#1200 5 years

1200 posts of gratitude, a crap load on my parent blog SmikG, and it all started when… ?

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YAY! This blogging journey on WordPress started 5 years ago, and all after I read a book…

How wonderful these pages bound together in a unified spine can be 🙂

#1199 Encouraging words

It’s ALL about words lately. Whether baby girl’s funny ones or my…

3000 ones.

And it is in reference to the latter, that I am extremely grateful to those that encourage you.

I received feedback from my online tutor recently… and as I read over her comments and listened to her audio feedback with bated breath…

I soon found myself exhaling audibly.

I was content. Everything she critiqued constructively, I got. And everything she positively commented on…

I was beyond excited.

I had hope. My dream, was realised. The foundation of my story, that started in my head over 7 years ago, was recognised as worthy, visual, important, not just by me, but by a professional.

That is HUGE in my book. Of mammoth value.

Her words are echoing in my mind, and in so doing, my pen name is suddenly shining bright in flashing lights.

:):):)

 

#1197 3000 words

3000 words. It can be a lot of words, or a little, depending on the context of which they’re in.

But for me, tonight, 3000 words is a HUGE DEAL.

3000 words is my first baby, my book, my idea, my brainchild (if I am allowed to call it that) being sent out into the world for 10 complete strangers who I have never met to read and critique and shock horror RIP IT TO SHREDS.

I just hit ‘submit’ after staring at the screen for about 10 minutes.

What to note down as I posted the first 3000 words of my novel in the round 1 critique for my online course. Sure it was easy when it was others’ turns, and I opened up their word documents and commented here, there and everywhere… but it is a WHOLE NEW sensation to have to release that which you have worked on for so long, and surrender yourself to whichever comments may come you way.

It’s because your story, is of you. There is a reason why I think, people can be fascinated to find out what genre you are writing in. What characters you are exploring. What world you are bringing to life.

That is because there is a slight expectancy, that in writing contemporary fiction, it may still be somewhat based on you, as the author.

YES, and NO. Sure, parts of my life, the people I have met and the places I have been have affected me, some even to the point that they may feature, ever so slightly in what I write.

Yet at the same time, there is no relation. It is all a pure fabrication, figment of my imagination, come to life through hours of thinking and noticing and observing events around me.

And that is still, the most terrifying part. No matter how much your story is or is not based on your life, all of the ideas undisputedly, have come, from YOU.

It is all YOU. All of it. Anything shit in there – YOU.

Anything boring – YOU.

Anything uninspiring – YOU.

I felt compelled to tell them in my notes on submission tonight –

“Please be kind.”

“I have gone over this a billion times.”

“I don’t know what to say.”

“I’m terrified.”

And explain and explain and explain my story… and then I remembered something i had heard, which was that author’s aren’t there sitting on readers laps telling them about their story as it is read.

It is up to the reader to interpret. You write it… you let it go.

So I let it go.

“Hi all

Here are the first 3000 words of my YA novel.

SmikG.”

No explanations. No excuses. No expectations. Nothing at all.

Just those 3000 words.

And although I am shitting bricks at what I will receive in return…

I know that releasing these words is the first step, to making them better again.

 

#1142 The plan B writing course

Following rejection, it is vital to make yourself another plan.

It keeps you focused. Out of a state of funk. And it helps when it is an online course, therefore there are no maximum quotas of 2 people to fill up the room (not resentful much?!)

Today my online writing course started and I excitedly jumped aboard the introduction ship…

But, what to write?

What I wanted was to just write this:

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Well it was the truth. In a plain and simple nutshell. Scaling it back to basics, keeping it real… that was it. But they wanted to know more. Like where I lived, what I did, what I wanted to get out of this…

I answered some of the default questions…

F&*k it. I’ll post it for you. If you’d like to know my brief writing history background… then happy reading 🙂

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#1014 Scaling heights and shedding fears at Faber

I remember going skiing with my sister and her friends when I was about 16.

It was then that I had to face my fear of steep inclines. A fear I didn’t even know I really had until then.

I had these long narrow skis on for the first time in my life, and after becoming quickly bored by the amateur kiddie slope, I knew I had to move on to something more challenging.

But the next step up was actually down down down… a slope that seemed dangerously steep.

It probably wasn’t. Being next in the skiing procession, it likely was a realistic step 2. But for me terror gripped my heart and made my arms and legs go numb at the prospect of going down it, and it wasn’t just from the snow.

I must have expressed my fear to my sister then – I wanted to ski, go down, do something… but it was so damn steep.

She gave me some sage advice. Advice that helped me through that moment, and advice that you can apply to almost any overwhelming situation in life:

“Just look at the space in front of you. Don’t worry about the next 10 metres, or even try looking all the way down the slope – just keep your eyes in front of your feet.”

I was completely shitting myself, but following her lead, did as I was told.

I made it. Sure, I fell over myself awkwardly a few times, but soon I was sailing down, swerving left and right, and making sure my eyes were safely trained on that small space in front of me, that small space I knew I could accomplish.

Little skiing steps.

I had to overcome a similar fear today… but this one involved looking UP.

It’s been 5 years since my last writing workshop/class, an activity that was severely overdue for this creative head. I headed over to the Allen and Unwin East Melbourne office to partake in a Faber Writing Academy one-day course.

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I absolutely loved every moment of it. The interactivity, the encouragement. The shared and similar ideas, sharp proof that I was on the right track. The writing space provided, and of course, the highly sought after, terrifying feedback.

Wooo.

I can honestly say that once the day was done, I felt with all of my being, that I was definitely on my lifelong path. With so much upheaval this past year, uncertainty and confusion being such a prevalent theme in my life, to find that what I had always known and hoped for, was definitely the path I had to take, the path that was for me, was a true joy to realise.

How did I know?

Just the way you know in the feelings that emerge from such an experience.

Like when you have custard for the first time and you go “mmm.”

Or when you hear a new song and straight off you KNOW you’re going to play it until all those around you start to despise you.

The way you feel when you find love, and that little voice tells you “watch out – this is it.”

It’s that same knowing.

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I’ll leave you with one of my writing exercises of the day that we did off-the-cuff… it tells you more about my journey today in ways that I simply can’t at this heady midnight hour.

Theme? A journal entry. Why, I know ‘a little’ about that 😉

 

THE JOURNAL ENTRY EXERCISE

I thought I had given myself ample time to get there.

6am start.

Local café brekkie. My cappuccino had a leaf design in it, the way all hipster cafes do nowadays, and it reminded me of my most favourite emblem, the tree.

Tall, looming and abundant in nature, its roots expansive and far-reaching, to places our eyes were not privy to.

The tree was the symbol of growth and renewal, and the way in which it bared its leaves for all to see, still stood grandly amidst its shedding, and then found the innate courage to sprout green all over again, was an inspiration to me.

It was to be a similar fate for me that day.

The unveiling of myself. My deepest and most personal stories, a torchlight shone brightly on, magnified and criticised for all my like-minded peers to see.

There’s nothing like being in a room of those who do what you do, to instil the greatest sense of doubt in oneself.

Suddenly, I had 10 minutes to go and this huge mother of an escalator LOOMED before me. What? No one had told me I would have to scale those insane heights?

I clutched the rubber rail to my left at the train station, staring at the man’s orange tiger on his sneaker in front of me, willing the mechanical steps to go faster.

But because I had a fear of steep inclines, of course it took its time.

My journey to the top, body leaning forward at a 90 degree angle, was a brutal one. I couldn’t even look back down to the depths of the platform below to see how far I’d come.

I think I’ll take the lift on my way down.

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And that is why I am a never-ending… work in progress.

 

#841 What he said no. 3

I walked out of the lounge room later this evening. Hubbie called out after me.

“Can you bring back my phone? I wanna read your gratitude blog.”

:):):)

This made me smile for more than simply egotistic reasons. I had told him recently that I was frustrated. I had no one to talk to, share with, and bounce feedback off about my blogs, my writings… it was making me feel antsy, disenchanted, and lonely.

Sure, there are people out there that read them. But I am realistic. Unless you are a writer yourself, you don’t tend to passionately follow these kinds of pursuits to the point where you are offering feedback and analytical critique. It is just not your natural forte.

And I get it. Really I do. But when I see that my sad stories get a rise out of people, I have to wonder…

Why do you ask me about something bad, rather than maybe, how I came to do this in the first place? Aren’t you interested in my passion? Or is it only interesting when life goes wrong for me?

It’s a sad day when you feel as if you aren’t getting the support you need amongst supposedly ‘supportive’ followers.

I told Hubbie I needed to get out there and network. I had to meet other like-minded individuals. I had to get these feelings and thoughts and ideas out of me, and into a sphere of people who would nod their head in understanding, rather than stare at me like I’d just said “goo goo ga ga.”

“Talk to me!” Hubbie had said earlier today. “The way I tell you about my cars and music stuff, you can tell me anything you want about your writing.”

And not only is that invitation open, but his new routine will be actually reading my blog posts.

Let’s see how long this lasts 😉

And even if it doesn’t, just the fact that I am supported by someone who truly has my back…

It is priceless.

#804 Pre-work cafe writing

Today, I did that little thing that I do sometimes… I left the house for work at 7am, even though I didn’t have to start until 9:30am.

No, it doesn’t take me 2 and a half hours to get to work. It takes me 1 hour when things are going well – so where were those other 90 minutes going?

I got to work and parked. I then walked

down the path to my destination of choice –

A CAFE.

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I had brought my laptop in with me, so as I woke up with an indulgent egg and hash muffin, so too did the words on the screen light up and come alive…

With the help of some caffeine too.

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I never would have thought that I’d ever forgo sleep to get up and get some ‘me time’ in. It’s not purely the ‘me time’ that dictates what time I get up though: I want to get up and out of the house early so that baby girl isn’t upset if she sees me leave for work.

Avoiding an angry and sad child is a STRONG motivator. Wanting some writing time, is the extra icing on the cake.

It was a perfect and relaxed start to the day. The more I ‘cafe write’ the more I feel absolutely legit as a writer.

Wait a minute. I am not a writer solely based on where and how I write, and what it is I write, and whether I am published or not…

I am a writer, simply because, shortest English sentence here – I AM. 

And YOU are too… simply. Whatever you want to be, you already ARE.