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.


I’ve got that blogging feeling – the psychological reward system

In the space of a year I’ve gone from extremely internet shy to prepared to share almost anything on my blogs and twitter. Scary huh?

I’ve started 4 blogging pages; this one, an anonymous fun blog – anonymous because I share absolutely everything, not something I want my family reading, and the other two are for my website, and revolve around kids and parenting, one of which is on Tumblr.

I don’t know if any of you fellow bloggers have found this but it seems that the social media model, perfected by Facebook, is all about feeding our inner reward system. We add something to the internet, usually partially related or representative of ourselves and this is liked, shared/reblogged, followed, or commented on by others. Its a positive feedback system that after only a few times becomes extremely addictive. This is especially so because it is part of who we are, and online users are dictating whether they like us, or not.

I for one have found myself checking stat pages and emails several times a day, craving that response. If we get no feedback, something which those addicted hold in such high regard, then this can have negative consequences on our wellbeing. It could, as it has done for me in the past, cause us to put more effort into perfecting a post, something which in my opinion is a waste of my precious time.

I’m no psychologist but having studied a little of the human mind, I realise that blogging must be triggering the reward mechanisms in my brain. Crazy? Well not so much, if I obsess over each individual like and new follow.

This is why I have started afresh with this blog. Something that is all about me [very self-centred I know but when you have kids its nice just to think about yourself for a change],create something transparent, and which contains all of my thoughts however boring and uninteresting they might be. The purpose of this blog is not to get a massive following, although a following of like minded individuals would be nice. It will be, as I stated in my introduction a log of my journey as a writer.

I am committing to contributing another quite mundane set of pages to the world wide web, whether anyone “likes” it or not.

 

 


Sidetracked from my goals by the easy stuff

With little time I often write the “easy stuff” in order to feel like I’ve achieved something each day. By doing this I am avoiding what is really important to me; my short story and novel.

The easy things are smaller pieces of writing, boxes that I can easily tick each day, for example, a diary entry, composing a post on my favourite blog, or writing up a short article for my website. Material for these tasks surround me each day. They are almost effortless to put together.

I feel that these easy things are my form of procrastination, avoiding the bigger writing tasks. I often ask myself:

Am I afraid to begin these projects, or am I simply lazy? Perhaps its all just too hard.

Writing stories comes less easily to me. Its tough to make sense of an idea I have, and make it work on paper. Its somewhat of a logistical feat for me. Perhaps I should stick to writing short stories for a while; keep my ideas in check, give myself narrow parameters to work within, and develop my writing skills slowly within controlled confines.

My Short Story – how to start, how to develop

At the moment my short story is planned out and only partly written. I’m not completely happy with all of the ideas but sometimes when I write out the story other ideas may flourish. This is the first hurdle for me. Getting the entire story written out. I need to write it out regardless of whether I’m happy with it.

I know from the short writing course I attended that authors create draft, after draft. You’ll never have the perfect story straight away.

I thought I’d add here what constitutes a short story. You may already know this, but I found it and thought it was helpful.

Short stories

  1. have a narrator; that is, someone tells the story;
  2. have at least one character in them;
  3. have some action occur (or perhaps fails to occur);
  4. take place somewhere; that is, there is a setting for the action;
  5. and someone either learns something or fails to learn something (theme).

If I can get my short story finished then I can begin a few exercises which may help me transform it into something I really love. Or, the second draft.

Some exercises once I’ve finished the first draft:

1. write the story from another characters point of view – quite a common exercise, helpful nonetheless

2. write out facts I know about each character and build who they are – colour in the background

3. change the setting – mix things up a little, put your characters in an environment they are uncomfortable in

I will try to achieve these steps and let you know how I go.

 

 

 

 


Don’t just write because you can, write with purpose

With so many interests and distractions its difficult to pin down subjects to write about or the type of writing I wish to do. Here are projects that I have started that I need to revisit, and soon!

Projects currently on the boil:

Short Story

My first project I need to complete is for a short story competition. It has to be based on the painting below, “Brothers” by Cherry Lee.

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I see boys of the stolen generation when I look at this picture. They may consider themselves brothers because they grew up together on a mission. I have decided to write about these boys today, sixty years later. The main character is the daughter of one of these men, who is no longer alive, she witnesses the chance meeting of the other two men in the picture. Will she realize her father is the third boy?

I have put a plan together for this short story. I started by writing it out on paper. I often find using a laptop means there are several possible distractions, such as, emails, facebook, ebay, etc…

On typing it out I change characters’ appearances, eliminate useless jibber jabber. I tend to jibber jabber, e.g. give a character useless internal monologues.

I learned a useful tip when I attended a creative writing course at Sydney Writers Centre: Everything you write should serve a purpose in the story, eliminate useless jibber jabber. Otherwise you are writing just because you can.

 

Novel

The idea is there and the plot is quite developed.

It is science fiction, not in the star trek sense, rather it stays firmly planted on earth looking at the interference of human nature by science. I’ve noticed that I have quite a keen interest in this area. Perhaps it stems from my background in psychology and health. Or perhaps its the very reason I chose to study psychology and health in the first place. Exploring the human mind and our physical being.

I am struggling with how to make the whole story work. I am struggling with the science of it. I need to keep reminding myself that it is fiction. It doesn’t need to make sense, scientifically. However, I feel certain that I am drawn to certain stories due to their scary foundation in actual scientific fact. Yes, such horrendous things could really happens to us! We might actually turn into rabid blood dribbling cannibals.

Oh yes, and I struggle creating and describing scenes. For this novel I have the characters, who are developing quite well but I have difficulty “filling in” around the characters and the plot points.

Things to work on:

– scenes

– dialogue

the glue basically, the stuff in between.

 

I need to remember not to write too much fluff, and stay on track with the plot. I can easily get distracted by trying to describe how the night sky makes the character feel!!