Broken pieces

This is my view. I’m inside listening to the fire crackle, to the heater fan rising and falling, to the tap on various keyboards of fellow writers. I’m editing, or to be honest I’m staring out the window. 

I’m in the umpteenth draft of my young adult manuscript and I’ve made a change (a biggish one) and it feels like I broke it. 

This is a good and a bad thing. I needed to do that I could mend it, but the process of mending it is tough and mind bending. 

At the moment it feels like my story is something like this wind chime in the picture. One stray piece stuck in a bush on the other side to the body of the chime. It’s a pivotal piece and needs some careful wrangling to get it back in the right place. 
Sigh. More staring. More thinking. More wrangling. 

Carving space to think, write 


I’m packing for four days in Sydney. It’s a holiday with an old mate, and a moment to research a new story as well as time to edit and write. I’m getting better at this. That is, taking time for what I need. 

Two years ago I had only been away from my family for a total of three weekends. In the last two years I have been away for five writers retreats. I now toss my bag together the night before and walk out the door. 

These times away are becoming an important part of my practice. It’s time I can dedicate my mind to thinking story and character and allow ideas to grow. Not only does it make me a better writer, but it also makes me a better mum and wife. I come home refreshed (and tired). I come home ready to spend time with them. 

As I pack I’m tempted to throw every book I might want, but I now know that I don’t need to. I’m taking what is relevant right now. I have a notebook to scribble in when we are out and about, Watkin Tench’s book 1788, Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet, Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones, and my current read The Forrests by Emily Perkins. Probably before morning I’ll through another book in. 

Sometimes taking less is more. More space to think. I’m planning to stand where Anne, my First Fleet convict ancestor stood and imagine what was going through her mind as she gripped her swelling belly, father long gone already. As she stared at the strange wilderness surrounding her, trapping her. As she stared at the light glinting off the harbour water that would one day swallow her. I hope to feel her in some tiny space there and let her whisper to me. 

Post-study reflections

2016-09-28-05-28-49It’s an incredible time for me right now that feels like a beginning, more than an ending. I’ve just submitted my final piece of assessment of my Associate Degree in Professional Writing and Editing at RMIT. I should feel relieved, excited. I do, but there is a sense of sadness, and a great deal of reflection. There is also a nervous excitement about the time ahead of me, the unknown.

My last four years have been tremendous in all senses of the word. My life has changed in so many aspects, and lives around me have changed. Mum died, throwing my and my offspring’s worlds into chaos. My kids transitioned from children to teenagers, jumping normal adolescent hurdles, and fumbling through more tricky ones. I wrote a tonne of words and found a stable part-time job in the communications world.

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Deadline day

Draft 4

How much time I have spent on editing this draft according to Properties on Microsoft Word.

Only 35 days ago I committed the deadline of 5 October to have this latest draft complete. There were some (many) moments along those 35 days that I doubted my ability to meet it. It’s been great having this commitment though as it has driven me to the (near) end. Continue reading

Why procrastination can be helpful

tidyAfter a two days slogging at the editing, my mind has started to wander. One of the difficulties of being left home alone to edit over half of my manuscript for a number of days is the distractions.

pencil sharpenerI’ve started thinking about all the things I could do in the house: what needs to be cleaned out, reordered, tidied. Maybe I need to sharpen my pencils, maybe all of them in the entire house. What things I could send to the op shop. Is it time to take the dog for another walk? Or am I hungry? Maybe the toilet needs a good scrub – okay, I’ve gone too far. Continue reading