Posts Tagged ‘creativity’

Grey rain on the roof,

green breaks through, slightly swaying leaves, in time.

Softness, wetness; birds stay close to temporary homes.

 

Thoughts are a gentle hum,

faraway the iPhone clatters, reminding of electronic connections

but today there is respite in the natural world.

 

Conscious thoughts go to past time,

a yellow wattle tree outside a window on an old home.

Softness, wetness; grey rain on a tin roof.

 

Streaking windows,

droplets of feeling moving down the pane.

All is well, all is watched, silently from peace’s parapet.

 

As eternal as time.

 

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I’m sitting here pondering whether to have eggs for breakfast. It’s a huge decision for a Saturday morning. Huge. This is the one day of the week when anything goes. There are no rules on Saturday – you can sleep in as long as you want and there’ll be no: ‘Are you up yet?’ You can also stay in your pyjamas until lunch time if you want. I’m giving you my permission.

If you feel like running a movie marathon while your behind is parked on the couch…that’s fine too; equally a marathon run, bike ride or swim. Saturday offers the kind of freedom of motivation and action that is condensed into ouimagesr two day weekends. It’s all the more vital because we know the time is precious…to do exactly what we want.

Shame really. We should be living more deliberately every day of the week. There should be swims and bike rides, and movies and staying up late on all the days of the week, but that’s not how it works is it?

During the week we fall into that haze where the days blur into the next. We work too long and our thoughts focus on the immediacy of our surroundings, rarely straying beyond that funny, unreal cocoon we’ve lulled ourselves into. It’s safe to go to work each day and go through the same machinations. Drive, get in, coffee, check emails, knuckle down, look up and talk to colleagues, knuckle down some more. Perhaps at lunch you chug down a burger and a cap (great nutrition) while at your desk, and muse about what you’ll be doing on the weekend.

Then there’s hump day as it’s known. That’s Wednesday because you’re halfway there; halfway to the golden chalice…the weekend. Then Friday comes and there’s spring in the air, and in your step. More work, more coffee, more stress, but hey you can just about smell the weekend, can’t you?

Imagine how many weeks of your life have rolled by like this. Too many I guess.

I think there should be an inbuilt filter in everyone that triggers an alarm on weekdays when you’re working too hard and too long. It should be connected to a message on your iphone or tablet that says: “Do one thing today that you’ve been wanting to do for years”. That’ll be enough to poke you right out of that working weekday haze and reignite the rebel in you, ’cause when you’re rebelling against what you think you ought to be doing but are not, then you’re living.

Happy days folks and enjoy your weekend.

I have been catching up on my reading these holidays, something that a writer never gets enough time for. With any spare time I get I’m usually plotting, writing or editing, marketing or on the social media juggernaut. But reading plugs up the gaps just as surely as writing and reflecting on what I’ve written. Such is the creative process that it is cathartic and insightful, and getting the insight from other writers is just a huge privilege.blog

I’m not going to harp on any more about Stephen King. Anyone who follows this page will know that I have a professional crush on his storytelling genius, but I’ve also been thoughtfully reading other authors’ blogs and musings and am loving their descriptions. I read Hayden Thorne’s blog today about how he spent New Year’s eve watching Hercule Poirot on Netflix while drinking out of an old [possibly lead laden] teapot. It struck me as very comical because I pretty much did the same thing minus the teapot. I had been out the night before and most of the day and the very thing I wanted was an early night. And that was that. So I rang in the New Year with sleep and living up to my own expectations at that time. It all worked and was a great way to start 2015!

On that subject, one of my main aims this year is for better health. That means saying ‘no’ more often, doing what energises not what depletes and being around positive people sans any draining drama. Yoh! Now that’s what I’m talking ’bout.

I also watched an interview with Ariana Huffington over the break. My god that woman resonated with me. She’s just released a book called ‘Thrive’. Her message is that power and money [and the pursuit of] are not enough [not a new concept I know] and that you need to find a rich inner life, including sleep, to be successful. Her story is borne from experience when her former overworked self collapsed at her desk giving her the wake up she needed.

It was so good to hear her speak about the importance of finding meaning within yourself; of developing that inner life which is what I’ve been raving on about for decades. As a former workaholic I know only too well the dangers of giving your all to a pursuit you really haven’t thought all that deeply about. Yes workaholics can be shallow, stupid people until they wake up to the fact that life is so much more than the external. The answers to life’s riddles are within.

We all have creativity inside us and I would urge anyone to follow that, in between whatever external life demands you have. And it can be as simple as putting in a garden, a vege patch, painting up some old furniture, getting a good lead pencil and drawing what you see. If you are like me it is finding the meaning and joy in the words.

Here’s to 2015 and an abundance of creativity and free flowing prosperity in whatever it is you are imagining and creating.

Speaking of creating my short story collection Evil Imminent has just been honestly reviewed over @iheartreading. Head over and take a look at what I was creating last year.

It’s an interesting process writing a novel in a month. I had to laugh at the same old suspects bagging out National Novel Writing Month this November from the lofty perches of artisan pretension, and failing to grasp it’s true significance. A look through the twitter feed of #nanowrimo reveals a multitude of writers embarking on their first ever writing ‘baptism by fire’. Many try and fail and many try and succeed every November and some attempts create the novels that sustain and inspire us. That’s a good thing not a bad outcome if you leave the failures behind for one minute as practice runs. (You really can’t be forced to buy them you know).

A lot of writers are young writers and if a frenzied month of writing gets them to attempt novel writing, then all the better. The industry needs young voices just as it needs the older, first time manuscript writers and everything in between. Why? Because words are the building blocks of communication and writers inspire readers to cross mountains and raging rivers to get to reflection and understanding. A book can really change a life and, at the very least, can be the escape pod from a painful reality.

My month began full of enthusiasm and I not only made the word counts, I blitzed them. Ray Bradbury’s Farenheit 451 kept ringing in my ears. This was the novel he expanded from a short story in nine days. And the best selling Nanowrimo novel Water for Elephants was an inspiration too. I got to work with fervour and passion, creating my main plot from the draft novel plan I’d done a few months earlier. My story “Blood Visions” had been rattling around in my mind for more than 18 months. I’d told it so many times to people who asked and I could see the point they became interested was around about the time I began to believe in the concept. Nanowrimo was my biggest excuse to write the manuscript, and my inspiration. I used all the comments from writers undergoing the same hell, as a motivator; and I used that horrible graph on my Nanowrimo profile page as the enemy I had to beat.

My story began to come alive; my characters began to speak to me and plots and sub plots came to mind just as quickly as I was able to bang my fingers logically on my keyboard. I went to sleep thinking about a scene and then the next and next, and I woke up thinking about what was coming next. I mulled over the plot twists and took some turns and kept going straight with other ideas. I wrote and I thought and I reflected, and a lot of it was cathartic. Getting thoughts out on page is like listening to yourself.

About midpoint, I waned. I became tired and then I returned to the twitter feed again and read a Nanowrimo hint of leaving the day’s work at a scene that you would enjoy writing the next day. It worked. I pushed through and learned to go without sleep and get up at dawn and do it all again before the day job.

Toward the end of Blood Visions, and as the end of the month approached, I was conscious of a mild thought in the back of my head that this story was ok. Maybe not fantastically competent – it’s a draft at this stage – and maybe one that can be made better, but it had held together throughout the month and I’d finally gotten the idea down on paper. By today, 30th November in Australia, I am mightily pleased with the draft. So thank you National Novel Writing Month for inspiring me to tell the story that had been inside me waiting for the right time to come out. Seems November was that time.

I’ll be busy editing during December now – late at night and at dawn, with the day’s inspiration in between. That’s why I proudly call myself a writer, and even an artisan, because I’m living the dream. I’m writing. As impossible as it may seem some days, I’m writing novels.

It was on a dusty road, she remembered

the conversations of that time,

with loved ones long since passed.

Today she heard their voices,

recalling them like it was yesterday.

 

The dusty road was familiar,

as she dodged its well-worn grooves.

Too easy for her old relic of a car

to get caught and head into trees.

Who would save her she wondered?

 

The old gear box groaned

as she slowed the car. In

any case, she wanted the dust

to settle for the next driver,

who came down this dusty road.

 

Off guard, she caught sight of her boy,

in the rear vision of time.

His seven year old eyes familiar,

like the grooves and potholes in the road,

that lay all at once ahead, and behind.

 

She stopped, then, at the entrance

to her childhood home.

One of many she’d laid her head

to rest, against the passage of time.

One last trip she decided, down a dusty road.

 

She had called it right today she knew,

as she turned her car in and headed home.

Time was not the master, only her

decision to go back to where it began

and do her best to put it right this time.

 

I must be honest today. I had good intentions of finishing my short story for my upcoming horror anthology but instead I slept in until 10am, and then shopped, and wasted some more time in front of the fire. I did manage to wake myself up enough to cook a stupendous dinner. And thank you to my partner for the apple and djon mustard sauce to go with the pork. All in all a great day, away from worry or care, and one that sparked thoughts of clearing the desk upstairs next weekend so I can set up my keyboards.

And get back to learning how to play them.

What has all this got to do with writing, I heard myself ask. Well, it shows the lack of time I generally have with a busy day job and long hours, and a family who draws me substantially into their lives still. On top of finding time to write, is the time to market my published novels. Many authors, like me, have embraced social media as a cost effective way to market indie books. Like me they have facebook, a blog, Google+ even, Pinterest perhaps, and of course Twitter.

Many an hour is spent on Twitter, tweeting promos for books. I know I do…tweet about my books but I have been thinking lately…wondering even, about the value of using Twitter to actually sell books. I think it’s a valuable platform for branding, but concrete sales? Perhaps a little, but definitely not a lot. And yet, it astounds me that I [and many others] rely so heavily on Twitter, tweeting around the clock. Why do we do it?

I’m not really sure. As I said it might get some sales, but its value is in branding and, like anything else, you can either do it right or you can overdo it. I’m beginning to acknowledge the value in taking a step back from constant marketing on social media generally, and in going back to quality time spent doing the thing that motivated me to go into indie publishing in the first place.

Writing. A blank page calling for inspiration. Penetrating the superficial, organizing thoughts, resuscitating them even, and punching through to creativity. Multiple epiphanies.

So, back to the laptop keyboard. Easing up on the tweet, tweet, tweet again. Back to my short story and complete the anthology. Now, that’s an idea that might just work.

I love my blog. Not because it’s part of my author platform [though it helps], and not because it’s my work, but because it gives me a chance to write – say what’s on my mind and just put it out there. Whoever’s interested will read, those who aren’t, won’t.butterfly

That’s at once the selfishness of writing, and the brilliance of it. Life’s about communing, with like-minded people and also finding out that some people are like abrasive sandpaper – there isn’t any way you’ll get on. And that’s OK. We’re all in different places and spaces and humanity is as diverse as a planet and as similar as that grain of sand.

What I wanted to say today has to do with reality and why when it’s tempting to see what we want to see, that’s precisely the time to pull up and reflect. I think as humans we have a tendency to insulate ourselves from facing reality. No wonder, it can be sobering, painful, self-reflective and illusion shattering. However the consequences of pretending are at best naive and, at worst, damaging to others.

I had an experience this week where it became painfully obvious that there was far more than one side of the story. In fact, there were several. Those with the power in the situation had chosen to see one side and from that blindside, unfairness dominated. Events unfolded within rapid succession this week because I chose to see the situation from multiple sides and forced that viewpoint. I pushed others to see the way truth has always dimension and, consequently, the unfairness that had resulted from a ‘red-necked view’ had been committed as certainly as any crime or wrongdoing is inflicted on others.

Umm. I can hear you thinking what’s this got to do with books and writing? Writers bring to the table their understanding of life, their experiences, insights and observations. You’ll often hear a writer say that their creativity is both a blessing and a curse. It sometimes is because seeing and feeling intensely can be painful.

Ah, but the flipside to pain is joy. So perhaps those butterflies and flowers are there for a reason. Transformation is no simple thing.