Writing Is What Happens While You’re Busy Missing Deadlines

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About eighteen months ago, I published my most recent book, Project January: A Sequel About Writing. But I’d actually planned to publish it about four months earlier. Yet as the deadline I’d set for myself arrived, the book still wasn’t finished. I still have the publishing plans for it and my next four books written on one of my whiteboards:

*Project January: A Sequel About Writing – November 2016
*Black Spot – November 2017
*Trine – November 2018
*Project February: A Trilogy About Writing – November 2019
*Matriarchy – November 2020

I eventually finished and published Project January in March 2017 and you can read about how I did that in my post on how to psych yourself into writing a book. But because it was four months late (or at least four months later than I’d planned to publish), suddenly my subsequent publishing plans were also thrown out. (Obviously I like the idea of publishing roughly one book a year.) Continue reading

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Holding Yourself to New Year’s Writing Resolutions

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It’s been a whole year since I made four New Year’s writing resolutions. Given my previous lack of success in making plans and sticking to them when it comes to writing, I gave no guarantees about achieving any of them but because New Year’s Eve is right around the corner again, I thought I should review them and see if I managed to tick any of them off the list.

Resolution #1: Publish Black Spot
Straight off the bat, a big fat no. I didn’t publish Black Spot. I said at the time I made this resolution that I was just waiting for a couple of rejections from publishers before going ahead and self-publishing. Of course, that was before Black Spot was shortlisted for the 2016 Text Prize for Writing for Children and Young Adults. Although I didn’t win, I did get a lot of great feedback, did another rewrite and sent it off to a few more publishers. So I’m still waiting for a few more rejections. One way or another, Black Spot will be published in 2017. (I won’t call that a resolution, just an inevitability. There aren’t any more reasons to keep putting it off.) But as with everything when it comes to publishing, it’s just taking a little longer than I thought it would. Continue reading

The Beauty of the Midnight Blog Post

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I was speaking with another writer at an evening function recently about the structure of our writing days and told him, “I do most of my writing between eight and two.” “Me, too,” he said and he seemed to like the idea that we had similar routines but I knew immediately that it wasn’t the same eight and two I was talking about. “At night,” I clarified. “Oh,” he said as the vast difference in our approach was realised.

I could tell just by looking at him that he was a morning writer. The fact that it was mid-evening and he was blearily drinking his beer and rubbing his eyes made it obvious he was getting ready to go home to sleep. Meanwhile, I was as bright eyed as I normally am at that hour and preparing to go home to write for a few hours. Continue reading

The Whimsy and Wonder of Collective Nouns

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Last night I was having dinner with my father and he told me about an incident at his golf game during the previous week. Spotting a group of completely black birds, he pointed and drew the attention of his golfing companions and said, “Look. There’s a murder.” A murder of crows, he meant, “murder” being the collective noun for a group of that particular kind of bird.

“You know,” one of his golfing companions responded, “often in Australia when we think we’re looking at crows, we’re actually looking at Australian ravens.”

“What’s the collective noun for a group of ravens?” another of the group of golfers asked. They all looked at each other blankly.
Knowing my love of the English language, Dad relayed this conversation to me over dinner and asked, “Do you know what the collective noun is for ravens?” Continue reading

My own Project November (hell)

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In my book Project December and in a March blog post, I outlined what I call Project November – how to approach a rewrite after finishing the first draft of your novel. To briefly recap, the steps were:

• Accept that change is required
• Ask for beta feedback
• Walk away (AKA take a break)
• Come back at least a month later (AKA read it yourself)
• Give careful consideration to all the feedback you receive from your beta readers
• Cut, cut, cut
• Add, add, add
• Rewrite, rewrite, rewrite

I’m now doing Project November for Black Spot, which I’m planning to release later this year. Continue reading

2016 Text Prize Shortlist Announcement

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Um, okay, so this happened to me today:

Text Prize 2016 Shortlist

Yeah, that’s my picture in the top left corner…

Because, um, yeah, my unpublished book, Black Spot, has been shortlisted for the 2016 Text Prize, run by Text Publishing in Melbourne, Australia. It’s a competition for unpublished manuscripts written for children and young adults.

This is kind of embarrassing to admit for a writer… but I have no words!

Except… yay! And *happy dancing* that no words can describe!

I’m Running Out Of Ideas For Blog Posts…

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Over the past year and a bit since starting this blog, I’ve written a lot. At the beginning it was easy. I had so much material that had never been seen anywhere except writing classes and quite a bit more that had never been seen at all. Bit by bit, I would dole it out along with whatever else I came up with along the way.

I still have plenty of novel chapters, poems, song lyrics, creative pieces in reserve. But posting them all would be indulgent. So I try to sprinkle them sparingly throughout blog posts that offer something more to others who also write.

And I always have opinions, so a steady stream of articles and advice on writing and editing was the inevitable result. Until this month. The ideas boards were starting to get empty. The remaining ideas on them were starting to get less inspiring. I had to admit a hard truth. I was running out of ideas for blog posts… Continue reading