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NaNo Day One

November 1, 2011

Despite it probably being a dumb idea, I went ahead and registered for NaNoWriMo. It’s Melbourne Cup Day here – a public holiday – and so I got off to a pretty good start. 1701 words were written on my new novel today. That’s about 1600 more words than I’ve written in any one sitting for over a year now, so I’m pretty happy with that.

The great thing about NaNo is that no editing or revising is allowed. You just write. Usually I spend quite a bit of time fiddling with my work, trying to make it perfect. As a consequence it takes a long time to write anything at all. I’m hoping NaNo will free up my inner muse and allow me to follow my characters, without fussing so much about every little detail. We’ll see how it goes!


To NaNo or not to NaNo?

October 31, 2011

Tomorrow marks the beginning of National (or international now I guess) Novel Writing Month, Or NaNoWriMo.  Basically NaNo challenges writers to write a novel in a month.

I am yet to successfully complete NaNoWriMo. I have done similar challenges through RWA but have never successfully completed “the big one”. I am torn about signing up for this year’s challenge.  On the “Just Do It” side is the fact that for the first time in ages I have a new idea for a novel and I’m itching to work on it. On the “What Was I Thinking?” side is the fact that I have new job and I’m moving house in five weeks time, not to mention all the regular stuff that makes me extra busy in November  – Christmas, end of year parties, concerts, speech nights and so on.

So, what should I do? Do I NaNo or not?

What I did on my holidays…

May 17, 2011

If only I had a dollar for every student who I’ve made write on this topic! But now it’s my turn to give a vacation report.

We had a fabulous time in Malaysia. We spent five days in Kuala Lumpur, staying at the luxurious Trader’s Hotel. It was a great location, with lovely views of the Petronas Twin Towers from many vantage points within the hotel. Our rooms didn’t have twin tower views but it didn’t matter because we were barely there.

Here’s the view from Trader’s Skybar, where we spent a very enjoyable evening.

We spent most of our time in KL shopping. I was ridiculously self indulgent and came home with lots of shoes, handbags, cosmetics and even some jewellery. No buyers regret, though. I love everything I bought!

This is the ENORMOUS Berjaya Times Square. Even after seeing it, it’s hard to believe the size of this shopping centre. There’s a small theme park inside, with a full sized roller coaster!

On one of the upper floors we found a “fish spa”. I  decided to give it a go.

Yes, these are my feet being chomped on by dozens of tiny fish. Weird sensation but good (in an odd sort of way!)

We did manage to do a little sight seeing while we were in KL. The following photo was taken in Merdeka Square.

After the excitement of KL we were ready for some down time in Penang, which was lucky really, considering how hot it was there. We spent a great deal of time lazing by the pool reading.

My holiday reading choices turned out to be fantastic… but that’s a post for another day!

Holiday reading – the purchases

April 6, 2011

E-readers… is it time to succumb?

April 5, 2011

Thanks for all the reading suggestions. Most people posted directly on my Facebook link to this post, so not all suggestions will show up in the comments here. A diverse range of authors/genres were suggested – everything from Mills and Boon to Margaret Atwood. I’m shopping tomorrow so I will let you know what I choose.

Today I’ve started actively thinking about packing. I like to travel light. I think this is a result of my backpacking days, when I had to carry everything I needed on my back. It’s surprising how little one can survive with when forced to prioritise.

My partner, D, is a shocking packer. He takes enough stuff for five people. He blames his time in the Scouts. Apparently he really took that “Be Prepared” motto to heart. And travelling with three kids, two with rather large medicinal needs, also requires a lot of “stuff”.

Today I realised that books take a lot of space in my luggage. If I didn’t take reading material with me, I’d have plenty of room in my suitcase for all the purchases I’m planning on making in KL. And so my thoughts turned (reluctantly) to e-readers. In theory I’m not a fan of the e-reader. I love real books too much to ever contemplate replacing them permanently with a screen version. However I will concede that there are times (like now) when having one pocket-sized device that can store many books may be handy.

Help me out here! Do I really need an e-reader and if so, which one should I get?

Holiday reading suggestions?

April 4, 2011

 Next Tuesday I’m heading off to Malaysia for two weeks in the sun. I have ten days in Penang, where I plan to do little more than lay by the pool and read. Trouble is I haven’t decided what to read yet. I’m looking for page turners; light holiday entertainment (but not rubbish!) Any suggestions?

After the pause…

April 2, 2011

It’s been almost a year since I’ve been here. Poor blog, abandoned in its infancy.

I’m not really sure what went wrong. I could claim I’ve been too busy, weighed down by life’s chores but that would be untrue. Yes, I’ve been busy, but I can always find time to blog when I want to. So I guess that’s it. I  haven’t wanted to blog in a long time.

I haven’t wanted to write either.

Somewhere in the past twelve months I lost all confidence in my writing ability and even putting words down here became an onerous task. I’m not sure that I’m over it yet, but maybe blogging again will help. Couldn’t hurt, right?

So where to now?  Maybe I should start with an update of where I’m at now.


Seeing as the writing hasn’t been going so well, I’ve been reading purely for pleasure. I can’t remember everything I’ve read since I was last here, but here’s a snapshot of recent reads:

Wolf Hall – Hilary Mantel. It took me a while to get into this one, despite my fascination with the Tudor Period. The author’s overuse of the pronoun “he” to refer to the main character and her occasional slips from third to first person made this a confusing read in the beginning. Once I got used to Mantel’s peculiar style, I did quite enjoy the book and am looking forward to the sequel.

Someone Else’s Son – Sam Hayes   Another great read from Sam Hayes. I love all her books and can’t wait for the next one!

The Boat – Nam Le  This wasn’t what I expected but I really enjoyed this diverse collection of Le’s short stories. I think I was anticipating a book full of stories about the refugee experience, but the collection contains much more than that. Le has a strong contemporary voice and an ability to create characters that the reader easily engages with. Definitely worth a read.

I’ve just finished Oxygen by Carol Cassella. This was a real page turner and I really wish I had saved it to read on the plane in a couple of week’s time!


Not much going on in this department. I haven’t submitted anything for some time. I’m dipping my toe in the water by writing a short story at the moment. I’m working on an idea I’ve been percolating for about 3 years, but I’m not sure the story works. Only one way to find out I guess.


Training for Trailwalker left me with a chronic foot/ankle injury. It’s taken almost 18 months for the injury to heal enough for me to contemplate running. When I first hurt my foot I tried to focus on staying fit using methods other than running/walking. As the months rolled by my optimism and my motivation began to evaporate. I felt like I would never be able to run again, and at the risk of sounding melodramatic, I found this thought quite depressing. I’m kind of ashamed to admit that I gave up trying for a long time. As a result I gained weight and lost fitness.

It’s a frustrating injury because it’s not an obvious one – I don’t have a cast or crutches, and other than some swelling my foot looks reasonably normal.  When I don’t stress my ankle by asking it to bear my weight while I’m running or walking long distances, it’s fine. Many times I’ve been tricked into thinking that I was okay and that the injury was healed.  Each time I’ve thought that I was fine and tried to run, I ended up with an ankle the size of a football and in a large amount of pain. So I stopped trying.

 In last month or so I’ve noticed my ankle is not so sore. It doesn’t seem to ache as much after I’ve been on my feet for long periods, and I’m able to wear shoes with a heel for short periods without being in excruciating pain. So I’ve started running again. So far, so good! I’m taking it easy, only covering short distances and making sure I have a rest day in between runs. Hopefully my ankle will hold up, because I am loving being back out there pounding the pavement again.


Life is, of course, busy. We are building a new home in a seaside location. The house is almost finished but we won’t move in fully until the end of the school year. We want to give the kids the opportunity to finish the school year with their friends before moving. I’m hoping the change of location will facilitate a slower lifestyle for us all. We are hoping that the kids will get positions in local schools, which will mean later starts in the mornings and more time at home after school. We are close to the beach and the river and so we’re hoping to spend lots of time outdoors – running, swimming, surfing, using the stand-up paddle board, walking and so on. I’m also hoping the beautiful, peaceful surroundings will inspire me to write more.

We’re headed to Malaysia for the upcoming school holidays. I can’t wait. I’m really looking forward to not having to cook for two weeks!  We have five days in KL and then ten in Penang. I’m particularly looking forward to KL as I’ve never been there before. We went to Penang on our honeymoon 17 years ago. It’ll be interesting to see how it has changed in that time. We’re even staying in the same hotel, although this time we’ll have the kids with us so it’ll be somewhat different!

So now we’re all up to date. Hopefully It won’t been another year between posts.