Categories
Random thoughts Scribblings Work Writing

7/52 On Writing

My blog descriptor says ‘Educator, Librarian, Writer’. It’s difficult to write – the hardest thing in the world, some writers would say… and yet the easiest task to do as well, just sitting and writing. But it’s the writing of GOOD words which is difficult. The editing that goes on in the head as you write, the ‘boy oh boy this sentence is awful’ echo chamber that persists in whispering no matter how many times you mentally silence it, ask it to politely shut up, yell at it, ad infinitum.

And it’s crucial to do so. It’s not possible to edit as you draft, not effectively, anyway. You have to get the ideas out first, all of them down on paper or onto the screen, before you can decide which is good and which not so good, which needs refnining and which need discarding.

And then editing! That spectrum between the raptures of joy and the awfulness of drudgery, from the excitement of crafting your words into something amazing to the growing horror of realisation that there’s no way this thought should ever see the light of day. ‘What will people think of me?” “What does this say about the person that I am?” “They’ll see how pathetic this is and won’t like me anymore!” “Will they like this as much as I do?” “What if it’s awful and I just don’t know it?” “Will they tell me? DO I even want them to?”

Well, that’s my rant for today. My writer’s group started back this week, and I drafted it during our writing time. And a good use fo time it was!

Categories
Random thoughts Reading Writing

2/52 Home again and being introspective

I both love and loathe writing. Like the nursery-rhyme girl with the curl in the middle of her forehead: when [it] is good, it is very, very good; but when [it] is bad, it is horrid.

I was pretty excited last March though, to be so near the end of my Justine Browning journey I was ‘querying’ agents, and ‘in the trenches’. Then a hiccup regarding word counts hit – at the same time as I received a huge pile of English drafts to read and return to my high-school English classes. Enter my first overwhelming encounter with my darlings’ use of ChatGPT, and the world of AI writing.

And I lost it. All motivation. All hope of ever ‘making it’ as a published author. Because seriously, what even will the publishing industry LOOK like in ten years, with AI now here, and here to stay?

Admittedly, life also got a heap busier with my Mum deciding to separate from my Dad, but there you have it – the series of inciting incidents which brought my 2023 writing journey to a screaming halt.

But this year, I’m determined to look on the bright side. Intentionally. And I couldn’t help but laugh when “Goodwill Librarian” posted this, this week:

 

And that was all it took to shake me from my self-imposed writing paralysis. Because I could see clearly how words are important! I should know – these past school holidays I’ve read more books than I’ve read in simply AGES! Other people’s words – their viewpoint on this incredible thing we call life – has been important to me. And who’s to say that my words might indeed be important to others?

Hence this return to my poor neglected blog. To eke out some words and fling them into the ether, with nought but the hope that someone, someday, may stumble across them and read. Maybe even comment!

And even if none do, the externalisation of my thoughts into text is good for me. Straighten out my own understanding of my personal world view, as it were. And ‘there’s a spider in your bra’ is certainly so disparate a response to ‘undress me with your words’ to what I could ever conceive, that it’s good for me to realise and understand this!

I hope you smiled like I did at that meme. And have a great week, dear Reader!

  • KRidwyn
Categories
Blogging challenges family anecdotes Writing

1/52 Memories, from Melbourne, with hope

And so it begins; my first blogpost of the New Year. And I’m in Melbourne, which apparently used to be called Batmania prior to being renamed back in 1837.

(And no, although it’s amusing to think of a black-winged crime fighter controlling the convicts in this area of Down Under, apparently it was named after John Batman, a leading member of the Port Philip Association and the person who negotiated a treaty with the Aboriginal elders to purchase 600,000 acres… so nothing to do with DC Comics, Inc.)

But discovering this fact the other day got me thinking about the past, and how so much of history gets forgotten, both intentionally and accidentally.

I met a lovely lady last night – my cousin’s mother-in-law. It was her 76th birthday party and our conversation had moved onto the topic of tattoos. I related the story of one of my family member’s, who’d faithfully kept a diary – until the day his girlfriend at the time found it, read it, and used it against him. Unsurprisingly, he’d decided to stop journaling, and ink his memorable events onto his skin instead. I’ve always wondered if this second method resulted in lost memories. And this saddens me.

2023 was one of those years which I’m glad has ended. And although I could blithely say “I could happily forget whole chunks of it” I know that, should I *actually* do so? Sure I’d be more free-from-pain than I am right now, but I’d also no longer be me. Our memories are what makes us who are we – and there’s lessons I learned through those painful 2023 experiences that I’m glad I won’t have to re-learn.

So here I am, starting 2024 more despondent than I can ever remember being, but intentionally trying to look for snatches of hope for a brighter year. (They *do* say when you’re down, the only way is up, right?) And hope, after all, is all we need, yes? Aren’t there a plethora of films out there whose entire premise is that hope is stronger than hate, or fear, loneliness or depression?

So that’s how I’m looking at 2024. One day at a time, one hour at a time. Trying to see the good, rather than focusing on the less-than-good of the recent past. Moving on, moving upwards. And recording it in words here on this blog, which I’m grateful to be able to do. Not everyone feels they have the luxury to record their thoughts in text, after all.

So. Here’s to a hope-full week ahead for us all, dear Reader, and I’ll see you next week 🙂
⁃ KRidwyn

PS Just cos I can: the doubledecker bus I rode from Tullarine aitport to Melbourne CBD. The last time I rode on a doubledecker was in 1980 in London!

Categories
momentous events More about me my novel-in-progress

Hamster wheel spinning time!

So… I did it!

Not quite on the 16th, admittedly, but on the 25th. And that was pretty much all because I was directing a production of The Velveteen Rabbit, whose opening night was the 16th. Yeh, I didn’t particularly time that one very well, did I…

Still, the querying started on the 25th, and I’ve averaged 2-3 queries per day since then. So I’m happy with that. Some fairly immediate form rejections, which is sad but par for the course, I know.

And I’m enjoying learning LOTS. Last time I queried (years ago now) it was *way* too early. Now I’m feeling a lot more ready, but I’ve revised my query letter twice, my biography about five times, and I’m not even going to mention the numbers of times I’ve reworded my answers to the ‘target audience’ and ‘similar works’ questions! Hence the spinning hamster wheel. Am I doing this right? Should I be writing this? Or this? Or even… this?

I’m quite liking the Query Manager / Query Tracker side of things though. It’s a very impressive site! And researching agents and agencies is also fun. I’m constantly wondering ‘who will I be lucky enough to end up working with’?

So that’s my “Ceridwyn is now an #amquerying writer” story. It took a while to actually happen, but it’s happening now! Praise God 🙂

And speaking of God, have brilliant Easter weekends, dear Readers!

Yours,

KRidwyn

Categories
Life my novel-in-progress Random thoughts Work

Off and running…

So how’s your 2023 shaping up, dear Reader? Mine has been a whirlwind! Although it feels a tiny bit more relaxed, incrementally a little less hectic, than last year.

I’ve added some ‘physical health awareness’ time into my routine this year, and having one child fewer at school has given me a LOT more head-space, for which I’m grateful! And I’ve filled it (but of course) with other things… I’ve paid the Term 1 school fees, closed (and opened) a couple of bank accounts, sold then collected some budgies, had a vegetarian best friend stay for a week, processed a lot of books and kept on top of my ordering, and also done some gardening in there – as evidenced by my aching and stiff lower back as I type.

Oh, and add into the the time spent night driving with my eldest; an extra church activity or two, and more writing this year than any other year I can remember to date… and 2023 is looking good so far!

And the fact I wrote in my last blog post that I’d be querying by mid-March is still front-and-centre of my ‘not just important but urgent’ mental list. Truth be told, it might actually BE the whole list. I’m on track for that still. Kinda…

Speaking of which, I should probably get going now. There’s editing to do. I’ll leave you with this inspirational new(ish) writing from Veronica Roth, shall I?

See you next time!

  • KRidwyn
Categories
my novel-in-progress Reading Work Writing

Happy New Year!

Yes, I know, it’s been 7 days already. But hey; I’ve been having a good holiday, okay?

Speaking of holidays, it’s been more of a ‘hiatus’ from this blog, hasn’t it (insert sheepish expression here). What a lovely word that is too, by the way. According to my Apple dictionary:

Hiatus, as in a ‘physical gap’, or ‘to gape’. Well, there certainly is a gaping hole in the timeline of posts on this blog! But as much as I’d like there not to be, I can’t change the past, so here’s hoping 2023 fares better for blogposts. Once a month even, perhaps?

Looking ahead, I’m also looking forward to querying again, probably around mid-March. It’s been years since dipping my toes in the querying waters, so I’m apprehensive. Well… downright terrified, truth be told. But now I’ve posted this – even if only on a sporadic blog such as this! – my brain is telling me it’s a commitment I’ll be unwilling to break. I hope…

On the reading front, I’ve challenged myself to anther 104 books this year. I absolutely LOVE that Goodreads has their ‘Reading Challenge’ function, where I can track my reading year by year. I recorded just over 110 in 2022, which I was pretty happy with. In 2023, I’m planning on the majority of those being YA, followed by MG and a smattering of adult and also non-fiction in there. Not only because those are my faves, in order, but also that’s where I’m at with the Library collection I’m trying to forge my way through at work. I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned how BRILLIANT my job is, yes? Teacher Librarian for a K – 12 private school, where I get to spend the school’s money on books I know the kids will love? What can be better than that? (Well, writing full time perhaps, but that’s a scary thought right there…)

Anyway, here’s hoping all this reading I’ll be doing will help the writing some. And between the writing, the reading and the job, plus a newly-graduated daughter to help negotiate the big wide world of work and university, and two younger children completing Year 11 and Year 9 in 2023… this year’s ending will probably come around quicker than even I’m expecting! I wonder what my life will look like by then?

Well, that’s it from me, dear Reader. Have a great January and “see” you in a month!

– KRidwyn

Categories
Life Random thoughts

Eye sight

Eye sight: mine’s deteriorating. Rapidly. I’m quite sad about it actually; I’d thought I was different from everyone else and my body wouldn’t succumb to this ageing process. Guess I was wrong.

You’d think failing eyesight would be my cue to get a move-along with this whole ‘finishing my novel’ bit, wouldn’t you. Huh. Again, something to regret.

It’s a bit of a maudlin one this morning, I’m afraid, dear Reader. Sorry about that. Here’s hoping you retain your eyesight for much, much longer!

Have a vision-filled day,

KRidwyn

Categories
Scribblings teaching Work Writing

Flash fiction – 4 prompt words

Last term, I started a “Writer’s Group” at my school. Interested students – only girls so far! – meet each morning and practise various activities to improve their writing skills.

One such activity was “write a 100-word flash fiction story which must include random prompt words”. My favourite story used the words: Fate; Find; Potential; Fiendish. Below is what I came up with:

It’s fate, I knew it! Jane thought. I knew I’d find him – the stars aligned perfectly this month!

She stared dreamily out the window, remembering last night. Their eyes had met across the crowded bar. Excusing himself from his friends, he’d moved toward her, his eyes – mesmerising! – locked with hers. Other girls, appraising his potential, tried flirting as he passed; he ignored them. He only had eyes for her! And they had a tete-a-tete tonight!

Ma cherie, he murmured into her neck later that evening. Her eyes closed, she didn’t notice his enlarged canines behind his fiendish smile.

I quite liked writing it! Never written a vampire character before. I’m thinking it’s all the manga I’ve been reading for work this year…

Anyway, here’s wishing you a story-filled day today yourself, dear Reader!

  • KRidwyn

 

 

Categories
Writing

12/52

Meet Xaf.

She’s the dragon keeping me company while I write.

Cute, yes? I think so! She always makes me smile 🙂

Have a smile-y week yourself, dear Reader!

– KRidwyn

Categories
my novel-in-progress Random thoughts Writing

1/52

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 🙂

– KRidwyn