Writing was always Easy. No more

It’s been a while since I Papermashed as it were. Talked to you, said hello, or just dropped a line or so of poetry even if I were too tired to write anything else. Guess writer’s block does exist, just not in the way you and I expect. I haven’t really had a mental block, more a physical one where time seems to run away from me. Or I come home too tired to write, even though all it requires is that I sit there. Time seems to wind up fast these days, one day turning into two, then three, and so forth, and before I know it, months it seems has passed and it’s as if writing regular is like a foggy memory. Something distant that I once used to do. A little slice of tranquility in the noise. 
I’m aware there are a tonne of emotions running through me on this topic. I’m frustrated that I haven’t written much. I’m sad that I miss those days I could grab my notebook and starting as if I never stopped. The strongest however is the feeling of guilt. Guilt for not writing. Guilt for having no time. Guilt for absolutely vegging out on the couch on the rare days instead of using that time to write. Guilt for taking time for myself. Guilt for letting work take over my life, seep into all my days and hours that I’m awake.
Today I was asked if I’ve had a chance to make progress with my novel. The answer was a simple no. No I haven’t touched pen to paper in months. No that when I try, I sit there staring at the page wondering what now. Never thought I’d be here, wondering. Writing has always come easy. I’m not one to plan, I’m not one to fret and outline. I simply sit there and the words string out, the story spilling out of its own. I’m just a conduit. 
What do you do when writing is no longer easy, no longer pouring out on its own. How do you plan? For someone who has never had to worry about that, now I’m wondering… I’ve got to learn how to write again. Where do I begin? 
For now, this entry will have to do… till the words begin flowing once more. 

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Insomnia for the naive

Insomnia for the naive

It rarely happens that I can’t sleep, but tonight is one of those nights. Sydney has been having really hot weather recently, and after a two day reprieve from the unrelenting heat, we are about to be slammed with 3+ days with above 45 degree heat. The fan is twirling away just at the foot of the bed, the window is cracked wide open and I can even hear the chirps of crickets outside. My feet are boiling and and the air the fan is blowing off me is already bouncing of with radiated heat. Sigh. Summer. I’ve have a love hate relationship with it. I love the long days, and the cool breezes we get some evenings, but that’s about it. 
Tonight it’s not even the heat that’s left me sleepless. It’s an uncomfortable feeling in my stomach. Perhaps a bit to do with late night dinner, but I think it may have something more to do with a anxiety and anticipation. I’ve been operating on all cylinders for the last month or more what with new job, new living space, new commute, while still trying to keep some of my old routine going so I feel some sort of a balance in life. 
I am becoming obsessed with what is going on around me right now. And it doesn’t help that I have the albeit self-imposed deadline to reach for my book, ‘Charming and Stewart’ releasing this Valentine’s Day. I worked on the book, combing through some of the last chapters for about 5hours after I came back from work. I now have heart burn from the stress of it (lol). I still have two chapters to run over once more before I lock it and start formatting prior to release. Yikes. I’m pushing it with only 5 days to go. Not to mention, there are minor alterations to be made on the cover page too. 

I’m not used to dealing with anxiety and insomnia like this. How do you deal with it, those that suffer insomnia? The weird ache in the chest isn’t going away. Perhaps I’ve actually bitten off more than I could chew, what with school work also looming over my head. It won’t do if I go into lessons without planning my material either. On top of it all, I feel guilty that I haven’t been working on new material. 

Here I go, well past midnight, wide awake and listening to the night. 

It’s time to talk about me.

It’s time to talk about me.

It’s time to talk about me.
I don’t normally talk about me, or write about my life. It’s time I started. Being a writer, or dreaming about being a writer is far from that childish dream of sitting in a corner penning marvelous stories, and more about self-promotion for the sake of the writing. It’s more about talking about the things that brought you to this phase in life and less about daydreaming of book signings. I’m pretty sure every ‘writer’ out there, whether you have been discovered, wether you are already famous (then chances are you are never going to come across this little blog), or whether you’re still in your closet and haven’t come out saying ‘I want to be a writer’. Whoever we are, lets face it, there is no room for coyness in today’s world. 
I’m a writer. There, I said it. I’m a writer. It’s another story altogether that I’m a small time writer who mostly just writes for a small audience, or writes for myself. I don’t mind it. Of course I’d be lying if I said I never dreamed of the book signings as embarrassing as that is to admit. 
I’m done writing short stories and poetry, mini-series and chapters and posting them in the hope that it will be read and enjoyed. I used to obsess over the ‘stats’ page initially, anticipating views, likes and comments alike as if they were little pockets of treasure. I used to write one post every week at least in the hopes of gaining followers and readers alike. 
What I do now is pretty much sporadic. I know you are out there, those who have enjoyed my scribblings, typo and all. I still see you liking a post here and there and you still give me great joy. I don’t want to ask much of you, nor should I. I just want to thank you, for being there and keeping company with me. 
More than a year ago I published my first novel on Kindle and announced it with giddiness in all my social media. I mentioned it’s release and kept reminding of the dates so often I guess it helped somewhat. I’m not that person anymore, the one that seeks approval and desperately waits for likes and comments to feel achievement of sorts. I don’t know honestly if that is a good thing or bad. I guess bad in my case. 
Today, I just felt I needed to talk about me and what I’m doing. To bring some humanness to this page/blog of mine. It’s not just a place for stories of fantasy and imagination, it’s also my platform, my awkward stage, my way of reaching out there and conversing with the world. You don’t have to converse back, but knowing you are there is something in itself. 
So here I am, shamelessly ready to talk about my second novel ‘Charming Mr Stewart’. I plan on releasing it on Valentine’s Day. If you’d be interested, keep an eye out for more announcements. I’m working as best I can to meet this deadline. It’s been too long since I’ve wanted this, the nerves are setting in. I don’t know what else to say. 
Keep safe and write on.

Xoxo

Mourning lost work!

So writers, artists, actors, musicians, whoever you are, if you have ever created something then you will know and understand what I’m writing in this post. I am standing in front of chasm staring down at oblivion and wondering ‘Where the hell are you?!’ In a really panicked shouty voice.

I have kept this close to myself in the last few months. But I’ve lost something very important to me. It’s a $2 notebook, but is truly priceless, and I have lost it. Gone. Don’t know where. Don’t know how. I have searched everywhere I can think of having gone. And yet, it remains a mystery. And to this day, 5 months from when I had lost it, I am still hopeful it will turn up one day, safe and sound. I’ll find it in some silly place and tsk tsk myself for having been so blind. Here is hoping anyway. 
Why is this notebook worth restless thoughts? Because, it has precious chapters I was working of for my third novel. Now that I have lost it, I have lost 5 chapters of beautiful story line, dialogue that I cannot dream of repeating in the exact flourish again. And it’s bugging the hell out of me! I want it back. Bring me the missing piece that I’m hoping I’ll find again. I could rewrite those chapter again, sure. But will they be the same? Not a chance. And that is a devastating thought. I hadn’t had a chance to type them up yet! 
Argh. Just want to run around screaming at the wind right now! How do you deal with a loss of your material? This is a first for me and I’m obsessively thinking about it. Did I leave it at my sister’s? Did I leave it in the flight? Did I accidentally dropped it somewhere? So many questions all met with silence and a maddening need to find out, to have some clue of what happened. What do I do?

How long do you brew?

Seriously, I’m interested in seeing the differences out there. How long do writers brew, or rather stew on an idea before they begin writing it down? How long do you normally take? A couple of days, a few weeks, months maybe, or even years? 
I normally take weeks if they are novels, and a day or less if they are short stories, poems etc. I take a couple of days for short scripts and a couple of months for features. The longest I’ve sat on a story before starting to write it is a few months. 
In those months, what do you do? Do you plot the whole affair from beginning to end, or just major story arcs? Do you figure out your characters? 
I find that I usually focus on story arcs and character profiles, but in saying that I don’t set these as immovable before I write them down. Even as I start writing, I know I have to get from A to D to J and eventually Z, but the whole planning (and I use this word loosely) can go out the window as I write without restraints. 

Well, my dilemma here is that I have an idea, a very brief overall arc of the story and the two protagonists I’ll be writing about, but I am so tied up with other projects that I feel this will have to take a backseat for God knows how long. Is it wise to lay aside a story? What has been some of your experience? I’m kind of nervous that if I don’t at least brew on it for a little while, I’ll lose the story, the spark that inspired it. 
All I know is that I have the title for the story already and the characters: Ebony & Frank.

The theme: recognizing one’s true self through the eyes of others.  

 

The ‘Dream’ we dream (When not to approach agents and publishers): notes from an amateur writer.

The ‘Dream’ we dream (When not to approach agents and publishers): notes from an amateur writer.

If you’ve found yourself clicking on this post, then I’m safe to assume that you are either someone starting out in writing and dream of being published, or, you are an experienced writer/producer wanting to see how much of a fool I’m making myself in this post and what other silly things I might write beside the title that obviously got you to click.

Well, here’s the thing. I am amongst those who dream of being a writer whose work gets picked up by a publisher/agent. An action that will mean ‘Yes, we made it!’ We have achieved the dream we set out to make reality. Despite self-publishing my debut novel and despite entertaining the notion of self-publishing my second novel, I am still in fact hoping, praying and dreaming that one day I get to sign on the dotted line. As a writer, regardless what stage of that dream you are in, I guarantee that you have dreamed of being ‘picked up’ as it were. I know I have. 
There are certain things you should definitely heed if you are wanting to go down that path, and other things you should definitely consider before you make your decision.

1) Get unbiased opinion on your work:-
this doesn’t mean you give it to a family member of friends, or family members of your friends and asks them to be ‘objective’. I mean, get a genuine stranger to read your work and give you an honest feedback as to the overall story, the strengths and weaknesses, characters, what works, what doesn’t etc. You can find these people in writing groups, or hire a professional.

You need this to truly gauge how strong your work is, or not. All this before you embarrass yourself by sending subpar material to agents and publishers. Don’t even take that chance. 

2) Take the sound suggestions made by the said ‘unbiased’ reader (or readers):
– You don’t need to and should never take every single advice from your readers. If there is a pattern, and obviousness that occurs through the feedbacks, then I suggest you take them on. If however, a suggestion doesn’t settle well with you, then remember that the story at the end of the day is your. Only make the changes that you feel surely add to the overall strength and unity. Otherwise, make wise decisions on which suggestions work for you.

3) Don’t be afraid to re-write:-
Though re-writing is the bane of our existence, unfortunately, you must do it. Don’t rush it, don’t hate the process, just get on with your ego to the side and do what’s best for the story. It’s all about that story. You have to make it be what it could be. Sometime you will find that you only have to rewrite very little, a paragraph here, maybe a chapter there, but other times, you will have to completely re-write a section or the whole story. Don’t be depressed by this. All of us go through it. Just do your job, which is ultimately the coherence and cohesion of your story. 

4) Don’t send it in till you are absolutely proud of it:
– Until you reach such a moment, always know that every work can be continuously improved as time goes. But you must be sure there isn’t much more you can add to the work without the guidance and keen eye of a producing house. Until such moment, keep at it till you can make it as good as you can make it. Then, you are good to go. Send it out and see what comes back. Sometimes it will be nothing, just silence, but you learn. Maybe another time, you might just be in luck.

5) If you go down self-publishing path, don’t rush your trimmings:
– If your story is your main course then think of your cover as your enticing appetizer and your blurb as the entree. The dessert is the pay off of having found out what the book is about. Please pay great attention to both of these sidekicks: cover and blurb. Most often I have seen pretty bad covers on what are great stories, and chances are I wouldn’t have read them if I didn’t know the person. Our readership are pretty much the same and we all inherently judge value based on appearance. There are some cover designers out there who work with indie authors for a small fee. See if you can find them.

6) Don’t let silence take your joy away:-
if you haven’t heard back from publishers or get rejected more times than you can throw a pen at, don’t let it pull you down. Maybe you work isn’t ready, or maybe it’s not a fit with the house you approached. Keep trying and while you do that, keep yourself distracted. How do you do that? Just write that other story you have been meaning to write. Focus on that. It won’t promise that you current one will get picked up but at least you are preoccupied and doing something you enjoy, and at the end of it all, you may even have two stories to pitch rather than the one. 

Well, I’m sure there are more things I could rattle on about, and I’m sure there is a whole array of things you and I have yet to learn. These are just the few things I’ve gone through myself and thought I’d share, in case there is just one of you who can benefit from these. 
Keep writing those stories chapter at a time and enjoy.
Goodnight.

Writing style: Long-handed writing

How prevalent are computers and tablets, and little ‘Note’ apps on phones? Pretty much everywhere. You’d think they’d put notebook makers and other paper product out of business, but, luckily, we can still enjoy a well bound and finished notebook in our hands. 

I tell people I write and they immediately assume I write straight onto the digital page. When I say ‘No, I actually psychically write my books on paper’, the mouths fly open. It’s something people can’t fathom a writer doing in the modern digital age, but I’m not the only one. There are lots of writers out there that like writing with a pen in hand. I LOVE it. The only time I’ll use a computer is to type up the story I’ve written longhand.
It sounds crazy but it’s true. The reason I do it is several, but here are just a few you might like to hear:

1) I write faster than I type,

2) I can actually focus on the story and not the screen. Writing by hand is obviously more natural than staring at the distracting screen, 

3) It feels more free, and comfortable,

4) I can take it anywhere, no chargers needed and is often lighter than the laptop,

5) It’s how writing has been done through the ages and I like being part of that club,

6) I’m not tempted to edit what I just wrote, therefore keeps me focused on getting more writing done than fussing over mistakes I can mend later, hence, helps me keep pace,

7) Is a lot calming; studies have proven that people using their computers and phones before bed struggle to fall asleep, and I tend to do most of my writing before bed.

Fact about my previous books: 
1) In Strange Company took me 5 years on and off to write and a few more on and off to edit. It also took about 700 sheets of A4 lined paper.
2) Rule of Thirds took me a year to write, and 7x250page notebooks. ( Releasing later in August)
3) A Million Smiles for June, I started writing this late last year and am still going, on and off between my studies and film attempts. So far, I’m on chapter 13, notebook #2, and I already have about 6-7 notebooks ‘handy’ should I need them.
What I want to own one day?: A classic typewriter.
(Something about sitting at a typewriter and punching out a book has such an attractive appeal to it.) 
How do you write? And most importantly, what do you use to write?