One Month Down, Twelve To Go

So we come to the end of another month. For those who are running off to check their calendars, I’m talking about the lunar month. This morning the moon clicked over into a new lunar month–the month of watery, dreamy Pisces.

Looking back, I remember the trepidation I felt waiting for the new year to start a month ago. I was afraid for so many reasons, the biggest one by far: would I fall apart again? I did a hell of a lot of soul searching, deconstructing what was left of myself before the year began, thus  started with a better understand of how the wheels fell off last year and knew what to avoid at all costs. Walk the middle path between imbalance and depression.

Unconsciously I made a commitment to be gentler with myself–to stop forcing demanding deadlines on myself. In light of this, I organised with Paul to have a part-time re-entry to work. And while the first week was pretty messy and hectic, with the imminent roll out of two new writing initiative at Write Anything, and I did work stupid hours, including well into the night, once February clocked in, I took it slower.

The Writing Round Up

In the last month I’ve written more than I have since November of any year in the last five:

  • completing a vignette entitled Intersected and submitted to Vine Leaves Literary Journal. Fingers crossed my first sub for the year is a successful one.
  • completing two brand new short stories for the Form and Genre Challenge: the crime short What I Left to Forget and a contemporary romance Thirty-Eight Degrees South. Thanks again to Laura Meyer and Stacey Larner, as well as Adam Byatt who bought the virtual pom poms.
  • writing two articles for Write Anything–The Secret Project/BirthPunk Mashie which details the two writing projects I am working on in the first six months of the year and Get Me to the Page on Time which is my search to find the best time to write, and how a routine can actually free you.
  • adding two new installments to #thesecretproject with Adam Byatt. This project is pushing all kinds of boundaries with me. I don’t think I have ever been this up close and personal with a character. The nature of the project means I can’t stand back and observe from a far–it is intense and has an immediacy which isn’t apparent (or expected) because of the structural framework, which includes delayed gratification between each installment. I’m so grateful to Adam for saying yes and believing in the project. At this point we have five installments and still have a tentative launch date for Easter.
  • re-wroting my author page and giving the blog the first of several make overs –the most important of which is a new name, 1000 Pieces of Sky, reflecting where I am in life now.
  • completing the first six days (of 30) for the First Draft in 30 Days book. Writing shorts took over and distracted me from the research I’d set myself up to do.
  • writing at least one haiku every day since the start of February for the haiku challenge with Tiggy.
  • completing the first article in a multi-part series on beta reading. The articles  will form the basis of an online course at some point in the not too distant future.

Many thanks to Chris Chartrand, Laura Meyer, Adam Byatt and Tiggy Johnson who have all beta read for me (some multiple times) in the past month. And a special thank you to Stacey Larner who did the final line edit and proof read for me on Intersected and Thirty-Eight Degrees South.

The Reading Round Up

My reading list was a short, just two books (and a half-read Poe novella).

  • Jessica Bell’s beautiful and brutal debut novel The String Bridge (which I devoured over a week in the shelter of a dodgy tent awning as it poured rain) and it’s equally haunting soundtrack.
  • M.J Hyland’s This is How which moved and disturbed me in equal measures.

The Movie Round Up

My watched list is a healthy one for the first time in a very long while:

  • District 9
  • Oceans 11
  • Abduction
  • Ghost Writer
  • Hanna
  • The English Patient
  • Crazy, Stupid Love
  • The Good German
  • The Descendent
  • The Texas Killing Fields

Devin Watson  publicly launched Literary Mix Tapes: The Movie Project today so it’s go. There will be movies from LMT/eMergent and a bunch of emerging filmmakers this year. Very exciting.

Hello/Good-Bye

In addition to that, we bid good-bye to [fiction] Friday and launched my two babies, The Form and Genre Challenge (2012) and PROPMTed at Write Anything. The Form and Genre Challenge is helping to rebuild the community of writers which once existed  via [fiction] Friday and has driven a lot of the old writing crowd out of their  funk and back into their stride, including myself. Chris Chartrand’s help administering the first week of the Form and Genre Challenge Judging helped to put it all into administrative order and meant I got to hang out with him twice in a week on skype.

Sadly, my workshop for the QWC didn’t reach minimum enrollments and I received word lunchtime Monday that it was cancelled. I’d lie if I said it wasn’t a blow but the timing was spot on. My energy bottomed out yesterday and with the stress of the pending workshop removed, I took a slower and gentler approach to this week.

New Writing Partnerships

Teaming up with new writing partners Laura Meyer and Adam Byatt is doing wonders to kick start my story writing again. I feel utterly at home in their creative confidence and not surprisingly, it’s having a flow on to my own confidence. Laura penned the heart-tugger Son Esprit Noir for the 3rd Person Challenge and Adam The Photographer’s Concerto, a prequel to my What I Left to Forget.

A Return to Editing

Last week I completed my first week of editing since last October and managed to edit and write with little problem. The only real trouble was dragging myself away from writing to concentrate on editing Deck the Halls. One story is day is a very doable amount. The hard work in releasing my old thought processes and welcoming new ones in, has wrorked wonders. I’m still on track to have all the editing done in time for Easter, at a pace which accommodates all aspects of life.

In Summation

All in all, the month fleshed out better than I could have hoped; the pieces slowly, but surely, finding a good fit and life in turn, continues to develops a resonating rhythm. I’m looking forward to being able to say the same (or better) this time next month.

Going Lunar

For the past three years I’ve wanted to work more with the lunar ebb and flow of energy. While it seems out of step with the rest of the world which runs on arbitary dates on the calendar – this year I really want to try and see what happens if I respect the natural energetic flow.

For those unused to lunar workings – the moon waxes (grows bigger) for just under two weeks, the moon is full for three days and then the moon wanes for just under two weeks. The waxing moon is best for initiating projects, setting goals and using the go-hard energy to achieve lots. The waning to finish projects and tie up loose ends. The full moon is a great time for celebrations. The dark moon best for decluttering, cleaning etc. It is a ready made work time table.

Thus, with the moon new in Capricorn earlier this afternoon (and along with a pretty potent Eclipse) I’m here with my first check in (which includes all of December and the first two weeks of January) and setting goals for the next lunar cycle.

Since I checked in last….

…I’ve been as productive as possible given I’ve become another year wiser, had my mother visit, Christmas, New Years and the school holidays.

  • Bondi was submitted two days early for the 12 Day of Christmas project and received more than two dozen positive comments.
  • Chinese Whisperings (The Red Book) wasn’t finished by my birthday but was finished a few days before the official launch date which went off with a bang at midnight 1st January and to date selling well for an eBook unlisted on Kindle or any other eBook sites and getting fantastic reviews.
  • The Confusion was left in a state of confusion back on my side table and is now back on the shelf. It is the first time in two years I’ve thrown my hands up in the air and said ‘No.” It’s January, technically I’m not back ‘working’ and I want to enjoy what I’m ready.
  • Graceville is on it’s final time with a beta reader (thanks Chris!) after I lost my nerve to submit it in December. After this I will be submitting to Meanjin and keeping my fingers crossed.
  • Taping Lydia has been submitted to Jon Strother’s Best of Flash Friday 2009.
  • My Sandals, renamed Perspectives of Sand, went to Miscellanous Press, and as I blogged yesterday, was rejected. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
  • I didn’t get a week away from the computer, but I did get three days away over Christmas and Boxing Day and it was amazing how quickly vivid dreams came back and I was more relaxed, more even tempered and connected.
  • I didn’t manage to stay on top of the daily posting of the photo a day, but continued to chip away and upload at times with a week or more of photos.

Books read in the last six weeks:

  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
  • The Lovely Bones
  • Her Fearful Symmetry
  • 100+ pages of The Confusion

Currently reading one third into ‘The Book Thief’

I’ve written and submitted a short story, The Chameleon, for Absolute Xpress’s Flash Fiction Challenge: Thieves and Scoundrels. It got fabulous feedback from my growing stable of beta readers so I’m hopeful it will be a successful submission. Again it went in a few days earlier which was almost as great a thrill as actually having it finished.

Now my goals in the coming month:

  1. Finalise the Chinese Whisperings line up (we’re recruiting 12 new writers to join the exisiting 8 writers from The Red Book)
  2. Finalise the first story for Chinese Whisperings (Paul and I are contemplated/attempting to write a joint story to start and then to end – crazy I know)
  3. Finish the final six entries of my Fourth Fiction novella.
  4. Run a competition to name my Fourth Fiction novella.
  5. Post up my remaining Captain Juan episodes so we can start afresh on the 14th.
  6. Revamp my writing area.
  7. Hem the curtain for the window which my desk sits at (this has been a two year project – sad but true)
  8. Post my photos up every day (I’ve sort of got into the swing of this).
  9. Finalise the projects I want to be involved with for 2010.
  10. Write up my business plan for 2010.

On top of those I’m supporting my creative efforts in a number of other areas.

  • I’ve given up sugar, cold turkey, for 30 days and hopefully longer.
  • I’ve got an exercise video and plan on doing it every day and go out for a walk – healthy body, healthy mind.
  • I’m taking up a hobby – not sure what yet? I’ve been yearning for years to take up dancing,  a friend has been showing us her quilting books and glowing about how much she loves do it and I used to cross stitch – so who knows? I feel the need to be creative in other areas.
  • I’m turning the computer off at 8:30opm (obviously not tonight because I didn’t get the time management quite spot on!)

So, anyone else crazy enough to go ‘lunar’ with me and work from one new moon to the next? And is going ‘lunar’ the organisational equivalent of  ‘going native’?

Image unearthed at Temporarily Going Out Rogue