New Year, New Writing

Time seems to pass so quickly, they say it’s a sign of getting older. But, somehow 2014 disappeared, in a flourish I might add, and the new year is already into its fifth day here in New Zealand. That has been just enough time to start getting my writing life back on track, to set a few priorities and prepare to put it all in action.
I’ve been floating around a little over the last twelve months. Writing needs commitment and mine took a holiday. My writing progress has been higgledy-piggledy for the last year, blame too much immersion in a couple of delightfully time wasting online projects. But the time has come to be strong, to move forward with the writing I always intended to do.
The first of those projects is a return to more shaping and crafting, more challenges in the way of writing longer pieces and submitting them somewhere. The first piece is well under way, meandering toward a probable submission to a new New Zealand journal – non-paying, but oh the thrill if it’s accepted.
The other major 2015 project is my proposed local social history book. Research has been on hold for over a month and I need to give myself a shake up and reappear at the library archives.
So there it is, 2015 is officially labelled a writing year for me and I’m rather excited. Hopefully I’ll be more regular in sharing along the way. Happy New Year to you all.

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Well, I Did It!

Okay, I know my presence here is not something more than a wee speck of dust that is so easily over looked. That’s my own fault, allowing myself to become far too enthusiastic about far too many things.

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I came on here for the first time in weeks this morning and noticed my previous post here was about the Flash Fiction story I intended writing and submitting for a local competition. Well, I thought maybe I should report, with pride i might add, that I managed to write the story and get it entered it on time.

Now I’m caught up with this whole Flash Fiction genre. I’m hooked. It’s not easy writing a story in less than 300 words. It’s challenging, but I loved every minute of it.

My next challenge is even shorter, 250 words, on the topic of Sugar. Sugar? What story can be constructed with sugar as a theme in less than 250 words? I have no idea, but as I have less than a week to write the story something had better pop into my mind soon!

http://www.bubblews.com/news/3485894-when-one-door-closes-another-opens

Flash Fiction Competition for New Zealand Writers

For all New Zealand writers who haven’t heard, the NZ Flash Fiction Competition for 2014 is open. You have about a month to enter this competition. For guidelines, click on the following link. It’s open to New Zealand citizens and residents.

http://nationalflash.wordpress.com/competition/

I love writing Flash Fiction. I like the discipline of choosing words carefully, making each one count. Not that I’m good at it at all, I simply get pleasure from writing it. This is so different from the daily writing I do here on my blog and other sites, where my thoughts spill onto the page without much precision at all. It’s definitely time for me to be disciplined again. If you’re at all interested in some of my ramblings the link below is as good a place as any to start.

http://www.bubblews.com/news/2886864-the-200-word-challenge-was-simply-a-warm-up

So, my thinking cap is on, my pencils sharpened, paper at hand – I’m ready to write.

Memory Prompts are Everywhere

Quite often people think they don’t remember much about their past, but that could be because they are out of practice. In my experience, the more I write my stories down, the more twice as many memories come flooding in.

If you think about it, memory prompts are everywhere. No matter what you do, or where you go, it’s likely you did something in your childhood or younger life, or maybe a family member did something, similar to what is happening now.

Take this afternoon for example. I’ve just been watching the women finishing in the World triathlon Series race here in New Zealand. This not only made me remember my days as a young competitive swimmer, but also in adulthood as a Masters Swimmer. Then there are the memories of women’s triathlons and fun run and walk events I’ve participated in.

If you really want to write your life stories but don’t know where to start, I recommend you start looking at the things around you. Then, consider whether anything similar happened in your own life. Open your mind to memory prompts and start writing your stories.Image

Myself and two friends, after our first team triathlon effort, about ten years ago.

Coffee, Autumn Leaves and Childhood Memories

While people in the northern hemisphere are delighted by the arrival of Spring, I’m equally delighted at the arrival of autumn down here in New Zealand. I love autumn, it’s definitely my favourite month.

I love the settled weather, the lingering of the last of the sunshine, the colours and the general slowing down as we move into winter.

http://www.bubblews.com/news/2701920-an-autumn-saturday-morning-in-new-zealand

I sat drinking coffee at one of my favourite cafes this morning, writing and trying to recall any autumn memories from childhood. Then a sudden rush of times gone by hit me. I was sitting not too far from a rather vivid autumn leaf memory. You can read about it here.

http://www.bubblews.com/news/2735537-childhood-memories-of-autumn-leaves

So, whether you’re moving into Spring or Autumn, celebrate the moment. Enjoy each season for what it is.

The Ideas are Starting to Flow Again

It seems I’ve been in hibernation, but really I’ve been working full-time. Nothing like a stressful day to kill creativity. However, life changes and now I find myself with time to write my stories again. So it’s back to work on my next book, plenty of time, doesn’t have to be finished till late next year.

http://www.bubblews.com/news/2712018-the-resurrection-of-a-major-writing-project

I’m getting excited about the prospect of researching and writing again. Life is looking up.

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The Story of the Rest of My Life

After many months of being undecided about what I want to do in my life and making a few decisions for the wrong reasons I’ll soon be back writing on a daily basis. Another five weeks and I can call myself a writer again. I’ll be back to writing my stories and helping you write yours.

Sometimes I guess we need to try something before we realise it’s not what we really want to do. That has certainly been the case for me over the last year. Now l want to return to writing and working on my many unfinished projects.

The story of the rest of my life is just beginning. 

After the New Zealand Earthquake

I’m having a quiet afternoon, much quieter than the one we had here in the lower part of the North Island, New Zealand yesterday. About this time yesterday we were hit by a magnitude 6.2 eathquake, that really rocked our socks off.

Not knowing what was going to happen and needing to share my shaking with someone other than my husband, I wrote about it at this link – I’m not sure if we were having an after shock or whether it was just me shaking.

http://www.bubblews.com/news/2098096-breaking-news-huge-earthquake-in-new-zealand

Fortunately we weren’t close to the centre, and judging by news coming in during the day some places had even more damage than we did here. The local paper shows pictures of chimney damage to the house next door to the one I grew up in the 1950s.

Our cat Smooch wasn’t too impressed with the noisy shake, he bolted like lightning out the window once the shaking stopped.

http://www.bubblews.com/news/2100363-smooch-the-cat-didn039t-like-the-earthquake

I managed to find something to laugh about after the earthquake stopped though. My cup of coffee had emptied itself, leaving me with the need to clean up before making another.

http://www.bubblews.com/news/2105146-i-do-hope-the-librarian-will-understand

Today the afternoon is quiet. I’m thankful for that. Do you have earthquakes in your part of the world?

Time to Remember the Stories of Our Pets

There’s something about growing older, life tends to float by at a more even pace. Not that I haven’t been busy so far this year, but maybe I’ve finally found some balance.

New Year came in with huge bangs in Taupo, where we were minding my sister’s house and dog. The fireworks terrified the poor fellow. However, he settled down and we continued our week with him amidst lots of fun and laughter.

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Here’s Busta pleading, please take me for a walk Aunty Val. We didn’t dare mention that word, w-a-l-k aloud, unless we were ready to put our words into action!

Oh the Smells a Dog Can Smell and the Birds he Can Chase

One of the things I want to do more of this year is write the stories of our pets. After all, their stories deserve to be told just as much as the rest of the family. I know our cat Smooch will agree with that!

Smooch the Cat is Pleased Mum and Dad are Home

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The stories of pets and humans are entwined together don’t you think.

 

Summer in New Zealand

I’m feeling quite excited right now. I have one more morning of teaching, well, school, and then it’s time for the long summer holidays.

The year has really flown by and I haven’t been here as much as I’d like. I’m looking forward to having more time now, writing more stories about summer past and present. Just like this one I wrote elsewhere a week or so ago about our family camping in the 1950s. I’m the wee cutie with the ribbon in my hair 🙂

http://www.bubblews.com/news/1805879-a-beach-a-tent-a-book-and-some-sandhills

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It probably seems strange for many of you, thinking about summer for Christmas. But believe me, when you don’t know any better, it’s just the way it should be.

I responded to a challenge on Bubblews the other day, trying to convince another user why Christmas in New Zealand was the best. Why don’t you check it out for yourself and see if you agree.

http://www.bubblews.com/news/1795591-the-real-reason-christmas-in-new-zealand-beats-them-all

And, just in case you’re still not convinced, let me leave you with a photo of the pohutukawa, New Zealand’s Christmas tree, coming in to full boom now, just in time for Christmas.

http://www.bubblews.com/news/1804730-pohutukawa-the-new-zealand-christmas-tree

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So, now I’m feeling the heat, so I’ll go and look out some of your stories about snow 🙂