Tuesday, 21 October 2014

roll up! roll up!

Card tricks and more were the order of the day for Sophie and Tom's magic show.  Once Soph moved past the trick where all four cards were the same (and of course it was easy to guess what someone had picked), she then fluked two of the right ones - hence Tom's wide-mouthed look of surprise in the bottom left-hand corner.  The show was the culmination of an afternoon's practise by Sophie and I'm already looking forward to the next one!

Monday, 20 October 2014

and so it begins - the second manuscript...

There has been no rest for the wicked, writing-wise that is!  Now that my first manuscript is wending its way into publishing houses for appraisal, I have started work on my second.  It's no secret that I'm mad about gardens (particularly for those of you who follow me on Instagram) and one in particular will form the major backdrop of this next story.  It's hard to say more without giving too much away  - so exciting for you all, I'm sure (!)  - but it's more the background, the writing process that I share here.

I have been ruminating on the basic storyline for a while now (careful to not give it too much air play as I didn't want to interrupt my first manuscript) which has allowed the creative processes to commence.  Rather than being scared I wouldn't have anything to write, whenever I'm thinking about the story, there is an overwhelming rush of ideas - and long may it continue!  I know where my protagonist grew up, what she worked as before she married and how she met her husband.

I've been making the most of spare time - half an hour in between kinder drop off and the hairdresser's gave me time to make pages of notes to be transcribed to my computer.  I bought a reporter's notepad especially for this project - a Spirax pad with the rings at the top, perfect for a left-hander like me who usually runs out of room on left-bound notebooks.  It's the type of book I had when I worked in rural journalism back in the mid 1990s - 20 years on and I'm still using some of the same technology.

And between the notepad, tablet, laptop and computer, let's hope I can create something worth reading!

Saturday, 18 October 2014

icecream party invitation (or icypole if you prefer!)

A very excited girl is soon to have a birthday party!  I rustled up some invitations for her during the week and thought I would share the template, if anyone is interested.  I created them using InDesign and will try to make a similar cake - wish me luck with that!  I will post pictures down the track.  Guests' names were printed along the stick and details filled in as per the picture.  I have attached links to the PDF below - please let me know if you have any problems with them as this is the first time I've tried sharing files online.  I would imagine you could overtype on the PDF or fill them in by hand - enjoy!

Icecream invitation Black and White
Icecream invitation Colour
Icypole invitation Black and White
Icypole invitation Colour

Thursday, 16 October 2014

in the garden...

Recent warmth has made our garden leap alive with budding roses starting to flower, snowball viburnum bursting into showy balls of white, pink pig face opening and closing as the days rise and fall.  Every time I go out, there is something else to see - this morning I noticed a new day lily is about to flower, one of a few we bought from our local market earlier in the year.  I've snapped unopened rose buds from their bushes and brought them inside, the heady scent of Papa Meilland leaving me desperate for more.  Another season to enjoy, admire and soak in - another season in our garden.

Are you enjoying the awakening of your spring garden or are things starting to shut down for winter?!  What is taking your fancy as you look at the world around you?

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

the alphabet challenge continues...

The Fat Mum Slim photo a day has been more of a challenge than I expected.  I usually post to Instagram every day anyway, but achieving alphabet-readiness is something else entirely.  Here were see Melbourne, nurse and old linen, the latter being the most challenging as I searched for something beginning with 'o'.  I think the next few letters will be less of an issue, until we reach the magical 'z' - which I'm sure will involve much thinking outside the square!

How are you all, wherever you are?  It's been a busy week and I look forward to getting back into the swing of my blog after a couple of days away too…  more tomorrow!

Friday, 10 October 2014

how to write that book… 5 easy steps with a twist!

Writing a book had become something that would happen in the future
It was something I would do after I'd done this course or that one, had this job or the other, once the kids were older or once they left home.  And then I saw my opening - that small sliver of time once Jono started kinder and before he went off to school.  It was now or never.   Reading the acknowledgements pages of many women writers, I see now it's a golden age, early 40s, young kids - the first time in many of our lives that we are home and able to write.

All of which is a preface to the following steps
It's a way of explaining why I can say now that I have written (what I hope will be published as) a book.  It is only now that this perfect storm of events has created the space in my life - and yes, I have taken advantage of it, but I wouldn't have finished my manuscript yet otherwise.

None of this has happened overnight
It has taken thirteen years of marriage, three kids, numerous houses that we didn't own and finally one that we did (when I'd just about given up hope of ever being in our own home), jobs that saw Joe and I as ships that passed in the night or day or weekend, never quite managing to be home together.  It's taken two countries, money troubles, every day problems, dream catching and dream juggling.

And therein lies the rub - or the twist, as it may be
It might take just 5 easy steps to write that book, but sometimes you also need that perfect storm of events.  It requires the planets to align and you to read them.  Easy, huh?  Then, all you have to do is….

1. Stop saying one day and start today

2. Write little and often - it all adds up over time

3. Write despite the outcome - do it for yourself

4. Share the process with your friends, family

5. Celebrate the steps, big and small

Perhaps these 5 steps will work without the perfect storm
You might be able to more easily fit writing in with family or work or other responsibilities.  Because believe me - if you want to write that book, then it's something you just have to do.  It's the only way you will find out, one way or the other, if you can do it.  And then start on the next one and the next and the next.  You will never know unless you try!

Have you achieved a lifelong dream, writing or otherwise? Is there anything you'd like to share?

PS  Thank you for all the love on my last post!  This is the last day of submissions and I have my fingers crossed.  Otherwise, business as usual on Monday when I start my next manuscript!  Wahoo!

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

the writer's edition: month 18 check-in, or 'what happened when I finished my first full-length manuscript'

When I first pressed the publisher's submit button on the computer, no magic sparked, no change came.  I was just the same person as always, the one who then had to take her daughter to the chemist for hair accessories and then rush to get groceries for dinner.  I had to pick up my youngest son from mum's, where he had spent the afternoon so I could finish the last of my edits, then hunt down my oldest son in transit from the school bus stop.

That night, dinner burned in the background as I drank my celebratory glass of red wine and life went on as usual.  I thought of the very ordinary things other writers must have been doing in the background as they worked on their manuscripts: cooking dinner, washing clothes, overseeing homework.  I knew that all the time I had spent writing could all be for nothing, that I wouldn't hear so much as a peep from publishers if there weren't interested.

But in the end, it was about me rather than anyone else.  It was about wanting to write a book for my whole life, as soon as I knew it was something that people did.  It was about stopping saying 'one day' and saying 'today'.  It was about realising that the loss of 15,000 words in a particularly tough self-edit didn't mean that my novel was dead - it was about breathing life into it when the existing words weren't strong enough.  My first full length manuscript may or may not make it into print, but guess what?  It's not going to stop me either way.

Next week I start on my second full length manuscript, an idea that has been floating around for a while now.  I'm looking forward to giving it some air space and discovering my next lot of characters, more imaginary people for me to fall in love with.  This time around, I'm looking forward to using my experience with the first manuscript to aid in this next creation.  And yes, in the background, I'll be doing the school run and unloading the dishwasher and getting children ready for school.  I will be just me, but the me who is working at achieving her lifelong dream.