Monday, 31 December 2012

100th Post - 100 Comments in 1 Day!

1319856 Unbelievable as it is to me, this is my 100th post for 100firstdrafts. 

I was going to review the last 6 months and discuss some of the exciting upcoming plans, projects, and things you can be part of.

However, in the middle of the night I realised that my Heifer International Fundraiser closes at the end of this year, so in basically a day (allowing for it to close for everyone, as Australia is ahead of a lot of the world).

I currently have 27 comments, which is fantastic, and allows me to give a share in a llama to a family.

However, I would really love to give a whole animal. Either a goat at $120 or if possible a whole llama at $150.

Therefore, I need 100 comments in 1 day. 

Do you think you are all up to challenge?

Can you ask random people at the New Years Eve party to just log in and type 'llama' or 'goat' on the comments page?

How well does this social networking thing really work? Enough to feed a family?
So, go to the Heifer Post and let your comments count! Finish the year on a high note, knowing that while you were sipping champagne you were also helping a community in need.

I can think of no better way to spend my 100th post than asking you for 100 comments to buy a family an animal.

Also, I've put up a poll to find out what you are interested in reading about. I would love your feedback and it only takes two clicks to fill in. I want to keep 100firstdrafts as relevant and useful as possible, so your input is always welcome.  If you ever have any ideas, questions or comments that you don't want to put on the main page, feel free to email me at

Quick sneak preview for next year:

- Round of Words in 80 days is coming!
- Early Australian migrant manuscripts uncovered.
- New giveaways and new types of contests.
- Guest posts from around the world.

Preview of next post: review of 2012 and plans for 2013. Stay tuned.

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Better Than Setting Goals

File:New-Year Resolutions list.jpg 
By Photos public [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

It is the end of 2012, just a few more days until the beginning of 2013. So if you haven't already started thinking about goals, resolutions, how to be better next year, now is the time to do it.

Anyone who has read even a small number of personal development and motivational books will know how important it is to physically write (or type) your goals out, and have them displayed somewhere you will see them throughout the coming year (until you are so ridden with guilt that you tear them down...). 

The books then go on to give you useful tips such as using the acronym SMART.

For example, my goal might be:

Specific - By Dec 31st 2013 I will have written another 20 drafts of novels. 

Measurable - On NYE 2013, can I see 20 drafts on my computer? Yes. In June 2013 will I be able to know how I'm going? Yes, either I have 10+ drafts and am on track, or less than 10 and I'm behind. So all good. 

Attainable - Okay, so based on this year, in 5 months I worked on 8 or so different drafts, but only 2 of them were completely finished, and only another 3 or 4 were close. So, it is going to be difficult, but I also know a lot more now about writing, so is possibly attainable...with a stretch. 

Realistic - Very possibly not, to be honest. I'm spending more time on my blogs, trying to build these up, provide you with more good quality content (and a few other secret things that will come out soon), as well as hopefully spending more time dealing with literary agents and publishers, getting articles and some short stories written and published, and you never know, 2013 might be the year I find a nice, suitable, tall, dark and handsome hero for my own little story. However, in this case I'm not going to let that worry me. You, on the other hand, should try to be realistic. 

Timely - Does it have a specific time frame? Yes, I'm trying to do one draft every 2 weeks. As most people work best to deadlines, focusing on one every two weeks is more likely to be effective than 20 by the end of the year. It stops me from foolishly convincing myself that I can slack for the first half of the year and then try to catch up. 

So, that is the method you will hear in a lot of places. And it is a good method, if you already have quite specific goals that are very important for you to meet. 

However, if you don't have such a specific goal in mind, here are my suggestions for creating a positive outlook on the coming year with opportunities to achieve which will make you feel good, but not make you feel too bad if you don't do them.

1. Focus on personal development and the underlying desire  of your goals.

The reason I'm doing this entire challenge is not to have 100 drafts per se, as that is just silly if I don't do anything with them, or don't learn anything along the way. 

The actual desire behind this challenge is that I want to become a much better, faster, more prolific and satisfied writer. Writing 100 drafts will help me a lot in this, but by focusing just on that, I could miss greater opportunities to reach my real desire. 

To be a prolific and good writer, I need to write a lot, yes. I also need to read a lot. I need to identify weaknesses and improve them, I need to nurture my creative spirit, I need to communicate and laugh with other people going through the same thing, etc. 

If I give up going to a writing conference in order to stay home and write, have I actually gotten closer to my goal of being a long-term writer? 

So, look at your desire and mind map how you can achieve it. And challenge yourself to work across different areas. 

2. Give yourself a 2013 bucket list. 

With one or two huge goals/desires such as mine, it is easy to forget about everything else in life. But adding in more goals, trying to split your focus and be a famous writer, chef, personal trainer, and belly dancer might all be a bit too much. 

So, to ensure that I still do a broad range of things that excite and challenge me, but don't distract too much from my major goals, last year I created a bucket list. It had 80 items, divided into 8 categories that ranged through 'creative', 'fitness', 'domestic' etc. 

Examples of some of my items included:
- learn to cook sushi.
- complete 10km in (under) an hour. (it was originally 'under', but as I only managed 1:00.23, I crossed out the 'under' and it was all good!). 
- eat at a Korean BBQ.
- join a writer's group.

And every week I would look at my list, pick a few things that I would see if I could cross off, and actually looked forward to doing it!

Now, at the end of the year, I have to openly admit that I have not completed the list, I adapted quite a few, and even then am probably only halfway through, because things change. But I still did 40+ new things that I would otherwise never have done! And had a great sense of achievement throughout the year as I ticked things off. And some of the left over things will just be moved across to this year's bucket list. Simples. 

So, feel free to make goals, but think about the actual desire behind the goal and whether your goal is the only or best way to achieve it. And just for a life of adventure and fun, make a 2013 bucket list. Go on, I dare ya.

Finally, just to put myself on the line, I'm going to open up my 2013 bucket list to your suggestions. 
Comment below things that you want to do in 2013 and if I'm game enough, I'll join you. Or you can openly admit you aren't game to do it, but would love to see if I would. I'm just insane enough I might take it on.

Thursday, 27 December 2012

And The Winner of The Goal Journal Is...


Christmas has finally ended all over the world, and so the competition for the Kikki-K Goal Journal has also closed its doors. 

A big thank you to everyone who signed up to be a follower, and if you like the blog, please don't think you can't join up now! There will always be special deals and giveaways for my followers.

Using a highly scientific method, I went to a random number generator, putting in my minimum as 1 and maximum as 38 (just in case 37 wouldn't be included otherwise) and let it give me the winner.
And the winner is...

Really feel I should have an adsense advert right here, but I don't, so just sing a little jingle to yourself as a note from the sponsors.

The winner is: Number 2!

Okay, so that doesn't mean much to you, but I then looked at my pre-opened list of followers, and the person listed second was:


And to be completely honest, the only thing I know about Ral is his handle, his photo and:
About me
Consultant, Author, Publisher
But from that he sounds pretty cool. Oh, also, he likes my blog, which in itself is a great recommendation.
So Ral, if you can email me your home address, I will get the journal sent right out to you.
(email at b.greentr (at) gmail (dot) com). If you also want to comment and tell us a bit about yourself, that would be great too.
Thanks again to everyone, and even thought you didn't get the goal journal, you can still write out your goals in a blank journal to much the same effect. 

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Merry Christmas!

Floral Christmas Tree 1

I just wanted to wish you all a Merry Christmas.

Thank you to everyone who has become a follower, and also to everyone who has commented for Heifer International. My fundraiser will continue until New Years Eve, so it's not too late to make your comments count.

I will work out the winner of the Journal after Christmas has finished in America, just to make sure no one misses out.

Then, the time between Christmas and New Years is generally a period of reflection where I think and plan out for next year. Already I have a number of exciting projects lined up which I will tell you more about soon.

Stay safe and loving this holidays.


(sorry, I thought I had posted this yesterday, but it must not have published). 

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Heifer International: Keep Commenting to Support a Family!

I just wanted to start by thanking everyone who has commented so far. I have a much higher reserve, so feel free to keep commenting!

Just to encourage you all, I thought I would highlight some of the goals we could aim towards.

Here are my choices, based on how many of you comment on my previous post:

Flock of Ducks
If I raise $20 I can get a flock of ducks. Useful, and so cute.

For $10 I can get a share in a goat, or for $120 a whole goat. Who doesn't want a whole goat?

Llama Face!
How cute is he? I can get a share in a llama for $20 or a full llama for $150. (Keep commenting!
Honey, Honey.
Donate honeybees for a charitable gift idea 
For $30 I can sponsor a beehive and give a village honey and help pollinate the veggies. Not so cute, but pretty sweet. (ha, that's worthy of my dad!)

So, the more comments, the more cute and possibly fluffy animals a needy family gets, so get commenting!

Friday, 21 December 2012

A Big Thank You!

Thank you

In just two days I've gone from 3 followers to 29 and counting (still a few more days to sign up if you want to be in the running for the Goal Journal)!

I am just overwhelmed by people's readiness to respond, and really appreciate the support. So want to send a big Thank You out into the Universe and Cloud for all of you. 

Further, don't feel this is just a one-sided relationship: let me know if you have your own blogs, or would be interested in doing a guest post or just want to put in your opinion on something discussed. 

As I want to make this blog as useful and practical as possible to anyone and everyone who reads it, I am always open to suggestions. 

What do you want to know about writing? 

I might not know the answer but probably want to, so will be more than happy to use my expert research skills to find out and report back. 

I would love to start a q&a post every few weeks and maybe even rope some more experienced writers in to answer. 

This blog will always be developing and growing as I find out more things that work for people. So leave a comment or send me an email at, even if it's just a suggestion for a better font. 

In the next few posts up until the new year I'm going to start a series on goal setting and preparing for a year of writing, don't miss it!


Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Christmas Giveaway!

Goals Journal
It is almost Christmas. Yah. Time to start thinking about the end of this year and the start of the next.
So, to encourage you to do this, I'm giving away a copy of Kikki.K's goal journal.

Goals Journal

Goals Journal

All you need to do is be one of my followers (right had sidebar below the official count) before the new year and I will randomly select a winner from the list of smiling faces. 

If you have any problems, just let me know and I will get my super tech team (me and google, with a phone a friend option to my brother) to sort it out for you.   

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Is It Just Me, Or Are Some Men Weird?

So, my dating life continues, with much more speed and quick succession of men than the previous… well, we’ll just say for a long time. (Now wondering if that is me not being honest? Oh well, live with it, you don’t get to write a draft of a novel every two weeks if you have an active dating life).
I don’t know if I’m just being selfish, maybe I am, but here are some key points for any future men to learn about me (and probably most women) on the first few dates:
-          If you don’t compliment me on how I look when we first meet, me sad.
-          If we can go through the entire date without you making me feel special once, you fail.
-          If I can sit back and consciously think ‘will he notice if I stop replying’ and 20 minutes later you’re still talking, you bad.
-          If we have never met and you ask me to shave your chest, you weird.
-          If you leave me waiting on a street corner for 25 minutes, and don’t say sorry, not happy.
-          If you send me youtube clips with no message, and it starts off with someone choking on their own vomit, I won’t watch the rest to see if there is some sweet message in there, you blocked.
-          If you only talk about how other girls have hurt you, you has baggage.
Pity I can’t just date one of my main characters. Some of them are pretty awesome, if I do say so myself.
Tonight am off to play a game of pool as a first date. It is, at least, something different. If you never hear from me again, have been murdered and my kidneys sold on the black market.

P.S. Anyone got anything to add to the list? Or advice on things women do which kill a date?

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Integrity in Writing... And Internet Dating: Part 2


The first question was: should I blog about men I meet when they are trying to share themselves privately with me and I’m looking at them for what I can make public?

What about if they know that I'm a writer? Isn't that like a get out of jail free pass?

Sadly, no.

From thinking about my rights as a writer, this led me to my obligations.

When I sat down to write the initial post about internet dating I realised I was immensely uncomfortable at first even just admitting that I had signed up for internet dating. Oh yes, it’s all okay these days, everyone is doing it, it’s a great way to meet friends. But I know, and you suspect, that the real reason is because I’m desperate. I have despaired of actually meeting someone in my everyday life. I have realised that the world I have created for myself is too small, and I need some way to break out.
And if you realise that, then you must realise other things. Obviously there must be men in my world. I don’t live in a convent (though it has sometimes appealed). I go to work, to the gym, to writer’s conferences (though to be fair to myself, those are generally populated by women) to church, and the list goes on. What about all those men?
In signing up for internet dating, I’m also saying silently to the world ‘yes, all the men that actually met me reject me.’ And that is harsh. Also possibly a bit self-pitying as some of the men I’ve probably rejected first, but work with me here. 
But why was it so hard to say? I’m a writer, I lay my life bare for my art, every novel has a little bit of me in it, every character has emotions I have felt. So why is this different?
Because I can’t hide behind the fiction. I might be able to hide behind some amusing quips and self-deprecation, but as a writer, do we have obligations to speak the emotions no one else is game to say? Not just the sex, the swearing, the being confronting to challenge people’s views. That, that is easy. I’m talking about the laying yourself on the table and saying ‘looking at my private parts, compare, see that you are not that strange, it’s just that no one has shown you this before.’ But instead of talking about the physical body, I am talking about the private parts of my soul and ego. The little wounds and gaping holes, the bit that thinks everyone else has it worked out and it's just me alone in here.
Of course I could do this with an arrogant swagger, and pretend that I didn’t care, that being so on display was fine because I loved my private parts just the way they are. But is that really helpful? Helpful to someone who feels they are strange and weird,  to say to them 'you can look but if you feel uncomfortable about it, there must be something else wrong with you'?
Being a writer is harder than I thought. Not just the writing, obviously, but the obligation to be honest, to admit pain hurts and laughter is not always enough.
So I’ve joined internet dating, and I’m a whimp. I’ve met some men who have been funny and sweet. I’ve tried to be entertaining, because when I am with them, I’m a woman and have no obligation. But when I come back to my computer, when I am with all of you, I’m a writer, and here I admit… I’m scared.

Friday, 14 December 2012

The Continuing Agent Search

Blue Website Buttons 3

As promised, I have not been (completely) idle this December.
Okay, well maybe up until yesterday I had been sort of idle, but I'm trying to make up for it.
First step: I got my best friend/literary manager to go through my query letter with me and point out all the embarrassing bits. Was much better after that. (Did that on the weekend actually, so usefulness extends further back than I thought).
Second step: read through the website Writer's Digest which has really useful information on getting an agent (and other stuff, but I'm being focused!). Particularly they have a lot of interviews with agents who go through what they want, what they don't want, etc. This is great for personalising queries.
Third step: opened up every link to an agency that I thought I might fit well with.
Fourth step: still took the time to read their submission guidelines. Sadly some no longer took Young Adults works, and others didn't want international authors, etc. :(
Fifth step: I used my new and improved query letter, matched with my personalised information on the agents I wanted to contact, mixed in their specific requirements (no manuscript, 5 pages of manuscript, 10 pages, first chapter, first three chapters... etc.) and sent off 5 new agent queries.
Note on simultaneous submissions: (which is different, I have found out, from multiple submissions, which means presenting one agent with two or three different ideas). Simultaneous submissions is where you send your manuscript to multiple different agents or publishers so they are all looking at them at the same time. A lot of agents and publishers really dislike this.
However, from discussions with Rochelle Manners at Even Before Publishing, and the suggestions on many agent websites, it is generally acceptable to query multiple people, but only send the actual manuscript to one at a time. If two or three get back to you, you politely reply thanking them for their interest, and say that the manuscript is currently with an agent, but when they are finished, you will be sure to send it on. (or something like that).
Over night I received three responses! (okay, you can probably guess from that that they weren't great news, but it wasn't all bad).
One was an auto reply saying they were not taking submissions over Christmas so to resend after that. Ok, can do.
One was to thank me, but they do not take international authors or young adults (I knew I was pushing my luck there.)
One replied that she thought it sounded interesting (win!) but she already had a sort of similar young adults she was trying to push so didn't want to take on another one, but another agent might like it. Yah!
So obviously not a total win, but definitely my query must be better because people are taking the time to reply.
One of the last two remaining is one of the ones I think I'm a really good match to and would really like to take me. But will have to wait and see.
Only 10 days until Christmas, and one never knows, Santa might give me an agent for being good :D
In the meantime, will keep working away.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Integrity in Writing and Online Dating: Part 1

On Saturday night I joined up to an internet dating site. I’ve decided there is no use denying it, might as well embrace it and pretend it is all a bit of a good joke and that I don’t care about any possible rejection or laying myself so bare to unknown people. So, on I went. 

In my light hearted mood, I confessed my adventure to some of my work colleagues, thinking it might liven up the discussion and maybe even make me feel more normal about my decision.

One of my friends at work then suggested that naturally I should blog about the experience. I’m a writer, I write about experiences in life, and this is a life experience.


Not so simples I came to find. 

My thinking on this has actually led to a two part blog post. I was trying to write it all in one, but it got confused, and I was going around in circles, and I couldn’t work out what I wanted to say. I finally worked out that I had gotten myself into a never ending loop between my personal desire to deflect unwanted attention and deep scrutiny and my conscience’s subtle probing that protecting myself by putting the attention on others was maybe not the ‘right thing to do’.

So, I’m sorry Jasmine, this is not exactly a post about my amazing adventures in Internet Dating World. It is first a discussion on our rights as writers, and then in a separate post, our obligations.

I am a writer. Want to be, emerging, whatever… I have the heart and soul of a writer. I look at the world differently, I listen to how things could be described in sentences, I notice characteristics, tics that give away deeper personal natures. I am an observer. 

But does that mean I have the right to write about anything that happens to me or that I perceive? Are there times when we are meant to be just people, are being conversed with or enter into some sacred rite with someone, invited as another participant, and are expected to lay down our pen and paper and just experience?  Or is everything free game?

Let us take, for example, John (not his real name). We sent a few messages, and then spoke on the phone and finally met in person for coffee and cake. During this time he released little bits of information, little snippets of his past but also of his self-perception, his previous hurts, and also little glimpses of his hopes and desires.  They were pushed forward across the table, one by one, to see how I would react to them, to see how much I could accept, and where he should stop and hide the rest.
These morsels gave me hints to histories, to emotions and wounds that I have not experienced. As a writer I wanted to gobble them up, take them from him, scoop them into my arms like a pirate finding treasure, and look over each one, analyse it, hold it up to the light to see how it glittered, and see which ones might be useful to me.
But as a woman, I was terrified. I wanted him to stop, to push them all back at him and say 'keep them'. If you show me yours, you might want me to show you mine.  And I’m not going to.  A this stage, I’m not going to test the waters with how he will react. I’m going to be perfect, witty and brilliant, and then once he’s completely smitten, will decide whether to share or not, whether or not to put my own heart on the line.
But what about him? Is he expecting the woman but seeing the glee of the writer, and thinking the woman approves? 
But he is saying it, he's putting it out there, surely I must be allowed to take it, use it. I'm a writer, the world is my oyster.

I might not tell you John’s exact stories, or even his real name. But even if I just take his reaction, the emotions provoked, and translated them, is that still using him? 
I think what I'm trying to say here is whether there's a time when as a writer you should move from saying 'can I capture this person's emotions?' to 'this person has shared this with me, do I have the right to capture it?' 
As writers, if we take from the world, but refuse to give back, are we being unfaithful? 
Even if we create great art? 
When are people people, and not objects to be observed?
In the next blog I will look at me the person versus me the writer, but for now, what I want to ask is:
Should I blog about the men I meet?

Monday, 3 December 2012

December Plans

Welcome to December!

Okay, well, that was what December was like when my little sister visited me in the UK. Not quite what it is like here in Australia right now. 

It's more like:

Awesome, no? 

(And despite any photographic evidence to the contrary, I'm not just about flick water at my littler sister. I'm innocent, I tell you, innocent!) 
NaNoWriMo is over for another year, well 11 months, and Christmas and the end of the year are under a month away. 

Now is a great time to start thinking about your writing goals and path for next year. 

Don't wait until New Year's Eve, you'll be drunk then and either forget or think that you will be able to hack out 20 drafts in one year (sadly I wasn't drunk, I'm just insane).

So, because of this great piece of wisdom, and the fact I'm working overtime at my day job for the rest of the month, I've decided to put the Challenge on hold for a month. 

In case you are wondering of course I'm allowed to do that, it's my challenge and I want to get the most out of it, which means not burning myself out and also taking time to reorganise as necessary.

But I'm not giving up writing for the month.

Instead, I'm planning to work quite a bit on this and my fitness blog, which you might have noticed already have had some funky rearranging happening. I'm also going to put concerted effort into actually getting Sally Hunt out there. I'm going to keep working on my query letter and proposal, as well as researching agents and becoming so obnoxious that someone finally takes the book just to shut me up, yah! 

Along with that, if I get a chance, I want to try and finish off 'After the Winter', my NaNoWriMo novel, which reached the 50,000 word limit, but wasn't actually completed. 

Am really looking forward to actually getting time to focus and think. I also need to come up with some ideas for drafts for next year! 

Any ideas, anyone? (though, if you tell me, I might steal them, just letting you know).