leading me in the direction I want to go?

Or have I fallen into routine, and need to be reminded of that which makes my heart sing?

What about my book?

Yeah, MY BOOK. That thing I was working on ’til early this year, which I then left because ‘feedback overload!’ All well and good, but with so long a break, it was time to ask the question again.

‘What about my book?’

A new plan. A new decision. A new routine.

A new hat. A writing hat. πŸ™‚

Wednesdays was now going to be my BOOK day.

It doesn’t matter how much (or how little) I spend working on my novel… but from now on, I’m going to be announcing to the house my intentions, and ordering them all to leave me alone for as long as they can muster!

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Today it was about 80 minutes… not bad. It was baby steps. I first had to remind myself of where I was at, re-reading feedback from writing pals, and taking notes to ‘up the ante’ of my story.

Even if I do one line, each Wednesday…

I am doing something. I need to be easy on myself. I know how I work.

Life can get away from us. But if I can try stick to this new routine, all my Wednesdays will surely amount to something.

They will amount to much more, than doing nothing.

#1471 ‘Guess Who?’ told her???

It’s after school pick-up, and baby girl and I are playing an impromptu Guess Who game.

I tell her that we’ll only play a couple rounds… so we play one game, and I win.

One down.

We start the second game. I am nearing the end, with far more of my people down, while she has loads left. I go easy on her, as she asks really specific questions that stall her progress, like “does your person have a headband?” when there is only ONE person with a headband! But also, I don’t avoid winning.

I ask a question and knock down a few more. I have 1 left. She is totally Megan. I have this in the bag.

But now it is her turn.

And she has LOADS left.

But then she asks… “is your person, Rebecca?”

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What the actual F*&%????

She had 18 people up, but still completely fluked the question and picked the right person.

Rebecca it was! She won!

I was flabbergasted, asking “how did you do that?” She said she just knew, and still in total shock, we went on to play another game.

I went first. I asked a question and she responded, before I knocked a couple people down.

Now it was her first shot of the third game.

“Is your person… Lisa?”

FUCK OFF. No special characters either.

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It IS Lisa!

How the $^%*$*$&#&(#()(???????

I couldn’t speak. I was actually staring at her, ‘like what is going on?’ I went to her side of the rug to see if she could see through my card somehow… nope. I look at her dead serious.

“How did you do that? Did someone whisper it to you? Or was it a feeling?”

“It was a feeling.”

I just can’t get over this. Someone is messing with me. Is someone messing with me? What is going on?

I ask her a series of specific questions. If she can tell the future I want the answers.

“Am I going to write a book?”

“Yes.”

(Hold on, I actually have written a book).

“Am I going to have my book in bookstores?”

“Yes.”

“What am I thinking now?”

She laughs. “I don’t know!”

We played two more games after that which I won… either her EXTREMELY lucky streak ran out, the ‘feelings’ stopped, or whoever or whatever was whispering in her ear ran off… either way… it made for a truly entertaining Guess Who session… I won’t be forgetting those games for a while.

#1436 Being brave with feedback

You would have thought starting this online writing course 6 months or so ago, was brave enough.

Kinda, but NOOOO.

So NO, after tonight.

Because I’ve been avoiding doing something that at the beginning of this course I was craving so much for.

Feedback.

Not just any feedback – the teacher’s feedback.

The ‘industry professional, editor, writing genius’ feedback.

Oh man. It was hard.

IT IS HARD.

I’ve listened and I’ve read. I can’t say I am in agreeance with much. I am going to stew on this for months now I tell you.

But I did it. I submitted, I read the all-important and soul-crushing feedback, and I am here.

I am here, very feeble, very humble, very tiny right now.

But still here.

#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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