Showing posts from 2019


I just spent a glorious few days away with a writerly bunch of folks. My writing group and I headed off to Sorrento for a writing retreat.

It was a very typical wintry few days. We had wild winds (branches down and lights flickering), rain, lots of rain, very cold, hail, and more rain.

But there were moments when the rain settled to a drizzle or an almost stop and we ventured out.

The writing retreat is never a straight forward - go to your corners and write. NOW!

There is the settling in period, the which room is yours, what's for dinner, how have you been etc but then there are the discussions.

About life in general, but more specifically the writerly life. We discuss our goals and aims for the year, we chat about works in progress. We read and reread our work. We edit, we discuss.

Sometimes we do find a corner of the kitchen table or set up on a chair in another room and write.

It's amazing the stillness that comes over the house then. It's an almost palpable creative …


A few days ago I ran a writing workshop for children. Once again I was amazed at how creative and funny kids are. They love EVERYTHING  and think that ANYTHING can happen.

I gave them a quick exercise to get their brains ticking in the right direction and then we were plotting and planning.

We talked about the boring real life compared to the adventures found in stories. How you can escape life for a moment or thirty, how you can pretend to be anyone.

We looked at a photo (an elderly gentleman with the most amazing lived in face) and they all got to write about him. His life, his family. They created jobs and homes, created his character.

We did another exercise which involved two characters, a setting, two lines of dialogue and an ending. It was a fun game with many giggles as characters such as Chicken Nugget- out to get those that dare turn chickens into such things...were created.

Then they began to write their stories. I gave them some things to think about. Their setting, their…


I recently read a 'debut' author. Not their FANTASTIC BEST SELLING  novel, but their collection of short stories that also were given rave reviews, great write ups and WOW blurbs.
Frankly I read them, and if you asked me the next day what any of those ten short stories were about, I would not be able to tell you.

A setting to remember, characters that stood out, even a theme to tie them all in would have been delightful...but no.

Themes are almost a forgotten art. They shouldn't be. They really help to know what to wear if a friend decides to have a Charlie Chaplin themed birthday....

Or when another friend, had a Harry Potter themed party.

All those little details made it work.

And added a spark of fun to the festivities.

There were HP foods, decorations and games. Not to mention a team of wizards and a few assorted muggles.

Theme - 'an idea that recurs in or pervades a work of art or literature- really helps. If , such as in the case of the recently read short story…


I spent a lovely chilled and relaxing weekend with family. We had a house by the beach and even though it is winter, and it was freezing cold, mostly wet and very grey and foggy..I really enjoyed it.

It was a time to relax, to chat, to play with a baby,

to venture out for a meal, to stay in and nibble on leftovers and have a drink or two.

It was also when I decided to draw a line.


There was a part of me doing the whole "OMG you have a few moments, why aren't you writing? You should note that down, put that thought onto paper before it escapes". Another part realises that these times can never be taken for granted.

I could have chosen to write and ignored my family...but I chose them. Made them my priority.

And maybe food. But, I also decided to stop beating myself up over not having spent the weekend writing. Or even today, my designated writing day, writing.

Frankly, today I have spent the past five hours driving from one place to another to an…


Storytime at the library is aimed at 3-5 year olds. As often happens we do get younger children attending, and sometimes we may get an older sibling or two. But this week I had three children much older than my usual pre-schoolers.

One girl about 7 with a younger sister and two boys, about 8 and 9. For a second this threw me. I aim my program at the children that attend- and a lot of this group are in the younger age group. Two and three year olds.

Can I tell you how much they all enjoyed the stories.

We read to small children all the time. Building a great rapport with the child, promoting a love of books and reading.

Yet so many people stop reading when the children are school age. There is the assumption that now they are learning to read, they don't need to be read to.

These children, especially the two older boys, LOVED being read to. In fact both of them, and their young four year old friend, came to sit by my side.

Our theme was elephants and the stand out book was an Elep…


So, one of my goals for this month is to submit a piece of work. Very vague, as I have no idea what to submit nor to where. But I know it's time to start sending work out into the world.

So I began last Friday. Began is the right word...I started to search for places for side tracked...ended up on a garden site.

Naturally I head out between showers to check out the garden. Yep still there. Still needs work.

Back inside, after coffee and snack (can you have a cuppa without a snack? ) then yes I have found a place to submit.


Over the weekend I paint a Very Hungry Caterpillar. This week we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of this book, so I HAD to create a caterpillar that the kids at work can feed. How could I not?

Monday and I have a few hours before work so I carefully go through some poems. Which ones to send?
I have three selected to work on.

I then head outside because...

the rains have brought out a collection of funghi.

So far the submission has…


Every now and then I like to give myself a little push and choose a month where I write a poem every day. They don't have to be fantastic (let's face it, chances are they won't at all) but at the end of the month you have a slew of poems that you wouldn't have written otherwise.

Often called the Dirty Thirty... or there is a month designated for it such as NAPOWRIMO....I dither and dather and choose a month at random. I did like the alliteration of A POEM A DAY FOR MAY.

I have known of writers who are so organised, they set themselves up with a list of subjects and themes/ topics they want to tackle and so when they begin they already have a mindset.

I, of course, am not that organised. I stumble onto a few words here, few more there. Most of the poems occurred because of something I did that day, or saw, or felt.

There are poems about the wait for the world's problems are solved one sleepless night, only to recur the next night, and the next....



Oh yes...the fun...the joy....the bitterness...the depths of despair...the OMG WHAT HAVE YOU DONE. All of the above happens when you are working on something you have written, worked on, and are now doing a big redraft.

The hard part, well ONE of the hard parts, is of course you begin a novel days ....weeks...months....  years ago. So the voice has changed, the tone has changed...rhythm and nuance have been tweaked.

I have also changed the names of two characters - which leads to OMG WHO IS THIS PERSON when I'm on page 197. I'm sure characters hairstyles have changed (and perhaps colour too)...

I'm also noting down time lines, character arcs...the whole IS THIS CHAPTER NECESSARY? And WHAT DOES THIS CHAPTER ACHIEVE?

All good things to focus on. It's often so difficult to see the big picture, no matter how long you leave a piece of work. In your mind you know what motivates that character, and why this character has an intense dislike of relationships...but does the rea…