Project October Writing Journal – Part 13


Day 28

Today something unusual happened. I had no family commitments or job interviews, a day to myself, and I was planning to do housework and writing. I’d just started the dishwasher when my phone began ringing. I thought – hoped – that it might be about one of the jobs I’d interviewed for. But I didn’t recognise the number. Then I thought it might be about another job I’d applied for; I’ve applied for a lot. So I answered.

It wasn’t about any of those things. Even though this Project October has felt more about my efforts at jobseeking than about my efforts at writing, it wasn’t anything to do with potential jobs. It was a woman named Ally, who told me she worked at Text Publishing. She was calling to let me know that Black Spot, which I’d entered in the 2016 Text Prize – a competition for unpublished young adult manuscripts – had been shortlisted. And to invite me to the announcement of the winner in just under two weeks’ time. Continue reading

Project October Writing Journal – Part 12


Day 26

I didn’t write today and after not writing yesterday that really has put me behind schedule with the word count. I slept late (exhaustion still not dealt with), washed my hair, dried my hair, fell asleep again (when I am tired, I am really tired), then woke up to have some dinner and go to a branch meeting of the political party I am a member of. Sometimes, it just isn’t going to happen no matter how good your intentions are.

Today’s Word Count: 0

Ongoing Tally: 23,826


Day 27

I’m back on track today. I had another job interview this morning, but for a different job, and I’m back home now. It’s only early afternoon so I have plenty of writing time. I’ve upped my daily target for the last four days of Project October to 1,500 words per day, which should mean I get to 30,000 words by the time it’s over. And what’s an extra 500 words a day? Nothing. If I look back at some days during this month, I’ve been doing that and more anyway. Continue reading

Project October Writing Journal – Part 11


Day 24

Agony today. High heels yesterday partly responsible. Dancing at the wedding partly responsible. Nursing eight-month old twin nieces partly responsible. Taking public transport to the wedding and home again also partly responsible. I didn’t even wake up until half past one in the afternoon, which I suppose is the sign of a good wedding, right? It’s also a sign of the complete exhaustion that seems to befall me after every social event I attend. I am starting to feel older than my age. Not just the aches and pains. Every time I interact with young people, people in their teens and early twenties, they just make me shake my head in frustration and ask, “Was I ever that stupid and self-involved?” I don’t think I was but isn’t that what all older people think?

Today was another day of reinterpreting an already written conversation and considering how terrible I was feeling, it was excellent timing. I doubt I would have written anywhere near 1,500 words if I’d had to write it all from scratch. Continue reading

Project October Writing Journal – Part 10


Day 21

I’m just back from my job interview in the city. I was less nervous this time (not nervous at all, in fact) and I hope that was evident because the interviewer mentioned it to the recruiter last time like it might be some sort of deal breaker for this job. Who isn’t nervous in a job interview? Show me that person and I’ll show you a one in a billion personality type.

I put on the outfit I was planning to wear and it just wasn’t working. I realised that I haven’t worn dress pants to work for nearly three years because I’ve been writing at home and my previous short-term job was over the spring and summer months. My entire collection of work pants is horribly out of date and it shows. Anyway, after a quick change, I think I looked okay but it’s seriously time for a shopping spree. Continue reading

Project October Writing Journal – Part 9


Day 19

I went to have my licence renewed today. It’s ten years since I first got my licence and that meant I needed a new photograph. Can’t wait for the horrific results. Couldn’t be much worse than my passport though.

I wrote 250 words this afternoon and literally had my fingers poised over the keyboard to continue when I got a phone call from the recruiter who got me the job interview last week. I have a second interview the day after tomorrow but before then the interviewer wants to send me a brochure and get my take on it, what’s good, what’s bad, how I would change it. I swear, sometimes looking for work is worse than actually having a job in terms of how much time it eats up. And I’m not getting paid for it. Anyway, I’m not going to look at it until tomorrow. A writer’s got to have priorities, right? Continue reading

Project October Writing Journal – Part 8


Day 17

I spent the morning doing job applications, then watched the football with my grandfather in the afternoon and stayed at his house for dinner. He gave me a bangle and a necklace that belonged to my grandmother and that she specified in her will she wanted me to have. I was so touched when I found out. I knew my grandmother had a lot of jewellery but I assumed she would divide it up amongst her daughters and daughter-in-law on the assumption they would do the same when their time came.

This is going to sound stupid but when I’m not there, I assume people don’t think about me. I live a reasonably solitary life now, as much as someone with an enormous family can, and although I think about my sisters and nieces and nephews and parents and grandparents when I’m not with them, I always thought they would be so busy living their lives that they wouldn’t have time to think about me. But I lived with my grandparents for eleven years and as much as they have touched my life, I suppose I must have touched theirs, too. I must have been important to my grandmother. To have such tangible evidence of it now is heart-warming and heart-breaking at the same time.

I didn’t have a chance to write. I’m only 207 words behind so I’m sure I will make it up tomorrow. Continue reading

Project October Writing Journal – Part 7


Day 14

I had an actual job interview today. Not just meeting with a recruiter, an actual job interview. We’ll see where it goes. I can never tell if I do well or not because I’m too busy being nervous to notice. Meeting new people is not my forte. Selling myself is not my forte (I might have sold more books and this whole job search might have been unnecessary if it were). It’s a miracle that I’ve ever been hired before to be honest. (Yep, employer gave recruiter feedback that I seemed nervous. But I’ve gotten to the second interview stage so fingers continue to be crossed.)

I wrote nothing today. I am really struggling with the transition to the new character’s perspective. I didn’t think I would. But he’s been completely one dimensional in his appearances in the novel up until now and I don’t know him as well as I thought I did. At least, I thought his focus was so narrow that he only had one dimension but nobody is like that. Or if they are, they’re not very good characters. Continue reading

Project October Writing Journal – Part 6


Day 12

Because I’m ahead of where I intended to be in the word count, it made me lazy today. I knew I could get away with not writing, I didn’t really want to write and so I didn’t (not until half past nine at night). I did some more housework, I watched a trashy TV movie that made me really glad I’m not a teenager anymore (although compared to the fictional ones I was watching, I was a perfect angel), played some games on the computer, napped and did some laundry.

The whole premise of Project October is to write everyday but it can become monotonous. I suppose if I end up with 30,000 words at the end of it, I’ll still have achieved the goal but does it make it less meaningful if I don’t write on some days? I don’t think so. The trap, of course, is that I start thinking, “Oh, I don’t have to write every day, I’m still on target.” But eventually I will reach a point where I’m no longer on target and I will have to write all day, every day to get back and stay there. So I would have been better off just writing every day and not overanalysing it. Continue reading

Project October Writing Journal – Part 5


Day 10

I didn’t sleep well last night (I blame it on the wet hair) so I didn’t end up starting to write until after five o’clock this evening. But I reached the target in just over two hours. A lot of the last couple of chapters has felt very much like a first draft but at least I’m getting something down. Plus I like reviewing, editing and rewriting so when the time comes, I’ll be okay. And it is so much easier handing over a first draft to a beta reader than trying to talk to them about it when all I have is a blank page. Continue reading

Project October Writing Journal – Part 4


Day 7

I’m back from the city where I met with another recruiter – an hour and a half there, thirty minutes with the recruiter, an hour and a half back. I hate commuting. I actually don’t live an hour and a half from the city, that’s just how long it takes on public transport. Now that I’m looking for work, most of which appears to be in the city, I am feeling the distance of where I have chosen to buy my property. It didn’t matter when I worked locally. I’d love to work locally again but there isn’t a lot of work for a writer in the suburbs.

I wrote nearly 1,200 words this afternoon and then went to make dinner, thinking I might have another day like yesterday and come back to write well into the evening. I don’t know where the evening went but it’s nearly ten o’clock now. I suppose the lesson is to write early and write often and if I can’t write often, then writing early might get me to the target before I lose focus or motivation or whatever it is that went haywire tonight. Continue reading