Jun 24, 2009

Writers Block

Posted by AJ Blythe at Wednesday, June 24, 2009 2 comments
Stumbled across this poem - so describes me at the moment thought I would share...


The plot's
strong in my mind
too cold, can't think
fingers won't move
rise from my chair
rummage through closet, find a sweater
something warm to drink
still cold, climb on treadmill, move circulation.
Already skipped breakfast
another cup of tea, a cookie or two.

Go to the bathroom, wash hands
stare out the window
conjure my story
and the grocery list
clean house
sort the laundry
pick up kids
visit mom.

Tea is cold
flick on TV while microwave heats
finish watching show, learn about plots
write a screenplay some day.

Actor wasn't good, story not credible
very upsetting, destroyed my mood.

I can write better than that!
Get to work
create mind boggling twists.

Answered the phone, talked too long
answering machine gets the next one
turn the volume down.

Stare at the monitor
tap a key
a few more keys
keep going
no more delays
no more tea
don't hold your bladder.

Daydreaming my story's finished
Close the drapes, sit down
keep writing.

words pour out
catch up, work faster, more diligently
never mind typos, edit later
say it succinctly first time through
catch up, don't fall behind
deadlines to meet.

Words flowing,
sentence after sentence
one after another.
Oh, that's good!
the end's now in sight
my best story yet
Surely I work better under pressure.

Wonder why other people have writer's block.

Jun 23, 2009

You're the Voice

Posted by AJ Blythe at Tuesday, June 23, 2009 0 comments
We have
The chance to turn pages over
We can write what we want to write...

You're the voice try and understand it

(You're the Voice by John Farnham)

Okay. So maybe this isn't quite the correct interpretation of these lyrics, but it works for me.

Voice is the way your writing 'sounds'. In the same way you can pick a teenagers speech from a politicians, you can pick a writer's voice (think JK Rowling vs Tolkien or if you know your Aussie romance authors, Margaret Way vs Nicola Marsh).

Voice is very important in your success as a published author. It makes you stand out in the crowd. But I'm wondering just how successful my voice will be. My competition judges have varied from seeing potential in my voice to loving my voice. Is that just a result of what voice is - that it will appeal to some and not too others? Or do I really need to work on mine?

I mean, unlike maths or history, where everyone must follow, writing is the opposite. Individuality and originality are encouraged, and copying is forbidden. So surely it follows that in achieving this some will like your voice while others won't?

Sigh. I guess I need to go back and consider some of the aspects that make for a good *voice*:

displaying a definite and well-developed personality; appropriate tone for purpose and audience; individual, authentic and original; strong feelings, honest statements; and care about the topic (www.ttms.org/writing_quality/voice.htm).

Just as well no-one critiques my spoken voice *wink*.

Jun 21, 2009


Posted by AJ Blythe at Sunday, June 21, 2009 2 comments

I've had a really busy, exhausting week. I should be taking this moment on a Sunday night, where the commitments of one week are over, and the next yet to begin, to add to my lagging word count.

But instead I'm writing this blog. I'm procrastinating.

Because I'm tired, I'm sick of concentrating, reluctant to face another blank page... my list of excuses could go on and on.

Wikipedia defines procrastination as:
a behaviour which is characterised by deferment of actions or tasks to a later time.

Yep. That's me to a tee tonight.

Wikipedia goes on to state that:
Psychology researchers also have three criteria they use to categorise procrastination. For a behavior to be classified as procrastination, it must be counterproductive, needless, and delaying.

Let me see.
Uhuh, I can definitely tick all three boxes.
No doubt about it, I'm using my blog to procrastinate.

What do you do to procrastinate?

Writing about it has certainly cranked up the guilt levels. I'd better get back to it. I think Nike got it right:

Jun 17, 2009

Brain Food

Posted by AJ Blythe at Wednesday, June 17, 2009 7 comments

At my son's school they have 3 meal breaks during the day. The new one from my schooling days is the 'Brain Food' break. After about 1 hour of school they break to eat a piece of fresh fruit or vegetable - to get their brains working for the day ahead.

It made me think, when I am sitting at my computer staring at the screen and no words are appearing, do I need a Brain Food break too?

Would a carrot, celery stick or banana really get the words to start flowing?

I guess I'll have to experiment. What gets my brain to work?

Have you found a food that just gets your brain to function?

I have a suspicion that while celery or an apple might be better for me, the comfort of chocolate might really be the trigger *wink*.

Jun 12, 2009

I Don't Do Cold!

Posted by AJ Blythe at Friday, June 12, 2009 4 comments

Temperatures in Brisbane have plummeted.

Yesterday the temperature rose to only 16C (61F). But the 'apparent' temperature - the temperature as we feel it - max'd at just 10C (50F).

And as for the minimum 3C (37F), it was reported as an apparent of -2C (28F).

These numbers are below normal for Brisbane - about 9C (48F) below normal. We don't normally hit those sort of temperatures until mid-winter. And we are feeling it.

For those of you in colder climates, you might wonder why the complaint. Well, you probably aren't familiar with Brisbane. In this sub-tropical climate we have 8 months of perfect beach weather. It was only a month ago my kids were swimming. Even the start and tail of winter are cold, but not freezing. So really, we only have about 2 months of freeze-your-butt-off weather.

And, here's the punchline, our houses attest to that. Come to Brissie during those scorching summer months and our large, open, ceiling fanned houses are perfect. But when winter hits, brrrrr, it is often warmer outside then in (as is the case today).

Sitting here at my computer, rugged up in layers with a beanie perched on my head, cup of tea permanately at my elbow, fingers struggling to overcome their sluggishness and add to my word count, I can quite honestly say:


Jun 10, 2009

The Write Stuff

Posted by AJ Blythe at Wednesday, June 10, 2009 0 comments

The finalists of the Valerie Parv Awards (VPA) have just been announced. For those of you who aren't members of RWAustralia, this is one of the *big* romance writing competitions for unpublished writers.

So what made their manuscripts stand out among the 97 entries?

Of course Point of View, Show not Tell, Dialogue, Story Structure, Pacing... all the functional components must be spot on. But these are all things any manuscript can have tightened during the editing process. Yes, not everyone will have the skill to do this, but over time, and with practice, they can be learnt.

So what is it? I think it's the ability to tell a story. A good story. An intriguing story. One that engages the reader, has heroes and heroines the reader desires or aspires to be. A story with a difference. A story you become, not just read.

What do you think?

With my pitch now gone, I can only hope that my story also has the 'write' stuff.

Jun 7, 2009

Shovel by Shovel

Posted by AJ Blythe at Sunday, June 07, 2009 4 comments

We're renovating at the moment, and the current project is digging, lots of digging, to get ready for concrete. My mind was wandering as I shovelled dirt and I realised how much this dirty, physical, repetitive task was like writing.

You see, in both you have a momentous task ahead when you start. How are you ever going to get to the end?

You chip at the ground, with pick and shovel, working out how to begin, and before you know it you've made a start.

Then you get on a roll, an easy repetition, the same movements over and over gradually getting further along, making great progress, until you hit a rock.


There goes the momentum, the flow. Now it starts to get more difficult. The sweat starts, and the blisters burst. You trip and stumble and wonder how you got to this point. And more importantly, how are you ever going to finish?

A break and you're back at it. A new perspective. A change in strategy and things might start flowing again, just with a bit more strain then before.

And this is how it goes, over and over until suddenly, without quite realising how it happened you've finished. You stand back and look at what you've done with a sense of pride in the accomplishment.
The blood, sweat and tears all worth it.

Jun 2, 2009


Posted by AJ Blythe at Tuesday, June 02, 2009 4 comments

Must be Karma.

Within a few hours of posting my last blog I received an email outlining the requirements for my e-mail pitch to Harlequin London. So now I have a smidge over a week to put together a killer pitch and tweek my first chapter before submitting.

My WooHoo's of excitement have since been replaced with groans of terror - how to write a pitch? Is my first chapter really polished? Can I really write at all?

And the little squeals of hope hiding behind them all. What if...?

Not sure how it will go, but fingers crossed.

Jun 1, 2009

Conference Pitch... or Not

Posted by AJ Blythe at Monday, June 01, 2009 4 comments

Finish writing my M&B Sweet and pitch it at the RWAust August conference. Goal #1.

One of my two writing goals for the year. For those of you who have been following my blog you might remember I have 2 major goals for 2009 - plus 8 other goals that are really a mini-action plan to help me achieve my 2 big goals.

But, a spanner in the works. Harlequin aren't actually attending RWAust's annual conference (a scenario that hadn't even occurred to me, duh). This makes it hard to meet my first goal. Or does it?

Well, the fabulous organising committee for the conference is trying to organise to get our mss in front of an editor for assessment. Gulp. With no details what does this mean? And will I need to have my ms ready before August? I have a mental timetable to have my ms polished in time... and of course the timeline fits in with the August conference.

So. This is how I've decided to look at it. If my ms gets assessed by an editor, I've still achieved essentially what pitching would have achieved. With no pitch to stress over in August, I can kick up my heels from the get go and truly enjoy my first conference.

There is always a silver lining.

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