Nov 9, 2015

The End

Posted by AJ Blythe at Monday, November 09, 2015 0 comments
I get excited about writing "The End". Usually it's because I've reached the end of my 72,000 words and the draft is finished. A very huge moment in the life of a manuscript.

In this case, though, the end is about finishing my study. I'm sticking my head up after staggering through the peak essay and exam period at the end of semester. A rather horrid time to go through, with lots of 'you must have been nuts to do this', but once it's over there's a tremendous sense of satisfaction (until the results come in, lol).

I haven't completely finished. There's still a practical assessment (over 1 day) to go. But with nothing to do beforehand, or to take away after that day, it is, for all intents and purposes, done and dusted.

Of course, everything else in my life was left in a great big pile of 'to do' lists which I am now slowly but surely making my way through. With luck, by Friday I'll have caught up and the 'to do' lists will be back to normal length.

Oct 15, 2015

Just (Don't) Do It!

Posted by AJ Blythe at Thursday, October 15, 2015 4 comments
When you are looking after others, don't forget to look after yourself too. This is something I've learned the hard way this year. Over the last few years I've had my hands full with the family, house renovations, working very long hours in the day job (even working 2 jobs for a while), heavily volunteering for organisations I've been involved in (5 positions including vice-pres and secretary), helping with everything the Barbarians have been involved in (scouts, basketball, school, music), playing in a local community band and trying to write. An overload that is hard to stop - everyone's heard the saying give a busy person a job and it will get done.

Something had to give. In the end that something was my health. Earlier this year I got (really) crook and it's only seven months later that I feel healthy again. During that time things had to give because I wasn't capable of managing them. It was a revelation. A chance for me to think about how rushed life was and to reassess how I'd like my life to be.

Now that I'm feeling healthy again the risk is I'll end up back where I started. You start, take on more and get a bit busier and slowly but surely it creeps up. It can be really hard to refuse to do something when you know you can fit a little more into your schedule.

I have set my priorities and I need to stick to them. I have to learn to say no. I'm off to a wobbly start but I have fantastic support from friends and family who are helping me maintain my perspective. I can do this and I know life will be better for it. I just have to say no.

Is saying 'no' something you struggle with?

Oct 13, 2015

Friends in My Computer

Posted by AJ Blythe at Tuesday, October 13, 2015 2 comments
Writers are by nature solitary creatures. I sit at home in my office by myself and have no regrets about not being in an office full of people. But I do love being connected to my writing friends. Trouble is, they are scattered around the country. Thanks to the marvels of modern technology (and skype) I can see my friends and chat, brainstorm and sprint with them. My family are used to me talking to my computer.

Do you stay in touch with friends and family this way as well?
Source: Photobucket

Sep 6, 2015

Happy Father's Day

Posted by AJ Blythe at Sunday, September 06, 2015 1 comments
It's Father's Day in Australia today. I've been very blessed to have a wonderful, amazing father of my own. And the Barbarians are equally lucky to have The Hub for a father. They showed him how much they love him with coffee, toast and homemade cards and gifts in bed this morning. 

Aug 17, 2015

Attack of the Caterpillar

Posted by AJ Blythe at Monday, August 17, 2015 0 comments
I'm not sure if I've talked about geocaching here before (I'll have to check my archives), but I should probably do another post on the subject anyway.

GeocachingGeocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location. It's buckets of fun and the whole family can be involved. For more info go here.

Last Saturday I was geocaching with a friend while taking my dog for a walk. We'd found the cache and my friend removed the camouflage. I signed the log, replaced the cache and put the camouflage back.

BUT I held the camouflage (a large piece of bark) differently to my friend. When replacing the camouflage I was injured. Looking more closely at the camouflage I discovered the cocoon of a white-stemmed gum moth (Chelepteryx collesi) which was covered in thousands of spine-like hairs - hundreds of which ended up in my fingers!

The Cocoon - see the nasty black spines
I've seen one of these caterpillars before (check out my blog post here). They are huge at about 12cm / 4.7inches long. The cocoon was at least that long, if not longer. So the spines covered 2 of my fingers.

According to CSIRO: The short spines [of the caterpillar] are not only sharp and brittle, meaning they will break off and lodge in your skin; they also carry a toxin that causes pain and, in rare cases, anaphylactic shock. Even the cocoon is nasty, since the caterpillar inside sheds the spines and forces them out through the tough silken walls, resulting in a well protected pincushion.

We dug out the first aid kit and attacked the spines with bandaids (using the sticky part to try and pull the spines out) as well as tweezers. Not much luck unfortunately. Those spines burnt!

The next morning, after trying all sorts of methods to get rid of the spines - stronger tape, different tweezers, sandpaper (ground them to skin level but didn't stop the burning), drawing ointment - I realised there was only one thing for it. I dug those suckers out with a needle.

My fingers look a mess, but with the spines gone so is the burning.

When has nature attacked you?

Aug 5, 2015

Will your writing live after your death?

Posted by AJ Blythe at Wednesday, August 05, 2015 0 comments

Including provision for my writing in my will isn't something that I'd ever thought of - yet it's something that every writer needs to do. 

It's not something we like to think about, let alone talk about. But this week on BookEnds Literary Blog Jessica Faust talked about making arrangements for your writing after your death.

Example of draft wording for a will can be found here (at the bottom of the article). **Note that it is written for US Law and legal advice should be consulted for non-US writers. It is an excellent place to start and will definitely help draft the wording for your will.

I'm not published yet, so don't have to worry at the moment. But when I am published this will be on my to do list.

Have you made provisions for your writing?

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