Tag Archives: writing

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/

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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:

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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:

http://whilethekidsaresleeping.wordpress.com/

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!

Blame it on the Bunnies…

So the “fast stuck I am” post of last week feeling is starting to dissipate.  Thanks to some lovely friends who took the time to read it, look past the self deprecating and maudlin tone to make contact with me, I have started to shake myself out of the gloom.  I have been reassured by a couple of my friends that is OK to be in that space, and it does not necessarily mean that I am going to keep going backwards, and I don’t need to catastrophise it, it is just that I am just having an off couple of days.  Anyway, one of my girlfriends and I reckon if all else fails, we can blame it on the bunnies (an inside joke that doesn’t translate too well into blogspeak).

Today I can see all of the positives about my “current situation”.  Sure the work I do to produce an income may not be that exciting, but then again, I was never actually excited when I was living my corporate life (corporate lie?).  Being stressed and working from 7:00am to 7:30pm and the last to leave an office does not equal excitement, no matter how much of a spin I used to put on it.

Whilst I find all of the clichés, “everything happens for a reason”, “every cloud has a silver lining” etc. really hard to stomach when I am feeling low, on days like today when things are looking better, I can swallow them and keep them down (provided I have had at least 3 coffees and a muesli bar).  There really are a lot of positives about my life right now, and my eternal challenge is to rise above my ego and see them. I mean, I always used to complain about not seeing enough of my kids (well the two that are still in the nest) now I am home for them more and I think they really like that, although they may not admit it openly.  I really like being home when they come in the door from school or being able to pick them up, even if they go straight to their rooms to Facebook/Snapchat/Tumblr stepping straight over the pile of dirty washing that I have pointedly left in the corridor…

I used to complain about not having enough money.  Well, when is there ever “enough” money?  I have to admit working for myself has meant that there have been some lean weeks but hey when weren’t there?  There is more to life than money, and I know that if I do a certain amount of bread and butter work, there will be enough to provide what is needed.  The biggest challenge for me in the money stakes is discipline and organisation, but hell, I am sure I am not alone there.

I have complained of feeling very lonely, and because I have lost a few loved ones, I have been single since Noah built the ark and have only lived in Perth for a relatively short time it has become a little but easy to stay there – in lonely land.  My challenge here is to not feel ashamed of being lonely and therefore isolate myself even more, but to make the effort to connect with the many friends I do have.  Even though sometimes when I am low, I find it easier to hide away at home I always feel better after a few hours spent with friends (especially when our discussions centre around the Q7700, the master of all bidets … you know who you are!) …

http://www.bizwinkorea.com/bidet-shop/quoss-bidet-store/quoss-q-7700-korea-remote-control-electronic-bidet-bathroom-toilet-seat-washlet-premium-luxury-highest-class-bidet-ce.html

So, in short I am a little less fast stuck this week, I am 🙂

Two for Two

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In the 24 hours since I finally completed the letter to Dad that I posted yesterday, that I had left half finished for three weeks I have felt lighter in my heart than I have for some time.  I think there are a couple of reasons for this, and I am going to list them in succinct dot points, Fleur style (in case you don’t know who Fleur is, she is one of best friends and writes a highly entertaining blog called MY EGO AND ME which you can find here: http://wordpress.com/read/blog/id/24672493/

I am going for succinct because I have stuff to do and for the first time in ages, I am actually a little bit excited about some of that stuff – like writing.  The more mundane stuff, well meh, but I don’t feel the heaviness about life that I have felt and I reckon I might even find the energy to tidy up my office tomorrow.

I have shed my musty old melancholy coat and am (metaphorically) wearing something far more hip(ster) … because a girl who has exciting stuff to do cannot be weighed down.  I don’t know that I am back completely, because I have also acknowledged that grief takes time to disperse and no matter how forthright you are about setting some stupid time frame on that, grief will do her own thing as she knows best.  There is a gift in that somewhere.  Being able to be authentic and real about how sad you feel.  From there, you can start to heal.

Anyhow, back to that succinct list of exciting things I have to do this week, in no particular order of excitement:

  • Dust off the bulldog clipped 95,000 words of my novel and get my Detective Cassidy Ryan on!
  • Tidy my office
  • Finish my BAS
  • Complete a couple of client’s resumes – Sophie, Kendal this is you!
  • Finalise a report for a development project
  • Get a pedicure
  • Send out 500 brochures to get some new work in
  • Finalise a report for a client in Gero so I can have a good reason to get up there to visit Larsy and Dave
  • Go on a first date with a lovely man (hence the pedicure)

Betcha you can’t guess which two of the above that I am the most excited about 🙂

Hold on to your hats … it is going to be extraordinary! (AKA You like me)

Colorado_Springs_Hot_Air_Balloon_Competition
I am loving life right now. Things are really coming together. I am achieving my dreams, and the momentum with which this is happening is crazy wonderful. I have clarity on this like never before. Within the next twelve months I will be a published author and a property entrepreneur. My corporate writing business is building at a pace that is manageable yet looks like being profitable. My health is on its way to being the best it has been in years. This detox is really working and I am not even hungry. I am not even struggling mentally with the fact that I won’t be eating cheese and crackers with smoked salmon accompanied by a chilled Marlborough SB tomorrow night, which is a bit of a Friday ritual (OK, that one pinches a little)! I caught up with a girlfriend the other afternoon after a stressful meeting and said “I need a herbal tea and an apple STAT!” … Admittedly, said GF nearly fell backwards in shock. Sorry Larsy I have not gone cray-cray, I am just getting real about what I would for the next decade – my fabulous forties.

Am I there yet? No … do I have a fair way to travel down the path to better health, wealth and fulfillment? Most definitely. Is it going to take as much hard work as say … doing a law degree or raising a couple of fantastic kids – you betcha. Am I going to need to keep getting tidier/more focused/on time/committed/organised … Yerp!

So what is different about things this time?

Many things … the pain of how I was living certain aspects of my life finally reached tipping point. The desire to have and hold certain other things grew too big to ignore. I had some honest conversations with my middle daughter, and we made a commitment to live healthier together. Plus recently I had yet another opportunity to learn a couple of somethings about myself – that it is OK (really OK) if people don’t like me, and that I don’t have to jump in/interrupt/rescue people in order to demonstrate that I am worthy/smart/likable/funny/attractive to men …

At the wedding that I attended recently, I met up with a woman who I knew back in high school. We were chatting about men, as single gals tend to eventually. She told me that all men are bastards. I told her I disagree. It really is about perspective isn’t it?

Sunday Breakfast as a Metaphor for Life

Sunday Brekky @ Beaufort Street

Sunday Breaky @ Beaufort Street

This morning I went for a leisurely Sunday Breakfast with my good friend Gael, who I met at a property investment seminar I attended some weeks ago. From the moment that I sat down next to Gael we connected, it was one of those organic friendships that sometimes just are from the moment you meet. Anyway, Gael and I were to join some other wonderful women for a discussion on where we are at with our investment strategy preparation. It is to be a regular thing, an empowering way to learn from and support each other in our journey towards replacing our incomes and then some through property. I have so much to learn, and for the first time ever I have put myself directly in the path of the people who want to share their knowledge with me. For the first time ever, I have said to myself “I deserve it”.

But that is not the topic of this post. This post is about an observation my friend Gael made about me and my tendency to wander off the true path and check out the shiny thing over to the side before I am fully done with the shiny thing right in front of me. I am something of a bowerbird in that regard, always looking for something to distract me. It is a recurrent pattern. This is not the first time a wise friend has observed this, however I am really ready to do something about it.

Gael is a coach – professional development, stress management, life … you name it, she can coach it. Gael offered to give me coaching around my writing as a career, and in a few short weeks together we have identified a pathway, and begun to implement strategies to keep me firmly on that path. I have a pressing deadline with respect to my manuscript (I can’t let the cat out of the bag yet), but if I can achieve it, it will be very worthwhile indeed. Every time Gael and I speak, one of the first things she says to me is “tell me about your book, where are you at with it”. Because writing and editing a work of fiction are such foreign things to me, I feel very unsure of where I am really “at”, and my fear of not being where I “should” be has tended to keep me going precisely where I shouldn’t be … and that is procrastinating, dabbling, tweeting, Facebooking, over-researching, reading, watching documentaries (occasionally even Big Brother?) … anything but writing and editing.

Gael used the breakfast I ordered to demonstrate her point. I ordered the breakfast bruschetta, which in itself is plentiful and satisfying. But then the cute Italian waitress asked if I would like a poached egg with that. I am sure I ordered it just to hear her speak her accent some more. But then I thought, what if I don’t want the bruschetta and what if it would be better with some sides, so I ordered a side of potatoes and a side of mushrooms. It was nothing at all to do with gluttony, as whilst I gave it a good go, I knew I could never get through the whole lot. It was about wanting to try as much as I could from the menu, as I wasn’t sure that I would be satisfied with just the wonderful bruschetta, with gorgeous fresh avocado, tomato and shaved cured ham slices … no way could anyone be satisfied with that surely …

It was then I understood perfectly what Gael meant about my use of distractions to avoid being unsatisfied. My pattern is to do that, get off track, and then when I am totally lost in the forest I use the drama of that to forget what my original quest was. Not this time damn it, I have a Gael to help me, I have the support of my children, and many friends, and most of all, this time I want this so badly that I am determined to just keep chewing (writing) one bite at a time, until I am finished. And satisfied.

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!

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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!

The first post …

The thing about “being” a writer … which I am of course, is that despite having an almost primal need to take myself on this bizarre journey out of the safety and security of 9 – 5 humdrum (with the goal to actually earning a living from my craft) … is that my rather annoying and very insecure ego wants to send me right back there. To do this, she employs all manner of crazy tactics – avoidance, procrastination and simply orchestrating moments of sheer terror that grips my chest like a vice. She tells me that I can’t do this and I need to go back to “real work”.  My ego is terrific at self sabotage – she does this in other areas too … like skipping … when my personal trainer yells at her, she just gets madder and trips up my feet even more!

My ego is a flighty bitch who can’t settle on anything, not even a simple background for a blog. Now, how do I tell Ms Ego that she needs to “shoosh her beans”, otherwise that’s what we will all be eating – beans? As the purpose of my writing is to pursue my passion whilst at the same time support my family, there is work to be done.

I know that to quiet Ms Ego, I need to invite Ms Certainty and Ms Determined to the front of the room, and give them the floor. So … without further ado, would you please make them welcome …

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