Wednesday, October 9, 2013

HUGE collection of Writer's Resources

Tessa Emily Hall, 19 year old author of YA novel  "Purple Moon" (released a few weeks ago), has just posted a HUGE list of writing resources:

Tessa's blog is an absolute goldmine of tips and insights.  I started reading it a year or two ago, and never tire of reading her content ... and I can't wait to read through this list.

I'm looking forward to rediscovering some gems to help with my latest writing adventure, along with lots of new inspiration.  Hope you enjoy it!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Flashback ... and crocodile eggs

I found something I wrote 3 years ago which really should be on this blog ... a journal entry about my desire to get back into writing.  I didn't write much on Ink Island back then, as life was pretty crazy with younger children home full time and writing, much as I loved it, came about 17th in my list of priorities.  When I had a rare chance to write, I chose my pen and paper journal, home education blog or on home ed forums.

Now for something other writers might find useful ... here's an article I wrote and had published in a magazine (my memory is shocking, and I forget now whether it was in print or an ezine) in 2006 ... Crocodile Eggs for Writers.

Are you quick to share your ideas, or cautious?

Friday, October 4, 2013

Where do you write?

I love to see where other writers do their creative work.
Where do they sit while they stare into space, wrestle with ideas and feverishly scribble?
What insights into their personality, methods and success can be gleaned from seeing where they work?

I remember first seeing a picture of Roald Dahl's writing shed, many years ago, and later a video tour of his shed and the garden where he walked while ideas gathered momentum.  I could picture him sitting in his armchair with on a board across his lap, pages places just where he liked and left undisturbed, pencils ready.  Thinking up the imaginative, peculiar stories I read as a child

Just a simple shed, but it was his own.  A place he could be alone with his thoughts and characters.  Somewhere his papers could be left undisturbed and his stories could incubate until they were ready to hatch.  I don't think I coveted his specific shed, but certainly I wished for a space of my own.  I've been collecting ideas on Pinterest, just in case.

I dream of finding space in the ceiling to build an attic (I look up there once every few months but it never changes, there are still too many beams and trusses) or a little garden shed in the backyard (which of course, the children would want to share and being a softie I would probably let them).  For now though, I have found contentment in portability ... an Officeworks cloth shopping bag to take to any peaceful little corner I find.  I create little retreats for myself.

Here are some of the places I have written in the last few months:

The desk in our study ... peaceful after everyone goes to sleep.  The Mac is my preferred computer for research, email, blogging, typing up handwritten notes, proofreading, editing and designing.  This is a space shared by all of us, but when it's my turn I can work here surrounded by noisy, occupied people, but not when they peacefully sit and watch.

Directly behind the desk in the study, my Poppy's armchair, with a children's table (it floats around the house serving many purposes).  I also set up on our lounge, with my work spread out on the coffee table and a little lap desk for my netbook, exercise book or notepad.

Standing in front of my chest of drawers using the netbook.  The day I took this photo, I had an idea for an article for my home education blog, so I kept racing into my room to tap out a sentence or two at a time, in between helping my children with their activities. 

A corner in our bedroom.  The chair is not comfortable, but at least I have a view of trees from that angle.  After admiring the view for a while, I moved to the bed to write, feeling satisfied that I had found a little corner just for me!  

My side of the bed, propped up with lots of pillows and under or on the covers as needed.  This is my favourite place to brainstorm, write in my journal, use my white ASUS netbook or scribble ideas in little red exercise books.  

Here is a huge, wonderful collection of websites which show off writer's spaces ... this one was my favourite.  My friend Paula Beavan often writes in the garden.  Another friend Kerrie Paterson writes while she waits for her son to finish a drama class or sport.  Recently published teen author Tessa Emily Hall sometimes writes standing up.

For a look into the workspaces of some well known, successful writers, go here (unfortunately some of the links are dodgy, but there are enough to make it worth including) or here.

Wondering how to create a space? 

Check out this NaNoWriMo advice or the Easy Way to Write blog.
If you need MORE links, check out these:  one, two and three.  


The car, library and park are sometimes the best place to find a little peace.  I often come up with new story ideas when we drive, especially on country roads.  I keep a notebook and pen in my handbag to jot down thoughts, snippets and names whenever they hit me.  And of course, there is always a pen and notepad on the bedside table.

Have you photographed your writing space?
I'd love to see it, if you are willing to share a link!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

NaNoWriMo and the YWP

NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month.  It takes place in November each year and is described as 30 days and nights of literary abandon.  Does that sound like fun to you?

NaNoWriMo for me ...

I literally put my writing away in boxes when we decided to homeschool our children.  Do you wonder why couldn't I write AND home-educate?

When the kids were younger, it went something like this:

ME (parent, teacher, wife) + WRITING = preoccupied, distracted, frustrated, guilty, sad

The combination wasn't good for me as a writer or mother, and one role had to be put on hold.  It was an easy choice!  

There is a season for everything, and it wasn't the season for me to focus on writing.  I dipped my toes into the writing waters a few times in recent years, but quickly discovered the water was still too chilly.  There were always other issues we had to deal with more urgently ... fast forward to this year, and the forecast is much more favourable.  

Now, perhaps it is the season for me to write a little ... at least for an hour a day during the month of November.   With a healthy mix of energy, caution, passion, commitment and prayerfulness, I am doing NaNoWriMo 2013.  I am SO excited!  I have updated my NaNoWriMo account, gathered my tools and have started to find some time to write each day.

... and NaNoWriMo for my children!

They are coming along for the ride, in the NaNoWriMo Young Writer's Program.  They are keen, Miss 8 and Mr 9, but there will be no pressure.  We're enrolled and ready to rock!

I have some excellent resources already, but was nevertheless happy to discover the Lesson Plans NaNoWriMo has provided for teachers.  I have chosen the Upper Elementary Curriculum, and will use whatever parts of it I think we will find useful.  I have downloaded Student Workbooks.  My budding authors like to plan out loud, so I will be keeping a phone or iPad handy to catch their ideas.

Have you ever taken part in NaNoWriMo?  Do you think the Young Writers Program is something your children would enjoy?