Each day in 2023, I will use a writing prompt and sharing it here with you. Each prompt will be completed within 10 minutes.
Like a singer practices their scales each day, these little writing snippets are my mini 'scales' that I will undertake to practice my writing craft.
The most important thing I want to accomplish this year is to write the draft of my second women's fiction. I'll complete this draft under the mentorship of one of my favourite Australian authors, Kate Forsyth. I'm a huge fan of Kate's work and, like Kate, have a love and affiliation with fairytales and mythology. Writing a second novel is daunting. Questions fly around my headspace. Can I get the story right? Will my characters be engaging, and strong enough? Can I build in high stakes? Will it be a good story? Can I bring all that is in my head together on the page? My goal is to publish my novels with a traditional publisher. This is not an easy thing to do. People have even likened it to winning the lottery. Hubby and I have been playing Lotto for our entire married lives—we're coming up to 29 years this year. Gosh! I wonder will it also be decades before I get a publishing deal? It's possible. Though it would come too late. This amazing achievement would occur in my twilight years. Actually beyond the twilight years. I'm sitting here now thinking about possibilities. About hope. This fills my veins with sparkles and bubbles. Hope is what drives me. It's the possibility of what the future holds that brings a sense of excitement to my life. Audrey Hepburn said nothing is impossible. That the word actually says "I'm Possible". I love that.
My best moment of 2022 was pitching my manuscript for my first women's fiction novel. The novel's working title is There's Something About Olivia Bennett. I decided to pitch at the Romance Writers of Australia (RWA) conference in Fremantle, Western Australia. I had completed a course with the NSW Writer's Centre on writing a synopsis, a cover letter and an elevator pitch. This helped with getting my synopsis in order and it helped me to get my ideas down Once I drafted it, it felt flat. If it didn't rock my boat, how would it rock the agent and publishers I was pitching to? I was putting too much focus on the whole pitch. I went back to the reasons I was pitching—to practice pitching and to get to know industry professionals and, hopefully, they will get to know me. If someone was interested in my story, well that would be the cherry on top. I did what I always do—I researched how to write a pitch. I found articles online, printed off hard copies, grabbed my highlighter and pencil and made notes. Yes, I'm a nerd and like to swat and study how to do things. Then the RWA held a "How to Write a Pitch" with the Australian Society of Authors (ASA). I enrolled and I'm so glad I did. It was godsent. It was perfect. Brilliant. One of the best one-hour workshops I'd ever completed. I learnt so much. I went to work and drafted, edited and polished my pitch. I practised it for a few weeks before my first pitch. I was ready. I was hopeful. I was nervous. The pitch went well. It was exciting when the agent and both publishers asked for my complete manuscript. Yep, that was my best moment in 2022.
This time of the year, we sit down and create a list of what we want to quit. I think choosing one thing to quit is a better way to stick to it. Less fuss and fewer things to think about. I pondered what I wanted to quit. There were the usual things—chocolate, alcohol, going to bed late. Yes, not eating chocolate will help my waste line; until I miss it so much I binge it like Augustus Gloop. Yes, I could quit alcohol, but then I would have to decline social events. I get horrendous cocktail FOMO. Going to bed late? That I could do. Except, I'd need to make way for stress and anxiety when nothing gets done because let's face it—we do live in the 21st Century. So what can I quit? I need to stop trying to do everything. I need to stop juggling writing projects and focus on one. Work on being the "master of one" rather than a "Jack of all trades". I need to stop and smell the roses. Focus on what I have. Cherish it. Know that I will get to my goals according to my own journey; one set out for me. I need to be patient and consistent. To not quit, no matter how hard it gets. I need to be kind to myself and know that every experience is pretty special. I watched Julia Zemiro's Home Delivery on the Australian ABC and her guest was author and journalist Bill Bryson. He said that we needed to appreciate every moment and experience. That we only live on earth for a short time. That our DNA is so unique that there never will be another one of us again—ever. We need to celebrate that. Revere it and be grateful. Maybe it's not what to quit that I need to focus on, but what I need to do.
I like to think that I have a few skills. Skills help me achieve my goals as a teacher, a writer and a person. One question I ponder is, "What skill should I nourish?" This is a difficult one to narrow down. My head swirls with all the skills I have. Well, to be honest, these are skills I think I have—to even label them as skills. Is being kind a skill? If so, then this is a skill I want to nourish. There are too many unkind people in this world. I feel, that a little bit of kindness goes a long way. One act of kindness, such as a smile, or a compliment will make someone's day. I know it makes my day when someone is kind to me. Is being driven a skill? This is one I certainly want to nourish. I want to nourish this skill to protect my well-being. I'm the person who tries to do too many things at once and worse still, to achieve greatness with these projects. Gosh! I've just narrowed down my answer. The skill I want to nourish is how to be driven in a way to still have balance in my life. To be able to fit in the important elements in my life. To take the time to eat nourishing food and get plenty of sleep. To exercise. Go for daily walks, practice yoga, and even meditate. To spend quality time with my family and friends. To slow down, and take the time to achieve the tasks in the best way I can. I feel these skills, being kind and my drive, are two important skills that will help me be a better person. You can't beat that.
The above writings are all free-writing pieces. I do not undergo any research. They are all from my own thoughs and memory. I lock access to the interent during my writing time. There may be some errors in quotes and dates.