END OF YEAR WRITING

HELLO HAHA.

It’s been quite a year; I don’t have to tell you that. 

For many of us, we’ve been cosied up mostly at home, and apart from watching the irregularities of the walls, frequent food raids to the kitchen, love affairs with our devices, and the endless dialogues with friends about vaccines, we’ve somehow managed. 

For those of us who write, and love to write, it’s been quite a saviour. Although I haven’t written a new novel, I’ve decided that a whole novel takes dedication and agonies about where our protagonists are heading, or the vagaries they experience to engage the reader to the very end.

This year, I wrote many short pieces, reflections on the times, memories, opiniated opinion pieces, descriptions of my interesting family members in Paris, and finally returning to edit my long-time spicy novel, which I am currently ‘at it’ and keeping myself amused. I even changed the title from “In Bed with Milly” to “Love, Sex, Etcetera – The Devil’s in the Etcetera”, which provides something to motivate me every day. Some days, I even wake up with thoughts of how I might make changes, or what I remember needs drastic editing. So far, since I returned to the editing about a month ago, I have chopped off nearly seven thousand words and I’m only about a third through. I somehow feel that my salacious novel is going through a circumcision of sorts, as well as wondering if it’s raunchy enough or not.

I have a small group of my writing students come to my home where we share our stories and discuss the journey. Of course, there are cups of tea and cakes involved.

Enough of me! I am super keen to encourage others to enjoy the creativity ride, to write about what they see, experience, learn. Trips, people they meet, humorous times, and viewpoints about the idiocies of people and politicians we see on television, and invent riveting stories.

I have an ad hoc writing ritual. Breakfast, meditation where an idea pops in my head, collect my pieces of paper or notepad, pencils, rubber, sharpener, biros, cups of tea, fruit, biscuits, tissues, mobile, and a partridge in a pear tree, and take them all to my veranda and look out to my luscious small garden housing two Buddahs, one with a big blue ceramic ball on its head.

When I’m finally settled, after looking at tall greenery, the sky, listening to birds, sometimes the noisy play games of children next door, I write … and write … and write … Sometimes, it’s sheer nonsense, a flow of spontaneous improvisation, my latest peeve about something or someone.  I also manage to infuse fragments of what I call luminous pieces, a description of sky or leaf, or a distant memory about a trip to the Greek Islands. I even doodle a little face when I run out of words. I am happy then, lost in my world of words, ideas, and musings.

Loneliness disapear, expectations go, and best of all, the various body challenges are diverted. Maybe, hopefully, I will present another finished novel and hassle everyone to buy it like I do with my current memoir, “Sometimes the Music” which even the pest control man who came to my house to rid me of the veranda rats, bought a copy. See! You never know where life takes you when you write.

HAPPY NEW YEAR AND HAPPY WRITINGS

SOMETHING TO WRITE ABOUT

What did you notice today? Who did you speak to or wanted to speak to?

Everyday is an adventure, one way or another. Even getting out of bed is an adventure. How did you get out of bed? Did you put your legs slowly over the edge, stood up, and left the room? Did you face a good or a bad or a boring day? What did that feel like and what other time did it remind you of.

You now have a choice – Whether you will write about it in a monotone kind of expression, or are you going to add some pepper and salt kind of artistic expression to it? It might remind you of another similar day, which was more interesting than the one you are confronting.

When you write, you can create any narrative you like. You can take flights of fancy and go off into a fantasy or sci-fi world. Anything is possible.

The pleasure of writing, is just that. You don’t need to aim for publishing, unless that is where you want to head. You can write for yourself, create a collection of words you have pulled out of the coffers of your imagination.

Good hey?

A fly on the wall can send you into a new world, a story untold. When we look at some of the great writings, we can see where anything can go. A stormy night with a group of authors, led Mary Shelley to write Frankenstein.

HUMOUR AND FUN for 2021

I am currently putting together a book on how to create more fun and laughter during the time of Covis.

It’s been a tough year, we all know that. People have all handled it differently. Some, better than others. And we all had to adapt to restrictions. We can’t hug. I look longingly at visitors like a hungry wolf for a morsel of human contact, yet get a crumb of elbow bumping.

We need to be human. To find a place in ourselves to play, have fun, and laugh. To engage in acts of silliness. You could talk to your furniture or sing to your garbage, and it doesn’t have to mean that you’ve lost your marbles, maybe they rolled under the couch!

As we all know by now, laughter is really good for us, and apart from physical reasons, it takes us out of painful thinking.

Humour and Fun for 2021 is what we need to do right now – on it’s way.

Many hahas to you all.

Helene

Writing 2021

Whatever needs to be said has been said already, so why write anything?

What can we bring forward in 2021 that will connect us with others, that will bring something of interest? Can we write a memoir and share our personal histories, make ourselves vulnerable to the opinion of others? Or do we prefer to delve into the mysteries of stories, fabricate individuals who have either boring or interesting lives and the journeys they take on them?

I can’t tell you what to write, or even why you write. You could be exploring your creativity or give in to the compulsion to put words together and share them with the world at large. It’s entirely up to you. For me, it’s a kind of compulsion that sends me to explore words, ideas, what I see in the world, and how I interpret people.

2020 – As we say in my original Yiddish language, ‘OI VEI’ or the closest interpretation I can think of is, ‘YE GODS!’ What a year, we can agree on that, and we don’t want to repeat it.

2021 – We hope will bring us renewed hope, faith, and above all – FREEDOM – From some of the Covid restrictions we have experienced during the time of the virus. There are so many opinions about it and what we are living through, I don’t want to add mine, I am happy to leave all of them to your own experiences. However, for the coming year, I hope we can extend our creativity, find the joy in the things that please us. For me, I found that being in strict isolation, and no, I don’t have the virus, I didn’t give the little beastie the opportunity to have a love affair with my body, such as it is. I have been conducting my forthrightly Writing for Pleasure programs for Randwick Library, and it’s always a joy for me. I’ve completed my thousands of edits of my memoir, “Sometimes the Music” which I had hoped to have a big book launch in February, but, not knowing what the year will bring, may have to go Zoom for that.

In the meantime, I am working on a book on how to “Lighten Up”, with laughter, humour, fun and play and how we can bring all the ideas into our everyday, as a way of coping with what is happening. Hopefully, my ideas will generate some fun action. As they say, ‘you can’t change what happens, but you can change the way you deal with it. Having said and written all that wonderful stuff, and great ideas, I need to take some of my own advice.

I won’t be making any resolutions for the new year, what’s the point? Make em and break em. What I will do, is wish for better days ahead and continuing the Pleasure of Writing.

Happy New Year.

WRITING IS RISK TAKING

Writing for Pleasure Blog

 

WRITING IS RISK TAKING

It has been a long time since I wrote anything on my blog. I write more often on facebook and get an interesting diversity of responses… From being ignored, thumbs up, the occasional heart to show they loved it, indignant responses or even some nasty contents. All comes with the territory.

Writing anything has its risks. Starting with self-doubts, ‘Is my writing any good?’ ‘What am I saying?’ ‘How will people respond?’ ‘Who is my market?’ ‘Am I kidding myself?’ ‘Has my writing been edited enough or too much.’ and ‘Who would want to read this?’

Yet, the compulsion to write continues. Everyone has a story. Everyday is an adventure, from the moment you open your eyes, let them rest on something, start thinking and hoisting your body out of bed (well! I do that).

The day’s activities, people in our lives and those we meet at random, events, challenges, our environment, world events, and anything else that we can possibly focus on, gives us the fodder to put words to paper or computer, whether it’s to initiate a story that suddenly popped into your head or telling your own story.

What really matters is; HOW you write, how well you can construct all the elements that make your writing skills shine, be interesting for the reader, and leave you and others with a sense of satisfaction.

The risk of course, is when you decide to go out in the public arenas to share or sell your story. I’m rather suspicious of my friends to give them my latest piece of creative output, specially when they say, “It’s great, you write so well Helene.” Are they saying this because it is so, or because they are my friend and anything I write is great to them, or the opposite side of the spectrum when someone thinks they are the world’s best book critic, tells you what you wrote isn’t good enough. Funny thing is though, when you are being honest, it doesn’t work either. A friend of mine recently self-published her novel, and she asked me what I thought of it. I had reservations but wanted to be positive so honestly told her, ‘It’s a terrific story.” More questions from her, and further responses from me of, ‘Well done for achieving this, great cover.” Then came the one that really threw my honesty, ‘What do you think of it?’ Oh dear, I couldn’t tell her that it was full of clichés and one- dimensional characters. So, I talked about the story. I could tell she was defensive, ‘I’ve had some very good responses, people love it.’ My reply was, ‘That’s fabulous, you must enjoy it and feel that all your hard work was worthwhile.’

You see, risk taking also applies to friendships in our writings. Fortunatly, I belong to a marvelous writing group where we go over a chapter a month of each other’s manuscript. We work with positive co-operation and help each other tremendously in improving our work. I have learnt an infinite amount from these wonderful writers.

Make no mistake, writing is risk taking. Every sentence brings out elements of you, the style, the genre, the quality of your writing, and the insecurities. Checking with others I find it common. The most important part I believe, is to set aside the ego, that’s where it clashes with the risk. If a person is so entrenched with the idea that what they have written is perfect, there is a problem. Editors would be out of work, and lyrical pieces could go on an on unchecked, leaving them flowing out of a readers interest.

Having said all this, forget the risk, start writing, putting ideas down, exploring new characters, inventing scenarios, creating situations and challenges. After that; start the slog of editing, cutting, fixing, changing, forking out money for an editor if you want to publish.

An update on my own writing: My memoir, ‘Sometimes the Music’ is at the stage of last edits-proof-read with a good editor, and hopefully, I will be publishing it this year.

Another book I am involved with is a co-operation one with my Randwick Writing Group. We have been fortunate to have a publisher and are looking forward to the release and book launch of “Sharing Writing Skills.”

I will keep you posted about another of my writing projects, “Beachside Stories” undertaken as part of my Randwick Library course, “Writing for Pleasure” with short stories from the many students who have attended.

Without risk, nothing happens. These days breathing is a risk. So, take a deep breath, engage your imagination and get writing.

Happy Writings

Helene

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