Thursday, February 10, 2011

How To Be A Writer Part 2: Be Obsessed

So, now that you have your sacred writing space taken care of, the next thing you need to do is write. 

This is my favorite mug... (on the other side it has 'Romance writers make novel lovers').

The washing will wait, so will the tidying, and the cleaning, and the cooking.  I put writing first.  I have to put writing first or it will disappear entirely, and the damn book will never be finished.  Then I'm left feeling irritated, frustrated, overwhelmed and cranky.  I am a much nicer person when writing comes first, trust me.

I'm not saying that anyone needs to spend four, five, ten hours a day writing whilst their beautiful children turn into tv zombies and quietly (or not so quietly) starve to death.  But I give myself some time every day to write, and then get on with the chores.  That is being a writer.  Ten minutes of writing on a hellish, out of control day, is going to still makes me feel like I'm getting somewhere.  Not opening my manuscript, but having all the laundry neatly folded, does not move me closer to my goal. 

Being engaged with your writing is also something that'll keep you moving forward. So, if I'm early to pick up the kids, I spend that ten minutes focussing on my plot, plot problems and holes, having ideas, considering character.  I jot down notes, often on the back of old receipts which I then lose and spend fruitless time searching for only to find them three months later on the floor of the car. 

Its not just using down time either - when you are busy doing things that don't really engage your brain, get into the habit of thinking about your work.  I believe it was Agatha Christie who said she got her best ideas when she was doing the washing up.

This all might sound a touch obsessive, but seriously, to push through and get an 100,000 word manuscript written needs a touch of obsession.  I have calculated that to get 100,000 publishable words, I write in excess of 300,000 words (that also has a lot to do with my writing style, and other writers don't work that way).  When you have a busy life (and who doesn't) and conflicting priorities, you need to be very focused on what you want, and how you are going to get it.

You want to be a writer, then you write.


Wednesday, February 09, 2011

How To Be A Writer Part 1: Sacred Space

There is often talk in writerly places that  focus on inspiration and motivation, about creating a sacred space where you work. Here you can come and channel your muse, or muses, or get in the zone, or do whatever floats your boat. 

I often think these people do not have children, a family, or even a small cat.

Here is my current writing space...

If I have somewhere to sit and nobody to bother me then its sacred.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Melting, I'm melting... also underpants

FFS, about day 550 of 40+ temps.  So over it.  The garden is breaking my heart, what with the temperature and the high winds everything is burnt to a crisp. I'm watering as much as possible - but I think even if I had the sprinklers on 24/7 we'd still be losing stuff, the heat is so intense and the UV so high, that it's sunburning all the leaves.  All the cucumbers, zuchinni, my blueberry patch, lettuces and remaining strawberries are stuffed, even my lone pumpkin is badly sunburnt.  sigh.  I always hate gardening in summer.

As we've been pretty much housebound due to the heat I have been trying to use my time productively, mostly this has involved yelling at the kids, but inbetween I've been clearing out the pantry.  Illuminating experience that.  Let's just say that if there is a cinnamon stick shortage in the future then I've pretty much got the whole suburb covered. 

All this housewifely endeavor has not been with out its pitfalls, oh goodness no.  I emptied the detritus at the bottom of various draws into rubbish bags with holes in them no less than THREE times, hubs has given up putting the dustpan and brush away and now has them out on standby.  I also plunged one of the aforementioned drawers into the over full sink, causing an epic tidal wave that soaked my only pair of shorts - I took them off, as they keep falling down anyway, only to discover that...
1. My underpants were on inside out (again).
2. When I clench my buttocks it makes the tag at the back stick out, relax and it lays flat again.  (see, a silver lining - a new talent - should I add it to the Resume? Yes? No?)

Due to present cashflow issues I am considering using the expired goods for dinner tonight - draw the line at 2009 maybe? No, perhaps 2008?  Oh I kid.  But you can sieve weevils out of flour, right? right?


I appear to have missed welcoming the Chinese Year of the Rabbit - though oddly, had a random Chinese food craving on what turned out to be Chinese new year - spooky eh? 
So welcome, year of the wabbit, I hope you don't turn into the year of Mr Wabbit - for OS readers this is a vastly witty pun on the name of our opposition leader Mr Abbott, who likes to parade around in budgie smugglers and use natural disasters and the misery of ordinary people to further his own agenda and display his vast insensitivity and self-absorption, erm anyway, skip that part, just look at the cute picture below...

or Xin Nian Kuai Le
or Happy New Year

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Abiding by my fine principles as usual...

I was going to post a Real Food flowchart up here today, but then I started to get dinner ready for my children. Oh and its drinkies time...
Ah yes. This is how far I have fallen. THIS is what school holidays do to an otherwise sane and capable person (ahem).  Remember the girl who buys local tomatoes and makes litres of her own tomato paste and then is smug about it for months?  This is what has become of her.  Will feel shame at any moment, bubbles are hitting system right now, but shame is certainly lurking in there somewhere.

In other news its 40+ degrees, and I've spent over an hour sitting next to a swimming pool in jeans (because they were the only bit of clothing that passed for kind of clean - I'm so far behind with the washing that it'll take until March to catch up).  Mmm, sweaty.

But please don't think I've completely let myself go, hell no... in a fit of heathfulness I have added orange juice to the bubbles.

Just so nobody feels deprived, here is the Real Food chart...

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

February? Already?

  • Holy crap Queensland, look after each other, and don't do anything stupid, k?
  • Went to see Sting at the Sydney Opera House last night, with the Sydney Symphony orchestra.  Awesome - however, I now despise Foot Tappers.  They join a short list of things I utterly hate, which is... people who make me high five them, people who point at me with two hands, and people who shout Aussie Aussie Aussie, thus making me shout Oi, Oi, Oi - oh the indignity.
  • Anyway, Sting. OMG.  Don't really have the words to describe sitting in the SOH Concert hall as the audience sing Message in a Bottle accompanied by Sting on his guitar; spine tingling comes close.  Must say though, he does seem to have a rather bizarre fox fetish - hmm.
  • The children have gone back to school - yes, the less said about Those Holidays the better, I have counselling tomorrow, maybe then I'll be able to attempt to write about The Horror.
  • BBS... yes, I will. The fug in my head is starting to clear, and I'm finding my words again. I will be back soon.  Promise.