November, also known as CRAZY MONTH

I am winding up one of the busiest, fullest, bizarrest, diversest (I will stop making up words now) months of my fucking life. Where do I even start?

Genrecon: a mad weekend in Sydney with a bunch of awesome Australian genre writers being awesome. Made new friends, had lots of ideas, wrote every day, ate a lot of room service food. Then home for a few days and then off to Sharjah International Book Fair. Sharjah is the next-door emirate to the much better known Dubai. I talked on panels about women’s writing with Arabic women writers and made a guest appearance at a local Australian-curriculum school. Went out to the pool deck every afternoon to listen to the call to prayer from the mosque next door. Magic. They flew me out there and back business class on Emirates; now I am ruined for long haul travel FOR LIFE.

Then home for a few days, still writing and writing and crossing off those numbers on my writing productivity bingo card (see previous post). Sunday the 18th attended the Harvest Festival in Brisbane to see my favourite band ever, Sigur Ros. Sobbed with happiness through the first three songs, then pulled myself together. Touched the face of God. Best concert ever. That it followed one of the most violent and spectacular hailstorms I have ever seen in Brisbane only made the stars coming out all the sweeter.

Then got on another plane to Dublin, where I am writing this from. Kept writing my story, hit 30K 5 days ahead of schedule. Finished a novella. Wrote and delivered a talk about resilient writing to the postgraduate creative writing students at the Oscar Wilde Centre at Trinity College. Felt like a very big girl indeed. Saw the Book of Kells and went to the magnificent Long Room. See the picture below. Old books up to the ceilings and ladders. Dusty smell heaven.

I’ll finish November by meeting my UK publishers for lunch, then heading up to Cambridge to do a punt tour with my friend Lisa. Then back on a plane, back home to warm, sunny Brisbane, to all my beloved mammals, and to my very own bed.

I am exhausted, but this has been one of the most amazing times of my life. Oh, and I bought a super cute dress in Dublin and some awesome knee-high socks. Thanks for listening. I’ll resume normal, sane transmission in December.



Keeping going is sometimes super hard

Yesterday, I started my new Kimberley Freeman novel “Ember Island”. I have 30 000 words a month to write for the next four months, and in my planning for how I’m going to accomplish this, I had to assess my weaknesses and the threats to my writing time (Hello, Interwebz). The big threat to this project is that I am travelling a lot through November, including two long-haul trips; there’s Christmas in December; and school holidays with my kids home for 4 weeks in Janaury. It would be all too easy to throw my hands in the air and say “I don’t have time to write!”

So I need strategies, and over the summer, for the benefit of all mankind (at least those who write), I’m going to be trying out a range of strategies to make “keep going” a reality. See, for example, the photo of my notebook here (excuse my knees and toes in the shot; it is customary for me to work in bed or on the couch). There are twenty-five numbers in the table, and combined they add up to 30 000 (my goal for November). On 25 of the 30 days of November, I have to pick a number and write that much. There are small amounts, for days when I am tightly scheduled, and big amounts for when I have the luxury of time.

Watch this space for more helpful tips.Image