Down here in Christchurch, New Zealand (aka QuakeZone), 2011 has been unforgettable – and not in a good way.
Admittedly, that first big quake – the one that set off all the others – was in 2010. But this year we’ve had literally thousands of aftershocks (some, incredibly, more violent than the original earthquake). We’ve shovelled silt and patched up our homes and grieved for lives lost and kept going because, really, what else could we do?
Last weekend I had two glorious days of uninterrupted writing with Carla, my writing buddy (waves madly). We hid out in a holiday home near Queenstown, and did nothing but write. Oh, and drink the odd creativity-enhancing beverage.
Just as well, because it’s been absolute bedlam ever since; pre-Christmas madness with a capital M. And I’m left wondering, as I do every year, why we allow ourselves to get caught up in it all. The desperate stampede for just one more gift, the frenzied supermarket bun-fights, the manic Christmas Eve wrapping routine . . . And, as we do every year, Beloved and I swear we’ll be finished in time to enjoy a quiet Christmas Eve wine. (Yeah, right.) If only our kids knew the half of what goes into the magic of Christmas . . .
Strictly Single Contest – entered. Manuscript request – sent. WIP finished – well, not quite.
But it’s getting there, thanks to a very cool online tool called Write or Die. It’s a hoot. ‘Gentle’ mode reminds you to keep typing if you stop for too long. ‘Strict’ mode shrieks some hideous noise at you (eg violin graunching, baby screaming). ‘Kamikaze’ starts deleting the words you’ve typed! I was so nervous (no; flat-out scared) I typed like a madwoman. And the words that spewed out were pretty mad, too. But – and here’s the thing – they were polishable. And post-polishing, I have to say I am pleasantly surprised. It worked. So – no more perfectionism for me. (Okay, I lie. But I promise I’ll try.) Not until at least the second draft.
A very timely reminder that writing is the most important thing I can do to enhance my writing career.
It seems incredible to me that ten years has already passed since 9-11 stopped being my friend’s birthday and became instead a symbol of terrorism.
Ten years since I woke to images so horrifying, so emotionally overwhelming that I struggled to comprehend them.
Ten years since I waited by the phone for news of our cousins, who were in transit to the States (from New Zealand). Ten years since I went into work, wondering how I could possibly answer the questions I knew my students would have. Ten years since I, thousands of miles Read More…
Call me ambitious, but ever since I embarked on this writing lark I’ve aimed to earn a living from it. In my own mind I wouldn’t have succeeded as a writer if I wasn’t a) published, and b) making a career out of it.
Which was pretty stupid, really. I mean, hello. How many writers can say those two things? Even published authors (go you good things!) can’t often say they’re able to live on their earnings from writing.