Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Before I tell you about my trip to Byron Bay Writers Festival last weekend, I want to talk about alchemy. How one element can be transformed into another, which is what we as writers are doing all the time.
I realised this weekend while at Bryon that in the last twelve months or maybe less, I have experienced a personal alchemy. And it's not just the new hairdo.

Actually the photo has been taken at night with a flash, so it doesn't show the highlights in my hair. I'll have to have a photo taken in daylight.

Back to the alchemy: it's more than my appearance. It's an inner transformation - I now know in my heart, my soul, and my mind that I'm a writer.

I've always been a shy person, not wanting to blow my own trumpet, even shying away from talking to people, especially writers who have achieved what I want to achieve. This year, I just went for it: I talked to authors, I networked, I had a great time.

But I don't know why it was different from a year ago. It wasn't just the hair, although it may have given me an extra boost of confidence. Maybe it's the fact that I've written six complete manuscripts. Maybe it's because my short story Beyond Happily Ever After will be published in Wet Ink magazine in September. Maybe it's because I'm so out of the writers' closet to friends and family, that I've admitted it to the rest of the world. I don't know what caused the transformation, but it feels great and I've come back from Byron Bay filled with writing mojo.

As writers, we all transform words. We take a vocabulary, a lexicon and churn it around in our mind and then spin a tale, devise a plot, develop a character and create a story. And yet all we have to work with is twenty-six letters in an infinite number of combinations. Writing is an alchemy all by itself.

Collage poetry is also an alchemy. I take the basic ingredients of cut-out words

and then transform them into something like this:

I promise that I will be back with more pictures and tales of Byron Bay Writers Festival, but in the meantime, tell me -- when did you 'transform' into a writer?

Saturday, July 19, 2008


I'm on holidays this week and everything seems to be more real and exciting.

This time next week, I'll be halfway through the Byron Bay Writers Festival. I've given up deciding which sessions to attend. Suffice to say, I think I'll have to be packing myself lunch each morning, as I probably won't have time to line up and buy lunch, or walk back to the cabin and make it. I know by the end of next weekend, my head will be swarming with ideas and concepts, and then I'll be straight back to work on the Tuesday. C'est la vie!

Anyway, there'll be lots of photos and stuff from the festival posted when I get back. And I plan to do a bit of collage poetry while I'm there.

The Romance Writers of Australia conference is going to be another chock a block weekend in a month's time. I'm booked into a day long workshop with Margie Lawson on the Friday, followed by four other workshops over the weekend. Plus I'll have two free days in Melbourne to check out the sights, maybe head down to St Kilda, do some window shopping, and go see Wicked the musical. Also on the Sunday night after the conference, I intend to head down to ACMI for the 15 minutes of fame Simmone Howell reading as part of the Melbourne Writers Festival announced yesterday. More rubbing shoulders with the literati. Maybe one day I can be the one signing the books!

Then I'll be flying back to Newcastle and popping down to Sydney for a couple of days to meet my new nephew and catch up with other friends and family members.

For now, I need to edit some chapters to send to my (very patient) critique partners and cut out some words to take to Byron to have a bit of a collage poetry fest while we're there. I also need to start planning my Chickollage website. Not much point having the domain name if I'm not going to do anything with it.

I finished reading the first novel in the Dexter series the other night. It was a bit of a disappointment after seeing the TV show, as the TV show seemed to have a much more interesting character arc for all of the characters. I was about two chapters away from the end and was thinking, it can't be ending that quickly, not based on what I'd seen on TV. Shrug! I don't think I'll read the second in the series. Although I have read number 3 - yeah, I did ask my library why they had number 3 stocked but none of the others. Weird!

Lucky they are not so weird with Stephanie Meyer's series - I've just started reading Twilight and loving it so far. Of course, it leaped to the top of my TBR pile when I received the email from the library to say my reservation was waiting for me. I can't remember whether I've reserved all of the trilogy, but I might just go out and buy them anyway, I'm only a third of the way in and I'm already sure it's a keeper. And I'm sure the library wouldn't appreciate it if I kept their copy!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Work Life Balance

I'm on the countdown to my holidays - just four days of work before I'm on holidays so I guess I'll be pretty restless this week. But first of all I have to give a training presentation at work on Tuesday, as part of my application to be in the training team.

Now this is already interfering with my work/life balance because it's so busy at work, there's no time for any preparation during work hours, so today will be spent preparing for the presentation.

Here is one of the images I plan to use in the presentation. I also plan to make the participants play a card game matching the person with the type of aged care they require, the type of fees they will have to pay and other variable factors of aged care.

But meanwhile the other stuff is on the back burner, much as I hate it. I need to do something massive today to stay on Writer Island - 15 pages of editing, and the house is mocking me. I have to do housework. But I'm still in my pajamas. Procrastination really wants to take hold but surely I let her have her way yesterday.
So I need to get with the program: get off the net and start working on the stuff I have to do.
Then after Tuesday I can relax, and concentrate on the writing again.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

July is editing month

Our 50ks in 30 days challenge ended on Monday, and it feels strange no longer to be writing under pressure. A staggering 1,749,046 were written during the challenge and I'm proud to be on of the motivators of the challenge (along with my partners in whip-cracking and mirth, Sandie Hudson and Rhian Cahill). It is great to see others achieve and push their writing boundaries.

I have emailed our gorgeous winners certificates out (so now everyone who made 50ks is officially certified) and ordered the badges so we can wear them at the RWAus conference in Melbourne in August, and display our tenancity, our creativity and our insanity.

My head is now all over the place as July is editing month for me. I'm working with two different critique partners so I'm switching between working on Diary of the Future and I'm with the Band. My first 3 chapters of I'm with the Band have insertions and deletions scribbled all over them, and I'm about to add these to the computer, to keep myself on Writer Island for another week. And in between thinking about the characters of each of these stories, the guys from Hold the Anchovies keep making guest appearances in my head insisting that I finish that story. Because although I'm at 80k, I haven't reached the end yet. As the story starts with a pizza-fortune telling, I would also like to end it that way to bring it full circle and to show Lisa's emotional growth, but I'm not quite sure that Lisa has grown as much as she needs to as yet. And in hope, I have updated the status bar in the right hand colum with a projected word count of 85,000 but they may expand according to the character's moods.

Except for the cold weather and getting home in the dark after work, I really like July. It's the month I cash in my enforced savings plan by getting my tax refund and then make the annual pilgrimage to the Byron Bay Writers Festival with my writing buddies. Just a couple more weeks of the day job and editing and writing...and then I'll be lapping up the festival atmosphere. Can't wait....