Posted in Family life, Other stuff, Women's issues

Phew what a week!

I do like to keep busy but I think there is a fine line between busy and frantic. I aspire to be busy enough to stay focussed. Frantic only makes you stress and possibly make mistakes. So I pondered if I’d bitten off more than I can chew this week.

I’ve taken on a job as a graphic artist (just a fill-in position) for four weeks. The fact that I’ve been out of that particular industry (printing) for many years hasn’t seemed to phase me as it’s just like getting back on a bike. (Different programs but easily figured out). The thing is, because I took this on it put my book project ‘Dad Love‘ either on the burner or finish it quicker. As you would know from my last post, I finished it instead. Hopefully, I haven’t rushed the final edit too much but so far I’m pleased with the feedback.

You’re saying, “That’s not busy.” No maybe not but can I add the rest?

  • Kept working as a marketing publicist for Zeus Publications.
  • Plugged away at my own writing business (Donna’s Writing Services) by sending a flash fiction to a magazine.
  • Sent another flash fiction to a competition.
  • Wrote a letter to the editor to U on Sunday (The Sunday Mail) about an amazing young man  David Pocock and his organisation EightyTwenty Vision. See the link and donate to this very worthy cause.
  • Sent a query on an article idea.
  • Added new links to this blog and upgraded some pages (adding my book page for ‘Dad Love‘)
  • Entered some competitions.
  • Did some surveys.
  • Worked a night shift twice a week.
  • Fed my dog, Boss (at least every day). She barks on the dot at 4pm every day to let us know it’s feed time.
  • Walked Boss (when there was no torrential rain).
  • Put on numerous loads of washing and all the other mundane housework. Sometimes beds were made other times I had to let them be.
  • Shopped for the family groceries (my fridge is never full with two teenage boys).
  • Tried to kiss and hug my boys and hubby as often as possible.

Surely, I don’t have to itemize everything but just imagine all the other stuff all working mums complete as well as their career work. I’m sure there’s plenty out there who are frantic rather than just busy.

My brain isn’t frazzled yet but I do have a million things going on in it which makes it difficult to tune out at night and just go to sleep.

  • There are plans for the new novel.
  • Ideas for more articles.
  • Thoughts on how to do my new job.
  • How to fit in my old job?
  • How to juggle the family and make sure my boys don’t start eating the furniture?
  • Whether my husband is going to feel ignored (probably).
  • Whether my dog will fret because I’m not home with her as often.
  • How to find the time to still write?
  • How to find the time to update this blog?
  • Sitting my eldest son down and sorting out his tax so I can finish Tax Pack and send it away.
  • Will I ever get time to relax and read a book again?
  • What stretch of time can I allocate exercise to so my resolve doesn’t disappear altogether (and my waistline reappear)?
  • When will this rain stop so I actually feel like going for a walk or jog?

See, what a busy girl I am. I’m not complaining and I rarely talk about how busy I am (it’s sort of annoying isn’t it?). I just wanted to note it all down and see if it looked like a reasonable request of myself. It is. So on with it girl. Now you’ve blogged so get onto the other stuff.

Boss strapped into the back of the car so we can drive to Tally for a walk to the beach.

Why not let me know what kept you busy this week. I’d love to read your comments. Did you finish a manuscript? Did you volunteer somewhere? Did you go on holidays and have a relaxing time? What did you do?

Oh, and did I tell you that you can buy Dad Love for just $2 now for Father’s Day?

Posted in Uncategorized

Ideas, the muse and the writing life

When I tell people I’m a writer they usually ask me where I get my ideas from. I guess every writer gets asked this question and the answer varies, but most of us would agree that the answer is – from life.

If you aren’t an avid observer of life you’ll have little to write about.

I enjoy watching people’s body language and the gauntlet of emotions that can be run in any given situation.

Watch a child opening a present. Are they smiling? Are their eyes wide-open in awe? Do they giggle? Maybe they even cry.

Once you’ve viewed all this then think about a ‘what if’. What if this was the only gift the child had ever received? What if the present was from a father killed during a war a month ago but the parcel had only just arrived? (See where I’m going with this.) You could create a fabulous story just from a simple observation that you’ve added a ‘what if’ to.

I’ll often watch people at the surf club that I moonlight at (isn’t every struggling writer, at least at one point in their life, a waitress?).

Sometimes a couple will come in and argue about what to order off the menu. I notice the flashy wedding ring on her finger. They then sit as far apart as possible and stare out at the view of the surf instead of talking to each other. I imagine different scenarios. Have they had a big fight before they left to go out? Did one tell the other it’s over? Or perhaps they are on the brink of financial ruin and therefore spending money on a meal out leads to tension.

If I really let my imagination run wild I could assume she has just told him that she isn’t who he thinks she is and that she is leading a double life. She is being chased by someone sinister and he is looking out at the ocean, concerned that someone could climb over the balcony to attack her. Someone does and the surf club becomes the scene of an action movie. (That’d liven things up.)

Other times I’ve watched families. The father ignores the kids, eats his meal and drinks too much rum and coke. The mother looks frazzled and keeps asking the kids to be quiet, drinks water and barely picks at her meal. The kids are being typical excited children on a night out. What’s going on there?

I particularly like watching lovers and how they react to each other. If they gaze deeply into each other’s eyes and smile I’d assume they are in love. Just a little reach to touch each other’s fingertips is another sign.  Avoiding eye contact and standing apart could be a sign the love is waning or that they’ve had a fight. What signs have you seen?

Then there’s the weird and wonderful. One night the staff were discussing whether a patron was drunk (he could barely order his meal because he seemed confused and a little over the top). As we hadn’t actually seen him drink anything, we were concerned that he was mentally incapacitated in some other way. What if he’d had a brain injury? What if he was just odd?

Also, watch how people run, walk, talk, listen, sneeze, yell etc., so that you can describe different versions in your stories. Readers get sick of reading the same old take on something as simple as running. ‘He ran in long strides to get away’ could be ‘his lean legs were giraffe-like as he put a quick distance between him and his chaser’. Find something new and your stories will come alive.

Don’t forget to observe all the senses: see, touch, smell, taste and hear.

Just in case you can’t find anything interesting in life (I doubt it) here are some writing prompts:

  • Did you notice anyone in the car beside you as you were driving to work? Imagine where they were going. Write a story about their day.
  • There is a crack in your coffee cup. How did it get there? (Now don’t be boring.)
  • What was your first pet and how did you feel about it?
  • Think up a perfect book title including the word about. Write a short blurb.
  • Stick a pin in a map of the world. Write about the area the pin lands on.
  • When you pass a stranger note all their characteristics, mannerisms, dress sense, odour and anything else you notice. Imagine their life and write about it.
  • The next time you are happy try to remember exactly how you felt. Did your throat hurt from the laughter? Did your eyes run? Did you feel excited with a sense of wellbeing?
  • What are you really passionate about? (This should be easy to write an article about.)

I hope this helps get your muse back to work.

This blog has been inspired by my cousin Rik (also a writer) whose muse recently went walkabout and hasn’t returned.

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