Wednesday, January 27, 2010


PROGRESS REPORT: 27 out of 40

Hello there dear friends!
Yes, I've done it! One more story/chapter behind me! I completed it this afternoon after endless planning throughout yesterday. At this stage there are still at least 13 more stories to go.
As I explained in a previous blogpost this is very much a "floating journey" so, as my story takes shape, I have been cutting out some stories/ideas/chapters/paragraphs etc etc and adding others. It's rather fun this way because each day offers something new. Tomorrow another chapter will begin again.
I've decided that I really need to occasionally break my writing fixation so this morning I participated in something different. Quilting has been a sideline hobby for some time now and I recently was offered the opportunity to participate in a once-a-month quilting and fabric swop session. There are eight of us women who will be making a mystery quilt. It's quite intriguing as the pattern is only revealed by our teacher as we go along.
(Isn't this ironic as it is somewhat like my book?)
I'm looking forward to the opportunity of making new friends too.
Today's inspirational picture...

( A waterfall in our north eastern part of South Africa. Don't you just love the rainbow?)

'till next time,

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Hey everyone!

PROGRESS REPORT: Still sitting on 26 out of 40...same as yesterday!

But then, you should never trust statistics!
Although not yet written (in a complete sense), I have been working on the structure of yet my next chapter/story today. It's an amusing one and I so wish that I could share it with you all, but quite frankly, I don't trust cyber-space! Plagarism is rife and I would hate to lose my work. Anyway, I'm pleased with the fits perfectly!

What a busy day I've had! I also took pains to replenish my depleted grocery cupboard so that I won't neglect my darling family during this evolving hermit era. I also completed a number of other domestic errands. One of these errands involved a visit to the Vet. Dear Maxdog is ailing!

Although this incredible Golden Retriever is getting on in years now (10yrs in March) he is my 'heart dog'! We have travelled through some stormy times together so whenever he gets ill, my heart rate steps up a notch and I wonder if this is the last leg of his short life.

I realise its most likely an over-reaction but that is the nature of our relationship. He keeps really close to my side when he's ill and uses those golden eyes to implore me to understand his problems.

Added to my worries is the fact that despite all the tests conducted on him (which appear normal) I have no idea what's wrong with him. The Vet is concerned too. He's disinterested in his food and is lying down constantly in a position that is not his most comfortable. It's been going on for 10 days now and that suggests it's more serious. Hopefully these trial meds will ease his discomfort.

Anyway, this blog is about my book, not Max, so let's get on with it...

Why this picture today?

Each plant, each tree, each brick, the water tank as well as the contents inside that little rondavel are relevant to my writings today. Even the thin pipe in the foreground suggests something to me. I am however curious to know if the word, "RONDAVEL" is familiar to my overseas readers. It is a common word here in South Africa and refers to the little round building which you see in the picture.

At the entrance to this "RONDAVEL" is a "STOEP". Again the word, "STOEP" is common to our country and refers to the covered varandah outside a building. In some cultures here in SA sundowners are taken on the STOEP. That time presents the opportunity to catch up on the events of the day and to socialise with family and friends.

Are you familiar with these words? If I were to use them, within the context of a book set in Africa, what sort of response do they evoke in you? Your opinion is important to me...

...please leave a comment!

'till next time,


Monday, January 25, 2010


Hello there, dear friends

The latest count: 26 chapters out of 40! I am making progress!

I have had an incredibly productive past weekend. Although it's been domestically busy, the creative wave has truly hit me and I can't seem to switch my mind off. The setting and characters of my book have taken shape and are now well and truly occupying my entire being. It is with great difficulty that I write this blogpost.

Although this emotional submersion is a good mental place to be in terms of writing my book, the fatigue is setting in. I feel an urgency however to ride this wave of creativity as I am nervous that it will soon leave me.

It is however a truly exciting journey! Whether this work is ever published or not is irrelevant. I am working towards my own goal of completing it. I am passionate about the story, so it simply has to work for someone!

The early mornings continue to be my best time to write. It just feels right! My head is clear and the progress of the story has taken shape during my sleep. What better way than to reap it at first light!

I am including two photographs which are my inspiration for today. Perhaps they might inspire you too. Here is the first...

There is nothing more soul touching than standing on the summit of a mountain and looking out over the vast African landscape. It is a moment where I become acutely aware of exactly how small I am as a human being and I am awestruck by our magnificent and unbelievable heritage in this beautiful country of ours!

This particular picture was taken whilst standing on the edge of the escarpment, overlooking the Blyde river dam, in the north eastern part of South Africa. It offers a view into the vast expanse of the Kruger national park in the distance; a place where the animals of Africa are free to roam albeit with a few restrictions.

The drop below defies all understanding. It is simply breathtaking! As one peeps over the edge of the cliff you feel that you want to stretch out your wings and mimic the birds which hover in the thermals. Whilst the hot African sun drenches one in perspiration you are consoled by the knowledge that not many people get to see such beauty. How can I not love this country!

This next picture has particular sentimental value to me. It was painted by a family friend - Tony Schoeman - and graces the wall of my sitting room at home. It was given to me on my 16th birthday as a symbol of my love for the African Savanah and, in particular, the bush of the Lowveld. This was the place which I romped and roamed as a child. It's aura was carved deep into my soul and as I look at the painting I almost feel the heat of the day and the urgency of the land crying out for rain.

Why am I telling you these things? Well, none of us can work without inspiration! Since my story is set in Africa I need to be inspired by its setting... and the pictures help since I am holed up in a big, bustling city.

I am really excited about this story. Hold thumbs that my energy and inspiration stays with me.

Take care, 'till next time,

Friday, January 22, 2010


Hello friends!
Firstly...THANK YOU to those of you who have been leaving comments! I know there are a lot more people visiting than those leaving comments and I am really thankful for the new visitors. I feel truly humbled that you have stopped by this blog. Please however leave a comment! - it is enormously encouraging to know how people are reacting to my writing, so please don't hesitate....just say it!!!

I especially appreciate "Anne's" comment to my very first post.

"In Ireland, there is a poster with about eleven photographs of famous male writers, only one female writer and the reason is TIME - not an absence of FEMALE WRITING TALENT those eleven males had a woman doing the sort of jobs that started to nag at you this morning. Remember to put aside at least two hours each day for your writing; from what you have written and the way you are being inspired you have the talent, take time to write each day.
Anne Byrne, Dublin"

Thank you so much for your comment, Anne! Two things stand out for me:

1. I must give my venture PRIORITY!
2. I must build a ROUTINE to give it priority...and stick to it!

Thank you, have no idea how helpful and encouraging this is!
Writing my book is most certainly becoming a FLOATING JOURNEY and that is my theme for today's post!

Like the bubbles in the picture above, ideas come and go. They are all part of the bigger picture, but sometimes they burst and I have to start again or rethink my direction.

Last evening I decided to share the story which I had spent time on yesterday. Luckily I have at least two very supportive members in this household and they gathered around to listen. I didn't read my story to them, but rather TOLD it to them. I found myself choosing my words really carefully, building in silences and pauses and delivering pertinent statements at the precise moment for maximum effect.

For the first time since I have started writing the stories in my book (some 7 years ago), I got the comment:
"That was MAGIC!"

...It made my spirits soar!

Today I put pen to paper and wrote up that particular story. I felt quite good once I'd completed it, so I called my two guinea pigs back and asked them to listen again.

This time however, they were distinctively BORED! They commented that I had elaborated far too much and detracted from the story's essence. Guess what...they are entirely correct!!!

Well, it most certainly is a FLOATING JOURNEY! I will have to rethink the shape of the narrative of that particular story and perhaps the shape of my entire book.

I feel quite exhausted and have to reassure myself that nothing is lost - I merely have to float in a different direction.

Hope you all have a happy weekend.

Till next time, luv C

Thursday, January 21, 2010


If you are back again to check on my progress



The rain continues its relentless assault on the citizens of of our city. It's quite unbelievable just how much water has been stored in the clouds above. I'd love to pop down to our little stream in the park to take a look. I'm convinced that it's bursting its banks, but it's still raining at the moment, and I've lost my umbrella, so I will put that off for another time.

The good news is that this weather keeps me indoors and close to my laptop even though my routine has been somewhat disjointed today.

You see, an old friend came around for a 'cuppa' this morning. Our desire to catch up turned into 3 hours of chin-wagging - meaning 3 hours less writing. Our meeting was both invigorating and exhausting, but hey, the end result felt good! We have reinforced our bonds of contact...for the next couple of years. Time with my friends is limited, so when I see them, I make the most of it! They give me the chance to sidestep my own world and share their personal paradigm - a wonderful blessing!

As for my project...

The status quo of my book is that I have written 21 stories out of the 42 planned. This means that I'm possibly half-way into the venture.(I pat myself on the back!)

I am finding, however that the more I write the more changes I make to my work, so my progress becomes progressively slower. Some stories which I have already written, don't seem so appropriate any more...the essence of my book is changing. This journey is obviously a floating one!

Early this morning I put together the framework for yet another new short story. My most creatve time is the moment I wake up. Somehow my mind has been churning up ideas during the night, so that by morning, the words are literally dripping off me. This new story is waiting for me to sit down and write it out properly. That process is usually quick since the bulk of the work (the planning) has been completed. I'll tackle it tomorrow.

I also decided today that it would be wise to have an updated hard copy of my work, so I tackled the painstaking task of printing it all off from the computer. ("BANG" goes my paper budget!) Somehow everything looks entirely different once it is on paper. The computer screen is merely transitory. Paper is tangible and forces me to 'sit down' with the material as my readers will eventually do.

In between all this activity, I just had to have a coffee break...!

...this too is a source inspiration. I find that my attention to small details is "acute" at this point in time. Each small detail has a word to describe it and by playing with the descriptive words my ceativity is stimulated. Afterall, it's the 'words' in a book that paint the picture, so perhaps my mood is apt?

I find too that I am getting an enormous amount of inspiration from simple pictures. They centre my ideas and allow me to toy with the words. For example, if I were to take a picture of my writing progress up to this point in time, the picture would look like this...

(Meaning:...My writing is past the half-way point but the beauty of the story is only just emerging...)

Now, if I chose a picture of the final product of my work, perhaps it will look like this...

So, I now have pictures of certain landmarks in my progress. The bulk of the book however, is what happens in between.

That is the difficult part!

Till next time. Love you lots!


Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Today I’m starting another blog journey! Thank you for joining me!

You see, I am a novice writer, somewhat socio-phobic, but I have a real story to tell. I am busy writing this story - my book - with the hope of completing it this year.

The story itself won’t necessarily be revealed in these pages, but rather the process of its writing. It is a daunting project. It is massive, but already fully shaped in my mind. I know that getting it down on paper is going to be fraught with obstacles and since it's my first real attempt to write, Im hoping that you, my blog readers, will help to become my support structure.

My wish is also that, as a reader of this blog, you will become actively involved in it. As I share my journey with you, will you perhaps consider offering me advice, guidance and encouragement during its process?

Please feel free to write whatever you wish in the comments section of this blog:
If you hate my style, please feel free to say so!.
If you have a suggestion, include it!
If you have a question – ask it!
If you are inspired – show it!
If you want to encourage – do it!

So lets begin...

When I woke up this morning, the world looked entirely different. I opened the curtains and peered into the breaking dawn outside. It was going to be one of those 'gloomy' days. I took one more look at the misty setting and climbed back into bed to sit and absorb its atmosphere.

It had been raining all night yet the rain was still pelting down and the sun seemed behind schedule. Buckets of water were streaming off our roof, gurgling down our gutters and damming up onto an already waterlogged lawn. Only some birds were audible amidst the storm, and my dogs - in the corner of the bedroom - were totally lost in dreamland. I resolved to take in this gift I had been given - the inspiration for the day...RAIN!

You might ask:"How can such a day be an inspiration?"

Well, whilst I was sitting there, under the warm duvet, I remembered that section of my book that involved rain. The puzzle pieces of that part of my story seemed to slide together - clearly revealing that it was time to write it NOW!

Normally, I would get up out of bed, have my shower, do my usual duties and become distracted in the plans for the day, but since I have the privilege of prioritising these things I thought I'd try out something new.

I grabbed my laptop, opened a clean page and began to write...

I wrote for an hour and a half, hardly stopping for a breath. Questions I'd previously pondered seem to instantly answer themselves. That specific chapter was taking shape...and quickly! Scenes linked beautifully together, sentences flowed and my mind and creativity was soaring.

Eventually nagging obligations started calling and guilt got the better of me. I simply had to put my writing aside and tackle my day. I know its going to be difficult to schedule my writing to coincide with my daily routine but I also realise that I have to GRANT MYSELF PERMISSION for it to happen.

My story is really a collection of stories in chronological order. It could be termed 'factional' - half fact and half fiction. Each individualised 'short' story is a completed work, but together they form a whole and reveal a much greater picture. The beauty of this construction is that I can write it in pieces and not necessarily in the final order. Today's experience demonstrated to me that this is entirely possible and practical.

So what do you think? I know many of you are experienced writers... how do you approach your books? What are your sources of inspiration? Any suggestions?

Must go and write now!...will be back again soon!
Take care and reap the day!