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I’ve decided, instead of New Year’s resolutions for 2019, to try implementing two pieces of advice I’ve been given in the past several years.

The first was from a nurse helping me through depression following the birth of child number 2. Her piece of advice (among many others, most of which I use regularly) was to have realistic expectations – for myself, as well as for others. That’s a tricky one for me – but one I’m going to try to remember in 2019.

The second was a few years ago, from New York literary agent extraordinaire, Janet Reid. She wrote a blogpost responding to a question I’d sent her; the gist of her answer was for me ‘to focus’. Again, something which is going to require more than a little training, for those of you who know me IRL… but something that’s worthwhile, I think.

So in 2019 I plan to ‘focus’ on my writing. The novel-in-progress, that is, not my blog. Hence the plan to post photos each week. Starting with this:

 

The view from one of my early-morning writing spots. Peaceful. Quiet.

Amazing, hey!

Anyway, here’s wishing you a wonderful week, dear Reader πŸ™‚

– KRidwyn

Moving right along…

So now the musical’s over, I’ve been head down and getting stuck into the work I’d been (of necessity, mind you!) neglecting. Housework, gardening – oh, and my students’ assignment drafts too, don’t forget! I’ve also had enough head-space to actually ponder the commencement of writing again, would you believe? And I also found 15 minutes in there somewhere, last week, to FlowState… although what came out was embarrassingly pitiful and barely worth keeping, but writing is writing and a skill practiced is a skill improving, I always say. (Well, okay. I made that saying up just now. But it sounds significantly better with the word ‘always’ in it, don’t you think?)

What’s FlowState? You ask. Well, it’s a horrific tool which forces you to write by threatening to remove all your words.

Originally, you could set the timer for 5 minutes, 15 minutes, or 30 minutes. I preferred that. But with an update a year or so ago, they removed that functionality, leaving users with only a 15 minute option.

And the idea behind it is that you WRITE for 15 minutes. No hesitating, just writing. Adding word after word to the screen. Or else!

If you hesitate for longer than 5 seconds (from memory; I *think* it’s five but I’m too scared to check it and see) the words fade on the screen and when they’re gone, they’re gone forever.

You’re forced, you see; to write, and write non-stop, until the timer finishes, and the work is saved.

And believe me, you do NOT want to stop at 14 minutes and 55 seconds! I did that before, and lost literally hundreds of words. Yes, I cried. And yes, I also stopped using the app, my own solitary protest, for several months. But returned though, because it’s perfect to get the writing mojo happening (rather than the thinking mojo!) and the threat of losing work is enough to keep the fingers tapping keys πŸ™‚

Anyway, so that’s what I’ve been doing.

That, and dreaming about publishing.Β If only Book 7 of my Justine Browning series would write itself!

 

Have a great week, dear Reader πŸ™‚

– KRidwyn

Sipping from the saucer #13

I work at a Christian school. The pastor of the church which established our school has a saying: β€œThe LORD has blessed me so much, my cup is overflowing (taken from Psalm 23) and I’m sipping from the saucer.”

I like the visual, so I’m using it here, in this month-long blogging challenge focusing on the blessings God has poured out on me.

Today, blessing #13.

My ‘About’ page used to list all the many and varied places I could be found online; and the list finished with the Writing Race I used to attend, almost religiously, every Wednesday evening from 8 til 9pm, over on Facebook. Well, since being blessed with full-time work last January, my attendance at the race has been haphazard, to say the least. And I’ve missed it.

But last night, I found myself sitting in front of my computer at the dining table, finishing paying the last of my bills and lamenting exactly how much interest my mortgage is earning against me, when I realised that it was 8.07pm, Wednesday, and the level of marking-and-reports-looming-over-my-head-stress, was actually manageable… so I logged on to Facebook and joined the race. I think the Race Captain fell off her chair.

I was welcomed in seconds… with fireworks, even!

These fellow writers; it’s wonderful to be in an online support group of them, because they all know what it’s like to write around the day job. To try and steal some minutes here and there to get another chapter written; to edit paragraphs during lunch breaks; to spend valuable minutes (if not quarter hours or half hours… or longer!) of precious ‘writing time’ backtracking and trying to remember exactly where you were up to, and attempting (often in vain, darn it) to recapture the thought processes that *were* firing when last you got interrupted… my fellow writers understand all that.

And I love that there are some people out there who get that. Who understand my passion, and who feel the same way that I do.

Never mind that June 13 is the first race I’ve turned up to in 2018. Never mind that I probably won’t make it back again for weeks, if not months.

They’re there. They’re a blessing to me.

And I love that.

Here’s hoping that you can also find a blessing in your day too, dear Reader!

– KRidwyn

Swimming, not sinking

2017 has been quite an interesting year so far. I scored my dream job, which started officially mid-January, and have been hard at it since, working long hours and seeing welcome developments in the culture I’m attempting to establish.

I’m loving it. It’s keeping me extremely busy… so busy, I’ve let my writing slide shockingly. Initially, I thought I’d be able to have things sorted by Easter. Nope. Then, I hoped, by the mid-year holidays. Nah – not a chance.

But I can see how unrealistic my initial expectations were, and am no longer bemoaning my lack of time. I’ve laid off the guilt, been kind to myself, and am far happier knowing that I’ll be more comfortable once I’ve seen the full year cycle.

Having said that though, I quite surprised myself last week. Driving home on Thursday, with a remarkable ‘urgent work to complete’ quota of zero, my mind turned again not the long-awaiting WIP, and I realised that there was only housework and cherub-looking after standing between us! It was a lovely moment. 

Acknowledging that the period of sinking-almost-drowning which I’ve been living, is maybe ending. That I’m swimming, and that perhaps my head is managing to stay above water for longer and longer…

I sure am hoping so!

I love how life works in seasons. How there may be seasons of discomfort, of hardship, of pain, but likewise there will also be seasons of joy, of peace, of love.

God is good. I truly believe that.

Have a lovely week, dear Reader!

-KRidwyn

Looking forward

I’m looking forward to these school holidays. I haven’t had a break since first accepting this job, back in mid-November. So I’m ready for a break. And it’s a decent one. Two weeks.
I’m looking forward to writing again, more regularly and less haphazardly than I’ve been able to this year. I’m looking forward to gardening, to making a dent in my TBR pile, to spend time with my cherubs and with my husband and walking on the beach, praising my God.

I’m needing this break. Man alive, but I’m ready.

Roll on school holidays!

And have a great day, dear Reader πŸ™‚

– KRidwyn

On deadlines

I work quite well to deadlines, I think. Not so much when a task is open-ended. That’s when I have trouble.

That New Year’s resolution: get fit? See, that’s a tricky one. Too open-ended. No specific goal; nothing measurable. “Get to the gym at least four times a week”? Much better. It’s achievable. And maybe I’ll even make that ‘get fit’ resolution.

Take that #AtoZchallenge, for example. 26 posts in 30 days: that’s do-able. The difficulty was, life = busy = no blogging after Day 16.

New, self-imposed deadline: finish all 26 posts before May 1 in every timezone. See? Do-able (just!) and I did it! (also just…)

It’s sad, really, I know. Self-imposing deadlines just to complete work that I set myself anyway. How much of a slacker am I?!

But I guess it just boils down to the fact that without that extrinsic motivation of ‘THE DEADLINE’, things just don’t get done.

I’ve got two new ones looming, by the way. Finish JUSTINE BROWNING AND THE MEDDLING MERMAN by May 14, and also finish knitting child #2’s blanket by May 31, ready for winter (the following day LOL).

Wish me luck! [I’m going to need it…]

And have a great day, dear Reader!

— KRidwyn

CC image courtesy John Morgan on Flickr

… and the new word is: FOCUS

Hello again, dear Reader πŸ™‚

If you’ve visited recently, you’d have noticed that my last 26 posts were alphabetical, in order to meet the requirements of the #AtoZchallenge, where bloggers post daily using sequential letters of the alphabet, every day in April except Sundays.

Well, I failed that challenge in my time zone. I was fine up until ‘p’, but then school holidays finished and work got crazy-busy… and it wasn’t until late last night I realised that today was May 1st. And the challenge deadline was over!

Hence a massive amount of blog posting this morning. Q through to Z, and before April finished worldwide. So I *can* kinda still say that ‘I made it’… but not really.

Oh well.

My new thought is: focus. It’s what I need to do. I gave myself a deadline of Mother’s Day to finish Book 5 in my children’s adventure fantasy series – and I believe that’s less than two weeks away. 13 days, 21 chapters. I can do this…

If I focus!

So it’s back to weekly blogposts, and hopefully this time next Monday I’ll be closer to finishing JUSTINE BROWNING AND THE MEDDLING MERMAN than I am right now πŸ™‚

See you next week, dear Reader! And have a lovely one until then!

— KRidwyn

J is for ‘job’

The regular reader of this blog may remember that I started a new job this year.

Head of Middle School at Caloundra Christian College.

I have well over one hundred 11 to 14 year olds to be responsible for. That’s a lot of hormones!

It’s been fun. So far, I’ve laughed and cried, exulted and been furious, enjoyed every second and wanted to tear my hair out with frustration. And that’s just before Morning Tea each day! Just kidding.

It’s been a wild ride, and I’m loving it. As a Christian, I *do* feel ‘called’ to the position, and I also feel as though I’m making a difference in the lives of the majority of the children in my care. And that gives me such a feeling of satisfaction!

But it’s also been far busier than I’d expected. So much so, that my writing has fallen seriously by the wayside. I knew it would – but not quite to this extent. No matter. This #AtoZchallenge is helping me get back some writing mojo – and when April finishes, I have JUSTINE BROWNING AND THE MEDDLING MERMAN to complete. Hopefully by Mother’s Day, which is the challenge I’ve set myself.

But school starts back next week after the two week Easter break, so it’ll be interesting to see if things go to plan…

Anyway, have a great day, dear Reader, and hopefully I’ll be back tomorrow with ‘K’ !

— KRidwyn

My favourite #writingplace

This is my favourite spot in the whole world at the moment. It’s on the beach, the very northern tip of Bribie Island, in Queensland (Australia) looking across the passage to Caloundra.

Just now, the weather’s warm enough to be perfect too!

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The cherubs play happily and I get to sit and write.

Bliss!

Do you have a favourite #writingplace? What do you love about it?