What Do Driftwood and Writers Have in Common?

The last few weeks I’ve wandered a few deserted winter beaches here in New Zealand, letting my thoughts wander where they will. As I sat in the car one rainy day, looking over the driftwood on the stony beach, my mind started thinking about the stories of the wood. Each of those pieces had their own story – their own starting point and the adventure they’d taken down the river into the harbour.


I picked up my pen and started to write, having no idea where my thoughts would take me. I imagined how each piece of driftwood had cast it’s story into the ocean before being washed up onto the beach.

Isn’t that what we do as writers? We release the stories that lay deep within us, letting them free to find their own landing place in the world. Don’t hold of your stories too long. Cast them out for others to read before it is too late and you too become beached in your final resting place.

Make a start today, start writing your stories. There are others out here who would love to read them.

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.


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!


Making a Start on Writing Your Stories

So many people tell me there life is not worth recording, they’ve never done anything interesting that others may want to read. Of course, I tell them that is absolute nonsense. No one else knows our life as we do. What seems ordinary to us seems fascinating to others. That is why it is important to get your stories written down.

As I go about my research for my latest writing project I’m grateful that people in the past have recorded their everyday stories, so that every day details are not lost. In the future someone may be grateful to you for writing your stories down. Even the smallest details may prove to be informative or interesting to someone in the years to come.

Why not start writing down your stories today?Image

Remembering the Reason Why

Sometimes life takes off on its own path. We start by paddling in a stream and before we realise we’re being swept along by a river current. This is not the journey we intended taking. Sometimes the new journey is an improvement, but often it means we’ve lost track of our original intentions.

I recently returned to part-time work. No regrets, I enjoy almost every minute of it. This commitment coincided with my fascinating immersion into research for my writing project about the contribution the local swimming baths made to my town during their short-lived life.

These two big projects fill my life in a positive way, but leaving me more drained of energy than I expected and with little time for other things, things such as blogging.

An e-mail this morning from a local writer, someone not known to me, suggested she’d read my blog and shared many of my memories. This started me thinking about my reasons for blogging in the first place. I looked back at my earlier entries, especially my first one written in February this year, Writing the Stories of Ordinary Lives.

Over recent months I’ve strayed from my original intentions, to use blogging as a platform to preserve stories, memories from the 1950s and 1960s, stories from the past to share with readers. I’m a believer in daily journal writing and the idea was my blog would encourage me to be a more prolific writer.

Instead, as I immersed myself in my research and memoir journey I turned back to writing in journals. I love writing with pencil and paper and find this a way of making connections and brainstorming my way into a story.

Another reason for the blog was to make connections with others interested in sharing their stories and I love this aspect of blogging. So, here I am again, making no promises, but determined to keep my blog alive and to make time to read the stories of other people.

Guilty of Neglect

The lovely ladies dressed in their swimwear stared at me from the screen, chiding me for my neglect.

“You call yourself a writer,” they said in their soft, feminine voices. “You encourage others to write daily. Where have you been?”

“I have been writing,” I said, “just not here.

Disappointment oozed from their silent faces “Your blog was part of the bargain,” thy reminded me, “part of your daily writing practice commitment.”

“I know, I know,” I replied, ‘but I’ve had other writing priorities this month.”

I lowered my eyes in shame at neglecting the lovely ladies who lent me their image. They’ve stared at me each day from my home page, inviting me into the water, trying to entice me into my own writing space. I owe the ladies more attention. So, here I am, ready once more to write the stories of ordinary people. I’ve been away too long.

A Writer in Training


In the 1960s competitive swimming took over my life. We only had an outdoor pool, so water training took place during the summer months. That didn’t mean we allowed our fitness to lay idle during the winter. Instead we participated in an intense land programme to maintain our fitness and strength in the months we were out of the water. Our endeavour to become the best competitor possible was a year round commitment.

Writing is the same. We go through the same year round process as any competitive sports person. In order to maintain our writing fitness we need to practice writing, even when we’re not working on something important. Whether this takes the form of blogging, journal writing or merely playing around with words in other ways, we need to keep our brain conditioned to enable it  to serve us well.

And, just like an athlete, we need to warm up before our daily output. While some writers say they can take the plunge and dive straight into a new piece, I wonder if they’ve ever considered how much better their writing may be by doing a little warm-up writing first.

Then, there’s a nutritious diet giving the energy to train and compete. Good writers remember to feed themselves regularly with the written words of others, with good conversation and by getting out and about to experience life away from the computer.

Most athletes have a coach to guide them on their way to success. A writer gathers up trusted friends and other writers, those who understand. These could be blog buddies, writing group buddies or others in the writing and publishing world. All writers need to be told when they’re on the right path and when they’re straying from it.

Finally, athlete’s burn out if they work too hard without rest. Not only do they need to give their muscles time to adapt to new work loads, they also need regular sleep to refresh them from one training session to another. So it is with writers. Too much writing without regular rest and time for recovery can result in stale ideas and lack of enthusiasm.

So come on writers, we’re all athlete’s really and need to make sure we’re on the best training programme we can cope with. What sort of writing programme do you participate in? How do you keep the writer within you conditioned and maintained? Practice may not make perfect but it can certainly make the writing process easier.

Reminder to Myself – The Need for Consistency

I’ve been reading lots of sound blogging advice lately, information worth reading. Some of the advice was new to me and contained a few things I need to get my head around here in this blogging world. Other things I was familiar with, but had allowed to drift into the back of my awareness and needed to be reminded of. I am grateful for both kinds of information.

One thing I still need to establish  as I start out on this blogging life is consistency in my posting. Saying it has been a crazy year is just an excuse. My posts so far have appeared more as an element of surprise, dropping unexpectedly out of no where. For this reason I’m grateful for the followers who read regularly and to those who pop in here from time to time.

Next week I start a new job, with consistent hours, so I know what I’m doing when. This will provide me with more time and energy for writing, including blogging. I enjoy following blogs with a daily theme to their posts, so readers know what to expect when. I’m going to try and do the same, though this may be a habit that takes time to become consistent. My initial aim is to become more consistent in the regularity of my posts.

I’d love to read others thoughts on this need for consistency. I’m sure, if I can achieve it, this will be worth attempting. Please share  any tips you may on how you achieve this.

Saturday Morning at the Bottom of the World

Some of you may not be aware of this, but New Zealand is the first country in the world to see the light of a new day, not only a new day but also a new month and a new year. We made a big thing of this way back at the turn of the century when we were the first to welcome the new millennium.

This difference became apparent when I started blogging just a couple of short months ago. Many of you will be relaxing on Friday night as you read this, knowing the weekend lies ahead. I’m sitting here on Saturday morning, looking at the dishes on the bench demanding attention and the vacuum cleaner trying to throw itself into my hands. I refuse to let my thoughts dwell on all the regular weekend chores. The only problem with starting the weekend ahead of the rest of the world is Monday come around more quickly as well. So those of you in the northern hemisphere can sit back on Sunday night and spare me a thought as I trundle off to face my working week.

This is my time, when I make myself a cup of coffee and treat myself to personal time, before my conscience takes over and insists I get on with real life. This is my time to read my favourite blogs. Many blogs have captured my attention since I started writing here. This is my time to be inspired by the words of writers I’ve come to admire. The rest of the weekend can wait.

There’s another difference I have with bloggers in the rest of the world, I stare out my window at an autumn world. The sky is grey today and a light, drizzling rain is falling. This rain is welcome here in New Zealand, as we’ve had the hottest, driest summer in many years. The morning is warm and as I write the clouds are starting to part, letting a little blue sky peep through.

If the world could be frozen at any one point in time, what a fascinating array of situations we’d be greeted with as people go about their daily lives. Fortunately the world doesn’t stand still and we go about our lives wherever we are. I’ve developed a new fascination, that of making contact with people in different parts of the world experiencing different time frames from my own. Isn’t the internet wonderful?