Posted in Author Highlight, Elephant Creek, Writers

Writers need writers – no one else gets it


So, what’s the best thing that can happen during a writer’s day? Okay, besides being offered a huge advance and three-book deal with a traditional publisher! Movie options? Chris Hemsworth playing your MMC? Writing? Typing ‘The End’ in a manuscript? Meeting a fan of your books? Receiving awesome reviews? Appearing on Ellen? All things I could hope for as an author but there’s another thing that brings me simpler joy, motivation and pleasure.

Catching up with other writers.

Even if the writer is a near stranger, in no time you connect. It’s usually inevitable especially if you write the same genre (in this case Romance). Who else can you talk to about the writing craft? Non-writers don’t get it. Writers understand.

All writers go through the same struggles to perfect their craft. I love the banter, support, encouragement and knowledge gained from meeting up with a writer. The writer I had coffee with was Beth Prentice. We had previously met briefly at Books By the Beach and at 2019 RWA Melbourne Conference. When I told her I had moved near her we arranged to catch up and I’m glad we did.

So, for those of you who don’t write but like to know what writers talk about here’s some of the various things discussed.

Writer’s talk about:

  • How only a writer gets IT (writing)
  • The difficulty of hearing someone critique your work
  • The joy of creating a character you love
  • How fun it is to write sex scenes (after much build-up)
  • The funny reactions to the fact you write explicit sex scenes
  • Finding out there are other writers in your neighbourhood
  • Realising our books are character and emotion-driven
  • Discovering invaluable writing references
  • Laughing at the fact our husbands don’t read
  • Encouraging and nurturing each other’s writing goals
  • Sharing marketing and publicity knowledge
  • Understanding how difficult it is to say goodbye to some characters
  • The best ways to research a story
  • Why we have so many new story ideas going on in our heads
  • Which story to choose next
  • How writing is a joy even though it is damn hard, isolating and time-consuming – it’s still a joy.

We could talk for hours about writing but real life gets in the way and we part company. Though we have work or have family commitments first, when we get our bum back in our office chair and plant our fingers on the keyboard we will write. We’ll write with renewed vigour from our writer-writer catchup. A few hours well spent.

So now, once this post is posted. I’ll be continuing the latest manuscript with more ideas and enthusiasm, thinking of my friend, a few suburbs away doing the same thing. We’ll both be finding out what our characters will do next, where the story is heading and how it will end.

I’ll keep you posted on the progress of Elephant Creek.

Teaser: Why did Toby change his name back to Noah? Can he ever love again after what his ex-wife Katie did?

If you’d like to check out USA Today Bestselling Author Beth Prentice’s books go to: Beth Prentice Novels 

Posted in Elephant Creek, Happiness, Health and fitness, Other stuff, Writers, Writing tips

My writing epiphany made me hit reset


I had an epiphany.

From the Oxford Dictionary

epiphany

noun

1. the manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles as represented by the Magi (Matthew 2:1–12). (Nah, not this kind)

2. a moment of sudden and great revelation or realization. (That’s it)

My epiphany: To write in a healthy way.

The updated front cover up upcoming release Elephant Creek.

How did this moment come about?

A close friend dropped by my house. Nothing unusual with that, at least I didn’t think so. As I made tea I waffled on with my dramas (trivial ones in hindsight). Though she seemed a bit quieter than usual, my normally attentive emotional radar did not kick in. I should have twigged when she started on the lame jokes (her cover), but no I kept rambling. Finally, I asked her how she was (a smack in the head moment).

“I found a lump in my breast,” she said simply as my jaw dropped along with my shame. Breast cancer, the big C, the frightening, dreadful disease that no one should have, let alone a life-long friend.

Usually a non-crier, her tears fell, joined by mine and then my husband’s too. It was a moment of no, why, what, how, and this totally sucks! Of course, we talked about her options, emotions, ethics and yet to be made decisions until she was obviously exhausted from revealing the news.

When she left, I cried some more. Shock. Though I believe she’ll fight the big C and WIN I found myself thinking the oddest thoughts. Anger. How can I help her? Care. What would I do if something did happen to her? Selfishness and fear. Why someone so healthy? Questions. Why so many with cancer? More questions. I don’t want this to be happening to my friend. Sadness.

The next day I entered my home office. I answered emails, filed, created spreadsheets, did research and other things for four hours on autopilot. Occasionally I glanced at the books lining my shelf. Two are my own self-published books, two anthologies I feature in and the rest are writing references. When I finished my employed work (RWA), I stared at the books again. I looked at my desk with fresh eyes. I was organised with all my trays, nooks and folders. My office was functional and pretty. I loved working in my own writing space. Problem was I was not writing enough.

But what if my health stopped me working or writing? What if something happened to me, like my friend. I’d previously overworked and my health had suffered. I realised how important health is.

Another good friend (a fellow writer) has kidney disease and is awaiting a transplant. She’s ten years younger than me. Her first book will be out soon. Her disease spurred her on to get it done.

My epiphany made me hit reset. Restart all goals. Writing goals cannot be achieved without good health. The brain does not function properly with a lack of exercise and bad diet.

What will I do now (and yes, I have started)?

  • Wake early each morning to jog (I’m unfit so this is tough)
  • Walk the dog as a warm down (appreciating nature too)
  • Eat cleaner, fresher, wholesome foods
  • Always have breakfast (usually oats plus fruit or nuts)
  • Stretch the fingers after being on the keyboard all-day
  • Step away from the laptop if the neck or shoulders hurt
  • Go to the beach at least once a week
  • Write on notepads instead of always on a screen
  • Take supplements (like magnesium for cramps)
  • Eat more Keto-type foods
  • Buy a standup paddleboard and paddle on weekends
  • Get my skin checked
  • Purchase more hats to wear in the sun
  • Wear sunglasses in the sunshine
  • See the grandchildren (they give us life and lessons)
  • Listen to what people are really saying (watch body language)
  • Be mindful
  • Relax more
  • Keep learning about writing
  • Write more
  • Finish Elephant Creek
  • Start the next book (and keep going and going)

There’s probably plenty of extra things I could add but that will do for now.

Keep writing you never know when you will no longer have time

Until next time here are photos of my new office on the Sunshine Coast. Plus, the updated version of Elephant Creek’s cover. I hope you like it. Please let me know what you think.