Tag Archives: distractions

Disorganised, depressed and discombobulated and other dastardly D words!

My on again / off again relationship with my closely related nemeses depression and anxiety has been more on that off of late.  A bit like Prince Harry and Cressida… Oh hold on they are well and truly off it seems, which is great news for my daughter who has always fancied herself as a royal wife (not to self – must move to England STAT)…

Anyway, lame attempt at humour aside, I am starting to worry about it and of course this is unhelpful and extremely non productive. One of the unfortunate side-effects of my depression is that I become terribly disorganised to the point of complete discombobulation (according to the WordPress spell checker this is not a word), but there I go digressing again… even this post is disorganised.

My disorganisation is probably one of the things I hate most about being in this state.  It means I forget appointments, miss deadlines (so not great for self-employed struggling writer), get lost when driving (I am normally a cracker with directions), buy everything but the salt and pepper that I went to Coles for in the first place, which then makes me sadder still because what I was really craving was boiled eggs on toast with salt and pepper … you know the dippy egg kind that you have with little toast soldiers:

The happy making power of the dippy egg should never be underestimated as a cure for all manner of things.  Another thing in my life that makes me happy is going to writing events, where I get to meet and mingle and most of all learn from published authors in my bid to achieve my dream (I think goal sounds better – more achievable) of being a published and successful writer.  I was really counting on one such event scheduled (in my mind only) for this coming weekend, and I had sort of put it out to my universe that this event would be the much needed charm to pull me out of my funk!

Said event was http://www.writerscentre.com.au/all-courses/magazine-newspaper-writing-stage-1/


I had told myself that it would be my Mother’s Day present to me (and from the girls) and I was so SO looking forward to it.  Being with other writers in a learning environment was to be just the ticket out of Sadtown.  So imagine my distress (lots of D words going down here today!) when the very lovely Valerie Khoo, (you can follow her on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/valeriekhoo) who is the National Director and Founder of Australian Writers’ Centre and just happened to pick up the phone (yes, I had a slightly fan-girl reaction when she told me her name – Valerie as in “Valerie Khoo I squeaked) and returned a message I left, so gently and kindly, after I went into my babble and spiel about really wanting to do the course THIS weekend but could I pay on Thursday (I didn’t let her know I was broke until then because I am depressed and disorganised and forgot to submit some invoices) but could I PLEASE PLEASE secure a spot … Valerie informed me that this course, that I was pinning my hopes of happiness on was in fact as you can see dear reader (all two of you) …. LAST WEEKEND!

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH! This is not me, but as close a likeness as I want to show right now, as I have hair that is short-in-between-rock-chick-tuckshop-mum, seriously unkempt brows (read monobrow with serious bristles that show under my glasses on the bridge of my nose – Hot!)) and a blind pimple the size of Everest on my chin (oh depression how you do wonders for my looks with your inability to even make it to the beauty salon.

Actually, this is a much closer likeness to me right now:

I digress again… after I heard this news, I babbled on a further forever minutes, and Valerie still kindly and patiently listened (probably thinking God, how on Earth do I get rid of this nutter?) In the course of the conversation, Valerie divulged that the next online course Image

is beginning next Monday 12 May, and as such I could pay for this on Thursday!  Now don’t get me wrong, the online course is being delivered by the awesome Allison Tait who kindly awarded me a copy of her book as a prize for something I wrote (my first and only prize so far, and whilst it is not the Man Booker prize but a Facebook comp prize, I felt like it was … ) “Get Paid to Write: The Secrets of Freelancing Success” which got me started with this crazy notion that I could actually make money out of being a freelance writer.  You can get your copy here: http://www.allisontait.com/get-paid-to-write/ …

The next Perth course is not until August and the next writing event that I am going to is Natasha Lester’s Scrivener course:


Of course this is not until the end of June and if I stay depressed and discombobulated until the then my head will probably fall off. I just noticed that this course is not at the venue where Natasha has held her previous awesome courses, which is a good thing as I would have disorganisedly driven there and then got lost trying to find the correct venue, and turn up late which is never cool.  You can find out more about Natasha, an awesome Perth based writer here:


My success rate with online learning is not great – and has at times been a costly waste of time (3 x attempts at completing my legal practice course and a HECS debt to rival the GDP of China are evidence of this).  However, it is writing and I know I love writing, I loved writing when I was lawyering.  I never loved lawyering the way I love writing.  So can this disorganised, depressed, discombobulated wannabe be writer get her dishevelled shit together and succeed in some on-line learning … well I bloody well hope so, as I just put the cost of the course on my Mastercard … and at least this way I will be able to spend some quality time dragging my daughters around Bunnings for an alternative Mother’s Day present, as this one doesn’t really count does it?

I might even buy some worms for that worm farm I bought my daughter as a much loved gift a Bunnings Trip or ten ago!

The Distractions of Research

Most fiction, no matter how fictitious requires some form of research.  Among the projects that I am currently, simultaneously working on are the first and second books in what I hope to be a crime thriller series, a couple of short stories – one about mistakes, and the other about a wooden elephant of all things, plus a number of other story ideas and corporate writing assignments.  I am also using Scrivener to storyboard a number of other book ideas I have had bubbling away in the library in my mind.  

On top of all of that, I am doing what all budding authors do and building a profile / platform for myself on Facebook, this blog and Twitter … I haven’t the time for Instagram and tumblr etc as yet.

The topics on my current research agenda include windsurfing, kitesurfing, teenage pregnancy, the shipping industry between South East Asia and Australia, nursing homes, wills and estates, the Vietnam war, asylum seekers, Catholic convents, sex trafficking, drug trafficking, policing and law enforcement in a number of countries and property development – this last one both for fiction work and as part of my own wealth building strategy.  Of course I am planning to be a highly successful author but I know that could take a while, and even a healthy advance needs to be wisely invested.  That last sentence was partly to reassure my corporate friends that I haven’t completely lost my marbles!


Anyway, that sort of research takes time, a lot of it on Google (how did we exist pre Google?), and apart from the dangers of too much research and not enough writing, I was totally unprepared for how to manage the distractions that come with using the net as a research tool.  I mean, I have always been employed in roles that require me to research, and completing a law degree required me to do A LOT of research, but I was always disciplined, on a deadline and outcome focussed, as I was juggling studying, working and three young children.  

I have only been a full-time “writer” for a few weeks, thus still have not made the transition to being disciplined with a schedule when it comes to time allocated to other tasks related to my writing – like research and blogging.  This became very apparent this morning when I looked at my browser history and saw that apart from the “legitimate” research, over the past week, I have devoted equal time to increasing my knowledge about (among other things) Suzi Quatro’s music, Rhinoceros hunting, Chinese athletes, and spider man cakes … 

So from Monday, I am going to stick to a schedule, even if I do it in my pyjamas!