Tag Archives: library

Back on the wagon

Yes, you all read that correctly. I am officially back on the writing wagon – that same wagon I have been trying to climb back on for the past two months. However – introducing my new daughter to the world was a much more important job. But now that she is ‘sleeping like a baby’, it means that I can get a little writing work done!

So – this is a little update for you all since the last post I wrote on my writing stuff – Having a little faith…

Last week I rewrote the opening scenes for The Mediterranean Source. I’d had some feedback from one of my critique partners that I needed to bolster up the main character motivations. This was some seriously good feedback as the main character only really became the main character when I re-edited the book last November. So to give her more motivation for doing what she does was something that I really needed to work on. And – I am happy to say that my critique partner had a read of it, and thought that it was a much stronger opening for the book. It was excellent to have that feedback as I’ve been feeling a little rusty on the writing front lately. I need to re-sharpen my writing claws!

Needless to say, after rewriting the opening scene, I dived into editing again. Man, it felt amazing. It felt so damn good to be immersing myself back into my own world and story. I had to drag myself out of it whenever Abby woke, but it was just so damn good to be back.

So – that’s what I am doing right at the moment. Editing. Yippeee! And it’s a lovely way to ease myself back into the game as well.

Tijuana Nights is really sitting at the forefront of my mind, and I really want to get back into writing it once I finish editing The Mediterranean Source. So while I edit, I will be thinking about that story, and what I think it needs. I think that I will redo some of the planning on it, but structurly – the storyline remains the same. There are some characters that need a little work done on them to round them out a bit better, so I will probably start with that before I continue writing the book.

The Second book of the Talent Trilogy needs to be finished. Gack. I know. Honestly, I only have a couple of thousand words to write on it, and it’s finished, but something has been holding me back with it. That book had a number of alternative endings – any of which I could use. However, I’m going to go with the one that seriously ramps up some emotions I think. Once I complete it – I need to throw myself into some serious planning for the third book, and that’s gonna mean re-reading the first and second book for me to do it. (Thank god I have a Kindle!) When I originally planned this trilogy years ago – it was a good plan – it just wasn’t robust enough for the world I was creating. I never expected the Talent world to get so big. Now it needs to be broken down and sorted out before I continue.

In other news, I have been reading books like a fricking machine. My goodness, I can’t quite believe how many I am cranking through! It’s all this downtime while I am feeding Abby that is allowing me to read so much. It’s amazing. Once again – thank god I have a Kindle (or else it would be a real pain in the backside trying to turn the pages.)

Abby is growing like a wee mushroom. Every day is different. Some days are challenging, others are a breeze. She’s sleeping well through the night now, and it’s a hell of a relief for us. Every day we thank our lucky stars that she sleeps for decent periods through the night. This week she is transitioning into her own room. It’s a scary thing for me! When she finally has her first night in her own room, I know that I’m going to feel a bit off-key about it. I guess any new mother would be the same – even if it is only across the hall! Last night I had a chair delivered that is now in Abby’s room so I can sit in there with her to feed and settle her when needed. It’s a relief knowing that I can stay in there when I need to. When she’s older and she has her own bed – I’ll put the chair in my library.

She smiles loads now, and every now and then she even has a giggle. When I sing to her (off key, might I add!) she smiles, coos, and tries to sing along with me. It’s rather gorgeous. These are moments that I never want to miss… and ones that I’m afraid I will once I go back to work at the end of July. However – if I win Lotto, I guess I won’t miss a thing. *fingers crossed* It’s just so lovely seeing her grow and develop.

Life is very busy being a mother, wife, and writer. Every moment is worth it though.

My happy place – a parallel reality

I think that most creative people need to enter a special headspace in order to get those creative juices flowing happily away. To the ‘uncreative’ person, this can seem like an eccentric trait that creative people carry. I like to think of it as a different parallel reality.

After all, we are all living and sharing the same Earth, it’s just that some of us have tapped into an alternative universe. For many years, I refused to believe that there were actually people out there that didn’t have an imagination. I have a friend who claims she doesn’t have a creative bone in her body, but yet every now and then she come out with the most profound innovative idea that she should really start selling them, and retaining the rights. I can’t tell you what any of these amazing ideas are, or else she would kill me – but let’s just say that they would make everyday life a little easier. But other than these innovative ideas, she is very much straight up and down with no lateral thinking sideways movements.

Amazingly, in a sense I tend to agree with people who believe they don’t have an imagination. They don’t have an ‘active’ imagination that they tap into and draw ideas from. These people are sort of like droids in a sense. They do what they are told, they work within their boundaries, and they never ever ‘think’ beyond their sense of control. (E.g. wake up at 7am, have shower, get dressed, catch the same train to work every day, walk in through the office door at 8.29am, sit down at their desk all day, eat their pre-packed lunch, leaving office at 5pm, catching the same train home again, sit down and watch the news while their prepacked dinner is cooking in the microwave, and go to bed by 9pm. On Friday nights they deviate from the daily plan and have a beer after work. If they are feeling really rebellious, they may have a few more, pick up some drunk chick for a one night stand, and then relive those moment of life deviation for the next week.) Seriously. I actually know people like that. I’m not joking.

Then there are people like me and my creative peers who don’t mind pottering about at home, delving into one’s own mind. They don’t mind reading books, or watching movies. Good sociable occasions provide amazing fodder for our imaginations, so socially it’s good to be with people who make us laugh and tell us their own life stories. We build layers upon layers of information. We re-weave new stories with old ones to create unique situations.

For me, there is nothing quite as invigorating as a really good writing session. I feel as though I have just done a load of exercise, and I have endorphins streaming through me, electrifying every sense within me. I’m not kidding. When I get on a roll, this is my happy place. No one can interrupt it.

Once upon a time, I used to catch the train for an hour to and from work. Within that hour long stretch, amongst all the vibrations, rocking, constant stopping, and people movement – I could crank out 1200-1500 words.  I would plug in my headphones and play my book’s soundtrack that I had put together, and just write. Some days the writing would be rubbish, but other days it was golden. But the consistency of the train helped me sync into my writing groove.

Another place that I loved to write was in Cafés. Yes, I took a leaf out of JK Rowling’s ‘how to’ manual with that idea.  I thought, ‘If she can do it, then I want to try’. And so I did. And amazingly – it works for me. There are those writers out there who can only write in a deathly silent room, and be absolutely alone with their thoughts. There are others like me, who need constant noise – whether it’s just background noise, or soundtrack music directly relating to your manuscript. The sound of a coffee shop is strangely comforting to me. It has something to do with the sound of the coffee machine going, the smell of freshly brewed coffee, and the scent of muffins straight out of the oven. Then there are the people. They sit around chattering amongst themselves, or perhaps they are reading a book or the daily paper. As I watch these people, I often wonder where they are from, their lives, and what they are feeling. Essentially, I start to character profile them.  This exercise of people watching seriously gets my active little imagination going. After all… how can we write about people and their emotions if we haven’t delved into the psyche a little?

The other place that I write in is in my library at home. (Really, it’s probably my spare room… but anyway.) This place is so special to me. I am surrounded by all the material things that I love. Books, music, sculptures, paintings, and a bunch of other things that I would probably prefer not to be in there. But however, nothing is ever totally perfect. But the space for me is perfect. I can very quickly get into the writing zone when I am working in there. I set it up for me to be able to do this. I have just managed to get this room back to the way I want it after six months. For the past six months it has been a storage area for all of Bump’s stuff. And if Bump’s stuff wasn’t in there, then people were staying, and therefore I couldn’t work in there. It’s amazing how much my writing feng shui gets out of sync when other people are here. Perhaps that is the introvert coming out in me? Anyway – after not having full use of my library for the past six months, I have now officially been back in it for the past week and a half. And my-oh-my how the creative juices are once again flowing. The music pounds around this room as I sit down and open my latest manuscript that I am working on. The door is closed. And somehow, I can just feel the balance of this room centring my creative soul.

In essence, my library is the place that I write in effectively when I am at home. There is no other room like it. In this room new worlds of my alternative reality are dreamt up and turned into a form of reality amongst the pages I write. In this room characters are born, and characters die. In this room, my mind extends beyond itself into other parallel realities.

I think that we all have a space like this somewhere in the world, where nothing can deter us from our focus. (Apart from the internet…) I think that it is seriously important for us to have this space… whether it is a mental or physical space. It’s our own little happy place, and that’s what matters the most.

Finally, I can breathe

I feel as though I can actually take a deep breath, and it gets the oxygen to where it’s meant to go.

The before photo - click to enlarge

The ‘library’ that I write in at home has been bugging the crap out of me for a really long time, and I just had absolutely no idea why. But then I figured it out. My back was to the door when I was working, and every time someone came in while I was writing, they would scare the bejeezus out of me. So, as mentioned in a previous post, this weekend I decided to pull my library apart to refigure it all out, so that my back wouldn’t be to the door anymore. This way, I’ll have a focused workspace, and will stop aging 10 years each time someone walks into the room.

My husband at least had the decency to warn me that he was standing there by playing with the light dimmer, as he knows that when I’m writing – I’m totally immersed. But everyone else would just walk in and I would jump and panic, and practically have heart failure. The next thing I am trying to do at this stage is climb out of my writing world and back into reality. And do you know how long it actually takes to get back into that writing groove? Well, depending on how pissed off I am at the person for interrupting me – it can take a while.

Reference books all lined up!

And now it’s complete. WOOHOO! Yes, I am dancing. I am just feeling so amazingly better about this space, than I have in a very long time. I know that I have put the bed kind of under the bookshelf – but it is bracketed, and ifthere is an earthquake and all the books fall off – well – I don’t think that’s such a bad way to die in the great scheme of things. Okay, I know, I know – death by books… time for my injection. I’m a little twisted.

Click to enlarge

But seriously. How gorgeous is this? It makes me feel wonderful. A great space to create new and wonderful worlds. I’m very lucky that my wonderful husband had the foresight to buy me the most amazing sound system, which is now completely hooked up, and mostly hidden from plain sight. Also – you will note from the photos that there are no wires anywhere! I know. Pretty much got rid of the acres of wiring that would get tangled up around my feet and annoyed me. Now they are hidden away nicely.

So, here’s to a new writing space makeover. I absolutely love to see other peoples writing spaces, so direct me to photos of your space if you have them online.   

Heart-attack prevention: Desk now facing the door!

Mental Feng Shui

Some of you may or may not know what I mean when I say ‘Mental Feng Shui’… but I know what I mean. For me, one of the hardest things about being a writer is maintaining the mental feng shui balance within myself.

I find that writers are creatures of habit. Cups of tea and coffee are poured as part of the writing ritual. Chocolate is devoured. And every now and then we head towards nature to renew the inspirations. I also believe that we are a superstitious lot. An example of this is when I’m having a downright rotten day, and I decide to write – I light a candle to banish away all the negative energy that is circling around inside me. 

But each of these little habitual rituals is part of what balances our mental feng shui. It’s a bit like tuning a radio to get a good signal. You have to hit the right spot first before you will hear any clarity of sound. With us, it revolves around coffee, chocolate, or even lighting a candle to help us tune into the creative airwaves. This is a fine balancing act.

Sometimes, though, static gets in the way, and therefore throws out all sense of balance that we strive to maintain. This can come in an array of different forms. Some days, we just don’t feel like it, and suddenly the TV seems so much more interesting. Other days we pick up a really good book to read, and can’t seem to keep our noses out of it till we finish. And as much as we absolutely adore our friends and family who support and love us constantly, they get in the way as well. 

Invitations to parties, dinner, movies, lunch, anything… If we writers are in the middle of some sort of creative winning streak – we start turning down those invites. I know that if I drink too much alcohol, then the next day I will be completely incapable of anything creative. Some friends understand, which is wonderful, but others can start to get a bit fickle about whether or not they will continue to invite us to spend time with them. My Dad who was staying with me last week told me that my Mother has been complaining to him about not being able to get hold of me. This is probably because I turn all the phones off if I’m in the middle of writing new worlds, and the characters that live within them. I just can’t afford to be distracted by the phone.

Two weekends ago, we had a bit of a graduation party at our house for one of my closest friends. Did I get any writing done that weekend? Erm. *blush* No. Why? Because I was busy entertaining, chattering away, and when the people had left, I then cleaned, and put everything back together again. Then that same friend had an issue on the road about twenty kilometres north of where I live, and we had to execute a rescue mission. My father then arrived to stay a couple of days after that. Needless to say, that was a solid week where absolutely no writing work was done. Zilch. My feng shui has been right royally screwed with.

This coming weekend is a long weekend in New Zealand, where I would normally be very excited to be able to spend three consecutive days writing… however we are off to work on the holiday house. Some friends are even coming to help! Gah! It needs to be done, and believe me, I wouldn’t be miserable about it if I had some decent writing miles behind me for the month of May. But I don’t, and it’s seriously upsetting me.  I’m hoping that I’ll be able to rise early to get in my writing mileage without distraction. However, today is a new month.

Now, if I had the luxury of writing full time at home, then I could probably sort this mess out. Speaking of home, I have been getting more and more upset with my favourite room – my library. It’s a beautiful room, but it’s in such a pigsty. I can’t cope, and yet I don’t want to deal with it either. Some of the mess actually isn’t mine, but I’ll leave that ‘particular subject’ alone. But I will say one thing… When that ‘particular subject’ steps into my library, and proceeds to mess up this beautiful space that I have carved out of our house for myself, I get extremely pissed off. Yeah, I’m talking about the amount of crap that’s left lying around, equipment left on, dirty coffee cups, books moved about, or whatever. So, over the past few days I have been thinking very hard on my library, and the current tip that it’s in. And I think that I need to move it around to get a better sense of actual feng shui balance in there. I’m not happy about the state that it’s in, so therefore I would like to do something about it. If possible. Wish me luck on that one! I’m hoping that once I am happy with the room again, it will assist with getting my mental feng shui back in alignment.

In winter I am a hermit, and I’m happy like that. Even in the summer, I can be a bit of a hermit. I enjoy my own company, and I enjoy chatting to my characters in my head. And I love writing, because it makes me feel such an awesome sense of elation when things seem to be falling into place. It’s the way I have chosen to live my life. Friends and family are extremely important though, as they are the people you turn to when you need them. I think that I just need to find some sort of way to balance out my mental feng shui with those people included in there.