Liz Byrski, In Love and War

I was very fortunate to attend a talk presented by Liz Byrski at the Ballajura Community Library last weekend.  Liz shared with us the journey of writing her wonderful new book In Love and War.

I have been a fan since I picked up a copy of Belly Dancing for Beginners several years ago.  I fell in love with her as an author when I read Remember Me.

Liz is a truly gifted story teller, a hero to women, to me.  In her latest non-fiction book In Love and War Liz shares her journey in writing this post war tale of heroes and heroines with remarkable candor.  We are allowed an insight into the writing process, along with her own fears and misgivings.

I couldn’t help but cheer her on until the end even though the outcome of Liz’s journey home was clearly in my hands.  After many years the book is complete.  Thank you Liz Byrski for you honesty, perseverance and prose.

By Liz Bryski

Lessons on the Go

Podcast Developers – I Thank You.

I love podcasts, they make my working day bearable. Like most writers, I constantly strive to learn new things. Any random subject can hold my interest for a while but writing podcasts are my life blood to sanity.

Without the soothing tones across my car stereo or in my apple budded mobile ears my writing ambitions would be nothing more than a distant glitch out there on the horizon. A someday career that I will continue to study for and work towards once all the family raising and getting by stuff has been dealt with.

Podcasts let me continue to learn my craft from familiar teachers, experienced, knowledgable men and women to whom I would happily pay a small fortune to for the chance to bask in one of their classes, courses or workshops. Podcasts keep my dreams, no my ambitions alive more than any university course, workshop, seminar or conference I have attended in the twenty-something years that I have been pursuing my writing goals.Lessons on the Go

My Top Writing Podcasts:

So You Want to be a Writer – presented by Allison Tait and Valerie Khoo

Rockin’ Self Publishing – presented by Simon Whistler

The Creative Penn – presented by Joanna Penn

A Little Bird Told Me – presented by Philippa Willitts and Lorrie Hartshorn

Blogging with WordPress – presented by Shawn Ozbun

So you want to be a Photographer – presented by Valerie Khoo and Gina Milicia ( not writing I know, but still very interesting, useful and inspiring)

I guess I am lucky that my day job allows me plenty of alone time to think, ponder and create even while I am away from my desk. Podcasts are reassuring me that I can still live a creative life while I am busy doing other menial but necessary things. Running our business has it challenges but they are challenges that I can cope with as long as I can build my writing career around the edges of my day.

Incidentally “writing at the edges of my day” is a quote from one of the podcasts listed above, I am almost certain I heard it during an interview on So you want to be a Writer, however I can’t be completely sure where I heard it.  I wrote it down and it has been my mantra ever since.  I should of known better and made a note of the origins, I know.  I am tutting and shaking my head now and letting out a deep sigh.  Watch this space, I will seek out the information I should already have and post it here.  Promise.  I am putting it on my to-do list now.  More sighing.

Find the above mentioned Podcasts at iTunes or PodOmatic.

Until next time, Happy Writing.

Line edit

Line Edits – Just Do It!

I admit that I am procrasti-blogging.  I know it is not a real word, but it is a real state of mind.  I need to be line editing Allison Song Bird, I need to move along, get things done, get it going, get on with it.  I just need to do it!  Plain and simple.  What good are two unedited manuscripts  collecting cyber dust in my aging computer?  Don’t answer that,  I know that it is none, nada, nothing, zilch.  I am not afraid to release my creative outbursts onto the world, am I?  I don’t think that I am but my lack of action might say otherwise, perhaps? I don’t know.

I spent the  weekend absorbed in literary learning at Perth’ s Writers Festival where I had the opportunity to sit and soak in the expertise of Elizabeth Gilbert, Liz Bryski and Hillary Mantel.   I am painfully aware that aside from their talent, experience and creative genius the one thing that all authors have over me is that they saw it to the end.  They finished what they had started. They went ahead and did it.

‘Do it’  is now my motivational mantra.  My writing, skill and imagination may never come close to these three talented, adored  writers, quite frankly I do not care.  I just want to write, tell stories and get them out of my limited space and into the world.  So with that I make a pledge to bring Allison Song Bird (working tittle) out of the darkness and into the light of day.  I am going old school,  the printer is whirring and ticking away beside me as I type this.  I want ASB out on paper, in a ring file, red pen clipped in the pocket.  I want it out in the open, where I will see it, where it will remind me daily that it is here too, that it needs my attention as much as the dog sleeping on the couch,  as much as the back log of paid work waiting in my in file, the dishes crusting in the sink or  the washing melded with the floor.  This is how I will finally get ASB out into the world.  Time this baby was free, so watch this space, I am sure to be procrasti-blogging again soon. xx

The 5 Worst Things You Can Say To A Blogger

Vanessa McKay:

Please be kind to us Bloggers..

Originally posted on A Morning Grouch:

So, I’m no blogging genius.  When I first started blogging I had zero idea of the etiquette, cultish followings, or blogging cliques that existed.  I pretty much started this as a procrastination tool.  I’m still half-assed and hardly an expert; I have been dragging my feet even getting my self-hosted site up and running (does that even make sense?) because I have almost zero clue where to start (but dammit, I will learn, eventually.  I will).  But even with all that, I am starting to get some idea of what the blogging world is all about.

There are some phrases non-bloggers may or may not realize are not a good idea to say to someone who blogs:

1.  I read your blog. With no follow-up.  Oh. Thank you? You read it. But you didn’t say what it was exactly that you read. Or if you liked it. Or hated it. Or if it…

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“Let me live, love and say it well in good sentences” Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar.

Many writers live within the “Bell Jar”. Seduced into that illusion of containment. A belief that no one can touch me, I can observe from within my safe, transparent shield. There is a difference between our minds and those of non-writers, the ceaseless narrative, the questions we keep under our breath too shy or too polite to ask. Quarrelling characters often bide for space and time within my head, yet I know I am not mad. Not as long as I can hold pen to paper anyway.

Sylvia Plath

Sorry but I have to work that day. Really I do.

My New Tea CupI have a great gaggle of friends whom I adore. We love to get together and share the latest happenings in our lives. Usually over coffee, lunch, dinner and occasionally at the gym. Now that I have decided to get my writing life in order and to finish the unfinished works, see new projects through and wade my way through the precarious worlds of blogging and ghosting I have to stick to a working schedule.

Most days it works. It keeps me disciplined. Plus I get to tick off my achievements on a new weekly print out of my schedule. Which is very satisfying indeed.

What is not satisfying is those nearest and dearest becoming miffed even scoffing at my new commitment. My friends have jobs some part and others fulltime that they dress in the morning for, that they attend throughout the day and return home to their own version of normality. I do not have that luxury. I work from home. I am either doing the books for our carpentry business or building my writing career.

In the background the washing machine is whirling, soon to be beeping demands to be emptied. Annie, my German Shepherd is snoring softly on the couch behind me. My office is a small metre square of kitchen space in our tiny timber frame house in Medina. A money saver while times are tough. I sometimes think I hear a scuttle of mice under my desk, that my no-kill methods of mice control are not working and our home is secretly infested. (probably not as I do mice-poo patrol every morning) Still I worry, I saw some once. I joke to friends that the mice were all eaten by the large caramel cockroaches that frequent our house when ever I let my guard down. How can a writer not write in this low-level garret?

No longer will I make myself available to ‘Do Lunch’ at a moments notice because someone is free, bored or has a day off. I can do dinner, weekends, an afternoon tea, yoga or a couple of mornings at the gym but otherwise I am busy working. It does not matter what I am working on or that so far my writing income has only reached double digits. I am working.

Dear writing friends, how do you stick your guns, your schedule, your dreams? When so many people around you are already at their ‘grown up’ jobs how do you stay on track when it is all to easy to let everyday tasks devour your time?

I am guessing one day at a time?

Read, Write. Read, Write.

Image“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write.  Simple as that.” – Stephen King

I was stunned when during a writers workshop the discussion turned to what books we are currently reading and a young man announced that he does not bother reading, that he was a writer not a reader.  He continued to say in our collective stunned silence that he did not want his “creativity plundered by conformity.”

I was immediately reminded of  Stephen King and his book On Writing.  One of the first of many craft books I have consumed over the years. 

Every book we read teaches us who we are as writers.  Every book we scour and scribble in its margins takes us that little bit closer to our voice. We are given a gift,  from our fellow writers who have instilled their hearts, sweat and tears amongst the pages of the books they produce and we devour.  How can we as writers not feast on the bounty before us.  Regardless of our personal tastes and style so many have gone before us and done it well, some brilliantly.

Every writer with their name on a book cover reminds us that Yes, it is possible.  Yes, we too can do it.  With work, with dedication, and a little ounce of confidence we too can get our name on our own books.

When that happens dear writing friends, spread the word, share your journey and light the way for the next generation of scribes.

The Problem with Blinking

blinking owlI know that it is a physiological necessity.  We must blink to cleanse and lubricate the cornea or something along those lines but what happens when you blink and suddenly a year has gone. Pooof!

Last year was the year I was going to do 101 things  towards my reaching my goals. The goals I made a list of are all here somewhere.  Without even finding it, I know I never got there.  My life led me in an entirely though not altogether useless different direction.  Here we are now steaming into 2013 and my dreams, goals and aspirations have not changed but I am hoping that my ability to turn them into a reality has improved.

Another year of study, reading, seeking, daydreaming, analysing and debating has led me here to where I will now open the green file containing my WIP and get on with the messy job of editing and rewriting.

Allison has sat on the shelf for long enough.  It will soon be time for her to emerge into the light and absorb the well deserved acclamations, or not.  I want to finish her so that I can get on with telling the next story I have brewing.

The mere completion of Allison will be a success in itself.  Anything else is a bonus.

Here it goes.. Chapter 1

Back to School

My little girl Mary started full-time school today.  I  spent January ignoring my work, the temptation to write, edit and basically get on with things.  I made do with a notebook, scribbles, and a colourful (albeit ambitious) schedule taped over my second screen.

The 2012 Schedule could be seen in my peripheral vision as I set about brief sessions of administration work that could not and would not wait until school resumes.  I  often caught myself gazing wantingly at the work I had to come, the study, the writing, the competitions, the yoga, the Friday night Zumba class, an edited book and a new one to boot all finished and attended to by the year’s end!

Am I dreaming?  Is this schedule the best piece of fiction I will write all year?

What goals have you set for yourself?