Finding your writing tribe!

Its two days until the Romance Writers Australia (RWA) annual conference, can you tell I am excited???

Spoiler alert: I am!

Last year I attended my first RWA conference, and it was an eye opener. It was full of fantastic craft workshops, great networking events and more importantly, I found my tribe.

I have read countless articles about the importance of finding your tribe, and like many other people, I paid it off. I am at heart an introvert, the last thing I ever want to do is mingle with strangers, but I can honestly say that it was worth it. A writer’s conference is probably the only type of event, where introverts surround you and everyone wants to discuss their favourite books or what they are writing.

If you haven’t worked up the courage yet to attend one, even for a day. Be brave. Take the plunge.  It’s worth it!

Books, podcasts, tv shows … oh my!

A little late, but I have had a whirlwind couple of months. Here are my July recommendations!

Audiobook: I have recently rediscovered my love of audiobooks. There is something magical about listening to a story; I think that as a reader, you pick up so many different nuances and emphasis from the narrator. It does help when the narrator is the author himself. This month I loved re-listening to Stardust by Neil Gaiman. If you love stories about mythical lands, hero quests with a bit of a love story; this is the audiobook for you. And, in my ever humble opinion, Neil Gaiman’s voice is divine and lyrical and is a must to listen to!

Book: Well, it has been on by TBR pile since it was released, and it was my turn to pick a book for my local book club. The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang. I picked this as most of my book club dosen’t read romances, and I thought this was a good introduction. Everyone loved it and thought it was cute! If you want to read a gender twist on the story of Pretty Woman with a great three dimensional female lead, than I highly recommend reading it.

Movie: Always be my maybe (Netflix). If you haven’t watched this fabulous rom com with the greatest ever Keanu Reeves appearance, you have been living under a rock. Watch It! The memes are with it.

Podcast: Chernobyl. I listened to this podcast before I saw the series – to be honest it is on my to watch list – which is getting bigger and bigger, thank you Stranger Things. The podcast is a great companion to the series, it explains how they merged people, why they chose specific accents and the science behind the explosion.

What have you been watching, reading or listening to???

Any recommendations you would like to share?

Writing Accountability May Recap and June Goals

I reached my May writing goal!!!

I am super excited that I managed to accomplish this feat, and as I promised myself, I’m rewarding myself with a new pair of shoes and a candle making kit.

Ok, the last part was a new edition.

I do have two more days of writing, but I thought I would celebrate now. A girl has to take her wins, whenever she can.

The only time I like spreadsheets, it was really interesting to track my word count during the month. My aim was to write every day a minimum of 670 words. Spreadhsheet courtesy of Sarah Brabazon.

New goals:

My June goals include, writing ‘The end’ of my first draft of my current WIP and I plan on editing my contemporary romance novel – turning it into a fully-fledged draft 2. 

Trying to fit everything into a 24 hour time period is starting to become increasingly difficult, but where there is a will, there is a way. Or sleep depravation. Maybe more sleep depravation then I would have liked. 

Did you reach your May goal? 

Have you decided what your June goals are?

Creative dates

I first came across this term listening to the often hilarious ‘So you want to be a writer ?’ podcast and was totally intrigued by the concept of going on solo dates in order to refuel and expose myself to different types of creativity.

In true me form, I first heard the term two years ago, and it has only taken me until this month, to start to implement it. 

Sometimes life gets in the way.

This month, I managed to go on three creative dates, the first two solo, the third with a plus one (who may not have appreciated it as much as I did).

Were the solo dates awkward? Hell no. Although that may be the introvert in me coming out.

 As part of my journey to embrace all creativity and experiences, I went and saw a documentary about spiders, spider sex and Neil Gaiman (not necessarily in that order), a tour of a destitute asylum in Adelaide and a murder and mayhem tour of Adelaide.

One of the older buildings in Adelaide, located on the old grounds of the destitute asylum

For such a quiet city, known affectionately as the city of churches, it has some interesting figures and murders. The latter two dates may have been fuelled by my true crime obsession. Mmmm.

Street art during the Murder and mayhem tour of Adelaide, HIndley st.

Next up I have a tour of cemetery, a live podcast and a theatre production.

At the very least I wont be bored. 

Do you go on creative dates? Or do you have different ways of being inspired?

Books, podcasts, tv shows … oh my!

Welcome to my monthly recommendations, the aim of this post is to let you know about my latest obsessions and what I have been reading, watching or listening to.

If you have any suggestions, please let me know!

Books. Ok, this month I have two recommendations, my non-fiction recommendation is Deep Work by Cal Newport. As I indicated in an earlier post, 2019 is about being organised. Its not a sexy word, but if I want to pursue writing, juggle full time work and have some semblance of a social life, I need to be brutal with my time and how I use it. I have limited my social media use during the day (I don’t actually want to delete the accounts), I also turn off Wi-Fi when I am writing so I don’t get distracted by shiny objects or research points. I think its working, I am halfway through the month and I have already reached over 60% of my monthly word count. 

The second book is Manifest Recall by Alan Baxter; it’s a supernatural novella that tells the story through a Mafioso type hitman and his search for redemption. Not for the faint hearted, it has blood, guts and gore. 

TV shows: I have rekindled my serial killer/true crime obsession and have been binge watching all things Ted Bundy related on Netflix. This includes Extremely wicked, shockingly evil and vile (with Zac Efron playing Bundy) and Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes. These are both really fascinating and remind me that the Scooby gang were correct, humans are always the monsters. 

Documentary: Sixteen Legsa documentary about huge ass spiders (the size of dinner plates) that live in the majestic underground cave systems of Tasmania, Australia. I mean, it features Neil Gaiman and has spider sex. What more could you want?

Podcast: The Dropout (ABC radio). I have just finished binge listening to the inane life of Elizabeth Holmes and her visionary company Theranos. A story about romance, ambition and hubris. Wow. 

Music: I currently have Something wicked this way comes by James Warburton and Diana Haunts on repeat. Go listen to it!

That’s about it for now, do you have any recommendations?

Research, research research…

I love researching, well at the very least I love collecting books about topics I intend to research, a bit like my writing craft book collection. My current TBR pile is about my height (1.68cm if you are interested) and half of them can be considered research books. I have a tendency to collect them like some people (including me) collect shoes and other accessories. 

 Are you the same? Are you easily distracted or just trying to work out the inticate details of X? I may have once gone on a YOUTUBE binge fest and watched countless how to videos on ‘how to escape zip ties.’ But that is another post.

I find that reading nonfiction always sparks so many questions within me, so many ‘What if…’ moments. Sometimes, the truth is weirder than fiction.

I am struggling with handling the balance of researching to make my novel stand up to scrutiny but at the same time I am cognisant that I do not want to info dump everything I have learned onto the page. When this occurs, as a reader, I find it takes me away from the story and throws me back into reality. Now, I need to learn to be aware of the info dumps in my WIP, or at the very least be ruthless during the editing process.

Do you like researching? If you do, do you like researching as you draft your MS or do you have to have it all completed before you start?

Accountability Post: May

During the month of May, I will write 20 000 words. Yes, you did read that correctly. 20 000 words.

I have stated it in a public forum, so I must persevere, through the blood, sweat and tears. Ok, maybe through the hours of staring at a blank screen, the allure of cleaning (because the urge to clean when I’m writing a tough scene, chapter is real) and binge watching TV.

If When, I reach my goal, I will be that much closer to the end of my first draft and I will be able to buy the pair of heels, I have been eyeing off. I am a rewards based person, and I know I am more likely to reach my goals if I get something materialistic out of it. Call me shallow, but it works.

Do you have a writing goal for May? Do you reward yourself for reaching the goal?