Monday, 29 October 2012

NaNoWriMo Is Almost Here!

30 Days and 30 Nights of Literary Abandonment!

How can you go past an intro like that?

Yes, it's that time of the year again: National Novel Writing Month.

From Nov 1st - 30th, people all over the world will be together in their madness as they try and write a novel in a month.

Here is the gist of it from their webpage for those who haven't heard of it before:

How NaNoWriMo Works

1) Sign up for the event by clicking the “Start Here” button at

2) Follow the instructions on the following screen to create an account.

2.5) Check your email for the account validation email and click on the link included.

3) Log into your account, where you’ll be prompted to finish the sign-up process.

4) Start filling out information about yourself and your novel in My NaNoWriMo.

5) Begin procrastinating by reading through all the great advice and funny stories in the forums. Post some stories and questions of your own. Get excited. Get nervous. Try to rope someone else into doing this with you. Eat lots of chocolate and stockpile noveling rewards.

6) On November 1, begin writing your novel. Your goal is to write a 50,000-word novel by midnight, local time, on November 30th. You write on your own computer, using whatever software you prefer.

7) This is not as scary as it sounds.

8) Starting November 1, you can update your word count in that box at the top of the site, and post excerpts of your work for others to read. Watch your word-count accumulate and story take shape. Feel a little giddy.

9) Write with other NaNoWriMo participants in your area. Write by yourself. Write. Write. Write.

9.25) If you write 50,000 words of fiction by midnight, local time, November 30th, you can upload your novel for official verification, and be added to our hallowed Winner’s Page and receive a handsome winner’s certificate and web badge. We’ll post step-by-step instructions on how to scramble and upload your novel starting in mid-November.

9.3333) Reward yourself copiously for embarking on this outrageously creative adventure.

10) Win or lose, you rock for even trying.

That’s all there is to it! Occasionally, participants write in to ask about the rules of the event. We don’t have many! But because we’ve found that creativity is often heightened by constraints (and communities bolstered by shared goals) we have evolved a handful of rules over the years. The rules state that, to be an official NaNoWriMo winner, you must…
  • Write a 50,000-word (or longer!) novel, between November 1 and November 30.
  • Start from scratch. None of your own previously written prose can be included in your NaNoWriMo draft (though outlines, character sketches, and research are all fine, as are citations from other people’s works).
  • Write a novel. We define a novel as a lengthy work of fiction. If you consider the book you’re writing a novel, we consider it a novel too!
  • Be the sole author of your novel. Apart from those citations mentioned two bullet-points up.
  • Write more than one word repeated 50,000 times.
  • Upload your novel for word-count validation to our site between November 25 and November 30.

So I'm going to put the horror story on hold for a bit, and find a new idea and start from scratch. I'm going to give myself the full month to work on it, and hope to have it in its second draft stage and maybe ready to be edited and sent out into the big bad world by the end of Novemeber. (It will probably be a self-published for fun piece, but I'm happy with that.)

At the moment I'm thinking trying the historical romance genre again. I know I can write it, I've done it in the past, I just need more time to get myself into the mood of it all. So, that's my plan.

Anyone else excited about it?

Since you are reading my blog, I'm assuming you are interested in writing first drafts.

As I've proven, the two week draft can be done but it is really, really difficult and I haven't been able to replicate the results since my first two drafts were completed.

However, I think a month is a nice amount of time.

So, if you have thought about jump in and giving this whole first drafting super quickly thing a go, NOW is the time my friends.

And I'm here to support! Tell us about yourself, what you want to write, and keep us updated on your word count.

I will be running competitions throughout the month to support those who have signed up, so sign up now if you want to be included!

Sign up.

Sign up.

Yes, right now.

You know you want to.

Sign up..........

Friday, 26 October 2012

Treat Your Ideas Like Cats

Once again I'm referring to Ray Bradbury's 'Zen in the Art of Writing', but this image is just too good to be locked away in a book when it can be free in cyberspace.

Okay, alright, it probably is already anyway, but I'm bringing it to you, my little audience of writers and readers, because it is gorgeous.

p. 134:

"As soon as things get difficult, I walk away. That's the great secret of creativity. You treat ideas like cats: you make them follow you. If you try to approach a cat and pick it up, hell, it won't let you do it. 

You've got to say, 'Well, to hell with you.' And the cat says 'Wait a minute. He's not behaving the way most humans do.' Then the cat follows you out of curiosity: 'Well, what's wrong with you that you don't love me?' 

Well, that's what an idea is. See? You just say, 'Well, hell, I don't need depression. I don't need worry. I don't need to push.' Then idea will follow me. When they're off-guard, and ready to be born, I'll turn around and grab them."

As my parents have a very... haughty? ... aloof?... self-centred, egotistical and with a divinity complex?... cat, this image works very well for me. Though I'm not sure if I can really convince my ideas I don't need them, as they know too well that I am totally at a loss without them. Oh well, I can't convince the cat either.

Good writing over the weekend, little cat chasers.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Advice on Writing Supernatural Suspense

The new draft I'm working on is a step away from what I've been doing for the past few months. I'm trying to write a supernatural suspense/horror, as scary as I can make it, but with a good ending. 
I started Sunday and since then have learned a number of thing about writing and the genre which I feel are worth sharing. 

The first thing is never start a Stephen King after 5pm at night. No matter what you do, the writing will suck you in and by the time you absolutely have to go to sleep, you will be in the middle of the scary bit. I started Pet Sematary at 6pm, got to the first major scary bit right before needing to go to bed last night, spent most of my day off today curled up reading, wept my eyes out in the middle sad bit, then had to go to the gym and then dinner.  I now have the dilemma: am reasonably near the end, so possibly could finish it tonight, but will be coming into the super scary bit. But I might not get a chance to read it tomorrow morning, and then I will be faced with the same problem tomorrow night! These are serious problems, people.

I do hope, though, that someone might face the same dilemma with my book, because it is a good problem to have. 

Another thing, more based on writing, came from doing some research into how horror stories usually start. I haven't read all that much, because I scare easily and have an overactive imagination. So the question came up: is it better to start with something creepy, or have it all seem perfectly normal and slowly show the cracks through which the horrors arise?
So, to do some research I pulled up the beginning of Stephen King's 'Carrie' (first full novel he wrote) and 'The Slab' by Michael R. Collings (I had heard an interview with him on Writing Excuses and it sounded interesting and related to what I wanted to write).

Let me just copy out the first pages of both for you to compare:

First, from 'The Slab'

Chapter One
The House Alone,
29 October 1991
A Time of Reckoning
It was a day made for death.
Brittle shards from the slanting October sunset stabbed at the quiet street. Brassy gold stained shabby lawns a murky, coppery brown. The dying light fingered naked limbs of rain-blackened elms and fruitless mulberries and peaches and skeletal jacarandas. It rested heavily on the dropping branches of the occasional valley oaks that had survived construction of the subdivision two years earlier. It tinted vibrant stucco walls not yet faded to earth-mud brown by interminable summers of suns, not yet hidden behind luxuriant passion vines or junipers or the creeping jasmine so popular in this part of Southern California.
In the odd, quirky light, the Charter Oaks subdivision became an enigma of striated shadows, dead black pinioned against muted October color in the late evening of a day that had been more cloud-ridden than otherwise.
Ace McCall squinted. The sun sliced through a bank of clouds low over the horizon, as if day were pleading for one last change at life before giving up and dying painfully into night. Blinking and cursing under his breath, McCall slapped the sun visor down.

And now Stephen King:

Part One: Blood Sport
News Item from the Westover (Me.) weekly Enterprise, August 19, 1966:
Rain of Stones Reported
It was reliably reported by several persons that a rain of stones fell from a clear blue sky on Carlin Street in the town of Chamberlain on August 17th. The stones fell principally on the home of Mrs. Margaret White, damaging the roof extensively and ruining two gutters and a downspout valued at approximately $25. Mrs. White, a widow, lives with her three-year-old daughter, Carietta.
Mrs. White could not be reached for comment.

Nobody was really surprised when it happened, not really, not at the subconscious level where savage things grow. On the surface, all the girls in the shower room were shocked, thrilled, ashamed, or simply glad that the White bitch had taken it in the mouth again. Some of them might also have claimed surprise, but of course their claim was untrue. Carrie had been going to school with some of them since the first grade, and this had been building since that time, building slowly and immutably, in accordance with all the laws that govern human nature, building with all the steadiness of a chain reaction approaching critical mass.
What none of them knew, of course, was that Carrie White was telekinetic. 

Okay, which one actually gave you any desire to read on? 
Now I don't want to bash other authors, but looking at it purely as a piece of writing, if one of my students had given me Mr. Collings beginning, I would have taken a big fat red pen to it and possibly just cut the first few paragraphs all together or at least taken out most of the useless description. It was way too much. Did it make a fundamental difference to the story how the light hit the grass? Is there a reason we should care?
So, I took away from that exercise that beginnings are much better being short and sharp. The newspaper article doesn't make an awful lot of sense, but there is the definite feeling that it will, which makes it all okay. King also demonstrates the two key aspects of his story (which I haven't actually read yet, as the library didn't have a copy, so will have to find one) - the darkness in human nature, and what happens when that is met with telekinetic power. If the story had just been about one or the other, it wouldn't have been so interesting. Perhaps one element could have been introduced here and the other later, but I think it worked well as a hook to bring in both. 
Entranced with King's writing, I then went and got Pet Sematary yesterday afternoon from the library and have been enjoying greatly the story so far. Further, it has caused me to look at and totally refocus the story I'm working on.
The largest lesson I learned from it about writing horror is that it is not necessarily the supernatural element of the story which makes it scary. The scary part is how human nature deals and accommodates the supernatural. 
My story had focused around my main characters and a house (not haunted, more possessed which calls the eldest female of the family every generation to come and waste her life away watching out into the woods). But I've realised it would be a much more interesting story if I have my main characters, the possessed house, and the town that has been feeding and protecting it all these years, and how they justify their actions.  The small town where most know, or should know, that there is a woman trapped in the house, but that covers it up, and protects the house for some perceived good (I'm still working on this, but it is through the woman's sacrifice to the house that the rest of the town flourishes somehow). It will, of course, only work with pretty good writing, and I might not yet be up to that level, but I'll work out a draft and then see if it works enough that some day I might be able to make it into something. 

So those are my lessons so far:
- be careful when you read good horror, because you won't want to put it down and you will be too scared to sleep.
- don't over flourish beginnings (in any writing, not just horror), and don't be afraid to lay it out on the line: this is the situation, now follow me to find out how it works out.
- The human aspect is as important if not more important than the supernatural aspect. 

If anyone has any tips for me on writing this genre, feel free to let me know, I'm open to advice!


Monday, 22 October 2012

Ray Bradbury's Word Association Process

I've been reading Ray Bradbury's 'Zen in the Art of Writing', which is actually a collection of short essays on writing. 

First of all, let me just say how useful a collection of essays is for motivation. I've been keeping it beside my bed and on the mornings when I can't force myself straight up and to my writing chair, I roll over and grab this instead. I can read one complete essay without cutting too much into my writing time, and be inspired. 

Which leads me to my second point: there is so much I want to steal from this book to share with you, so if you end up getting a few posts, please don't blame me. If you read the book you will understand why. 

I think the first thing I should share is to say that Ray Bradbury is what most writers aspire to be (well, other than the fact he's rich and famous) and something I definitely feel I'm not: he's a writing enthusiast. He bursts with writing.  He describes it as an explosion every morning. How awesome would that be? 

The question then rises: if I follow his process, might I have the same experience? 

Well, I will leave that to all of you to test out and get back to us with.

In the essay titled 'Just This Side of Byzantium: Dandelion Wine' he gives an image of how his writing changed, and a description of how that came about. 

Please excuse me for the long quote, but I really don't think I could say it better.

p. 79.

'Dandelion Wine, like most of my books and stories, was a surprise. I began to learn the nature of such surprises, thank God, when I was fairly young as a writer.' [keep in mind he decided to become a writer at age 11, and wrote 1,000 words a day from then on.] 'Before that, like every beginner, I thought you could beat, pummel, and thrash an idea into existence. Under such treatment, of course, any decent idea folds up its paws, turns on its back, fixes its eyes on eternity, and dies.

It was with great relief, then, that in my early twenties I floundered into a word-association process in which I simply got out of bed each morning, walked to my desk, and put down any word or series of words that happened along in my head.
I would then take arms against the word, or for it, and bring on an assortment of characters to weigh the word and show me its meaning in my own life. An hour or two hours later, to my amazement, a new story would be finished and done. The surprise was total and lovely. I soon found that I would have to work this way for the rest of my life.'

He makes it sound so wonderful, so easy. And perhaps it is. 

If anyone wants to test out his word association process, I recommend reading a bit more about it, but please report back on how you find it. 

I am also interested to see how this applies to novels. Bradbury worked largely in short stories. Could the same be used repeatedly, day after day, to drive forward a novel?  Would it become disjointed or leave out the necessary low points where the reader can catch their breath? 

As to my own writing. I have left Wonderland and the realm of children's writing. It had lost its glamour for me. Instead I am working on a supernatural thriller. It would be horror, except I can't write that without frightening myself. Even now I play with images in my mind to see if they are too scary to put down. I am going slowly again, but better slow and steady than nothing at all. I did 3,000 yesterday and 3,500 today.

So let me know if any of you experiment with Word Association.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Life and Writing, Or Lack There Of.

Does anyone else ever feel like life is not very conducive to writing?

I understand that I have to have one, and that without one I wouldn't know what to write about, but all the same. 

This week has been busy, and stressful, and I've wanted to spend every spare moment sleeping (which I mostly have, so can't consider it all bad). 

Where does that leave my writing? Well, I did a bit Friday morning, and that was it for the entire week! Disgraceful I hear you say? I totally agree. Coming from someone who's constantly saying the importance of writing everyday, getting words out, just doing it whether you feel like it or not.
Regardless of my challenge, as someone who just wants to call themselves a writer, it is pitiful. 

I apologize to the world at large, and come tomorrow (which is actually today, because I'm writing this at 12.33am, having stayed up to work on my other blog because I've ignored that as well since the 15th, but now have a new entry beginning a series on using a rowing machine, in case you are interested).

I have almost finished Zen in the Art of Writing, but Ray Bradbury, and will be reporting on that soon, and also received my postage pack with all the fiction books I bought at the Christian writers conference I went to. I will work through them and review them for you over the next few weeks. I'm all for supporting Australian Christian writers, as it is such a small field. 

The Australian Fairytale, I've decided, is just not working for me. Though I thank everyone who gave me great suggestions on old wives tales. Maybe one day I will come back to the story with a fresh love for it.

I had another children's book in mind to work on next, but I think I'm going to put it aside and just try writing a supernatural horror (with a good ending, so don't know if that excludes it from the horror genre). Is it bad if I admit I don't read horror, because they usually don't have a good ending and give me nightmares, but I still want to try writing one? 

If I get all dark and moody and emo on you all, particularly if I try painting my nails black, just give me a slap and sit me down with a Georgette Heyer and a hot chocolate. That should solve the problem. 

Hope you are going better with your writing!

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Tips On How To Make Writing a Habit

You may have heard that it takes 3 weeks, or 8 weeks, or any number of weeks to form a new habit. Well, there is no strict formula for every action. How long it takes for the action to become so hardwired into your brain that you can start without expending any will power is affected by three factors:
1. How difficult the habit is.
2. How often you do it.
3. How much it clashes with your old habits.
Therefore, while making writing a habit has its difficulties there are steps you can take to make the process a whole lot easier. 
To start off, you want to make the new action as easy as possible. It is much easier to train yourself to write for 15 mins a day and then train yourself to go from 15mins a day to 30 mins a day, than it is to go straight to trying to write an hour a day. 
So play around and find the maximum amount of time you can write for wthat doesn’t scare the socks off you and make you want to hide under your blanket at the very thought. It may be even only five minutes to begin with. Just before going to sleep you will jot down all the ideas that have been going around in your head about your story. That’s okay, make that a habit. It’s much better than not even doing that. Then, once you have that down pat, you can try extending it.
Next, the more often you do it, the easier it is to form it as a habit. Research has found that in forming new habits the more faithful you are in performing the habit at the beginning, the easier it is for it to become automatic. (See BPS Research Digest: How to Form a Habit). Their advice is: try to do it every day, though missing one or two here and there won't hurt but don't let them add up. 
Add to this thought our previous discussion on becoming an expert writer:  you want to be knocking over hours and words so you build up your bank of practice. The more time you spend doing this, the faster you will become an expert!
Finally, are there ways to minimize how much it clashes with your old habits?
The first step is to look at your usually daily routine (your 'real' daily routine, not the one you hope you stick to) and find a place to slip it in where it won't be forcing you to give up too much just yet. Love your Deal or No Deal? Well then, put your writing time after that so you know you go straight from Deal to Writing, without feeling you've missed out. 
Or my favourite, add it in somewhere instead of something you don’t like doing. Hate cleaning your house? Pay someone to do it and for that hour or so, sit down and write (but you can only not clean the house if you are writing). Though always check this with partners first, as they get a bit touchy if you give up doing all the chores to work on your masterpiece when they have to pick up the slack.
Anyone else have good tips on how to make writing everyday a habit?

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Creative Places and Creative People - Why You Should Travel to Conferences

Hello all from sunny Brisbane!

I am coming to the end of the Word Writers Getaway. How was it, you ask?

Well, I'm exhausted but feel my mind just simmering with ideas. Give me a bit more sleep and some space to meditate, and I think it will bubble over.

I've attended talks on writing proposals (very useful for my current stage), and creating marketing plans (oh, what a bad job I'm doing of creating a 'brand' currently, but  I have plans my friends, plans) and creating an online presence (sort of feel I'm doing okay on that one, thanks to all of you... but will be working on it).

I also spent last evening in the 'editing room', and pulled out the first chapter of Sally Hunt, the much discussed and wonderfully commented on first Chapter.

Guess what they said?

Yup, they want it shorter.

So, I have written a shorter version and will do some more editing on it then see what you all think. (Yes, I will use any royalties to run competitions on my blog so you can all have a share... if you stick around :D).

Was all of it totally mind blowing and new? Did I feel each session I was getting my money's worth in information?

To be honest, no not really. The proposal stuff was not much beyond what I had gathered from a day of internet research, the marketing was good but I don't think gave me all the tools for what was actually discussed (admittedly the session got pushed around and was therefore cut into at either end), and the online presence just gave me a few ideas and didn't even have as much on blogging as I already know.

Was it still valuable?


First, the talks, while maybe not new information, brought me back to thinking about Sally Hunt and what I could do with the trilogy. It gave me time and impetus to link what I might have already known to my current work and understanding of S.H.

Second, I know everyone says it, but there is the networking. Not just finding people I can push my blog and books to, but other writers doing something similar or someone who might be able to help me with graphic design or who has been through what I'm heading towards and can tell me of great pity falls to avoid (one girl had a bad experience with a 'first time author' contract which meant she hasn't been paid in four years for her work).

Finally, there is just the joy of being able to focus on writing somewhere that's not my chair. I spent the late afternoon getting an icecream shake from Cold Rock (without chocolate, I will add) and then walking along the beaching thinking about pitching my book.

So much better than staring at my brick wall at home.

I just want to encourage you all to get out there and meet other people writing. For your sanity's sake, if nothing else.

Though am open to anyone who wants to argue conferences are money making schemes that waste time. Anyone?

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Away for the Weekend

For all of you in cold places: hah! I'm going up to Brisbane (which was a sunny 30 degrees Celsius yesterday) tomorrow.

I'm actually attending a Christian writers conference, which is super exciting - other writers, other Christians, hopefully just enough christian publishers that there is one gullible enough to take a look at my manuscript :D

It will be all good.

This follows the sad news that Karen Ball from Steve Laube literary agency was not interested in becoming my agent. Well, to be more honest, her assistants didn't even think it worth while her reading my manuscript. She herself might be very lovely and think my work is fantastic, but we will never know.

Though, at least I passed the query letter stage. Yes, I'm trying to stay focused on the positive.
Obviously my actual proposal could do with some work. Or I could just stop being Australian and become an American, that might help too.

But, rejection is all part of the game. Am going to get a nail and skewer all my rejection emails (after being printed off, not while still on the computer). It will be very cathartic I believe.

Basic purpose of this post was to let you know that I will finally be warm for the weekend, and that I won't be posting.

Also, just to let you know, I'm going to be cutting down to posting only 3-4 times a week, now that I'm also keeping up my fitness blog (which is fun, I have to admit).

Enjoy the weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Words, Words, Words: Why You Should Get Them Out

Stephen King used to say in interviews that he wrote everyday except Christmas and Easter. He reveals in ‘On Writing’ that this is a lie. He writes everyday, full stop. He aims for 2,000 words a day.
Dorothea Brande recommends writing 1,000 words a day.
Ray Bradbury in his book ‘Zen in the Art of Writing’ states that he has written 1,000 words a day since he was eleven.
But why? Should we all be doing this if we want to be writers? Is it the daily factor that’s important, or the word limit, or both? Can we write 2,000 words every second day and still get results?
From my research into motivational methods, development of talent, and sports training, I think there are three major aspects behind the commands to write everyday (I’m leaving myself some leeway in case I think of more later).  Hopefully spelling them out will help you to devise a writing program that will turn you into the best possible writer.
First, as pointed out by Writing Excuses Season 1 Episode 3: your first one million words are probably going to be crap. Only after that will you get better. So, might as well get them out of the way as soon as you can.
Second, if you want to become an expert at anything, studies across the fields show that it takes around 10,000 hours of good practice. That’s three hours a day for 10 years. It’s not just words, but amount of time actually practicing that pays off.
Finally, writing is like any exercise: one day off and you notice, two days off and your critics notice, three days off and even your fans notice. Your abilities to find the right word, express things just so, keep in the voice of the characters etc. start to fade much faster than we would like to think.
So, it seems that there is good evidence to support writers’ claims that you should write everyday and aim for a specific number of words that seems high to you.
And by writing a draft every two weeks, I’m hoping to speed up the process. I’ll have my first million words out in a year (not counting all the words I’ve done already, or the words I’m doing for blog posts, emails, work etc) and hopefully knock over my 10,000 hours in the five years while I’m at it. Just need to get myself more into the habit of writing everyday.
Next time I'll do a post on essential tips for forming a habit.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Australian Wives Tales - I Need Your Help!

Hello my readers.
If you look at the updated Synopses tab, you will see the new description for my current project:

Zoe should have listened to her mother, because then she would have known not to flaunt glittery things where magpies might see them.
That is not the only thing Zoe should have listened to.
When she is carried off by a giant magpie she finds herself in a land where all the old wives tales come true.
Can she remember enough to find her way home?

Sounds pretty good, huh?

Well, I need your help!

I'm trying to collect as many old wives tales, proverbs, oral history etc. about Australia as I can. Things such as magpies collect glittering objects, or to never walk in long grass. Things that you were told as a child, true or not true, that gave you an image of Australia.

If you think of any (or any good ones that aren't specifically Australian, but universal) please post them below.


General Update

Sorry for not posting, it wasn't entirely out of guilt!

Friday and Saturday I had wonderful writing days: 8,000 words Friday (along with going to work, going to the gym and meeting up with a friend for coffee) and Saturday I got 10,000 words done. I thought that if I could just take Sunday for working on the Secret Railway I might be able to complete it!

Of course, life doesn't work like that.

Ended up going out to spend time with my sister, came back in time for church, and by the time I got home was feeling really unwell. This is after spending the whole weekend sleeping, when not writing. 11 hours Friday night, 5 hours during the day Saturday, another 11 hours Saturday night. So guessed I was fighting a virus or something, so ended up going to be bed super early and getting 12 hours sleep. On the plus side, while I missed my morning writing session, I felt well enough to go to work. 

But it means that the Secret Railway is not finished. And I have an AGM to go to for my rowing club tonight. So don't know how far I can push into the next fortnight to get it done. Will see if I have any more time today to finish it off.

My next work has some similarities to the Secret Railway, in that it is aimed at children and set in fantastical Australia. I wanted to write something like Alice in Wonderland, but with an Australian feel and trying to highlight Australian virtues. Will see how that goes.  

Will do a more informative post soon. Have started Ray Bradbury's 'Zen In the Art of Writing' which has a lot of good stuff  in it. 

Thursday, 4 October 2012

The Secret Railway - Why Are You Doing This To Me?

Right, well, I now have two days until the end of this fortnight and I'm determined I'm going to get a full draft out.

So, fine, I'm writing a children's book and a full draft might not be all that long, but since I have just 15,000 words right now (I know, I know, what on earth have I been doing for two weeks? Aside from visitng family, studying for tutes, going to work, joining a new Bible study, starting a few fitness blog and fitness program, and generally procrastingating.) And those 15,000 are exactly the same story at the moment. They could be, I just have to find a way to join them.

Somehow, and it might have to involve an all nighter, I'm going to get a full first draft done. And I might have to include Sunday, just in case.

I just need to be tougher of myself. Yes, it wasn't coming out well at the beginning, but the last week I've been running and hiding from my writing. And there are times where you just have to treat it like an assignment for Uni. You need to get it done whether you feel like it or not. But luckily, you don't have to do any research, and as Alice in Wonderland shows, it doesn't even really have to make sense.

So, anyone of my fruends who were thinking of asking me to do something this week, I'm unavailable. Locking myself in my apartment, living off frozen meals and coffee, and getting it done.

There is nothing like a good deadline to get the creative juices flowing.

Will let you know how this goes. I'm encouraged by the fact that I very rarely got essays in late (there were two notable exceptions, but one doesn't count because I didn't realise it was late, I thought the submission date was another two weeks away. That was a bad night.)

Also encouraged by the weather forecast which is predicting cold and rainy, perfect for snuggling up and writing. (though, if it is predicted to be cold and raining, doesn't that guarantee it's going to be sunny and bright?)

Anyone got any advice for all nighting?

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Fake It Till You Make It

Richard Castle Writer Vest
Just in case you didn't know.
Have you actually ever told someone you are a writer? 
It seems presumptuous, and they always then ask 'yeah, what have you got published?'
I said writer, not author. Authors are published, writers can but don't really have to be, in my opinion.
And you asked me what I did. Well, what I spend most of my time doing is writing. 

It was earliest this year that I first dared to tell someone that 'well, I work in a field related to immigration to pay my bills, but I'm trying to make it as a writer.'
It was an amazing feeling. Now I tell it to everyone, everyone! (Even if they didn't ask!)

And I'm not the only one.
One of the guys from Writing Excuses (I think, might have been somewhere else I heard it) while writing their first book got a friend to mock up a cover for the book which also had 'by the best selling author...', and he printed off a large poster size copy and stuck it over his desk. He's now a multi-published author. 

Jimmy Carey (this might be more urban myth, but I heard it somewhere), supposedly wrote himself a cheque for a million dollars when he was starting out as a comedian and told himself in a year he would be able to cash it. Surprisingly, in a year, he could.

All the motivational speakers go on about positive reinforcement and visualisation, and actually appears to be something in it. Pretending you are a writer, developing the lifestyle and habits of a writer (no, not the drinking and drugs), telling yourself that you are already a published author with nothing to fear, seem to help motivate you to make your dreams come true.

I started off using techniques from 'the Winner's Bible', which is actually really quite a good book for practical exercises in motivation. I went through all the magazines I had and found images that spoke to me about what I wanted my life to be like. It didn't have to be realistic or explainable, it just had to have an emotional effect on me. Some are obvious, like the woman working with clay, but some are less concrete, like the images of water tumbling over rocks (that was my image for wanting to be refreshed and calm). I put these all into a plastic folder (and being me, I turned them into prayers, so each page starts: Lord, I pray for a life of creativity...  then the images) and started looking at them every morning.

But then I wanted something more specific to my book and me as a writer. I wanted my brother to mock up a cover of my first book for me (as I sadly do not yet have the mad skillz), but he wouldn't do it. So instead, I started a blog about being a writer, and I got free business cards made which state: Elizabeth (Buffy) Greentree - Writer. (I now have 250, and am handing them out to anyone I come across, and using them as book marks. I'm thinking of leaving them in all the library books I borrow so the next person who reads a book I like (so obviously has good tastes) will be direct to my blog.) 
On that note, Vista Print do free business cards, you just have to pay for the postage (which for me came to around $6). You could have them made up to say anything: Elizabeth (Buffy) Greentree - Contract Killer.

Anyway, I have some of my writing ones sitting on my desk in front of me right now (I'm at work, but on my lunch break, nothing dodgy!). And every time my job gets me down, I just look at them and smile. I'm working so that I can continue to write, and the more I write, the more true my little business cards become. 

So, that is my post today: if you have a dream, put it out there and don't be afraid.

Also, while looking for the Castle image, I came across this and loved it! Getting in early, I like it!
(Her mum actually runs a craft blog, Amelie and Atticus but I think she's fostering a healthy creative environment.)

So, I highly recommend that you do something outrageously self-promoting to show yourself that you too can be a writer, maybe even an author.

If you are brave enough, take a photo and email it to me and I'll post it.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Nathan Bransford's Publishing in GIF form.

I really have nothing to say tonight, so instead I thought I would send you over to Nathan Bransford's blog to my favourite post there. 

It will make you laugh, it will make you cry, it might make you give up.