SCBWI and such

Early Xmas Celebrations for SCBWI Members QLD

Early Xmas Celebrations for SCBWI Members QLD

Last Sunday, I attended my first SCBWI meeting held at the beautiful home of Prue Mason, in Maleny. We gazed upon a backdrop of mountains and a canopy of Australian bush. It was impossible to not be inspired when surrounded by such beautiful sights. Writers and illustrators from across Queensland gathered and discussed their latest projects and successes. I was in awe of how much talent surrounded me. And I was inspired to hear how hard these people work to achieve what they do.

In the past week, I’ve hit a bit of a writing wall. I’m back at work and feel my creativity seeping away from me, a little more every day. It frustrates me, no end. Yet I still have to write to get this book done. I have to figure out strategies to get myself to the page every day. I have been flicking through my writing books in search of some tips. In her book, ‘Writing Down the Bones’, Natalie Goldberg talks about the two characters that often live in writer’s minds. They are The Dictator and The Resister. And often the two fight to the death.

“I want to write today,” says the Dictator

“Well, I don’t,” answers the Resister.

I know these two characters intimately. As, I’m sure, most writers do. Goldberg’s teacher, Katagiri Roshi taught her the term “Fighting the Tofu”. He explained tofu as being dense, white and bland and concluded it was pointless to wrestle with it. You get nowhere. It’s a strange analogy but I get his point. He suggests you let your internal characters fight as they wish. Let them come to the page with you and then give them five minutes each of your time to put forward their arguments. I put this to the test.

Five minutes of why I don’t want to write:

It’s hard, I don’t know what to say, I can’t think straight, I’m tired, nothing makes sense, everything I write sucks, no one will want to read it, I’m tired, I want to sleep, I can’t think of anything to say…boredom sets in…

Five minutes of why I DO want to write:

Because it’s what I love, it connects me, it advances my story, it works toward my goal, it makes me feel good, it gives me a sense of achievement, it motivates me, it makes me happy, it elevates me, it keeps the momentum of my story going, it  makes me feel alive, it wakes me up, it makes me aware, it stimulates me, it drives me, it makes me feel at one with everything, my story is important, my writing is important, writing is my truest passion…
My DON’T column became tiresome after a couple of minutes. Even I got bored with being bored of my own stuff. My DO column could have kept going. The positives far outweighed the negatives, which makes me ask why do I make it so hard to sit down and do it each morning? The answer is that I don’t really know. What I know works is that when you sit down anyway, and write, the Resister makes tracks and the Dictator gets the writing ball rolling along. And what I do know is that I am surrounded by wonderful writers who work hard to achieve their goals. They inspire me to keep going and I am grateful to them. I am also supported by great organisations such as SCBWI and Queensland Writers Centre both providing regular events and meetings that allow me to network and learn as I travel this road.
The SCBWI meeting was full of great information and inspiration for me. It was also brimming with talented Queensland authors (and the lovely Dee White – (author of Letters to Leonardo) who was up here from Melbourne on a special writing retreat). I came away from the day inspired and informed and ready to write. Now to put those strategies in place…
P.S
A big thanks to Prue for being a fabulous hostess and a big hug to Mahoney, the wonder dog, who stole the show.

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4 thoughts on “SCBWI and such

  1. It was a great day, and Mahoney was just adorable (although I don’t think he quite realised how big he’s grown…)

    I love the dictator and resister analogy, and the way you sat and reasoned with them by going through the dos and don’ts. Writing walls are tough – I’m at one myself – and sometimes it’s about working out why. If you can you’ll discover a way to vault over it (which is much better than attempting to crash through it!)

  2. Still trying to figure out why I have stopped. I think my schedule is a large part of it. Falling out of momentum because of the shifts. I just need a day where I can sit down and focus and regroup to get moving again. My next days off will be night duty free so I will certainly get back into the swing of things then.

  3. Hi Lynn

    Thanks for your recent comment on my blog. I love your post on resistance and how you power through in spite of that resistance. It’s a daily battle but it feels so good when you quit for the day and there are words on the page.

    I’m writing 8-12 and 3-4 at the moment and trying to get 2-3000 words (an early draft so just powering through and not being too precious) and I find finishing up the day with writing rather than logistical, emailly, webby stuff is key to my happiness. Story makes me happy. The other stuff burdens me.

    Anyway, thanks for your post.

    All the best,

    Tristan.

    • Hey Tristan,

      Nice to catch up with you. I’m having one of those irrational resistance days today but I am thwarting that evil voice in my head by keeping my bum on the seat and refusing to give up – no matter how tempting washing the floors might become. I love your comment about not being too precious. I will keep that with me always – it is such a great way to look at a first draft and it is SO easy to get all precious about it and not move forward with story.

      I love when I allow myself to get lost in story – the real world melts away and this other place becomes larger than life. I totally get what you mean about it bringing happiness. The other stuff falls under ‘chores’. Story falls under ‘Bliss’. Your writing schedule and word count inspire me to keep going. Good on you.

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