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 🙂

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

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

 

Have a great week, dear Reader 🙂

– KRidwyn

in which I contemplate the joy that is Beerwah Writers’ Group

Back before I was working full time, I joined my local writers’ group. It was fantastic, the fortnightly face-to-face interaction with people who shared my passion for word-smithing.

But the constraints of my current day job meant that I haven’t been able to attend a meeting since January of 2017 – and even though some meetings fell on school holidays, at no point was there a meeting I could attend, due to family commitments, being away, or meeting cancellations.

That is, until the meeting just gone. Friday 13th. I walked in, surprising many people, and it was as if I’d never left. It was fantastic!

I love that idea – that I could be part of a supportive group of writers who, in spite of my 18 month absence, are just as continually supportive of me and my writing as ever before 🙂

I look forward to the next time a meeting aligns with a school holiday – because such a wonderful group of people are a joy to be with.

Here’s wishing a close support network for you too this week, dear Reader!
– KRidwyn

In which I contemplate how amazed I shouldn’t be

I keep telling people how amazed I am at my quick recovery from the evil back injury I suffered recently.

Monday 25th June, 10am. The last Monday of term. The doctor who was treating me said he thought I’d be immobile for two weeks, and he’d be able to get me back to ‘normal’ (mostly pain-free) mobility by the end of 5-6 weeks.

Shock doesn’t even remotely describe how I felt. But then again, I was also in childbirth-like agony at the time, and my brain cells weren’t firing anywhere near their usual capacity.

I left the doctor’s office and called my boss, relayed the news, emailed my colleagues. Put the diagnosis out on Facebook. Then I received message after message after message, from friends and family near and far, who offered their support – and their prayers.

I was touched. (And in agony. And tears – many, many tears.) But determined to do everything I could to aid the healing process. The doctor had said ‘ice’? I’d be the ice queen! He’d said ‘horizontal’? I wouldn’t move a muscle!

(Admittedly, the phrase ‘off work for the rest of the week’ did *not* mean that – ask my Mum, who watched me plough through marking paper after paper, responding to email after email, proofing and writing report after report, all in a horizontal position either facedown or face up, ten minute interval changes, non-stop, from 5am until 9pm-ish!)

And wouldn’t you know it, but by Friday 2pm I was back at school. On crutches, but vertical. Yes, you’re probably thinking, ‘stupid!’ but I’d missed the kids terribly and wanted to see them before they left on two-and-a-half-weeks holiday, pray with them and for them, and testify to them just how amazingly their prayers for me had worked. That I was vertical, and walking on crutches, and was amazed at my recovery – but SHOULDN’T HAVE BEEN!

Because I’d been holding fast to James 5:16. Especially the second part:

“The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”

Because I knew what the doctor didn’t – that the God who had made me, and who had let me go through this experience for His own good reasons, was able to heal me as well, for His own good reasons.

And He was doing exactly that! I should not have been able to be mobile – and yet, I was. And now, two weeks later, I should be starting to achieve pain-free mobility – and yet, I have it! Sure, sometimes it’s uncomfortable, but I’m just happy to be upright and without crutches 🙂

And in conversations with many, many, many others since then, I’ve been telling them how amazing my recovery has been – and then realising, over and over and over again, how amazed I should NOT be by this.

Wow, our God is an incredible God, isn’t He?

I hope you too, dear Reader, are having an AMAZING day today 🙂

And see you next week!

– KRidwyn

Sipping from the saucer #26

I work at a Christian school. The pastor of the church which established our school has a saying: “The 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.

And now, blessing #26. Because I could NOT have done the last week that I’ve done, without this amazing lady. She has been there for me, and for Hubby, 24/7, full of enthusiasm and ‘nothing is too hard for me to do for you’ attitude.

Always and forever, my inspiration. And I KNOW that she’ll be horrified to be on here, and to be acknowledged, but… Mum, you’re the best. Thank you for everything – for giving me life and for helping me to live it 🙂 and even for the toasted mince sandwich you’re making me for lunch so I can sit here and catch up on #blogJune posts 🙂

And, dear Reader, I trust that you’ll be noticing those in your life who are the blessings that they are to you, too!

Have a great day, dear Reader!

— KRidwyn

Sipping from the saucer #14

I work at a Christian school. The pastor of the church which established our school has a saying: “The 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 #14.

On Tuesday this week, I was driving from school to collect Mr9 from his CrossFit class, when two ambulances hurtled past me, sirens blaring. A police car followed – and as I gradually made it to the scene of the accident, where a fire engine was also on scene, I noticed that traffic had started to pile up quickly – far more quickly than I had anticipated. The accident, although not a major one (minor injuries only, from what I could gather) had occurred on a roundabout which was a major thoroughfare for the area, meaning that the ‘rubber-neckers’ (as Hubby calls them) – people who slow down more than is warranted, so they can stare at the action – were holding up traffic more than usual.

Now this wouldn’t normally have been too much of a problem, except that on a Tuesday afternoon, I’m on a pretty tight schedule. Leave school at 4. Collect Mr9 at CrossFit by 4.15; head back to school to collect Miss10 from her private Dance class at 4.30.

And, judging by the traffic jam, that was not going to happen!

Cue phone calls. To the school’s Outside Hours Care. To the Dance teacher. To my parents, who live quite close to the area, and who were able to look after Miss13 and Mr9 for me while I doubled back to battle the traffic and collect Miss10 from the school.

And – HUGE blessing! – everyone was able to accomodate me (and Miss10, Miss13 and Mr9) – with zero notice, with zero fuss, and with care and consideration all around. How awesome is that?!

I’m surrounded by so many who care for me, who love me and are willing to help me and my kids when I need that.

And I’m so blessed to have these people in my life.

So thank you, people! I appreciate you and want you to know that 🙂

And, dear Reader, I hope you too can have a truly Blessed day today!

– KRidwyn

Sipping from the saucer #13

I work at a Christian school. The pastor of the church which established our school has a saying: “The 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

Sipping from the saucer #11

I work at a Christian school. The pastor of the church which established our school has a saying: “The 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 #11.

I logged into Facebook on Sunday night , for the first time since early Thursday morning last week. Thursday was my birthday, and it had slipped my mind that I might be getting birthday wishes on social media.

So my surprise was quite great indeed, at seeing so many notifications due to birthday well-wishes from friends and family near and far.

Youz guyz are AWESOME!!!

Which is why you’re my overflowing blessing today. Thanks, my friends, for being you. I love you all to bits!

And here’s praying that you, too, have blessing-filled days today 🙂

-KRidwyn

It’s a special week, this week…

screen-shot-2016-10-16-at-5-19-49-pmDid you know it’s Dyslexia Empowerment Week?

Both my husband and Miss11, our eldest, are dyslexic. So I feel strongly about this one.

Check out their website for information and ideas about how to what you can do to support people like Hubby and Miss11. Even just spread awareness of the week, or (as they suggest): “Rethink Dyslexic Myths” – help debunk the many myths surrounding dyslexia, such as:
1. There is no one in our school (or workplace) with dyslexia
2. Only boys have dyslexia
3. Smart people can’t have dyslexia
4. People with dyslexia read backwards, or swapping b’s and d’s, that’s all
5. People with dyslexia will never improve so there is nothing my school can do to help.

Some famous dyslexics:

Sir Winston Churchill, Leonardo da Vinci, Albert Einstein, Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, John F. Kennedy, Richard Branson, Billy Connolly, Whoopi Goldberg, Steven Spielberg, Hans Christian Anderson, F.Scott Fitzgerald – and Catherine Deveny, from whose book USE YOUR WORDS: A MYTH-BUSTING, NO-FEAR APPROACH TO WRITING, I’ve copied this list.

So this week, I’ll be spreading awareness of what dyslexics can achieve, and trying to empower those dyslexics who feel helpless in our schooling system. Will you join me?

Thanks! And have a great week!

— KRidwyn

On support groups

I’m not a ‘social’ kind of girl. I used to be, back when I was 19, 20. But I haven’t been for quite some time now. Rather, I’m the stereotypical introvert – happiest in my own company, without the pressures of expectations, protocols, and others’ opinions weighing on me.

So as you can imagine, I’m not big on ‘support groups’. Meeting regularly with people is not something I particularly enjoy dong it. Church on a weekly basis fills my quota more than sufficiently.

And I’m also a member of my local Writer’s Group, and have blogged about them before.

But in the last several months, I’ve also found myself a couple of online places where writers meet over a virtual water-cooler. And I must admit, I’m surprising myself with how much I am enjoying the online support of people I’ve never met in real life but with whom, online, I frequently converse!

One of these places is lovingly referred to as ‘The Reef’. We follow the blog of Literary Guru and Agent Extraordinaire, Janet Reid of Fine Print Literary Management. [Edit: as of August 14, 2016, Her Sharkliness is now Agent-Wrangler Extraordinaire at New Leaf Literary.] We comment on her topics – or also on our own; we enter her Flash Fiction contests, some of us are exiled to Carkoon for misbehaviour: it’s a truly exceptional group of people and I’m incredibly inspired by their talents and honoured to be considered one of them.

A second, slightly more local group, is the friends who I race with every Wednesday evening, Brisbane time. The Writing Races are hosted by Australian Writers Marketplace Online and are run through Facebook. One captain helps racers keep track of time, but we race against ourselves. Whether its word count increases on current works in progress, or decreases through revision, editing or re-writing stages, it’s great fun to have the company for an hour, knowing that people all around the country are doing exactly what you’re doing at that point in time. The sense of camaraderie is palpable. And I love that.

There’s also my wonderful family, colleagues at work, the Celtic group that the three cherubs and I are part of – all in all, I’m glad God designed us to share our lives with each other. Community sure is one magnificent idea. And that from the introvert sitting in front of her computer right now, enjoying the opportunities that present right from this little blog of mine.

Because you, dear blog reader, are the ‘support group’ I get to thank right now. Here, in this space that WordPress kindly allowed me to create, I want to thank you for taking the time to read. To lurk. To comment. To think of me, and honour me with your presence, and your willingness to spend your time reading the externalisation of my thoughts. I appreciate it more than you know.

Thank you, dear reader. And have a marvellous day today!

— KRidwyn

And now back to our regularly scheduled program…

Wow! What a month it’s been, huh?

FullSizeRenderTwenty-six posts, for the twenty-six letters of the alphabet. Originally, I’d planned a 26-instalment story. But the draft version ended up far too violent to publish here, so at the last minute, I changed to ’26 metaphors for God’, inspired by a cross-stitch Mum made for me. Praise God for Mums, and for friends who make suggestions like “why don’t you use your Mum’s cross-stitch?”

But that being said, it was a huge month. And although I participated, I’m glad it’s over. It took a lot of time away from my ‘normal’ writing, so I’m quite a bit further behind than I wanted to be. And as for my Goodreads challenge, that’s looking like a TKO at this point. Because although I *have* been reading, it’s been on blogs, not books!

My favourite blogs this past month have been:

https://kdjames.com/ (A fascinating story over the month of April)

https://johndavisfrain.com/blog/ (26 stories, each 6 sentences long. Chilling stories.)

http://julieweathers.com/blog/ (American history? READ THIS!)

http://www.colindsmith.com/blog/ (100 word stories inspired by the songs of Paul McCartney. So clever!)

http://denapawling.blogspot.com.au/ (Military definitions from A to Z; enlightening to say the least)

https://alleysiande.com/ (stories, and beer. And dragons…)

https://wordwacker.me/ (clues in haiku for the word of the day)

http://katelarkindale.blogspot.com.au/ (New Zealand movies from A to Z with gorgeously written reviews)

and

http://romancespinners.blogspot.com.au/ (on writing, and writer’s life)

I thoroughly recommend, if you have the time, drop by and have a read.

And for any A to Z challenge participants stopping by, THANK YOU for your encouragement and support, and YAY!!! We did it!!!

(Heading off for a well-earned nap now…)