Healthy Living – Writing Passion

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Do what you love, follow your passions, make your heart sing. Whatever you call it, it basically comes down to self love, and what do they say makes the world go around? LOVE.

When I follow my passions I am excited to start each day and looking forward to my future. The positive effect is enormous on both my mental and physical state. It is part of HEALTHY LIVING.

Last weekend I indulged in a writing course through the Australian Writers Centre on Creative Writing. Courses are often expensive, but this one was worth every dollar.
I spent 2 days in their Milson’s Point classroom with a group of ten other aspiring writers and Pamela Hart as our teacher. Inspirational, intimate, professional, fun, encouraging are just a few adjectives to describe the weekend.

So what made this weekend so worthwhile, and what did I take away from the teachings:

1. To follow my gut in my writing
⁃ The teacher reassured me to go back to my original novel start.

2. Know your characters = plot
⁃ Work out your characters. This will bring out stories and plots

3. The more complex you make your antagonist the more believable they will be
⁃ Life and people are complex and cardboard characters makes for dull reading

4. Come into scene late , exit scene early
⁃ No need for too much ‘setting the scene’. Often you can cut out bits and go straight to the important part of scene. Same applies to the end. Finish on a high point.

5. Change pace
⁃ Keep pace interesting to continue to captivate the reader. Slow down after fast pace action scenes to provide a breather. Pick up pace after slower descriptive scenes. Escalate pace towards the end.

6. Never summaries an emotional high-point.
⁃ A high-point should end the chapter not drag it out.

7. Main characters journey
⁃ The main character has the biggest internal journey

8. 1st draft – telling story to yourself
⁃ Just write your story without worrying about being perfect enough to show to anyone else. Write to get the story down.

9. Opening of novel/cover/blurb must
⁃ Grab the reader enough to want to keep reading
⁃ A promise to the kind of book it will be
⁃ Provide orientation

10. Structure of novel
⁃ Orientation; set the scene
⁃ 1st turning point; major event in 1st or 2nd chapter
⁃ Complications; events moving the plot along, relative to story
⁃ 2nd turning point; 2/3 into story
⁃ Climax; pace quickens, protagonist must actively be involved.
⁃ Resolution; answers questions from 1st turning point.

11. Write even when inspiration is lacking
⁃ So true, the muse will arrive when we sit down to write

12. Connect with other writers and beta readers a must.
⁃ Have experienced this myself since starting my writing journey. A writer’s life can be lonely, and connecting with other writers is vital for sanity and for learning. This weekend I organised for my class mates to provide me with name and email and sent out a group email to everyone, so we are now all connected.

These are just some of the learnings from the weekend. The teacher covered so much more and provided terrific handouts that will help me in rewriting my current WIP.

The weekend gave me confidence in my writing and in the next step. The learnings I took away are invaluable. Part of me wished I had done it earlier, but with my novel already done I could also relate to a lot more.

It was absolutely a ten out of ten course and weekend. I was tired and head spinning on Sunday evening, but my heart and soul was full of healthy smiles, and I now have a certificate to add to my collection of learnings.

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Writing Update May 2018

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Winter weather has arrived in Sydney. Windy, wet and cold with the sun trying to bring its rays out during these last days of autumn. It has hit us with a force after months of beautiful hot weather.

The change of weather is welcome in its newness. Getting out boots and scarves is always interesting after the long warm summer. I wonder how long that feeling will last! But I am enjoying it for now.

Also have to admit weather like this makes writing a lot easier. No temptations to venture out. It is comfy clothes, steaming coffee and inspirational music in the background for me today. Time for another writing update.

An activity loaded month has just passed. My interest and passion seems to grow the more I write and connect with other writers. It’s contagious and like being on a never ending fun roller coaster ride. I am hungry to learn and almost obsessively scouring the web for content and information on writing; reading, learning, expanding my mind and improving my craft. I wish I had taken this up, so much earlier in my life, but I believe there is a right time for everything.

So what has happened since my last update?

1. My book.
⁃ I finished the 2nd edit of my novel. YAY!! Felt awesome, but also confusing. What next? Was at a loss at first, but put the novel aside for two weeks before next step. Good to have a break and regroup your thoughts. Next I will send it out to two eager beta readers waiting for me to get organised. I will also print it up and read it again myself taking notes this time rather that working online.

2. AWC course
⁃ Two months ago I signed up for an online course with Australian Writers Centre on “How to pitch to agents and publishers”. So in my break away from my novel I have listened to all 10 modules and started the homework/tasks. A fantastic course for anyone new to the industry. It is so daunting for a newbie, and this course explains it in easy steps what to do to get yourself organised. I’ve been getting my list together of agents, other opportunities and publishers. Putting all the info in a list (excel) helps get your mind organised. It’s like clearing out your wardrobe. Rather than having all the information you gather along the way just float around your mind and clutter up everything else, putting it in a list gets in out of your mind and readily on hand when you need to refer to it. Love it! Appeals to the planner in me.

3. Booktaster Non-Fiction book review
⁃ Being a reviewer of non-fiction books with Booktasters online I spent the last 4 weeks getting through “Spirituality 103; The Forgiveness Code” by Ivan Figueroa. It took a while to get into the book. You have to be in the mood for this type of book. Once I sat down and read it, I found it fascinating. Some of it more scientific than I cared for , but also some great truths in there; the section on how we can’t change our past mistakes without changing our future. I believe we learn from our mistakes and that shapes our future selves.

4. Sydney Writers Festival
⁃ Attending the Sydney Writers Festival was inspirational. Had fun learning “how a person can disappear” during Jennifer Down’s interesting talk. Got blown away by Tayari Jones; such an interesting author; fun real and entertaining. Can’t wait to read her book “An American Marriage”. After a full day out amongst authors and books, what do you do? Return home with a bag of books to read. I need to take a holiday on a remote island with no distractions to get through my pile. But not complaining. What writer/reader can’t identify with having more books than you can read?

5. Fellowship of Australian Writers
⁃ Attended another fun and educational meeting with our local branch. It is always inspirational to network with like-minded people and a nice bunch to boot. We have our formal meeting followed by a speaker or a writing exercise, then the all important afternoon tea where we exchange ideas on life and writing. Great outlet. The group has nominated me as the Vice President this year and Content Coordinator for their newsletter and media updates for the annual local writer’s festival, Writers Unleashed. A learning curve, but one I am enjoying. Sometimes it is hard to fit it all in on top of full time work, but I get so much enjoyment from it I find time. Even if it means saying no to social events and burning the odd midnight candle sometimes.

6. Positive Thoughts Project
⁃ Now into my 5th month of daily notes on anything positive I have noted in my day. The world is so full of negative news it can be so easy to focus on all the dreadful things that happen. But when we take live being mindful of positive events in our lives, it become a mindset. Like everyone else I have my struggles and I get sad and down, but I believe we shape our reality by our thoughts. Reach for your dreams and they will meet you halfway. Seeking the positives in life and being mindful of them is how I prefer to live each day. This project is such a great way to ensure we live being aware of what we have rather than focusing on what we have not.

A full month again. I may have turned 60, but life has not slowed down for this girl. With passion , curiosity and a love of life this I am marching on with my fingers crossed each day gets me closer to a book deal. If nothing else I am having a ball and learning along the way.

Happy reading and writing month to you all. Thanks for reading to the end of what ended up a rather long update.

Positive Thought 14/4/2018

Today I enrolled in an online course; Inside Publishing run by The Australian Writers Centre.

Excited about getting stuck into it. Never too late to learn and this will help when my novel edit is done and I am ready to try my luck in getting a publishing deal. That’s the plan anyhow 🙂