Creative minds are rarely neat...

The Importance of Getting Out of Your Head (For a While)

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Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting three university students from Melbourne. One, Tamara, had read my books and asked if she could feature me as the ‘interesting person’ for a short documentary she needed to do for a class project. While unfamiliar (and, to be frank, familiar as well) social situations have a tendency to set off my anxiety, I couldn’t say no. Especially because I know that the magic of film editing would take care of most of my mistakes. Haha.

The entire process – from the filming to the questions and so on – couldn’t have been more fun. They let me blow off steam in the best way I know how – goofing off. They got Mr McDougall involved, which I loved because he has always been and is such a strong supporter of my writing. I also got to brush some of the dust off what I’d learned in Screenwriting a couple years back.

They also brought me chocolate, and some cider was involved. Goodness did I feel like a celebrity.

While the interview process brought up a lot of interesting thoughts (that I will likely be writing about in other posts), the big one that stuck out to me emerged from the experience itself:

The importance of getting out of your head – for a while, at least.

I’ve been really hard on myself in the recent past for a lot of writing-related reasons. Some of it is entirely justified. I need to hammer out a firm schedule so I can create content faster than I currently do. As much as I may need to do the laundry, I also need to call procrastination habits for what they are.

However, some of it isn’t justified. Not at all. For those reasons, I don’t want to get into exactly what those thoughts/that self-commentary involves, but I am reminded of how we are our own harshest critics.

Yesterday was absolutely brilliant for me in every way. It got me out of my own head to the point of engaging with new people, reminded me of who I am in others’ eyes, and it – very gently – showed me that I have been sitting in my self-pity mud puddle for a bit too long.

I finally got out of my head long enough to clean out the brain fuzz and get over the metaphorical sore neck I had from staring down at that ol’ puddle for so long. Everyone needs an ego stroke every now and then, and everyone definitely needs to have new experiences. After all, new experiences translate into richer writing.

Plus, if you do it sooner rather than later, it might not take an entire film crew to wake you up to yourself. 😉

It’s My Birthday!

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Not today, but August is my birthday month.

To celebrate, you can get each Echo Falls book for 29% off at Smashwords! (I bet you can guess what age I’m turning now…) Use the coupons below during the entire month of August to grab copies.

Echo Falls: UV94R http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/78602
Fading Echoes: RM45V http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/293719
Dark Echoes: RH79S http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/455266

PSA: Back Up Your Files!

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As I sit here reinstalling all of my programs on my rebuilt computer, I am feeling quite lucky that I back up my files not only to “the cloud” but to an external hard drive as well.

Phew.

Happy Australia Day!

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Here’s to my first Australia Day as an Australian citizen.

Writing Skills Matter

While words will forever be my first love, I do have quite an affection for statistics. Something about numbers (pre-Advanced Algebra, imaginary numbers stuff) and learning facts about the world never fails to fascinate me.

When Nikolas from Grammarly (a place where you can grammar check your text) got in contact about a survey they’d conducted, I was immediately interested. Here’s what Nikolas said:

I thought you might be interested in the results of a writing and career-focused study Grammarly recently conducted. We surveyed over 400 freelancers to determine what impact writing skills have on a person’s career opportunities and published the results in an infographic…

Our goal is to raise awareness of the importance of good writing. Good writing is not only foundational to good communication, but it can also unlock knowledge, job opportunities, and access to education.

Statistics about writing. There aren’t a lot of things that are more beautiful than that. Enjoy!

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Magic Writing & Disturbing Inspiration

When I was a kid, I used to think that I was some sort of conduit to a dying world that wanted to tell its story. At that point, nearly everything I wrote featured on one particular world (at different points in time) so it made sense. As I grew older, my ‘imagining’ expanded. I began to believe that all stories were ‘transmissions’ from other worlds and times. I also believed that some of our stories – Earth’s stories – were being told by writers like me on other planets.

As an adult, I think less about the ‘other worlds’ side of things. I do think that there is still a certain amount of magic to writing – and especially to inspiration.

With all of the violence in the world recently and the violence happening on a local level, I have found my sensitivity pummeled, my empathy flooded and my heart broken for humanity. Today I came across this video:

In the grand scheme of things, this video is but a small blip on the radar. A threat that may or may not actually come into being. Yet this video prompted such a clear (and disturbing) vision of a possible future that I had to stop everything I was doing so I could write the idea down on the nearest piece of paper.

I don’t like that I found something in amongst all of this tragedy ‘inspiring’ to write about. At the same time, I think part of being a writer is having foresight. You can see a news clipping or a bit of video, and suddenly you can so clearly picture a possible trajectory for a life, a people or even all of humanity. It’s not always pretty, and it’s often not nice, but it’s there.

In the end, writers are only really mirrors of the world around. Some mirrors, some stories, are different and thus reflect the world in strange ways. Some are stiff and uncompromising, leaving the rest of the population to feel uncomfortable.

That any writer can be made to feel uncomfortable about his/her words or the inspiration that fed them at least shows that writers are still able to empathise. In the end, when a writer loses empathy, s/he loses the ‘muse’.

Of course, if certain points of inspiration make you uncomfortable, you could simply ignore it. But who will write the story then?

Why I’ve Been Neglecting My Writing

As much as I wanted to get off to a running start with my writing on January 1st, there was one project that I was absolutely set on getting finished before I did anything else. It’s been quite the learning curve involving 12+ hour days. I write that not for sympathy but to explain why I haven’t been doing much else.

What has resulted is not a book or even a short story. However, it is something I am very proud of. If you’d like to take a peek, I have more explanation and some pictures behind the ‘more’ tag.

If not, I’ll be back soon and prattling on about writing things.

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Not the Best Start to 2015

One of my goals (not resolution, as I started in 2014) is to be more organised with my blogging. I’ve printed out monthly calendars, created a section per blog, bound them all, etc.

Today is the first day I’ve really made the time to dig into what I want to do on this site in 2015. Regular posts, one-off topics I want to write about and so on. I went scrolling through my past posts only to find that I had a total of 99 posts on this site.

That didn’t sound right, so I investigated.

Lo and behold, I have somehow managed to lose two years worth of posts. Somehow.

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To be honest, I’m perplexed but not heartbroken. I do regularly back up this site, so I might find the lost posts in one of the backups.

Needless to say, however, that this isn’t exactly the best start to 2015…

Happy New Year!

2015 is only three and a half hours away in this time zone. Wishing you all the best in the year to come.

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Merry Christmas, Happiest of Holidays, And All the Good Stuff

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Dark Echoes: Cover of the Year!

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