Tag Archives: motivation

Say it isn’t so :(

I’m a little bit in mourning, yesterday was the last day of my Refine Your Novel course. I am going to miss it so much, I enjoy looking forward to it and I enjoy the work while I’m there and I love the motivation in the days after it.

I’m also going to miss the tutor. I did this course with Toni Jordan 3 years ago so this is my second go around with her and she was just fantastic. This last day is possibly my favourite. In my favourite exercise she gives us an early draft of her debut novel, but a version very close to what she sent to her publishers, and then a photocopy of the printed book and she gets us to mark up the changes, of which there are many. This is incredibly brave of Toni and so helpful to us writers. It’s all well and good hearing about the things you need to do to a manuscript to whip it into shape, it’s another matter entirely to see and create a real life example.


That’s a lot of green pen!

While we work on this, Toni takes a sample of our manuscript and line edits it for us. Most of us provide our first 1500 words, 3 years ago she marked up the first page for me (of a different manuscript) this time she marked up three pages. It’s such a fantastic opportunity, to see where it is you need to concentrate, where you’re going right and where you’re missing the mark.

20150726_152903And in a bit of a fan girl moment I got my copy of her first novel signed.

There’s much to be done, so much…

Music soothes the writer’s soul

One of the blogs I procrastinate with follow is the Debutante Ball ‘Five debut authors, five novels, one big dance toward publication.

There is a theme each week and each writer blogs their experience – one week they interviewed their editors, one week their agents, they have talked about the jealousy on the road to publication when others get signed before you, about motivation and the list goes on. Over the last week they have written about the music they listen to while writing.

This has been really interesting and I have such mixed emotions on this. I do tend to listen to music while I’m writing but not for the reasons that the authors on this site suggest. The reasons behind their music choice distilled down to creating the right atmosphere to generate an appropriate emotion for the novel or the scene. While I completely understand their reasoning, it makes a great deal of sense, it’s not why I listen to what I listen to while writing.

I am easily distr…. ooh, look a bird’s outside the window, sorry where was I? Oh yeah, I’m easily distracted and so I listen to music while writing that can act as a sort of white noise. Having said that I’m not listening to death metal or acid house, I do need music that is fairly mellow. Music does definitely influence our emotions and I don’t need to amp up any anxiety or edginess.

I can remember when I was in high school my mum used to say she knew when I was studying behind my closed bedroom door by what music I had playing.

So to create the white noise effect I need I can’t have anything on my playlist that I know too well, I don’t want to be singing along. I use Spotify and sometimes will use some of their preprogrammed list – there was one called Your Morning Coffee or something along those lines, that I listened to for a while, but that could tend toward the insipid sometimes so it’s out of favour at the moment. I listen to some Damien Rice, but I’m getting to know some of those tracks a little too well. Buena Vista Social Club has been good, and also Paolo Conte – foreign language seems to help with the white noise effect. Jack Johnson and Nina Simone (not together although how great would that be?) and Eddie Vedder’s Into the Wild soundtrack get a fair run.

And shhh, don’t tell anyone the Twilight Breaking Dawn soundtrack. Please don’t judge me.

Some of the tracks the authors at Debutante Ball listed I really like, I may just have to spotify some of the others on their lists, chances are I’ll liek them but they’ll be unfamiliar enough to work for me. I always like finding something new (to me).

How about you, what music gets your creative juices flowing?

Three rules to writing…


What was he reading???

I work in the local public library a lot, it helps me avoid the guilt of undone tasks glaring at me while trying to write or work from home (not that I’d take procrastination to the extreme of actually vaccuuming).

This week I had set myself in my favourite spot, near a a power point, on an angle with my back to the wall so I can see out into the courtyard outside and into the library to people watch the other patrons. There was a guy next to me for most of the day as well. He had an ipad he spent some time on, listened to music through his ear buds and not much else. At one point a friend came and met him and they went to use one of the computers. He stood and started to follow his friend. His friend pointed out that he’d left his wallet and phone on the table at his chair. He responded that it was ok to leave it, no one takes anything at this library. But he turned back and took the novel.

He left his wallet. He left his phone. He took the book.

I love that.

What was the book? I never found out. How fabulous it would be to be the person that wrote a book someone cared more about losing than their phone or wallet!

Beautifying the beast

Excited!A Happy New Year present to me! I’m am so excited, I have booked in to take part in this fantastic course at Writers Victoria and I am bursting to get started!

Those long suffering of you will perhaps remember Iong, long ago I attended a First Draft Post Mortem series at Writers Victoria, run by the fantastic Toni Jordan (I wrote about it here). I LOVED it, and yet didn’t take full advantage of it as I hadn’t completed the manuscript I was workshopping. When I finished my Nanowrimo project in November I looked around and found Toni was once again running a series in 2015 – Refine Your Novel.

And I had this…well I want to say shiny new manuscript, but I have this grotty, misshapen beast of a manuscript that is just waiting for a blowtorch and some plastic surgery.

It was meant to be. Yippee!


You know you’re obsessed when….


The view out my train Window

You know you’re obsessed with making a word count target when you have an unanticipated hour long train journey and spend the entire trip typing a scene on your smart phone and then emailing it to yourself. Nanowrimo 5 days to go and 12,000 words needed!

Cimarron Session 2014 – writing retreat

Well I’ve checked in, settled myself, is it wrong to just want to have an afternoon sleep first? I mean, it’s a lovely warm day, I’m totally exhausted and it is oh so very quiet here! And look…that comfy bed is just waiting for me right?

20141121_142353And I picked up a book at the library, Jamie Ford’s latest Songs of Willow Frost, so I could just snuggle on down there, read a chapter or two and have a little snooze couldn’t I??

No, you’re right, I didn’t leave Bman and Little Man for two nights to sleep in the afternoon (well……). I have many thousands of words to write. And I have started, but 12 words is not really a start is it?

2014-11-21 15.03.31Oh and if you haven’t read Jamie Ford’s first novel Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet – get you to a bookstore, pronto!

Don’t forget to scream

While it should not be a surprise to myself, it is amazing how I can sit down to write and manage to busily do anything but that, despite my best intentions. I know this has been a bit if recurring theme in the last few posts, but it’s been a significant problem lately, and I know it is for many of you too.

Exactly that has happened on a number of times recently. Today, determined to not fall into the same trap, I did fall into it for an hour or two, found myself and gave me a good talking to. I had started a writing exercise recently, just to dust off the cobwebs before heading into my manuscript, and 400-odd words in I was intrigued and thought that maybe this story could go somewhere. Today was the first chance I had to start building on it and see if it does have legs. So I dithered and stalled and cursed myself. Then I found the tools at Final Deadline – in particular a feature they have titled Scrawl. It’s essentially a textbox you type your story in, you set a time frame you want to write for and there’s a stick in the form of a scream that if you don’t type for a period of so many seconds, it will scream at you.

I haven’t heard the scream yet, I’ve been too afraid – I’m in the library after all! But I set myself 15 minutes as a first try, with a 15 second window of inactivity before the scream kicked in. In 15 minutes I wrote more than 400 words, I double my word count! Now those words needed probably 15 minutes tweaking and fiddling (just to fit into draft form), but in 30 minutes I had 400 extra words, 400 more than I’d written in the previous 30 minutes!

So I’m heading back over there now – I’ll let you know if I hear the scream 🙂


Holy crap! I hit the 15 seconds without realising it and, thankfully I had headphones in so I didn’t deafen the library users, but the noise! it was like traffic and sirens and honking and LOUD!!!  I jumped and raised my hands in defence – it was loud and shocking! The only way to stop it is to type. Whoa, my heart beat fast!! I’ve kept typing, there’s no way to stop the timer once started, it has to run down the entire 15 minutes, but man I’m nervous! The next time I think I’ll make the warning period 30 seconds, I know I have to keep typing, the timer itself and the increasing word count is an incentive, but man, the fear is perhaps a little contrary to productivity! It seriously shocked me – how funny!


Does time evaporate?

Illness side tracked me for a week or so, you’ll never know due to the magic of pre-saved and post-posted blogs. But it did stall me from writing for the duration. Not thinking, or planning, but words on screen = 0.

Back into it today (truly the first day I have felt well, pleased it coincided with a day I had free) and I am becoming aware I am not quite back into the routine of writing. I like what I am writing it’s just that I manage to fill a good few hours before hand with distraction, procrastination, junk.

I don’t know why, it’s pure self sabotage. I arrive at the library, excited, keen to get started, feeling lucky that I have the hours before me and then I Facebook, read the news online, I don’t even know what else, but bam, time is used up.

Finally I get into it, get into the flow and mindset but I only have 2 hours left! Arrrrgggg! Why do I do it?

I need to retrain myself. Perhaps a quick burst of unrelated writing within a half hour of sitting down might work. Warm up the writing muscles.

Maybe a timer of some sorts – there used to be something called Write or Die, a timer based web tool that you could set to a word count and time limit. If you missed your goal a hideous noise would result. Seems this is now a paid option, much improved with rewards as well as sticks. In looking (yes procrastinating) I have found an alternative called Scrawl

Credit - image for the online product Scrawl: http://www.finaldeadline.co.uk/scrawl.html

Credit – image for the online product Scrawl (link in the post)

which looks like a nice option – I’ll give it a try.

Any other advice besides suck it up princess and just type you woos?

Not this time around (yet) but the website Morph Thing is a fantastic procrastination time waster – you can choose pics of celebs (or upload your own) and morph them together into, usually, gorgeous results. I’ve attempted to make character sketches this way but they tend to come out too incredibly pretty to be real life people. But hey, it’s fun and uses up an inordinate amount of time – have a try!! Hayden-Panettiere-and-Hillary-DuffHere’s Hayden Panetierre and Hillary Duff (I don’t know, they are just two in the H category) – no one in the real world could look like this!


Current Nano side note for you – word count is not on target but solid, the nano story I’m writing is actually the ‘warm up’ piece I mentioned above.

Would I lie to you?

Under the cover of darkness I have crept back, through hardships unknown I have fought my way back.

KeepCalmStudio.com-[Crown-Upside-Down]-Keep-Calm-It-s-True-This-Blog-s-Back-againOk so that’s possibly a tad over dramatic. I have returned, I have no decent excuse for such a protracted absence – life interfered, pesky imp that it is.

But with renewed vigour I am back writing again, and I’ve done a sneaky little thing. I wrote this post <<insert time frame>> ago (you know I’m leaving that in as typed, cos that’s how I roll, deliberate typos so that you then assume the others are deliberate and ironic, yeah that’ll work). Seriously though, this post was written in late August.

Why the posting delay you ask? I’ve restarted this blog in the past and fallen off the wagon, I didn’t want this to be a repeat of past performance. So today I started writing again, outlining, but the juices are flowing. I’m chronicling the restart and also plan to restart the blog. But I want a volume of work again, I want a habit re-established and sustained, I want to be able to make sure it sticks.

So I’m writing, and I’m blogging as I go, it will just be a little while till I post. But rest assured, if you’re reading this post, there are many to follow, I have a back log, well I will have, I don’t yet today while I’m typing, but I do today as you’re reading. Get it? Phew, I’m glad someone does.

Talk to you again, well tomorrow maybe? Let me know.

It feels great to be back – Bel.