Saturday, 13 September 2014

Optimal Writing Time

There are a number of discussions around what time of day is optimal for certain tasks.  I have found that writing is one of those tasks that differs greatly from person to person in terms of the time of day a person is at their most productive, despite what the science may say.

Finding out exactly what time of day is best for you is one way to help productivity and assist in beating procrastination.  My husband is a night owl and likes to stay up all night when he has an exam coming up.  I could not imagine myself doing this as a study method.  Once I get past midnight, I'm too tired to think straight, let alone be creative. 

How come nobody talks about us day owls?

I've discovered with mixed feelings that my optimal writing time is first thing in the morning.  I think this is because I'm fresh and able to tackle complex tasks after sleep.  However it isn't always ideal - I love a good sleep in and for some reason, it doesn't work if I wake up at 2pm and try to write.  Perhaps it's got something to do with being over-tired.  When I do have a long sleep in it's usually because I went to bed after 1am.  There's also the fact that I already get up quite early for work, so writing in the mornings on work days is usually not an option.

When is your most productive time to write?

Friday, 12 September 2014

Rejected Again

Rejection can feel like a knife to the guts sometimes.  No, we don't want your stinking work (read: an important piece of you; an organ even), better luck next time.  It's almost like being single and getting rejected by a potential lover again and again.

Being rejected is part and parcel of being a writer (Just like using clichés!).  If you want to be taken seriously as a writer, you have to publish.  If you want to publish, you have to submit your work.  If you want to submit your work, you are going to get rejected at some point.  

My writing has been rejected many times.  Often my work is rejected in one place, yet when I submit to another place it will be accepted.  A lot of acceptances depend on the personal taste of the editor.  

Usually when faced with rejection I will shrug it off.  It's happened before, it's not a big deal.  I've been published in the past and so I have proof that I am, at the very least, a half-decent writer.

This time was different.  This time I felt my heart drop, and there was a gnawing feeling in my stomach.  That's when I realised - this has happened before, this disappointment and depression that comes with rejection.  Shouldn't I know better?  What makes this time different from the other times I've just 'shrugged it off'.  And those other times when I've felt equally rent, why was that?

Looking at this instance, I was ready to submit my work elsewhere.  I even had another publisher lined up to send the manuscript to.  However I think in my mind I was 70-80% sure that the first place would ask for my full manuscript (I had to send a sample of the work).  Why did I think this?  It was because I'd read one of their other published works and thought, 'I could do way better.'  Now that I look back on this, I realise the style was very different and yes, it wasn't my style.  But perhaps it's what they are looking for.  What I mean is, perhaps they were looking for something short and sharp and don't place as much emphasis on character development over time.

I need to put this work aside now to work on another project.  Hopefully when I come back to it I won't have lost all of it's will to live.  But perhaps next time I can take a more blasé attitude about submissions.  After all, I am a married woman now, why would I want to feel single again?

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Publishing Output Found Wanting

I feel like I've been slack this year.  I haven't by any stretch been avoiding writing, but my publication output hasn't reflected the work I've done and this is what I'm now concerned about.

To elaborate, every year I try to submit between 4-5 stories and/or poetry to various places and usually that's enough to get at least one successful publication.  The idea is to have at least one publication on my literary CV per year.  So far I don't have anything to show for 2014 and that's starting to worry me.

So what have I been doing this year, if not being published and certainly not updating my blog on a regular basis?

I suppose the main thing I've been working on is my novel and my long short story. These aren't the kinds of things that I am able to churn out for publication in a month.  When I was at university I'd be writing short stories all the time for assessment, so submission was easier because I'd have material. I'm hoping I can finish off the long short story in August and somebody will publish it, although even then there's no guarantee it will have that magic '2014' number on the publication since we're now in the second half of the year and these things can take time from submission to publication.

Continuing on as the convenor for my writers' group has also taken up some time and literary enthusiasm.  I'm considering delegating that task to another person next year since I've had the role for 2 years now.  But I suppose the biggest culprit is my impending wedding, which just happens to be next Saturday.  Planning a wedding is deciding to spend 600 hours planning something that will only takes 6 hours in length.  As much as I am looking forward to it, I am also looking forward to not worrying about it.

I have also just been offered a research place at the University of Western Sydney.  I can't wait to get started.  This is something I've been thinking about doing for a while.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Friday, 4 April 2014

You see the trouble with me...

I want to do so much and embark on so many projects but I just don't have the time, energy or sanity to do everything I want to do.  I'm constantly coming up with ideas that I have to shoot down because I just don't have the capacity.  On the plus side, I've become much better at knowing what I can and can't take on and managing my time.

I wish that I'd been born into old money because then I wouldn't have to worry about having a pesky day job that gets in the way of my passions. I would love to be a housewife/kept woman because I wouldn't just stay at home I would actually be working the whole time ... sigh ... but I guess that's what everyone wants.

Maybe I should write to someone with money and ask them for a scholarship.  What's a million dollars to a billionaire?  Pocket change? I'd even take half a million, or even the equivalent of my salary for a year so I could take time off work.  Any billionaires out there feeling particularly philanthropic?  :)

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Author Interview

Last year I was fortunate enough to be awarded a Magabala Indigenous Creators Scholarship.  This enabled me to have a professional editor look over my manuscript and also provide some funds for mentoring.

I was very impressed with the service I got from the professional editor, Deonie Fiford.  She picked up on things I was uncertain about and provided advice for things I hadn't thought of.  From the 16 page report she provided I only half-disagreed with one point.  I think that's a pretty good hit and miss ratio!  Once I get back into the editing process I think the manuscript will really benefit from the edit.

Tomorrow I have my mentoring session.  I had envisioned a 5 part creative coach type arrangement but it was ridiculously difficult to arrange something like this.  Then trying to get an Indigenous author on board was a nightmare.  I realised, why does the author need to be Indigenous?  So I ended up going to ASA who were able to provide me with a consultation and voila, I am speaking with Isobelle Carmody tomorrow!

I have been a fan of Isobelle's work since I was a teenager and she is one of my top three most admired fantasy authors (Tamora Pierce and Justin Cronin are the other two.  Just don't ask me to rank them, that would be too difficult).

Mostly I am hoping to get some sense of direction from this session by learning more about a very successful Australian author.