Writer’s Work

After attending the Writer’s Workshop this month provided by the Peninsula Writers Club and facilitated by author Kate Mildenhall, I have been quietly contemplating… and not much actual writing.

Group picture – Peninsula Writer’s Club – 7 August 2022

The workshop on Pitching and Publishing was useful, but more so were the exercises and discussions with all of the writers in the room. It was interesting to hear about the progress of other writer’s projects, successes, and not so successful experiences.

I felt energised after the event and came home to prepare my own Annual Writing Work Plan. I am great at writing plans: work plans, project plans, communication plans, staff development plans, implementation plans. And I am happy with the personal creative writing plan that I prepared for myself.

I now have a year’s worth of relevant resources to work through in order to expand and deepen this skill of creative writing. I will list some of them below for reference.

Kate Mildenhall was an excellent facilitator for this workshop and her former career in the teaching profession was evident. I had already read and enjoyed her historical fiction Skylarking and after this workshop read The Mother Fault. I confessed to her that I could see many similarities between her novel Skylarking and my work-in-progress. We both had identified Anne of Green Gables as a story that was of a similar strain to our own works. So, yes, similarities, but totally different tales.

My own story sits idle. But I now have an idea about how to develop my story further. The ideas sit inside my head, as the main story did for years before I downloaded it from my brain through my fingers onto paper and computer and wove it into a comprehensible narrative. I am at the point where I need to sit and get these new ideas onto ‘paper’. I will need to prepare a storyboard like I did for the main part of the story, and then plot the scenes and weave the new scenes into the other part of the story that I have already completed. So, while the creative ideas continue to percolate in my head, I write lists of things to do, and read books about writing.

Here are some resources (in no particular order) that I have incorporated into my Annual Writing Work Plan (some I have read and listened to already*):

BOOKS ABOUT WRITING

  • Save the Cat! Writes A Novel by Jessica Brody*                                                  
  • The Artists Way by Julia Cameron*
  • The Vein of Gold by Julia Cameron*                                                        
  • Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer by Roy Peter Clark *                            
  • Use Your Words: A Myth-Busting, No-Fear Approach to Writing by Catherine Deveny       
  • Everything I Know About Writing by Annie Dillard                                                                              
  • Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert*                                
  • Wild Mind by Natalie Goldberg*                               
  • Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg*                                                   
  • Searching for The Secret River by Kate Grenville                                 
  • Ten Things About Writing: Build Your Story One Word at A Time by Joanne Harris *
  • Night Fishing by Vicki Hastrich                                   
  • On Writing by Stephen King                                                        
  • Steal Like an Artist, Show Your Work, Keep Going by Austin Kleon                                              
  • The Writer Laid Bare by Lee Koffman                                                     
  • Bird by Bird by Ann Lamott                                                          
  • The Cost of Living by Deborah Levy                                                          
  • Before and After the Book Deal by Courtney Maum                                          
  • Writing Your Life by Patti Miller*                                                              
  • How to be an Artist by Jerry Saltz                                                              
  • A Swim in the Pond in the Rain by George Saunders                                                         
  • The Science of Storytelling by Will Storr                                                 
  • The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp                                                           
  • The Little Red Writing Book by Mark Tredinnick
  • The Luminous Solution by Charlotte Wood                                          
  • The Writer’s Room by Charlotte Wood                                                   
  • How Fiction Works by James Wood         

PODCASTS

  • Magic Lessons by Elizabeth Gilbert*
  • The First Time by Katherine Collette and Kate Mildenhall
  • The Garret: Writers on Writing by Astrid Edwards             
  • The Writers Room by Charlotte Wood
  • Ruts and Routines by Madeline Dore
  • How to Fail by Elizabeth Day
  • Keeping a Notebook by Nina LaCour
  • Writer’s Routine by Dan Simpson
  • Between the Covers: Conversations with Writers by David Naimon
  • So, You Want to Be a Writer by Valerie Khoo and Vic Writers Centre
  • First Draft: A Dialogue on Writing by Mitzi Rapkin
  • James and Ashley Stay at Home by James Watson and Ashley Blunt          
  • The Screenwriting Life by Meg LeFauve and Lorien McKenna       
  • Dead & Buried by Carly Godden and Lee Hooper*

SOME OTHER RESOURCES

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

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.