Zero Draft

Melding into my Zero Draft I enjoy the gentle ebb and flow of the story unfolding. Just five chapters in, still setting the scene, I visit the world of my hero like a time travelling tourist. It is nostalgic even though I have never lived in this time or place.

Farm at the Cape. Copy of original painting by unknown artist, c. 1895

Helping this beginner writer to navigate my way I use the wisdom and assistance of the Writers’ HQ in the UK. They offer short online courses and this year I have done the Balance Your Writing Life Challenge and now I am completing Editing 101 in readiness for when I do eventually finish the Zero Draft.

I have also read Save The Cat! Writes A Novel by Jessica Brody and have applied the Beat Sheet to my plot, providing me with a more detailed understanding of my hero’s journey.

I feel freed to hear the quote by Terry Pratchett:

“The first draft is just you telling yourself the story.”

With no real deadline I have the luxury to enjoy the process as it unfolds. I do not aim to meet a certain number of words per day or sit at my desk at a certain time for a specific number of days. I find that if I try to force the creative process, I write uninspiring third-grade drivel.

What works well for me is to linger in the moment of the story, let it fill my soul, dream, and imagine. And I am discovering that when I take this gentle and unhurried approach, when I wake in the morning the details are revealed to me, and I have to get up, go to my desk, and write it down before it fades away.

And this is the very process of creativity that I am dwelling in and loving.

However, I know my hero is about to meet some life-changing and heart-breaking challenges.

Those Adverbs!

I hesitate at the edge, procrastinating, fearful about plunging into the deep, the real work of writing a book. I am surrounded by experts, published authors, stories already told.

But here I am at the precipice, ready to go deep into the story.

“Everyone has a book in them.” ~ Stan Smith (my father)

The preparation is done, and no more time to dally.

Writers desk at the ready

I have not been writing in this blog for a while.

  • First there was the travel adventure around Australia where I concentrated my efforts on a bit of travel writing through Mick & Sue’s Aussie Adventure.
  • Then last year I completed the family story and printed that tome for family.
  • During February I have been trying to get my head to the task. I’m not sure that taking part in #FebFlourish on Instagram helped at all, except to add to my procrastination.

So, my plan now is to:

  • Assign blocks of time for this writing adventure.
  • Go over my notes.
  • Do a bit more planning so I have a structure to write into.
  • Aim for a number of words per session goal.
  • Just start writing and try to get this first draft down.
  • And maybe I should do the online courses offered by WritersHQ.UK
    • Balance Your Writing Life that starts in March
    • Editing 101 that starts in April

2020 Year in Review – The Year of the Virus

The year of 2020 was great for me and my husband! Despite it being The Year of the Virus, we were able to do what we set out to do. It was to be our Gap Year and a year to travel Australia with our home-on-wheels.

In 2019 we sold our house, bought a caravan, left our jobs, and put all of our possessions into storage.

Our loose plan was to do the Big Lap of Australia in a figure of 8 route. First travelling west to Western Australia (WA), then north up the west coast to Broome, then east across to Darwin, then south down through the centre, to the Flinders Ranges in South Australia (SA), then home to the Mornington Peninsula for Christmas with the family. Then up the east coast into New South Wales (NSW) and Queensland (QLD).

Trip Plan A

So, although not quite retirement age, we decided the time was right. We wanted to be able to do all of those epic walks before we are too old.

We set off at the beginning of December in 2019. Pre-pandemic we had a nice time exploring the coastline from Melbourne to Perth, as well as the southern Goldfields of WA. In March 2020 we were in the desert of WA north of Perth when the first lockdown occurred, and the borders were closed. We dashed back across the Nullarbor Plain, back to regional Victoria where we spent three months parked on a relative’s farm still living in our caravan.

So, Plan A was scrapped, and Plan B became a creative exercise in random serendipity. We went where we could, crossing borders when allowed, staying put when there were no options. We went to places we had not planned to go.

The Northern Tip of Australia – Cape York Peninsula QLD

We explored, camped, swam, walked, watched wildlife, snorkeled, went out to the Great Barrier Reef, and watched sunsets, sunrises, and stars. It was hot and we loved it. We lived in shorts and t-shirts and thongs. We drank beer, made new friends, and didn’t have to wear a mask until we returned to Victoria in December. We were lucky and we knew it.

I read less because I was travelling, exploring, walking, taking photos, sketching, and writing the travel blog. The books I did read were random and not worth mentioning, chosen from caravan parks, book exchanges, op shops, or an eBook borrowed from my local library then downloaded onto my iPad. I did buy a couple of books from book shops.

I was happy that my travel articles were regularly picked up by the online newsletter Camping News. And this validated my writing pursuit that I hope I can develop into a professional job.

Of course, we missed our family and friends and felt very sympathetic during the long hard second lockdown in Melbourne and Victoria.

Trip Plan B – Actual trip 2020

We spent 373 days travelling 41,175 kilometres of Australia. We stayed in 80 caravan parks, 20 of which were free camps. We visited every state except for Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory.

We had a great adventure in 2020.

Writing Practice

Since leaving my full-time job, I have been concentrating on improving my writing skills.

IMG_0836

Here is the list of resources that I have worked through so far:

My aim from this self-initiated writing course is to improve my writing skill in order to write the first draft of a novel by the end of 2020. I have my idea, characters, location, era, and plot. I have done some research and now I just need to get it out of my head and onto the page.