Her Heart – Motivation

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Photo by Austin Chan on Unsplash

Hello awesome people. I haven’t written a post on here for a few weeks, but I have been active over at Her Heart. My latest article there is on motivation and discusses the five second rule and decision fatigue. To take a look click on this link.

Have a fantastic and creative day everyone xx

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Inspiration Found Me

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In last week’s post I committed to not posting every week. Yet here I am posting a week later, ah the irony. But why, after stressing myself out about the commitment, am I disregarding it? That would be because of one Holden Sheppard.

Read on to find out what happened.

Holden published a blog post on Friday the 29th June that really resonated with me. I was in a writing funk full of self-doubt and this post helped me climb out of it. In it, Holden had given himself permission to write horseshit because he figured he could fix it up later.

You might not write well every day, but you can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page. – Jodi Picoult.

He also spoke about self-sabotage. Hello, let me introduce you to the Queen of that particular kingdom (that would be me). Case in point, hitting the first target for Rosie and then coming to almost a complete stop on it. For no reason other than I was starting to feel completely inadequate. Perfectionism also reared its head and that paralysed me even further. So I followed Holden’s lead and gave myself permission to write horseshit. It felt rather freeing to do that. I’ll let you know how it works out when it comes time to edit!

One other thing happened that helped pull me out of my self-doubt. A lovely person contacted me via Instagram, saying that my latest article at Her Heart Poetry had inspired her and that it had helped her after a very stressful month. I can’t tell you how much that made my day.

You see, that article had been hard for me to write. I was mentally exhausted and my mind was all over the place. If it wasn’t for my sense of commitment and Her Heart’s Editor in Chief, Samuel, that article would have never happened. I was very close to throwing my hands up in the air, saying fuck it and calling it quits on the whole thing. It is very rewarding to know that I eventually got it done and that it has gone on to help someone.

It amazes me that both incidents happened within 24 hours of each other. They have, in turn, inspired me to not give up. That although writing is hard sometimes and I have self-doubt over it, I love it. It also reminded me that when I write from the heart I honestly feel free and like I have found my version of paradise.  And who would want to give that up?

You can read Holden’s awesome post here.

My Her Heart post can be found here.

Have a fantastic and creative week everyone xx

A Little Update

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Hello lovely people! What’s happening in your part of the world? In my part (Western Australia) it’s winter and I’m freaking envious as hell of all the summer pictures I’m seeing from the northern hemisphere. Don’t worry, I’ll return the favour when our summer rolls around 🙂

Okay, now that I’ve complained about winter, let’s get onto the writing part.

I’ve signed up for Camp Nano (you can more about what that is here) and am sharing a cabin with an awesome crew of writers I’ve met on twitter. They are so funny and I’m looking forward to it. Especially as I’m in the midst of writing a first draft so having a cheer squad for the month of July will be fantastic. That deadline of August 24 for Rosie (the first draft!) is starting to feel very real.

I’ve got a few articles up on Her Heart which you can view here. The first draft of Rosie is coming along nicely and I’ve hit the quarter of the way target. I’m looking at several writing competitions for short stories and poetry, which I’m seriously considering entering so long as it doesn’t interfere with Rosie.

Now to other news.

My personal life is rather stressful at the moment for good and not so good reasons. My grandmother is very sick, my husband is about to start a job which means he’ll be home every night (he’s worked away for over 80% of the year for the last 5 years) and a few other things are also happening. Consequently I’m not going to commit to posting every week.

My novel is my writing priority and I can already see that it is proving difficult to juggle it, this blog and my personal life. So it’s time for a temporary reshuffle. But fear not, I’ll still be here, I’m just not setting a time frame for posting.

Anyway, thanks for reading and I hope you guys have a happy and creative day.

P.S. I’ll still be posting articles on Her Heart every second week 🙂

The Tattooist of Auschwitz: A Review

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The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris is based on a true story. One of horror, hope and the human survival instinct.

It is a story that didn’t make me cry but is one that is still with me days later. I have no doubt it will be with me in 20 years time. You don’t forget a story like that and the reality is you shouldn’t. The atrocities committed need to be remembered so that they are never repeated. That is the most important thing about history after all, learning from the past.

Morris was introduced to Lale Sokolov, the main protagonist, with the words, he ‘might just have a story worth telling.’ Might was a vast understatement. Lale was the man who tattooed the numbers Auschwitz prisoners had on their left arm, forever marking them as inferior in the eyes of the Nazis. Make no mistake, Lale had no choice in the matter and wore a number tattoo himself. What sets him apart is his utter determination to survive and his love for Gita, a fellow prisoner.

It is hard for me to articulate exactly how Lale’s story has affected me. The overwhelming sense of speechlessness and awe is an odd mix that has made me appreciate my own life and the freedom I have.

A heartbreaking and inspiring tale of the human spirit, The Tattooist of Auschwitz is written in a straight forward manner. There is no need for elaborate language when you consider the sheer bleakness surrounding this time in history. Similar in concept to Schindler’s List and the red dress in an otherwise black and white movie, the language in this book allows the story to speak for itself.

Well my lovely people, this book knocked me around a little. Not surprising considering the subject matter. If you have read it please let me know your thoughts, I’m keen to hear other’s opinions on it.

Have a fantastic and creative week everyone and appreciate every moment xx

Creative Change

My writing process is something I thought I had nailed down. Yeah, there might be minor changes depending on the project, but I thought I had the major components figured out. Enter Rosie. This freaking project has turned all of that on its head.

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Usually I write my stories from beginning to end. I do some research beforehand, start my spider web (read about that here) and let the story unravel as it needs to. I also research more as I go because I’ve either forgotten the needed information or I simply hadn’t thought to look that particular bit up beforehand. This method has worked for me for two manuscripts as well as a few short stories. Why change it?

Well… I didn’t intend to but Rosie had other ideas. I started off like normal, researching and starting my web. I even worked out a word contract with myself so that I would stay on track. If you don’t know, a word contract is when you have a deadline and word count target, figure out how many writing days until that date and then how many words you need to write per day to meet the deadline and manuscript target. It’s a good way to keep yourself accountable.

Now I wrote about the first 4000 words when I realised this approach wasn’t working for me. A particular scene that will happen much later in the book kept annoying me and in the end I opened a second word document and wrote it, just so I could get it out of my head. I’m not a plotter when it comes to my stories so I had no idea if this particular scene would end up in the story like I thought but it demanded to be written so I obliged. I thought this was a once off but it happened two more times. I wondered what the hell was going on but decided to go with the flow. I was still meeting my daily word count, so I figured why not 🙂

Then came that magic day when I was writing the main part of Rosie and realised one of the scenes I had already written fit where I was up to. I pasted it in, reread that section to double check it worked and it did. I nearly cried with relief, I definitely did a happy dance. It was a magic moment where I realised that I had trusted my creative instinct and it worked. It’s an invaluable lesson and one I had no idea I was learning at the time.

So what about you, dear reader? Have you had a moment like that? Also, is your own creative process a changing thing or something that is set in stone? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear about it.

Have a fantastic and creative week people xx

6 Months

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Hi guys! Here we are, nearly half way through 2018. Where on earth did that time go? If you are anything like me, you most likely set yourself some goals at the beginning of the year. It’s now six months in and it’s well worth checking in with yourself on where you’re at. Seeing as writing here for you guys keeps me unflinchingly honest, I thought I would share my check in with you 🙂

Goal One: Attend Fiona McIntosh’s Masterclass

This one I met with flying colours. I attended the five day course and it changed my writing for the better and also had a pretty big impact on my life. For more on that you can read it here.

Goal Two: Finish Balance 

Well… this one is on hold. I have a working draft of my manuscript but it’s time to focus on my other story, Rosie. The reason for this is that I want to be traditionally published and fantasy, which is what Balance is, is a hard genre for that to happen within Australia. So I’ve switched focus to Rosie which is historical fiction. This doesn’t mean I’ve given up on Balance, simply giving myself a better chance at my goal.

Goal Three: Get fitter and healthier

HAHAHA, this one is half done and I suspect will always need work. I’m certainly fitter, thanks to an awesome trainer, however the healthier side of things needs a bit more work. Part of this is from the amount of stress I put myself under, but that’s being addressed in goal four. The rest of it is what I put in my mouth and that’s improving so I’m counting it as progress.

Goal Four: Sort out work/life balance

I had no idea that this one would actually be the biggest hurdle for me to jump over. I’m prone to the all or nothing approach and with my perfectionism tendencies I put myself under a lot of stress. I wanted 2018 to be the year where I started to even out my family responsibilities and my work ones. I thought it would be a matter of writing everything out in a list and sorting out the priorities from the wants. I want to laugh at poor deluded Sam from January 2018.

You see, I didn’t take into account that a family is made up of more than one person, each with their own wants and priorities. It has taken me a bit to balance that with my own, but we are getting there. I write we because a family needs to work together to get harmony within it. And the most important tool to get this is communication. I don’t know why that always surprises me, but really, the most essential tool to getting anything done in life is talking to each other.

On that note, I’ll say goodbye for this week. Let me know how you are going with your goals, I’d love to hear about it 🙂

Have a creative week everyone!

Drawnonward: A Review

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This book is a little piece of magic. Published in 2017 by Fremantle Press, Drawnonward is a palindrome and I have to say, the cleverest children’s book I have ever read. Awarded the CBCA Picture Book of the Year Notable Book 2018, the author, Meg McKinlay, has done a wonderful job of giving children a perspective on hopelessness and hope.

The character created by McKinlay, is carrying a package that gets bigger and bigger the more depressing the text is. It gets to the point where it overwhelms the character, getting bigger than they are, eventually causing them to lay down. Half way through, everything changes. The same text is written again, only backwards and what was so depressing suddenly becomes uplifting. The character stands up and the burden breaks open, plants spring up around it. The book ends with the character passing on its new knowledge to another burdened character.

Accompanied with illustrations by Andrew Frazer, this book is a great way of creating an opportunity to talk to children about feelings and how what we think can influence us. Although aimed at children, Drawnonward is not just for them but for anyone who struggles with their thoughts. I simply love it.

You can buy a copy here.