Hello, all you lovely people. I hope today is a good day where you are and that you get a chance to stop and smell the roses. One of the upsides of my current writing spot is that I get to watch passersby literally doing that. I want to tell each of them how much I love that they stopped to appreciate a Just Joey or a Mr Lincoln, but that would be creepy and annoying so I restrain myself. Fortunately, there is also a window between me and them, so I have help in the form of a physical barrier.
Anyway. Thank you so much to those of you who have asked for an update on THE WRITING! (Also to those of you who did not lest I fall into a pit of despair and proclaim that it was all too hard! It is hard, but that’s okay and expected.) It’s been a while since I blogged because, frankly, I’m not sure how interesting I could have made numerous posts about waiting. Huh. How interesting that only one letter in that word is different from ‘writing’.
I did promise I’d share the up and downs, so I should have filled you in on my grumpy, what-the-hell-am-I-doing-with-my-life days – which there have been some of and it would be dishonest to tell you otherwise. But, generally, I continue writing furiously and with great joy and am learning to live with the realities of the creative world.
I am lucky enough to be working on three projects at the moment. Two of my Young Adult manuscripts and a new adult contemporary fiction novel. Squee, I’m really enjoying writing in an adult voice again! (Haha the ‘squee’ is so very adult!) I am 50 000 words into the first draft and it is a ride! There’s a lot of autobiographical aspects to the story. The protagonist is a teacher turned writer. She is dealing with a heap of loss at once and is in a long marriage to a good man. However, the story is set around a twenty-five year school reunion on the NSW Coal Coast, there’s a dead body involved, an old mystery and an ex-student with a crush. I hope one day you’ll enjoy reading it as much as I am enjoying writing it. Of course, there’s been tears too, as comes with writing about grief, but that is life, is it not?
In the meantime, I also continue to put some final touches to my YA manuscripts Treehearts and Paddling. The former is my story about a 17 yo trying to save the remnant banksia woodland next to her family’s dog shelter while trying not to fall in love with a Deaf boy who doesn’t date hearing girls. It covers a lot of themes very close to my heart: how we learn to communicate when we don’t share a common language; how we can’t fix everything but we can impact our immediate surrounds; how sometimes, when it matters, we can be braver than we thought we were.
I have chosen to employ a sensitivity reader for Treehearts, to be sure I portray the deaf/Deaf elements of the story as accurately as I possibly can. The feedback is beginning to come in and so far I haven’t made any major blunders so phew! Also, my reader is ‘loving’ it. Woohoo! I don’t want to name her until she has formally okayed associating with the book, but it has been lovely getting to know X through our email exchanges. (She is a West Australian living overseas.)
I’m also continuing to work with the amazing Kristina Schulz through my mentorship via the FAWWA Four Centres Emerging Writers Program. She is the perfect foil for my inevitable insecurities, so kind and complimentary about my writing. With her I am tweaking Paddling, the first YA I wrote about feisty, ambitious Year Twelve Ellie Bennett. Ellie is horrified when the smartest boy in the school thinks she’s romantically interested in him instead of just trying to improve her chemistry grade. And yes, there is a reason her name is Ellie Bennett, if perhaps not the reason you might expect!
On a more philosophical note, writing these stories and others has helped me finally understand all that stuff about life being best lived in moments. It’s taken me a while to get here, but maybe, at last, I am making a reasonable fist of it. I am as active and concerned about the world as always. However, I am better at focusing my energies and that, in turn, gets the books written! Most days!
In other news, another lovely writer, Karen Hollands, recently asked me to respond to some questions for her blog. She is interviewing writers who have been at it for a while, had some success but are not yet published. The questions were quite wide-ranging, so I will link to that post when it comes out for those who are interested. Meanwhile you can see her interviews with Lisa Kenway and Tina Cartwright here.
I will finish today by wishing you all access to books any time you want them. Happy reading everyone…and writing if that’s your thing. But, most of all, happy living. Many are going through difficult times and I sincerely hope your obstacles today – or in this moment of today – are well and truly manageable. x