Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Thursday, November 08, 2007
I keep telling myself every writer feels this way but it's not keeping the dark thoughts at bay. I shall plough on through the rest and just let my thoughts about the opening chapters stew somewhere in my subconcious. Hopefully it will spit back some fire at some point and I can decide what to do. I hate this feeling!!!
Did I really say I loved the editing process the other day? I must have been on a high imagining my book as R&J read of the summer!!! Today I can only imagine a pile of rejection letters splatting onto the hall mat. I should have put a warning at the top of this to say - don't read this if you need cheering up!!!!!
Monday, November 05, 2007
In fact for the first time in my writing life I am unable to get through a day (except sunday which is all about the weekend papers, drinking coffee and laying around in my pyjamas) without writing.
I even went and bought a new pink notebook the other day as the ideas for my next novel keep biting me.
This is all very exciting - I love the writing process - at the moment!!!
Thank you rowan, zinnia & leigh for leaving me words of support in your comments - they really help.
05 November 2007 16:14
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
Sunday, September 30, 2007
I'm now watching a woman feeding the two swans and many ducks that reside on the little stretch of water behind our house. Next to early mornings birds are the other 'thing' that worry me. I think that one comes from being left in the middle of Trafalgar square at the age of 2 strapped into my pushchair while my Mother stepped back to take the photo. Sheer terror was definitely the look on my face.
The swans and ducks look very satisfied out there and if I was more confident around creatures who flap I would be willing to offer them some of my fruit bread. But as they say 'like that's ever gonna happen!'
I think it might be time for a mid morning nap.
Friday, September 14, 2007
Friday, September 07, 2007
Have a good week! Happy writing!
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
I quite like a cracking pace most of the time but every now and again my body rhythms reset themselves and tell me to slow down - they also tell me it's time for a holiday! So far this morning I think I have been just as productive as usual - if not more so - yet I feel very calm - almost serene. I'm just going to plod through the day and quietly go about my business.
I'm off into the garden to rake leaves!
Sunday, September 02, 2007
I said 'Bonjour' in my best schoolgirl English - he said 'Oh are you french?' I wanted to roar with laughter but didn't - how mature am I!!!!! Instead I said 'No, I'm Australian.' He said 'Oh you are a long way from 'om.' He batted his eyelashes at me (much more impressive than mine!!!) I batted mine back and we parted with 'Au Revoir.' I know it wasn't the most amazing conversation ever to have occurred with a stranger but sooooo good for the soul - a bit of harmless flirting on a sunny afternoon with a man in possession of a sexy accent.
Off now to indulge in olive bread, brie and a glass of chilled pinot grigio!!!
Ahhhh I love Sunday Afternoons!!!
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Our jolly milkman woke me at 6am this morning as he was laughing and bantering with some noisy neighbour - how could they be laughing at 6am???? I'm not a morning person so this is a mystery to me - I don't really start functioning properly until about 10am. Though I do make a good show of being awake before then - it is all an act!!! I eventually fell back to sleep and into such a deep sleep (the kind where you feel like you are emerging from the bottom of a mud pit when you do wake up) that the alarm ringing at 7:30 was a hideous shock. I now feel out of sorts and then my wireless connection decided to be stubborn and won't work so I am hooked up to my 'old fashioned' modem which means I am bound to sit at my desk rather than sprawl on a sofa!!
I'm also having a little writer's worry than I will never manage to finish the next draft of my novel - Oh dear - I think I'll need my emotional crutch today - chocolate and I was trying to be so good and resist temptation. Today I am weak. Luckily there are a few choccy morsels in the fridge left over form the weekend. I shall have a nibble then talk myself back into a cheery mood. I feel better already for just writing the above - think I've exorcised some of the grumpiness!!!
Friday, August 24, 2007
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
I really liked that. Simple but powerful. I have a life that is split between the UK and Australia and sometimes when I think about my life back in OZ and the people there I love and miss I do feel a kind of madness descend and an overwhelming feeling that says I 'can't believe I'm not there right now.' But I am a great follower of 'living in the moment' and this does the trick for me 90% of the time. I'd love a magic wand or a tardis so I could live equally between both but all I have at the moment - which is quite a lot - is the feeling that I am content living in the moment - whether that means looking out at the lush South Downs on this bleak summers day or living a nomadic existence out of a suitcase when I'm back in Oz visiting family and friends.
I've realised that as you go through life and meet people that you form lasting friendships with - it is likely that no matter where you are - there is always someone that you'll be thinking about and missing. The upside of this is that I feel lucky to know and cherish a disparate group of people.
I'll never stop looking for that magic wand though!!!
Monday, August 20, 2007
These days the idea of having a Saturday night home alone is cause for great excitement. I get in my pyjamas early - have a bottle of bubbly chilling, a couple of good DVDs (by my standards - which is why I wait until I'm home alone to watch them!), large slab of chocolate and the take away menu at the ready. Utter Bliss!
BUT - there is still a thrill of excitement connected with socialising on a Saturday night. For a start you usually don't have to get up early the next morning and there is often more time to ponder what to wear and have a leisurely time getting ready. On Saturday night we did the loveliest kind of socialising. We went to a friends house a couple of hours drive away - stayed the night in their lovely guest room, sat nattering for several hours with tasty snacks and bubbly then the took us out to dinner at their local Indian, then we returned for further drinks, laughter and chatter.
It was a fantastic night and if I had known all those years ago when I sat home alone on a Saturday night that there were nights such as this one ahead of me, I would have relished my solitude and perhaps even done something useful with the time - such as study!!!
Friday, August 17, 2007
I had neglected to turn the gas up to 6 and it remained on preheat. Back to the guests feeling less smug with another bottle of wine in hand. Of course they had announced on arrival that they were starving as they had been gardening all day and forgot to have lunch!!! I open more nibbles and endure the good hearted (and deserved!!) ribbing. Finally the bell pings again and this time the lasagne looks and smells delicious - Wow I was so impressed. And the best bit - it tasted yummy and everyone had seconds.
All in all a fun evening and I feel proud of myself for attempting to cook a new dish. I was a borderline failure at school in domestic science - sometimes it shows - and sometimes I manage to get away with it!!!!
Thursday, August 16, 2007
We're on a high here in our household - A level results are in and our eldest got 2 As and a B - I currently have her anchored to the dinning table as I fear she will float away with happiness!!! I might have to join her. Her place at the uni of her choice is confirmed and I think her younger brother is in measuring up her bedroom in his anticipated move into the the 'big' bedroom when she leaves in a few weeks time for the spartan world of student accommodation!
I now have a few hours to myself so shall stop blogging and get writing. Oh, almost forgot to mention the sun is shinning - this day could be no better!!!
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Monday, August 13, 2007
We were only at the hotel for about 18hrs but made use of the pool, gym. coffee shop, bar and restaurant. On the Sunday morning the active family members (everyone but me!!!) got up early and went for a swim whilst I lay in bed wrapped in the hotel fluffy robe, with a face pack on doing some writing with lovely classical music in the background - bliss!!!! We then feasted on a fantastic treat of a breakfast before hitting the shops. Could I have been any happier???? Definitely not! I'm trying to stave off the reality of Monday but its forcing its way in. Ah well - caftan and turban back into the wardrobe until the next escape.
Friday, August 10, 2007
Off with the family to see the Harry Potter movie on the weekend in a cinema that has sofas!!!! We're all very excited.
Sunday, August 05, 2007
Still fighting the anxiety of being close to submitting to agents - it's almost too scary to contemplate - because I know that once I open that door I'm laying myself bare. There is something safe in keeping your writing close and something very scary about venturing into the 'business' side of it. Maybe I'm just feeling this acutely because I'm not quite ready to submit. Perhaps I'll feel bolder when I can sit back and say 'OK' it's time for the jiffy bag. Who knows?
I'm beginning to wish I'd paid more attention to science and maths at school and had a job that deals with black and white, right or wrong...too many variables in fiction but I know that's what makes it exciting. And I'm sure that science is also plagued with 'if I go down this path...etc etc.'
Ah well for now it's off into the Sunshine!
Thursday, August 02, 2007
Anyway I have a question I'm grappling with at the moment as I read through and make notes on my first draft (up to page 169 of 297) - When do I really start on the next one? I'm not sure on this. Will I get myself tied up in knots if I make a start on a fresh story whilst redrafting my current one? Is it really just up to me to find a process that works for my style? Should I wait until I've sent 'Support Act' out to Agents and then get cracking on the new one?
I can't quite believe I'm even thinking about this - amazing!!!! Well it's back to work for the afternoon with the red pen.
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Saturday, July 28, 2007
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Unfortunately I am not one of life's lucky shoe shoppers so I usually end up with a cupboard full of shoes that are rarely worn yet wistfully gazed at. I have bought, cheap, expensive, 'on sale', schols, homey peds, Dr Martens, shoes with inbuilt massage devices, flatties, tiny heel, platform - you name it - I own it! But all to no avail. I always end up getting twitchy in my shoes and wishing I was wearing someone elses shoes that look really comfortable
There is just something about my feet. They're not huge but they are wide and I do have an instep that you require certified climbing gear to ascend. These features mean that finding a shoe that fits is a hassle. When I got married two years ago I was determined to wear a flashy, dream pair of shoes and I found them in LK Bennets in the exact colour to match my dress and on sale!!! Perfect.
When I got them home I pranced around in them for all of 30secs before realising that my slippery instep wasn't going to hold them in place. Luckily my mother had flown 13,000 miles from Oz just to be standing there at the exact moment to say 'I have an idea of how we can fix this.' She lovingly sewed white elastic onto my gorgeous scarlet satin shoes to hold them in place. It was a good look. Fortunately my dress trailed the floor so only the toes peeped out. There were only a handful of us who knew what I really had under my dress.
When I walked down the aisle to stand next to my husband to be - he lent over and whispered 'I love your shoes'. I made the smart choice never to reveal the white elastic to him. It is one of our marriage's best kept secrets.
The one thing in life guaranteed to cause me enormous anxiety is if I know I'm going out for the day and the night with no chance to change my shoes between activities. If I know I can get back to the car I'll throw a couple of spare pairs in just in case. I know this is bordering on madness but I can't help it.
I'm already fretting about having to spend 4 days working in London in September when I'll be standing for hours on end and flip flops are not an option. If I'm ever disgustingly rich after I've done all the good and ethical things with my money I'm going to find a shoemaker and have them make me the perfect pair of shoes.
At the back of my cupboard the other day I found 5 shoes without partners - they are all favourites from years gone by that I've been unable to throw out even when there is only half a pair left. Sad I know. But I am ever hopeful.
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Our hotel was right in the centre of the city which made it very easy to get around though we were a bit alarmed to discover that our quiet hotel was next door to an underground nightclub which came to life between 11pm and 4am on the Saturday night. I was OK as I had earplugs and an eye mask but my fellow travellers were all bleary eyed at breakfast the next morning. I dutifully went to Boots and bought them all earplugs and eye masks - naturally the club didn't open on a Sunday!!!!!
We made it our aim to try as many of the pubs/restaurants as possible - I feel like I've put on a shocking amount of weight in a short space of time. It's back to the gym for me now our guests have gone and normal domestic services have resumed - which means no alcohol or chocolate from Tuesday to Friday and trying to get some sleep after sitting up late for many a night putting the world to right.
It's also back to my writing. My first draft of my novel 'Support Act' has lay dormant for over three weeks and I'm about to print it off and have my first read since finishing it. Scary and exciting!!!!
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Thursday, July 05, 2007
Then you read about stars who say they like to do errands because it keeps them 'grounded' Really???????? That is a worry - the day I chose to spent 20mins in a bank staring at the floor because the guy in front of me in the que seems a little unhinged and I'm avoiding eye contact - is the day I'll know I've really lost the plot!!!
What I'd like is for stars to 'fess' up and tell us mere mortals what it's really like to be pampered and mega rich and if it's so boring that you have to run 'errands' to get your kicks then WOW I'll swap with them for a few days.
I write this surrounded by piles of washing, ironing and some strange, teeny little black bugs that are nesting away in my study. It's chucking it down outside - my To Do list is screaming at me and all I want to do is watch something mindless on TV but it's 4:35 and I have several more hours of work to do - running 'errands' would be a holiday compared to what surrounds me here in the home!!!!
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
Ah well it is the kind of weather that is useless for tennis or drying washing (wind is good but it is now chucking it down with rain) but fabulous for thinking about the next steps after completing a first draft. I'm trying not to look at it this week but it is calling to me. I resist though - I want some distance. I'm not sure whether or not to start making notes for my next idea in the down time from novel number one. Having never been in this situation before I'm not sure if that would be a productive thing to do or if it would interfere with my 'pondering' novel number one. Hhhhmmmmm.
Monday, July 02, 2007
Going there knowing I had finished a first draft of my novel the day before was just the best feeling. I was able to put my hand up high in lots of workshops when we were asked 'who has finished their novel' - that was a brilliant feeling!!! I got some amazing feedback which has made me desperate to get back to it and begin the 2nd draft but I'm going to leave it for 2-3 weeks and not even peak at it just so I can have some distance. It's quite good that the next 2 weeks are really busy work wise so there will be no opportunity for peeking!!!!
Big sigh as I must now go into the non writing world - really difficult to do after 3 days immersed in writing - it was just wonderful knowing that everyone around you was involved in writing and I met some lovely people and chatted for ages just about writing!!! I can really recommend the experience to any other writer.
Very Happy yo be home to a proper shower though - sleeping in uni halls of residence brings back my undergraduate days - which are fun to reflect one - but I was baffled as to how I ever washed my hair properly back then as the showers were just a trickle - it was lovely to get home to a proper shower and my own bed!!!!
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Wow - feel like I have just run a marathon!!!!!!!
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Sunday, June 24, 2007
I am now ensconced on the sofa still in my pyjamas 'looking after' a box of cadbury roses while the rest of the family have gone to the gym for some exercise and a late breakfast. One part if me is quite excited by the idea of having an excuse for lying here and watching a movie but I couldn't decide which one to watch so shall write for a bit instead and get the word count moving. I did have some good ideas after my little blackout and even wrote them down - well I haven't read them back yet but they seemed pretty good at the time!!!!
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Finally managed to list all the novel racers on a side bar. Very proud of myself. I almost feel like I have a proper 'grown up' blog now! I had to post this gorgeous photo of frangapanis - my favourite flower on the whole planet. They're common in Oz and my mission is to try and grow them here in my garden on the south coast of England. This is quite a mission as I am also a novice gardener. They remind me so much of Oz that it would be quite wonderful to have them in my garden - the smell would transport me back to Sydney and it would be great to have them near by when homesickness strikes. Maybe one day I'll be posting a pic of my own frangapanis!!!
I mentioned that I had done a time management course last week and said I would post a few points from it. I had a couple of specific objectives for doing the course - one was to learn how to be more efficient with 'stuff' mainly paperwork - how to know what to file, what to bin and how to manage this process better so that I didn't find myself taking a week once a year to clear out the 'clutter' in my study. My other main objective was to learn some techniques for deciding what to do when and how to be ruthless with my time. You know when you have 8 things on your To Do list for the day and at the end of the day you still have 6 left and you have no idea where all the time went. I wanted to learn how to manage this problem.
There was quite a lot talked about on the day and some good books were recommended. One I particularly liked I ended up buying at Victoria station on the way home - I took it as an omen that there was only one copy left in the shop! I had read the first 70 pages on the 90 minute journey home. It is 'Getting Things Done' by David Allen. I'm currently trying a technique of his which helps you how to decide what to do from your 'Action/To Do' list with what you have available. His model is as follows:
1. Context - What do you need to actually undertake a particular action - for example returning a phone call means you need to have a phone to hand. If you don't then this is obviously not the time to be returning phone calls.
2. Time Available - If you only have 10mins then you can eliminate anything on your list that would take longer than this.
3. Energy Available - What are your energy levels currently like? Both mental and ohysical - again this will help you to work out what items you could achieve at present.
4. Priority - You answer all the above - see what items are still in the running and then use your gut instinct - pick one thing to do and get on with it!!!
I've been using this and it's been quite amazing. I have got a lot more things done - because he's given me a logical model and a system to follow. I like to have rules! It's great to do a course like this and actually come away and put some stuff into practice and see results instantly. The 'paperwork' issue is a work in progress but I am hopeful of changing my wicked ways! I know the points above are common sense but I find that sometimes I forget how to be efficient and I seem to forget it when I really, really need to be so.
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
This is a quickie to say I am slowly adding all the novel racers to a sidebar. I'm doing it manually so it's taking a while but I can't figure out how to do it the smart way so shall have to do it the slow way - so bear with me -I will get you all on there!
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
Saturday, June 02, 2007
Friday, May 25, 2007
I've booked to go to the Winchester writers conference next month so I'm using that as a starting point and some time for me to think about how writing fits into my life. I'm not expecting a miracle - I just feel I need to be a bit braver about writing. It is important to me and I need to figure out how to keep it as part of my daily life - otherwise I will never get my novel finished or the next one started or my current short story finished or my idea for a poem begun...There has to be a soloution that doesn't involve getting up at 5am!!!!!!
Monday, May 21, 2007
Monday, May 14, 2007
Thursday, May 10, 2007
Monday, May 07, 2007
Monday, April 30, 2007
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Saturday, April 21, 2007
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
This week my lovely husband and celebrated the 9th anniversary of our meeting in a little bar in downtown Shanghai. We had actually spent the whole evening at a traditional Chinese banquet where husband to be had stared at my back all evening and I had tried and pretty much failed to find something vegetarian on the many dishes that landed on our table. So we didn't actually get to meet properly until a group of us had decamped to a little club somewhere down a back alley. My Mother had warned me about doing things like this in foreign countries but there I was doing it and loving it.
We were trying to recall what time it was when we emerged to find dawn rising over the city. We had spent the night chatting, dancing, drinking too many Heineken's and giggling at the secret Karaoke rooms where the locals were going for it with great gusto. Several hours later my future husband revealed that he had a flight to catch back to London that afternoon and I was bound for Sydney the next day. And so began our long distance love affair. No prizes for guessing what my first novel is based on - that and Michael Jackson's fondness for a brand new toilet seat every time he uses the loo. The two are connected!!
The writing has been flowing this week though I feel like the word count is never going to rise beyond the 50,000 mark - I am impatient to hit the 60,000 mark. So I best get on with it!!!
Friday, April 13, 2007
Saturday, April 07, 2007
Thursday, March 29, 2007
Monday, March 26, 2007
So much to learn!!!!
Sunday, March 25, 2007
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Thursday, March 15, 2007
15 March 2007 15:03
Saturday, March 10, 2007
Thursday, March 08, 2007
Result is - this week lots of energy - lots of things on the go - equals no time to write!!!!
Goal for next week - Make it to 50,000 words - by either getting up earlier or going to bed later - I shall create more time.
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
Monday, March 05, 2007
I am a regular reader of about four other writer's blogs but they are all published novelists and make their writing existence sound a lot more exciting and glamorous than mine - maybe they lie? - and like me they are still in their pyjamas at 4pm - hitting the word count button every five minutes and wishing that the phone would ring and some over hyped salesperson would be on the other end trying to sell them a stairlift. Or the other possibility has struck me that every other writer I either know or read about really does lead an exciting and glamorous life whilst I languish alone, waiting for the muse, even though I know deep down that I shouldn't be waiting, that I should just be writing!!!!!
At the moment I'm waiting for the postman - the highlight of my day. I think he has me tagged as a potential stalker type and has taken to paying random strangers to rush up to the front door and shove the mail through whilst he hides behind a tree.
Maybe my thoughts will strike a note of familiarity with some other struggling writers out there. If not I shall blog on in silence and accept the fact that my writing life is an unexciting anomaly.