Monthly Archives: August 2013

Reaching for that Goal of Originality

Last night I sat down and started to write for the first time in a few weeks. One child was in bed and the other quietly watching Puss in Boots for the fourth time (one of the most entertaining movies I’ve seen). A full cup of tea at the ready, and I was set.

I worked on my short story for the Rockingham Creative Writing Competition. I gave myself one hour in which to make meaningful progress on the story. I had the idea (completely different from the one I’ve outlined in a previous post), and I needed to fill it out, give my characters voice and personality, and above all, weave a great story.

It went well and was productive but the main area I’m struggling with is predictability and being original. I believe the mark of a great writer is not only the ability to produce beautifully written text but having the skill of creating plots that surprise you and keep you interested.

As with many competitions, an image has been provided to inspire the story. (Please refer to the artwork below, Brothers, by Cherry Lee.) I am finding that as I write, my readers will be able to predict where my story is going, and thus be disappointed with the tale I have tell.

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Sometimes, I admit, readers like to be right and guess where the plot is heading. They like to be able to guess the ending and feel satisfied by the story because it ended the way they believed it should. However, I don’t think this is exciting enough, its not teaching the reader anything new. I don’t think it would be a story that readers would remember vividly, and have play on their minds afterwards. A great story is one that has a lasting effect due to its originality.

Outrageous twists are probably not the answer but perhaps something memorable and meaningful, a story that touches readers and leaves them feeling better off for having read it.

In reality, being able to write a piece like this is difficult. Each new idea I come up with I usually knock back because my audience will find it too predictable. Luckily I have until the 11th October, 2013 to complete this story, so I may find myself sitting in front of my laptop with a cuppa on many more occasions, reaching for my goal of originality. (As I’m sure every other author out there does!)

Like I commented above I found my hour to be very productive. My story is taking shape and I will definitely share my first draft when it is ready. Unfortunately after my hour is up, my mind is still going, searching for that plot point which will enrich the tale. I believe if I had more free time in my day I would drive myself crazy with many different versions of this story!

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A little sci-fi inspiration

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My favourite genre would have to be sci-fi, with romance coming a close second. If I work hard enough at my story I may even succeed in combining the two. I may be aiming too high and end up with something quite catastrophic but its worth a try.

While staring at clouds and far off aeroplanes help to conjure distant lands and get creative, nothing beats this truly inspirational documentary Journey to the edge of the universe.

It will cause you to look upon images of the universe in wonder and find inspiration for your stories. This docomentary will truly hypnotise you.

With so much in the universe unknown, and both infinite in possibilities and in size, anything is possible. Much of what we do know is only theoretical, allowing authors to spin amazing scientific journeys that teeter on the edge of reality. This is what draws me to this genre, I like to write fantastical stories that might possibly, in a world far away or a distant time, be true.

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10 great blogs for writers

The best way to improve our writing skills is seeking the help and wisdom of others. My first love is reading so this is ideal.

Unrelated thought: perhaps I should be aiming for book reviewer rather than author??

Here are 10 blogs to check out.


Find your rainbow – Clear your mind to get creative

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I went for stroll yesterday along my local beach, Waikiki Beach, Perth, WA.

It was the perfect mix of ominous rain clouds, dark green broody sea and fresh cold breeze.

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It was just me, the sunset and the mad wind surfer.


Special Moments – Frozen in time with words

We settle in bed, you’re snuggled in tight next to me,
You smell so sweet, your hair soft fuzz.
You drink and drink, so thirsty, so desperate.
Falling off to sleep, you lightly snore,
Can I move you into your bassinet, do I dare?
You might wake up.
The books say you shouldn’t sleep with me but its just so wonderful, so special.
You won’t be this way forever.

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I’ll jog home one day

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Well, when the kids are a bit older and I find the time to train.
This is taken from the pier at Rockingham. We had a lovely breakfast looking over the water, followed by a stroll along the pier with the kids.
Definitely the best way to relax and clear your mind, ready for a week of creativity.
My neighbourhood definitely has some inspirational spots.


Elance – way to earn a little cash or a huge waste of time

Freelance writing is a tough game. Trying to earn a little cash from websites such as Elance and Freelancer can be even tougher. On websites such as these you are competing not only with highly experienced writers with huge portfolios, and with those who will work very cheaply but also with actual businesses or companies, who have a team of writers.

I completed a profile on each of these websites. I spent most of my time on Elance and I completed about 3 jobs. These jobs comprised of sales copy and article writing. They didn’t pay too badly but in order to get them I had to place over 30 bids, and for each bid I had to write a proposal. In the proposal you must sell yourself, discuss your skills, explain how you will complete the job and outline your pricing, your bid.

You have a monthly bid allowance, and you can pay Elance to increase this. You need to dedicate lots of time each day to checking new jobs that appear and putting together great proposals. Its very time consuming.

Once I did finally win my first job it was a great feeling, collaborating with the client and providing them with your best work. Sometimes though, you find yourself applying for jobs you don’t really like, or are the least bit interested in. This makes for a very tedious and regretful few hours. Trust me. The money was just not enough for wasting those few hours of my life. Especially sales copy. Urgh!!

When competition really ramps up with other “Elancers” and you are not winning jobs, you begin to drop your pricing in order to win. Completing work then seems even more of a drag and extremely unrewarding. This why I stopped using these websites. I felt I was under-valuing myself and wasting time by providing someone else with the writing skills that I could put to better use on my own projects.

So, do I spend all my free time working hard to win jobs and earning a pittance, or do I play the poor, struggling writer but feel better at the end of the day for completing my own work?

Well, since having my daughter in April, this question is yet to be answered as I have completed very little of my own work.

In the last few days however, in search of a little quick cash I have returned to Elance. I have chosen jobs that I find interesting and feel will be not only financially but intrinsically rewarding. I have yet to hear back from the clients. I probably never will. Things never change in the world of Elance.