BREATHING

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We are now halfway through 2020; a year of turmoil and change, but also a year of hope for a better life. Hope because the events that have unfolded this year has made us all appreciate what matters; love, family, human contact, freedom, time to reflect, our health and waking up every morning still BREATHING.

In fact, BREATHING seems to have been a common thread through the chaos we have experienced in 2020.

First the bushfires that ravaged such a vast part of Australia in our summer season and continued into the start of this year. Smoke filled the air even in places far from the burning bush. It blanketed Sydney for months and many stayed indoors because of the worst air quality experienced in our normally bright and clean city. Our BREATHING was restricted, and we felt it in our lungs when venturing outdoors on bad days.

Then Covid-19 started surfacing in China, a virus affecting the respiratory system and in worst cases requiring ventilators to assist with BREATHING. By March Australia saw a surge in cases and we went into lockdown. We needed to contain the virus as our hospitals and medical supplies were not ready to deal with mass infections. Mass production of both masks and respirators commenced in the anticipation of hospitals potentially filling with people not being able to BREATHE by themselves.

The restrictions has helped Australia manage Covid-19 so far, and we are seeing very few cases emerge now apart from travellers returning or cluster cases. We are in a new phase of easing up on the restrictions, though many businesses continue to work from home. Some are going back to what they used to do, as if everything is back to normal, but we are far from it. Right now we are in ‘holding our BREATH’ mode to see what happens next.

To top it off amidst all the turmoil an American police officer arrested and killed George Floyd. His last words ‘I can’t BREATHE’ was captured on video and plastered on headlines online everywhere. This gross injustice lead to a massive protest movement across not only America but the world. Amidst the dangers of Covid-19 people gathered in peaceful protests wearing masks to voice their opinion about the injustice against people of colour. It escalated and within days America was in chaos.

George Floyd’s last words echoes what has been the issue for many all of 2020. For people of restricted freedom and privileges, it has been an issue for a lot longer.

What are we being told? What is it we need to learn before we can move forward to a new normal?

BREATHING is our life force. Not just for us humans. It’s the basis of all existence. Animals breathe, plants breathe. We all breathe in coexistence and codependence. Our breath brings us back to a balanced life, it grounds us, it sustains us, it nurtures our bodies. We must breathe to exist.

A new normal must make BREATHING a top priority on all levels, from daily interactions to top corporate visions. It’s that simple. And also that complex.

Writing When Not Writing

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Can a writer write when not actually writing?

Of course we can. In fact, ‘non writing’ activities take up a huge chunk of our time. Many of us fill with guilt when not sitting in front of laptop writing, but to be honest so much of our writing ideas and skills come to life when we are not busy writing. These activities may ‘take us away’ from our writing, but I believe they also enrich our writing by providing ideas and additional knowledge and invaluable connections in the writing community.

Here are the top five activities that I have enjoyed ‘taking me away’ from my actual writing time this year.

Writing Groups

I am part of both a writers’ group (FAW) and a writers critique group. We meet 3 Saturday afternoons every month. The writers’ group have some excellent speakers and workshops, and the critique group provides me with valuable feedback on my writing.

Festivals

Attended the Sydney Writers festival and Writers Unleashed in the Shire. Some regional festivals sound awesome and on the radar for next year.

Participated on the committee for our own local Writers Unleashed festival this August. I learnt so much during this on how much is involved in organising an event like this, and connected with a huge number of fantastic writers.

Newsletters & Social Media

Sourcing materials on educational and informative news on all things writing for the monthly newsletter for FAW Sutherland has been fun and increased my own knowledge on what goes on out there in the writers world.

As Social Media officer for the Writers Unleashed I have put together a large number of posts to promote our festival and its many fantastic speakers. This has provided me with new skills and knowledge that I can now use on my own social media updates.

Author Book Launches

Many writers are introverts and public speaking does not always come easy. Attending book launches not only is a way to network and meet likeminded people, but also a way to learn what an audience enjoy and want to hear at book launches. What works and what doesn’t. Small gatherings of close friends and publishing supporters at book stores or libraries seem a winner. Even better with a bit of champagne to relax everyone! I frequently visit our local bookstore Anna’s Shop Around the Corner in Cronulla for some amazing talks. A true gem for writers!

Books & Podcasts

I love Podcasts. They make commuting a breeze! My favourites are @So You Want to be a Writer and Talking Aussie Boooks.

Reading as many books across a varied number of genres is essential. It hones our own craft and supports other writers.

To get as many into my busy days I use different media. My Kindle when travelling light. My audio when driving/exercising or doing housework. And a real book, the best, when I do find time to sit and enjoy the read. Which unfortunately is not always easy working full time as a planner and trying to fit in my writing in my spare time left.

Courses

Any writing course will hone your craft even if not in the genre you’re currently writing in. My MS is a romance suspense novel, but I write short stories across various genres.

My most recent course was on publishing children’s books and was fantastic. Learning expands your mind and never wasted. The AWC have so many great courses both in class and online. Check them out and build up your writer’s tool-kit.

Of course in the end actually sitting down to write is the only thing that will get your MS finished. But all of above still assist when you do sit in front of your laptop.

At least by writing about what gets me away from writing I actually got some writing done!

What do you find gets you away from writing , but also helps you in your writing?

Positive Thought 6/1/2019

Today’s positive…How lucky we are to live in a world that allows us to easily communicate with people from anywhere; connecting with strangers we would most likely never have met if not for this digital world; learning about people, places and interesting cultures.

Positive Thought 4/1/2018

Today’s positive…setting up a gallery on Shutterstock. Still working my way around the whole process, but it’s fun learning something new. So far only a few photos, but hoping to see it grow. Anyone else had any experience with Shutterstock?

https://www.shutterstock.com/g/Sal Gallaher?rid=222410629&utm_medium=email&utm_source=ctrbreferral-t-link

Positive Thought 31/12/2018

Today’s positive…being privileged to live another year creating beautiful memories with loved ones, meeting strangers now friends and gaining new knowledge through challenges and experiences. Life indeed is one big positive.

Tomorrow I look forward to reading through all my Positive Thoughts for 2018, and starting again for the new 2019.

Thanks for following and inspiring me to continue my writing.

Wishing you all a wonderful and happy NY