Tuesday, 31 December 2013

New Year is organised

Until now my New Year's resolution has been don't make New Year's resolutions.

Study before clean-up
My study and writing area before the clean-up.
Note cat soaking up sun under the desk.

Now I'm feeling the need to do so, and the resolution is... be more organised.

I generally consider myself a very organised person. As a journalist and subeditor deadlines were not, as some say, guidelines, and I knew what needed to be done, who was doing it and when it needed to be done by, and I could reorganise quickly if a story fell through.

Saturday, 21 December 2013

And the winner is...

Christmas wreath
Congratulations to Melissa Wray, who has won the $50 Dymocks voucher for commenting on the previous post about what her favourite Christmas book is and why.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Deck the shelves...

What's your favourite Christmas book?

When I was a child there were few stories that weren’t set in the white, snow-covered Northern Hemisphere. Nowadays Australian Christmas stories are everywhere, but I don’t mind traditional tales – all that snow has a cooling effect during a summer scorcher.

This is by no means a best-of or even an exhaustive list of Christmas books – the library had been raided by post-storytime toddlers before I got there.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Town hub booked in

Our public library is the hub of our small but growing town, and it so much more than a place to borrow books.

A Christmas tree recycled from an old book
This recycled book Christmas tree
would not have been welcome
in my childhood library!
Students from the nearby primary school use it daily. Residents awaiting internet connection to their new homes use the free internet to pay bills, check email and surf the net. Daily and weekly periodicals are popular with many visitors, particular older residents who walk into town, read the paper or a magazine, then walk home. Brochures list the activities planned over the Christmas holidays, which will provide some welcome relief for parents with a houseful of over-sugared children.

After school, older primary school kids take over the computers, playing online games when they've probably told their parents they'll be studying. Others are playing the video games set up in the back corner.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

When the words stop making sense

Something happened to me today for the first time: I couldn't write.

Not because of writer's block - the story is there - but because the subject matter is too close to my own reality.

For me, writing is a way to make sense of the world through ordering words on a page, just as when I was a child reading was a way of making sense of things when my immediate world did not. Each world between the pages had a beginning, middle and an end. They were dependable worlds. The real world - not so much.

Friday, 8 November 2013

One step forwards...

..two steps backwards

I'm way behind on my NaNoWriMo word count target. The official website mentions the week two doldrums, and I'm definitely a victim. And I don't even want to think about PiBoIdMo – I've had some picture book ideas, but the motivation to write them down on paper is at about 'meh' level.
The little darlings are so loving and peaceful
when they're not trying to subvert the creative process.
Part of the reason my motivation has faltered is that my NaNoWriMo word count went down instead of up. How? I decided to split one chapter into two, copied and pasted, then forgot to delete the duplicate text. So what seemed to be a particularly productive writing session was followed the next day by one in which I literally – and literaturely – went backwards.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Mad month

November is going to be a crazy month.

I've signed up to tackle NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month. The aim is to write a novel of at least 50,000 words during November. Plots, outlines and characters can be created beforehand, but the actually penning, or typing, of the text must take place in November.

At last check, more that 173,000 writers across the world had signed up. That's a lot of words, coffees, late nights and tortured creative types. So if a writer you know seems particularly stressed in November, cut them a bit of slack.

Friday, 25 October 2013

First steps, fear and following through

I’ve discovered a new phobia: Twitters-fear.

I’ve joined Twitter - @AlexFairhill - and I’m stumped about what to write for my first tweet.

I’m reasonably new to the social media game. I’ve had a Facebook account with the privacy set to maximum for years and have tried hard to avoid the ‘what I had for breakfast’ trap, but blogging and Twitter are foreign lands and languages. So why, you may ask, am I doing it? Two reasons: to sharpen up my writing skills, and because I need to. And I do love to travel, even if it is while chained to a desk.