2013 writing roundup

29 December 2013

So this year, I’ve moved up a gear with my writing, stealing time wherever I can to write, revise or research. I wake at 5am every morning and get a good two hours in before the kids wake up. I’ve also negotiated a couple of hours in the evenings some nights. I’m getting at least 15 hours a week to write, which is almost two working days, and two hour spurts at a time is about as much as I can work productively, in any case, before my mind starts drifting …

I’ve completed two novellas, Unfit for motherhood, about a mother who abandons her children and The war artist and the half-dead beauty. I’ve also written a 50,000 word quirky rom-com that still needs a couple of redrafts before I start sending it off. I’ve written three stories in a series of chapter books for 8-11 year olds about Aunty Arty who takes her nieces and nephews into well-known paintings and I’ve just started drafting a new series for early readers in the 6-8 age bracket. Last of all, I’ve just finished a novelette about a fully tattooed man who wants to bequest his skin to the National Gallery of Australia. So, it’s been my most productive year yet, writing wise.

I’m still building up the nerve to get my writing out there (I’m quite happy to send my work off to faceless agents and publishers, but I’m still uneasy about people I know reading what I’ve written!). Recently, I started posting lines from my tattoo story on Instagram, which has been a bit of a confidence booster getting those little love heart likes from people around the world (cheap thrills, I know ... but I've got to find encouragement where I can!) http://instagram.com/outaprintwriter And I’ve just had an excerpt from my war artist story published on Ether Books which I’ve been promoting through Twitter and Instagram, but am reluctant to share too widely as I can’t yet stomach the idea of some members of my family and friends reading this story. It’s a particularly brutal scene where the war artist finally gets to witness the theatre of war, and I’m living in fear of certain people judging me as having a strange, demented mind! It’s not really representative of what I usually write, but here’s the link http://catalog.etherbooks.com/products/3153  I’m going to have to get over these sorts of insecurities if I’m ever going to become a truly proud and courageous writer …

And talking about finding courage as a writer, I’ve started going along to the monthly Melbourne Literary Salon http://melblitsalon.wordpress.com/. Organised by the delightful Anna Burkey and Sarah Jansen, it’s the only place I’ve been where people start a conversation with ‘Hi, what do you write?’ I’ve met some really interesting and friendly people, and it’s been a good process for me to gain more confidence talking about my work. I’ve gone from the first salon answering, ‘oh, I sort of, kind of write … I’m trying to write fiction,’ to now being able to list things I’m doing in a far more positive and spirited way.

This year I’ve had some great support from carefully selected friends that have spared their time to read my work and give feedback. Kirstie Innes-Will has been particularly helpful, reading two of my novellas and writing extensive feedback, as a professional editor and manuscript assessor her thoughtful comments have been invaluable http://www.kiweditor.com.au/.

Unfortunately, with all this focus on my fiction, my two blogs have been a bit neglected this year (this one and http://www.purplepartypeoplemelbourne.com/  – where I review unique places to have kids parties around Melbourne) … so if you’ve noticed a decrease in posts here, it’s only because I’ve been increasing my productivity in other areas.

And one can’t improve the quality of their own writing, without reading some really inspiring books. Highlights this year have been Leopold von Sacher-Masoch’s Venus in furs, Gogol’s Diary of a madman and other stories, Italo Calvino’s Marcovaldo, Kafka’s The Castle, Steven Amsterdam’s Things we didn’t see coming and rereading Tatyana Tolstoya’s On the golden porch.

To those other writers on their writing journey, good luck, I hope 2014 is a great year for you!


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