That old familiar itch

I can tell when my babies are getting easier by the fact that I start thinking about gaming. Of course I tell myself that I should not game, because I should be writing, but the reality is that I do the bulk of my writing stuff during nap time, not in the evening. I’m going to admit now that for the most part, at night I sit on the couch with Hubby and watch movies or TV – it would be nice to spend the occasional night playing games.

So I’m on the hunt…

We’ve been browsing the free games, and we’re going to have a fiddle with Champions Online because it’s free to play now. I’ve never played a super hero game, so it’ll be fun and something a little different for me. See I’m what is called a “newb”, I don’t know much and I don’t know how to do it well, I certainly don’t need cheap gaming chairs with outstanding performance. I need hand eye coordination, and game multitasking is not the same as multitasking.

Hubby has said that when Star Wars: The Old Republic comes out he wants to play that for a little while and by the time it is released, I’ll hopefully have plenty of hands free time and will be able to play too. It looks pretty awesome, and now that I know it’s coming and that we’re in I can start obsessing πŸ™‚ Oh, obsession, my old friend.

It’s been too long since I’ve played World of Warcraft to go back to it. Our old guild has fallen apart well and truly by now (it managed to stay mostly together, in various forms, for several expansions, and several of our quitting and restarting episodes), and for me, a great deal of the fun is in the social side of things. If I’m going to have to re-network, I want to do it in a new game, with a new character.

I miss gaming with Hubby. We make a good team, and it’ll be nice to be doing something more mentally stimulating than watch TV together from time to time. (Not that we lack mental stimulation! He is one of the smartest guys I know, and I love discussing all kinds of things with him. Not to mention that he’s cute, and has a wicked sense of humor – P.S he doesn’t read my blog, so no, I’m not fishing for brownie points! lol).

Yay! It feels like I’m reclaiming another part of myself. I have often said that I’d not be gaming again, but you know what? That’s just a part of who I am. A gamer chick. I can love and accept that.


Where I’m at

It’s been a few days since I posted, and while I don’t feel like I have been making much progress on paper, in my head I have been tackling some of the bigger issues.

Like fear.

I’ll openly confess that right now I’m feeling rather afraid of the whole ‘novel writing’ thing. I’ve been working on rewriting/polishing/editing several short stories recently and the amount of time that goes in just to get a few thousand words looking their best? It’s certainly enough to make anyone with limited time back off from the idea of writing and editing a whole novel.

The writing part isn’t so hard, it’s the other work that takes a long time.

I have been writing on a novel, but it’s not my primary focus, and I’m not thinking about it too much. I figured that if I think Β of it only a chapter at a time, it’s almost like I’m writing a series of short stories and not a novel at all. Yup, that’s me. All about tricking my own brain.

Ultimately, it’s not the best way to tackle fear. I know that. All the not thinking and avoiding I am doing isn’t going to make for a strong novel. I confess to having no idea where it’s going and you know what? While I want to find out, I’m not such a panster these days.

Even a year ago, you could find me bumbling through a novel, short story or novella. I didn’t need to have an inkling of how it ended, I could just dive in an enjoy. These days I want to know a little more though. These days I am well aware of where pantsing an entire novel leaves me – with the need for a complete rewrite and a lot of work ahead of me.

I simply don’t have time for that anymore.

So, I’m going to do some practice, and work my way up to a new novel.

January 2009 I wrote Mocha Nihilism. A novella of 20,000(ish) words. I’ve started reading through it, and while it needs a fair bit of work, I am really enjoying the characters. I love the MC’s take on life. She cracks me up. Here is the blurb I wrote for it awhile ago:

Christy has always felt like an outcast because she doesn’t drink coffee – she now loathes the stuff, and the people who drink it. But Christy has been given the opportunity to do something about it.

Recruited to be an inside man, girl – woman – for a secret organization it is her job to infiltrate the system of Starbucks and help find a way to bring it down from the inside.

I think it will be a fun Christmas present for some of my friends, and the perfect opportunity to work through a revise/edit/polish of something longer, but not as long as a novel. Funnily enough, it’s not speculative fiction at all – but it IS fun, and I need some of that.

At the moment I’m reading through a couple of times, taking notes and outlining the story I have, and the story I want it to be. I am hoping that this helps me grow a bit in my planning skills so that the next time I write a novel I’ll be better prepared.

Because, I think my next novel will be Delaney. And I don’t want to stuff her up.


Feeling good!

I’m up to day 7 of NPI and feeling great about where my writing is at. Not only am I actually seeing progress, but give me a couple more days and I’ll have some things sent out into the world! I’m very excited about getting back into the swing of it all.

The nicest thing though? I’m opening my document at the start of every day again. It’s natural once more, it’s just part of the process that happens once I’ve opened the laptop (which is now sitting prettily on my desk, sans PC, though I am still organizing my assorted ‘stuff’ around it). My story sits there, I can read bits of it, skim through to find where I was at, make small changes in the lead up to my writing time.

Time which I am finding. More than my required 10 minutes even. It sometimes doesn’t happen all at once, but it’s happening. Every day. I am feeling so much better for it.

Also, on a whim, I changed my theme again… I think the other one was kind of wintery and it’s spring now, and I’m loving that spring feeling. I’ll have to get out in the garden and take some pics to sort out a new header, but the fresh green of the stock one for this theme will work for the moment.

Oh, and if you’re in NZ/AUS pop over to Helen Lowe’s blog today – the first novel in her Wall of Night series is now on sale! She’s running a competition and has some guest post lined up for the next few weeks. I have to say that while I liked the blue cover the book has in the USA, I LOVE the red one! Can’t wait to get my hands on a copy.



I feel like I’ve lost the last week, though I’m sure that it’s not been that long since I blogged. I feel like I must say it a lot, but I really don’t know where the time is going.

Tomorrow marks the start of NZ Speculative Fiction Blogging Week, and I am nowhere near as prepared as I had planned to be! That’s okay though, I have a few posts up my sleeves and will just have to write the rest of them on the fly πŸ˜‰ Is there anything you’d like to hear about in particular? Feel free to make requests/ask questions, and I’ll do the best I can to cover them over the week.

I’m getting closer to being finished the current short story. It’s been hard not to start a new one, or switch to a different one, but I am determined to finish it off first. My list of things to complete really needs to be shortened. When I have a few minutes here and there I am still adding to the novel though, so it means I am getting writing done most days even if it doesn’t feel a lot like progress.

I had a rejection email a couple of days ago that made me laugh, and then made me think. It wasn’t funny, exactly, more that I had obviously misinterpreted what the website was looking for. They said my story was far too depressing! I had never considered it depressing, so it made me giggle. I’m coming to realize that a lot of what I write IS a little dark and disturbing, while not often falling into the horror genre, which can make it hard to find a home for. Ah well. I find it amusing because in general I am a pretty happy, optimistic person. One might not think so from some of the stories I write πŸ˜‰

Anyways, signing off for now. This was just a quite pre blogging week update. I shall be back tomorrow with a post about… well, I’m not sure yet! I’ll think of something though.


Time – can I haz some plz?

I’m not talking about more time in weeks, just, you know, an extra half hour (or even an hour) to myself a day. I can normally squeeze two hours out of a day to get my own thing done, but lately it seems to have compacted itself down to one hour which usually coincides with the time of day I need to eat at. Which cuts that hour down by a little bit.

Ug. I hate it. And I am so frustrated about it.

But the other stuff is important. Really important.

I’ve been spending most of my nights watching various DVD’s with hubby – something we’ve not done a lot of until recently. He tends to watch sports/play games and I tend to get some more writing done but I’ve noticed that we’re gravitating back towards just wanting to hang out, just the two of us at nights, while we still can. It’s natural. It’s important. I love spending time with him. I don’t love so much that it means I only have daytime hours to write in though.

Daytime hours in which Miss L is sleeping for less, and I seem to need to spend more time feeding…. gee if I don’t eat I start feeling unwell, so I can’t really skip out on the meals at the moment!

I’m hoping that magically, there will suddenly be more time over the next few weeks. I’ve got exciting writing stuff afoot. I want to burn through the words and get these ideas out of my head. I want to enjoy some fast and loose writing while I still can.

So I’m sending a message to the Universe. I need some more time. Just, lengthen the day a little, get my baby to sleep longer, put some more exciting sports matches on the TV, throw us some extra cash so hubby can buy a new game or something, or magically get the kids to play nicely together for a half hour after school without needing too much intervention/mediation. A couple of these things would do. I’d be totally cool with just an extra half hour and I PROMISE I’ll use it wisely.



Eeek it’s the holidays!

Yup, the first term of school finished last week and we are now officially into our first week of holidays. And you know? It’s not as big, bad, or scary as I thought it was. That said, the every day routine we’ve all come to love has completely gone out the window.

Which, in short, means a lot less time for me to write, revise and edit.

Not loving that so much, but hopefully after a few days I can forge a space in the day for me. Maybe when (if) Lauren sleeps and Ivy is (maybe) distracted by a movie or something…maybe then?

It’s hopeful thinking on my part because it’s almost 1pm now and Lauren is still awake (normally she’d be waking up from her nap around now). The kids are drawing together which is beautiful, and I guess I could be writing. They tend to know when I’m getting involved though and need me.

This is the lot of a parent: not getting stuck into something because inevitably you’ll get interrupted (which can be frustrating when it occurs 10-20 times a day), only to find that in fact it was the one time of the day the kids played nicely and didn’t need you for anything. If only I knew these things in advance!

Anyway… I had a detailed plan about what I’d hoped to achieve over the next couple of weeks but I completely forgot to allow for holidays. As this is the first, I have no idea what to expect!

Fingers crossed I’ll finish my ‘Mummy ears’ story by the end of the week, at which point I’ll work on Meredith’s story until it’s totally finished. Then possibly the flash fiction piece, then the Feud.

We shall see.

Wish me luck tho, I’m gonna need it!

P.S the new plan consists of spending every single morning out of the house doing something. Returning for lunch/potential nap and then… winging it. I figure if they get out and about every morning though, Ivy can’t get grumpy at me for never taking her anywhere πŸ˜‰



Here we are again, at the halfway point of a pregnancy – okay, we’re just over (20 weeks 2 days) but it hit me on the way to school that we’re on the countdown now…. past that hump in the middle and working down towards the estimated date of arrival.


It feels like a really long time to go, while at the same time feeling like it’s coming up far too quickly. I cannot wait until this wee one arrives, but boy, there is still so much I want to do in the meantime!

I’m finally coming to a place where I don’t feel so rushed all the time though, which is a real blessing. If I don’t get something done today there are always going to be other days, other weeks, and other months. Hell, even other years. Subsequently I’m not worrying about life with three kids any more either. All the important stuff will get done, and all the other stuff will still be there to get around to eventually.

Not sure if I am writing today, though am certainly thinking about what to dive into next. Even contemplating working on some things that have already been started. Who knows, I might write tonight! Hubby is out of town with work, and providing I can get the kids into bed at a reasonable hour I could be tempted…. lets see what the day throws at me and how I can twist that into a story.

Speaking of… might try my hand at a modernization of the Gingerbread man story.


Getting time-wise

I was kicking myself yesterday for not making the most of my available time, and for falling back to that age old ‘there aren’t enough hours in the day’ thing. There ARE enough hours, I’m just not making good use of them.

So, it’s time to sit down and do the math again. I’ve got to stop thinking that all my writing needs to be done in the one block because that block (Lauren’s afternoon nap) may not be as long as I might like, or might not happen until much later in the day, or any other number of things. Ten minutes here and there though – that, I can find.

If you need a little help with your finding time in your day, I encourage you to give this a go too.

First, write for ten minutes. As much as you can, don’t stop to edit, don’t stop to stress about the story, let those words flow up and out onto the page. Ideally you’d do this a few times so Β you know what you can average in ten minutes of writing. From past experience I know I can write 500 words.

Now that I have that figure, I can calculate how many 10 min writing blocks I need a day to meet my word goal – NaNo is around 1667 – so I need 4 blocks, it gives me a little leeway.

It’s amazing how often you can find 10 minute blocks in the day when you look for them, I mean, in the time it took me to write this blog post, I could have written 500 words on a novel or story… not that this is time wasted, but you get the general idea.

It’s sometimes really hard for me to get my head around the fact that my day is so segmented now. I used to write in longer blocks, then in shorter, then in longer again, so I know I can make this change, it’s just about switching the way I think – and if I don’t get the whole ten, then that’s fine too, it’s way better to have started and got some writing done than to have not bothered starting at all. The beauty of writing every day is that you get so in touch with your story that you don’t need any time at all to get your head in the right place, you can just sit down and begin to write.

I can do NaNo, I can make 50,000 words in a month, it’s just a matter of being smart with my time. Finding an hour to write can be a mission, finding ten minutes here and there? Well, that sounds much more achievable!


Writing related stuff vs writing

I feel like I’m getting less and less time to write lately, possibly because all the writing related things I’m doing are cutting into my writing time.

Or are they really? Perhaps instead of taking my actual writing time they are taking up my ‘thinking about what I’m writing’ time, which means that when I get time to sit down and write, I feel more worn out and less prepared than I might otherwise.

Have I confused you all yet?

So, for the record, I’m staff over at Kiwiwriters. We have our biggest event of the year coming up in June – the Southern Cross Novel Challenge (SoCNoC), based off the same model as NaNoWriMo, but you can write anything you want pretty much as long as you make the 50K mark. We’re down a couple staff members this year and I’m beginning to feel the strain already. I just hope that the month runs smoothly with not too many bumps along the way. I keep saying that I’ll do extra things a) because I feel like if I don’t then they might not get done, and b) because the event is normally a lot of fun and I want it to go smoothly.

As an aside: If there is anyone out there who might want to do a guest blog post for the month about anything writing related for the site, drop me a line! I’m trying to gather some up before June hits so that I can slot them in when one of us staff needs a day off πŸ™‚

Oh, and if you’re feeling like you might want to write a lot in June, sign up! The motivation aspect of it’s really fantastic. I’m probably not going to be participating myself seeing as my daily output is only average around 1000 words and I don’t think I can push it up, but I’ll be participating in HalfNoC instead, and will be there cheering everyone on and boosting motivation as much as I can.

As well as this I’m currently working through the short stories that we’re putting together for the first Kiwiwriters Collection of short stories. Making sure there are no spelling errors and they are all formatted correctly – after which I’ll have to sort out the layout and all that other fun stuff so that I can get it ready for the end of

Then there is SpecFicNZ, the org we’re forming for …. that’s right, speculative fiction in NZ!! It’s still in the works, but on course for a grand opening at Au Contraire in 2010. It’s very exciting to be in on the ground level and working to create a great org with some amazing individuals right here in my own country.

As well as this there is the writer’s group which David and I are hoping to get off the ground here in our town. He’s just emailed to tell me that the first posters are up, and it’s so exciting to think that someone might call us any day now about it!

I’ve stopped critting at Critters for now.. mostly because I just don’t have time. I’ve been working with some people and giving them feedback on their work. I love doing this, so if any of you are reading – don’t stop sending me things! It makes me really look forward to having the time to work on my own stuff, so keep chapters coming, it’s inspiring.

The fact is that I love being part of all of these things, and perhaps it’s just that I’m already gearing up for a massive June which is making me feel overrun by writing related things.

The reality is that I’m feeling a little flat about my own writing – fingers crossed that once the Collection and SoCNoC are out of the way I’ll bounce back to full form, but every other day I’m feeling a lot like I could just not write. I’m still making sure I write every day though – not feeling like it doesn’t seem like a good enough excuse to me.

And in the meantime I should be grateful that I don’t work full time as well as having kids and writing stuff! I definitely could not fit it all in if I had a day job too.

Eventually I may have to pare back on the writing related things so that I can get more writing done – but for now, I’ll carry on. I think it’s more a case of them taking my energy than my actual time, so all I really need to do is find a way to be energized by all the activity rather than drained.

Oh to be an extrovert…


Precious time

No one else is up yet, and I’ve been writing.

It makes me feel kind of sneaky lol I’m not sure why. Like a little mouse who gets up to steal things before anyone else is awake. I’ve stolen some time, precious time, and managed to get something written for the first time in days.

The whole ‘hubby away’ thing really threw me off. It wasn’t that I find it hard not having him here, it was that Lauren still really needs lots of cuddles and there was no-one else around to do that while I got some writing done. It’s okay though, we’ve been having so much fun lately that I certainly don’t feel bad about it!

I still haven’t finished going back and filling in the bits that need adding to, but I thought I’d get more done by writing fresh stuff and today that was more important, numbers, not quality. The writing isn’t bad anyway, it just gives me a better indicator of progress and I like to be able to see that I have made some progress.

Back to the writing. I have no doubt Ivy will be up soon, followed closely by Lauren. Must make the most of this precious time.