life, writing

Creative Stirrings

I’m beginning to feel the itch to write, scratching at the back of my neck. Faint voices are chatting to each other in the corners of my mind. I can’t quite make out what they are saying, not yet, but I know that if I wait the words will come.

Sometimes we have to let go of the pressure we place on ourselves to be creative in order for that creativity to flow where it needs to. I’ve spend months now, polishing and revising. Editing – a thing that I love – has become stifling and tiresome. I mentioned the other day that I have given myself some time out, and part of that is allowing myself the freedom to write something else if I’m called to it.

I’m not, not yet, but I think a new idea is stirring and I’m tentatively excited about that possibility. I desperately want to get back to editing, but I think writing something new will enliven me, give me more gusto for the edits on my return. A friend has given me a theme to write to, and that normally kicks the brain into action.

Onwards!

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Change is afoot

Over the last several months my husband and I have been doing a lot of thinking, a lot of talking, reading, learning, and soul searching. Because we’ve had this problem, you see, and it just didn’t seem like it was going away, at least not without compromising and doing things that we weren’t entirely comfortable with.

The problem was that our eldest was unhappy. Hugely unhappy. Crying every day for hours, wishing that she could just hide under a rock, unhappy. And this unhappiness also showed itself in anger, and frustration, and raging against the world for no particular reason that we could fathom. It meant conflict about everything as she struggled with life. And all of these un-fun emotions were being directed at our family.

I just want to make it clear that Ivy is NOT the problem. But her misery was. We needed to help her. To find a way to make the world make more sense to her. It is not okay for a child of seven to be feeling like the world is a terrible place. We love her dearly and it was heartbreaking to know she was feeling like this. And so we got help, which included therapy sessions every week for the last four months, a fair few tests to see if they could figure out what was going on, and finally, a trial of some medication for ADD which they determined is the cause of Ivy’s struggles.

Except the medication didn’t work as I was told it would. In fact it had the opposite effect which suggests she doesn’t have ADD, though they are leaving her with that diagnosis for now. I took her off it as quickly as I could – neither of us were thrilled about trying them to begin with, but we got what we wanted from it.

On reflection, with this diagnosis of ‘ADD’ and the discovery that she has difficulty focusing in a classroom environment, and the knowledge that while she was holding herself together during class, she losing it within moments of school finishing, we realized that maybe the real problem here was school. It was a huge contributor to her misery. And we decided (after lots of consideration) that what we wanted to do was home school her.

Prior to this, I’d had thoughts about pulling her out of school approximately 10 times in the last couple of years. Incidences would crop up, things that made me uncomfortable but weren’t big enough issues, or solid enough to really place my finger on the cause, but there, all the same. But school is what a lot of people do, and I had never really considered being a home schooling mum, and didn’t I want a career at some point in the near future? And didn’t I desperately need the break from Ivy’s misery that those hours at school gave me?

Well, I did. Until I realized that so much of our conflict revolves around school. Until I realized that in the school holidays, when it’s her at home, being a part of the family, she’s actually really happy and I love being around her. I can and will still have a career at some point, but my time as a stay at home mum has now been extended by a few years, and that’s fine.

In fact, I’m really freaking excited about this. I have so many plans, and every time I talk to Ivy about it she comes up with plans of her own, and we bounce ideas and I can see her brain working overtime, being creative and being excited about learning, which is so wonderful to see because she’s been so resistant to regular schooling.

One of the things I think is important to gift to our children is an innate sense of curiosity about the world. Creativity, a desire to learn and explore and the skills with which to do those things under your own steam. And I can see that already. I can see she has the desire, and I can be the one to teach her the skills she needs.

We’re going to be embarking on an amazing adventure. Not just for her, but for our whole family. Lauren is thrilled that Ivy will be home and is keen to get in on the learning. Natalie will enjoy it too, and Ivy… She is so happy. She can’t wait to get started and has been telling everyone she can about it.

It’s going to be very interesting finding a new groove once we get the exemption certificate through. But I can’t help but be filled with hope. It feels like finally we’re onto a winning thing. Finally, we can help Ivy follow her passions, encourage her dreams and support her in learning the way that suits her best. Very exciting. Very exciting indeed.

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#reverb10 – Make – prompt 6

December 6 โ€“ Make. What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it? (Author: Gretchen Rubin)

I don’t remember the last thing I made – though I’ve had heaps of ideas and a strong desire to do so – there simply hasn’t been the time.

Next year, I’m hoping will be different. I’d love to get stuck into my garden and get it into shape. I’d like to get crafty with presents, to make some more jewelry, to sew some items. I’d like to do some painting for pleasure, or drawing (actually going to try and find some time for that this month). I’d like to just have the time and space to enjoy making things, without the pressure of life on top of me.

Six months from now, life will be so different and I will have that time. I just have to hold out until then.

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Imagination Land

I haven’t had much time to write lately, but I’ve been doing a lot of reading. It’s nice to devour books now and then and I can’t wait to get my e-reader so that I can get through the e-books I have somewhere away from my computer.

I’ve also been playing a lot, capturing the beauty and wonder of toddlerhood and making the most of it. I remember these days with Ivy, though it seems like a long time since she was a whimsical little girl, she’s so grown up these days and concerned with real world things!

Lauren’s world though is populated with all kinds of things and I’m delighting in revisiting Imagination Land where every time we hop off the bed we have to step on the crocodiles snouts so that they can’t bite us, and paper planes are always only an arms reach away, peppering the air above us in a rainbow of colours and the monsters are made of jelly so that we can simply eat them to stop them from hurting us.

I love that we need nothing at all to create fun. I love how vivid it all is, how I can see it like an overlay upon the “real” world.

Children are bliss. And this is one of the best stages. I’m so grateful for my children and their continual ability to bring joy and wonder into my life.

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Things to work on – creativity workshop.

Merrilee put up a post about the issues and interests she has and will possibly work through for the Creativity Workshop and prompted people to start thinking about their own. I’ve been mulling it over for more than a week now and different things keep coming to the surface. I think I’m narrowing the list down though.

From reading through other peoples posts, I can see some common threads forming – it’s really interesting seeing what other people want to work on and seeing how my own issues/interests lie along similar lines.

So, lets get down to it:

Diversity: I really want to work on this one. I write characters who are predominantly 20-35. They might be male, or female (I have a pretty even split), and are predominantly human. They all have their own personalities but there isn’t an awful lot of variety there. I need to push the boundaries, explore characters that are further away from where I am (socially, mentally, emotionally, physically), make the most of a variety of cultures and points of individuality.

Jumping into the deep end: I tend to dilly dally with the beginnings of my short stories. It’s a bad habit and often results in my deleting the first thousand or so words of a piece to get to where things should be starting from. I think I’m afraid that if I dive right in, I’ll miss something important. Quite often I’ll find myself tiptoeing around the real story to the point where I lose the drive to write it. I want to push past that and just leap into ideas where the story really gets going, unafraid. I can always go back and add things if it turns out they are necessary, but I am sick of spending hours and words on the unimportant stuff.

Writing about home: This has cropped up for a fair few people – it’s so easy to think that nothing interesting can happen in your own back yard. I know that’s entirely untrue. Not only can amazing things happen anywhere in the world but I live in NZ for goodness sakes! We have a rich history, an amazing country and lots of fodder for exploration. I’ve always shied away from it and I don’t want to do that anymore. I’m part Maori, and I don’t tap into that at all in my writing. I want to break those barriers as well and allow myself to make use of the other parts of my heritage.

No babies: This is something I’m going to play with for the duration of the workshop. I write a lot of stories about pregnancy, mothers and motherhood. Hell it’s where I’m at and I find it so interesting – there are so many angles you can take and many myths to explore in new ways. I’m not going to write any stories about mothers, or babies, or pregnancy, or stillbirths, or anything centered around these things for now. Stories about other things that have people who happen to be mothers and children are okay – as long as the focus of the story isn’t on something parenting/motherhood/pregnancy related. I know, it’s a fine line, but it’s pretty clear in my mind. It will help make it easier to create more diverse characters for one thing!

I’m going to leave the list like that for now. There are no doubt others, but these are the ones that have been coming to the forefront lately. I think it will be both fun and challenging to push myself in some new directions over the next few months.

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Creativity Workshop!

Merrilee has now posted some more information on the workshop she’ll be running for the next couple of months – I’ve been waiting eagerly to hear more about it and am thrilled to be able to share the details around!

I urge you all to go along and have a read of what will be involved. It’s going to be lots of fun and I can’t wait to see who will put their hands up to participate. There is nothing more wonderful than pushing yourself at the same time as a group of others – it can be such an inspiring experience, and often results in new friendships as well.

She’s going to be posting a schedule for the workshop tomorrow and sign ups will then be open. Exciting stuff!

I’m definitely participating. While I do create most days, and I don’t have much trouble coming up with new ideas I can always work on developing my skills and improving my focus (especially lately…. seriously, this week has been shocking!).

While I won’t be able to take part in the whole thing, I’ll be there for as long as I can be (as in, until I go into labour!). Seriously, I think most people will benefit from taking part in this workshop. I can vouch for Merrilee being inspiring, helpful and insightful on so many levels. Just by being in her (internet) presence I feel like I’ve come a long way with my writing.

So go on, don’t be shy! Have a read, ask any questions you might have, then check back tomorrow for sign ups ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Why my Mum rocks

Last night Mum made her first ever comment on my blog, and I decided to give it a blog post of it’s own because I think it has value, not just to me, but other writer’s as well.

Mum:

I am Sooooo proud of you girl!

Iโ€™m sorry I didnโ€™t remember to tell you about getting a storytelling career off the ground โ€“ and you probably donโ€™t remember it! It is the most unconventional thing Iโ€™ve done work wise, and I quit at about the point it was about to get bigger. That journey to getting confident was huge for me โ€“ you know I hate crowds and at that pointed hated being the focus of attention too LOL

Anyway, what I learnt in that short time is that ALL artists โ€“ and writers are artists โ€“ by nature of the artistic process, are misunderstood to an extent except by other artists.

I also learnt that artists need to get their work out there in the public for feedbac โ€“ simply the general public read for pleasure and arenโ€™t interested in the craft aspect LOL

The public feedback and your growing from it is part of honing your craft.

The journey to mastery is one of putting yourself and your work out there, daring to expose yourself in that, learning from the experiences and constantly honing and growing as an artist. Give people โ€“ us joe publics โ€“ the chance to simply enjoy your work โ€“ as I have, and others.

In the end, it is the public who will decide what value your artistry has to them.

What greater joy could there be that writing a story which brings you delight, throwing it out into the public arena and letting others of like mind find it and be delighted too.

As far as others go โ€“ they will find other authors who are telling their legends for them โ€“ as it should be.

As for your friends out here โ€“ if their own mothers arenโ€™t proud of them, I certainly am โ€“ and thankful. Your dreams and writing make our world all the richer. Donโ€™t hold back, feed us your dreams.

Arohanui

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20K woohoo

So I did manage to make it last night, even though I also spent several hours playing computer games – it wasn’t until I shut that down that I crossed the 20K mark. This means I successfully completed the Don’t Stop, Keep Going Challenge over at KW put up by Chibi, and with days to spare even!

I thought about it last night after I went to bed, and realized that if I do manage to keep up the 1,500 words a day thing for the rest of the month, even if it’s just on average, I should make it to around 35,000 words by the end of this month, which really will put me in good stead to finish the rewrite during August.

Of course, that’s not factoring in everything else that is happening that month – It’s a busy one!

Kerryn and Mark are coming to stay on the second weekend, the weekend after that we’re heading over to visit Simon’s parents in Rotorua, then the weekend after that is my friend Tamara’s engagement party. And then the month is over… and it’s September and there will be under three months until baby arrives.

As much as I can’t wait to meet my baby, to have it enter the world and join our family – I really quite like the fact that it’s all mine for now, knowing that it’s being carried safely inside me. I’m enjoying the journey and the whole experience, and everything will happen when it’s meant to really, no point wishing the months would pass when I can make the most of the time that I do have.

I’ll just have to be wise with my time, and make sure I stay on top of things. The business course is all finished by the end August as well which is fantastic, and means that September is pretty free from ‘things’, though I think I’m meant to be having a baby shower in September, and I want to try and organize a photo shoot as well. So we shall see ๐Ÿ˜‰

I’m finding lately that my creativity is really going into over drive. I’m not entirely sure why, but I have all these little projects that want attention and simply not enough time to get onto all of them. It’s ok though, it’s not like they are going anywhere, I just have to hope that whatever is spurring this on in me sticks around for awhile – though I am wondering if simply doing creative things is cause enough, as if the more you do/think creatively, the more ideas there are to be had.