Writing Journey

April Writing Update

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Welcome to my first blog on Writing. I hope to amuse, inspire, motivate and provide you with tips on writing. I am by no means an expert, but I believe we can all learn from each other no matter what stage of our writing journey we are on.

I promised I would begin this weekend, but funny enough I am feeling very unmotivated today. A busy working week followed by a massive but a very enjoyable and social Saturday has now left me just wanting to relax in the sun. It’s a beautiful sunny autumn day here in Sydney​ but still feels like summer. I want to go to the beach and I have been snacking all morning. A sure sign that I have been distracting myself from what I need to do. Write this first blog.
Why does that happen? I would love your comment if you find that happens to you sometimes too.

So what to do. I find when procrastination sets in and you keep pushing out what you need to do, ​the ​ best remedy is to honour your feelings for a little while then make yourself get on with the job. That way you feel like you have compromised.

That’s exactly what I did. I sat on my veranda this morning and had a lovely breakfast in the sun. Not quite the beach but certainly satisfied most of my need for self-indulgence​.

But after lunch​n I gave myself no excuse; grabbed my laptop and started writing. Once I start I know it will come. It never fails. 

So a bit about my writing journey so far.

I have always been gifted with a wild imagination and a desire to visit far-away interesting places. I think the long dark winters in Denmark as a child and teenager encouraged this imagination. I never liked the cold winter and in my imagination,​ I could go anywhere.

I collected a number of pen-pals from all over the world and we wrote each other long essays about our lives in our strange lands. A young Malaysian girl stands out as the most memorable pen-pal. Her and my life were so different. I loved reading her letters. I dreamt of living somewhere abroad where the sun would shine most of the year. And today here I am in sunny Australia. Funny how the power of your mind seems​​m capable of creating your reality without actually consciously trying.

I loved writing essays for school and I absolutely loved telling my younger sister stories. My imagination sometimes got me into trouble by making my stories too scary for my much younger sister. Mum was not always impressed, but my sister loved it. So I continued.

As an adult I wrote journals, detailing my initial years in Australia. They were not regular, but more often prompted by my father-in-law, who for some reason felt I had a book in me about my life. Maybe one day.

As a parent your life gets hectic, and I found little time to write in the early years. But when they started school, and I had divorced and then a single mum with my girls, I again found the need to create; to write. I guess I wanted to find myself again after nearly 18 years of marriage, and writing helped with that. I started writing a children’s book about Wazza the Wombat. My girls loved it. But I never finished it as we moved from the country to the Sydney city and life got super busy. Writing again got shelved for a couple of years.

Then with all the dramas of raising teenagers and being a single woman,​ I found myself needing to express my feelings, and I started writing poetry. 

I continued to dream of writing a novel, and started a couple of times, but the task never got finished. I kept dreaming and talking about my dream. But talking doesn’t get you far. So last year I set myself a goal. 2017 was going to be the year I would immerse myself in all things writing and take my novel writing serious.

I started reading more books and developed my idea for the novel I was going to write. I am lucky both my girls are creative, and I always have them as realistic soundboards. 

I joined a local writers group and attended writing Meet-ups. I joined Facebook groups on writing and various podcasts. I fully embraced being a writer and slowly over the year I started to see myself as a writer.

I started this WordPress blog. Setting it up was quite a challenge, but I managed to put something reasonable together and have now gained a bit of a following. The feedback and comments from this community is invaluable. I realise you don’t have to have something published to be a writer. You just have to write. The more you write the more experience you get and the more confident you get in your writing.

By halfway thought the year I had participated and submitted two short story contests and was enjoying it immensely. My novel was going along nicely, but not at a pace that would get me finished by end of the year. My goal. 

NaNoWriMo is what got me over the line. I joined in late September and couldn’t wait to participate. It was the best decision I had made all year. The writing community and the numerous supportive group activities were amazing, and I wrote almost every day for the whole of November. It got my novel finished. From 15,000 words in October to 65,000 by the end of November. I was thrilled and nothing could wipe the smile off my face.  A life long dream had finally come to life, and I met some truly inspiring people on the way that I am still in touch with. You can see more here if you are not familiar with the ​organisation.  
https://nanowrimo.org

I am now going through my novel edit process and trying to maintain my blog. Not always easy with full time work, but I am enjoying it and want to keep honing my writing skills.
I use Scrivener for writing. It does take a bit of time getting used to it, but I love having all my writing as well as my research in the one place. For my novel ,​I also find it helpful to add photos of your characters into Scrivener. I find it useful to look at the photos before writing the characters scene. Too easy to have someone look into his brown eyes , when in an earlier chapter he had blue eyes. 

For editing,​ I started using ProWritingAid earlier this year. It certainly takes the sting out of editing and picks up so much more than I ever would. Not only grammar but style and even if you use certain words too much. A great tool. So much more to this software and I will give more details​ in later blogs.

My plan is to finish my edit by end of this month. My daughter, who works as a writer/concept designer, is reading it at the moment. Once I have her feedback and my final edit Ill submit to publishers. A scary but exciting thought. 

But to get there I have to keep editing. So must finish this blog and get back to my novel edit.

I hope you have enjoyed a little insight into me and my writing. 
Next blog is planned for​ a fortnight on my photography. 

Stay tuned and stay happy.

8 thoughts on “April Writing Update

  1. Hi Sal. Amazing! We have quite a lot in common apart from living in the southern hemisphere. 😁 I also had a pen pal. We have the reverse though. I was in Asia, she was (is) German. Receiving that email mail was always exciting. The writing… divorce… poetry… getting serious with writing in 2017! Awesome. All the best to us. 😉 Thank you for sharing. 🤗

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Also share many experiences, and just started Scrivener – bewildering working out a strategy for it! “I have always been gifted with a wild imagination and a desire to visit far-away interesting places.” yep, I’ll drink to that 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “A sure sign that I have been distracting myself from what I need to do. Write this first blog.
    Why does that happen? I would love your comment if you find that happens to you sometimes too.”

    Alas, I’m capable of taking any line of lesser resistance – I read recently that we forget things and avoid heavy duty thinking because the brain is the heaviest energy user in our body and it was an evolutionary advantage unless ‘pursued by a bear’. That’s gone straight to number one in my excuse collection and I’m sticking with it..

    Seriously, fine and inspiring post… where’s my manuscript(s) 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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