365 days of writing

2 01 2010

As a writer, I do write virtually every day. But this year I’m attempting to write ‘creatively’ every day.

Yesterday (just to get the ball rolling) I wrote the script outline I’d been promising a friend for ages and sent it off. It’s for an episode of a children’s television series (I would have to kill you if I told you which one). So three pages outlining the plot counts for me. And you’d be surprised how challenging it can be to work out the plot details in that small amount of space – and how much of the plot you can work out.

So that’s one day down, 364 to go. Today I’m working on my entry for the One Book Many Brisbanes short story competition. It’s due in on Friday so it could well take up the next few days. This one’s a dystopian speculative fairytale. (Is that a legitimate category? If not, I’m claiming it as my own.)

I’m hoping a year of dedication to the more creative side of my work will lead to a whole heap of rewards this year.

And good luck to everyone, whatever your writing endeavours this year.


sliding sideways – into the ‘art of moi’

24 07 2009
Louise (Elle) and Sandra (Sash)

Louise (Elle) and Sandra (Sash)

We’re sliding in sideways… into another blog. It’s called the art of moi, and it came out of us finding it so hard to make time to write. And we started asking ourselves when we might get around to it – since we seem to be driving the emergency response vehicle in everyone else’s lives.

The art of moi is about putting yourself back in the picture. It sounds very unhealthy, but it’s not about turning into divas. If it was, we’d have a long way to go.

We always seem to be working on finding time for ourselves, and getting past the guilt trippin’, so we figured you might be doing the same thing. That’s where it came from – who know’s where it’s going. Come along for the ride.

Visit http://artofmoi.wordpress.com, or follow us on http://twitter.com/artofmoi.

Making procrastination an artform

6 07 2009

Why am I here? I shouldn’t be here. Not now. Not with two deadlines facing me – and both worth $$ to me. But instead of knuckling down, I’ve been caught up in administrivia all morning.

Yes, you have to do this stuff when you run a business (and a household), but it helps to actually earn money, rather than just let deadlines whoosh past.

Administrivia is just another word for procrastination. And I’ve made it an artform. Because it’s easier to fuddle around paying bills, and sorting emails, and stuff than it is to face the blank page. And hey, while I’m at it, I’ll put on a load of washing and clean the kitchen (gotta love the home office!).

I sometimes wonder why I write for a living, and for recreation. Clearly, I’m a sucker for punishment – or I just love playing with words.

So I’ve eliminated all my excuses so far. I’ve done the admin, done the washing, even paid for my ticket to the Byron Bay Writers Festival next month. Now…it’s almost midday. It must be time to face my copywriting jobs. Wish me luck!

elle x

Brewing the perfect novel

28 05 2009

The draft is finished. 763,000 cups of tea later… the draft is finally finished.

And it’s a good thing I procrastinated over so many cups of tea, because now is the moment when all that ‘brewing’ experience pays off. Now I get to sit and wait, while my manuscript brews and my mind clears. Ready to transform this thing into a final work.

The Fragrant Leafsays brewing is simple and straightforward. (If only it was!) They even outline some simple steps to show how simple brewing is.

1. Start with fresh, cold good-tasting water – I have fresh, crisp good-sounding words. I must be on the right track.

2. Preheat the teapot – Hey, this story is positively smoking. It’s got action, it’s got pace, and characters that leap from the page. (Okay, so sometimes they have arthritic knees and it’s not so graceful. It’s still hot.)

3. Measure the appropriate amount of dry leaves – Dry leaves? Ah, yes. Those moments where we allow the reader to come up for air, and take a break from it all. I’m sure I’ve got an appropriate amount of those. 

4. Select the right water temperature – Still treading water in the shallow end of the writers’ pool. Time to dive in the deep end I think. 

5. Steep for the proper length of time – The crux of the whole brewing thing. Normally I’d let it steep for a month, but who can wait that long these days? Besides, I’m on a time budget here and I’m not getting any younger either. I’m thinking a week. One week. Seven days. And it’s liberating not to think about my novel every spare second. And it kind of leaves me lost at the same time. What did I think about before I started writing this thing? 

Never mind. A week it is. I haven’t looked at it since Friday, so that means tomorrow my week is up. Oh no, that went so fast. I can feel the tension rising already. 


I think I’d better go make a cup of tea. 


Second draft in progress

20 05 2009

…but are you using the cut and paste keys a little too much? I’m bang smack in the middle of my (official) second draft, so I really related to screenwriter John Pace’s post at The Story Department.

He has some pretty wild ideas to avoid taking the lazy way out, or as he puts it: “…we need to muster the courage to kill our babies, not copy and paste them into another family.”

At an author’s lunch some years ago, author of Shantaram Gregory David Roberts told us he’d (and I’m factual-recall challenged, so I’ll have to be vague!) completely lost at least the first entire draft of his novel or had it taken by prison guards. By the time he wrote the second draft, he really knew his characters and his story! And the results speak for themselves.

An interesting concept. Okay, I’m not taping electrodes to anything or popping into the prison for some quiet writing time, but I do get the point! No cutting and pasting. Aaagh!

elle x

Turning up to the desk…

15 05 2009
Do what you love to do...

Do what you love to do...

I love writing… almost as much as I love kayaking (which is my latest ‘thing’).

But turning up to the desk to write is harder to do than loading the kayak on the car, driving to the river, unloading it, and getting it down to the river.

Admittedly, I have EB’s help with the kayak, but the point is – I actually make the time to kayak, but I don’t make the time to write.

The problem with turning up to the desk, to write my novel or anything creative that doesn’t pay the bills, is that I don’t feel like I have the right to do it.

Unlike kayaking, which is great exercise, total stress-relief, and QT with EB!

Back home, and planning to write, I come unstuck. The dishes and the washing are piling up. I’ve got paid work I need to get done. There are bills to pay, marketing to do, clients to call.

And then there’s facebook, twitter, blogs, emails, phonecalls, and just about anything that will (and does) distract me.

I’ve been putting some things into place recently that really work, like:

  • scheduling in my writing and exercise time at the beginning of every week – and working around those things
  • fooling the resistance, by only scheduling writing in for 1 hour at a time
  • treating my writing projects as ‘real’ projects, i.e. not everything has to have a dollar value or earn money (even in a recession)
  • Recognising that some things are as essential to our wellbeing as breathing is to our survival.

Then, this morning, I came across Dean Jackson’s 50-minute focus finder presentation. If you’ve got 50 minutes to spare (and let’s face it, if we eliminate all the distractions, we all have!), you’ll get so much out it. It gave me some new ideas, and backed up some ideas I’ve been putting into practice (don’t you love that?).

What do you do to fool ‘the resistance’ (the voices in your head that tell you everything else is more important, and nobody would be interested in what you write anyway!)? I’d love to hear…

elle x