Monday, May 30, 2011


As writers when we are drafting our stories we ask many questions. The right questions deliver us the answers we need. Too many questions can leave us feeling frustrated and confused.
Over-thinking has brought me undone many times. Perhaps it has been a lack of confidence in myself as a writer. I have finally come to realise there is a huge difference putting thought into something to produce a better result to over-thinking and doing an injustice to my story.

My over-thinking confessions and what I have learned:-

Word Count – Focusing too much on word limits can result in creating a story that is not complete, or on the flip side, a story which has too much padding. If each and every word in your story is needed to move that story along to reach a satisfying conclusion, then that is the word count your story needs to be.

Interrupting the Flow – Searching for answers to questions interrupts the flow of my writing, and I lose my focus on where I am heading. Whether it is questions about my characters’ names, descriptions or connections to later scenes, I avoid dwelling on them. I jot down the questions (to return to them later) and keep on writing.

Hitting a Brick Wall – It is so annoying when the words are flowing like a fountain, and then nothing. Instead of hitting the panic button and thinking too much about what happens next, I either jump to the following scene or accept that what I need to inspire me to complete that story hasn’t happened yet and I begin another writing project.

I think in our endeavour to create something that is publishable we need to bear in mind that putting thought into our creations is a good thing. So write your stories, revise and polish them until they shine, but over-thinking is a frustrating exercise best to be avoided.

Happy writing ....

Thursday, May 26, 2011



Short story markets have sprung up overnight.
The demand for stories exceeds the supply.
I have received not one, but two contracts to write weekly stories - from popular national and international magazines.
My publisher informs me my novel, Dream Keeper, is in the best seller's list and requests a sequel. No, make that a series.
I'm struggling juggling my time between writing, interview requests and replying to fan mail.
Everything I write turns to gold - literally.
What is writer's block? Inspiration and ideas reign supreme.
I have no memory of rejection.
I have sponsors which include computer, clothing, motor vehicle and holiday resort companies.
My Cadbury chocolate has magically transformed into a never ending block. Yummy.


Saturday, May 21, 2011


It is inspiring when from nothing you can create something!

I was supposed to be tidying up my bookshelves when I stumbled across an article I had published in NewsWrite, the newsletter of the NSW Writers’ Centre back in 1997. I remember I was suffering writer’s block at the time and was determined to put pen to paper … no matter what. I just had to share this with you:-


I sit in my usual place, a white plastic chair in the sun. Pen poised, ready to touch paper. White paper that glares at me. I glare back. I plan to write magical musical words that flow from a fountain of creativity down my arm, into my hand, through the ink in my pen and onto white blinding paper. This excites me. The nib of my pen touches and teases the paper when….

Husband informs me he’s been on the phone to the W.I.R.E.S. people. A red belly black snake is sunning itself in the garden. They’re coming to relocate it. I watch the snake curl up on dry leaves in the sun. A creature looking for warmth on a land he has as much right to – in a quiet place, not bothering anyone. My sun, your sun, everyone’s sun – even the red belly black snake’s sun.

“They’re coming to take you away,” I tell it.

Husband asks if I’ve chewed on one too many pens.

I write, ‘Red Belly black snake’, and I sit in the sun for a long time thinking. This is known by some as Writer’s Block, and can reach devastating proportions if you let it! “He probably wants to collect his thoughts. I can understand that, and when he unravels them all, he will have succeeded.”

Husband chooses to ignore me. There is relief on his face when the people from W.I.R.E.S. drive up. They leave without the snake. The creature has outsmarted them. I smile. ONE! For the red belly black snake. I spend time thinking the snake is an omen. A short story? A poem? There are projects I have started and cannot nourish to their full potential until the words come. For now I must wait and begin something new. I must always create. I need to.

I dust my desk and tidy my drawers while I give it some thought. I write:- Words are endless, not ink in a pen. And I can’t help but wonder why not another word comes? They lay dormant. Waiting. I’ll wait and when they come I’ll be there.

I am a real writer – some people just don’t know it yet.

At dinner I push my fork into the roast chicken. I hear a bird screech. I wonder whether the red belly black snake has caught its dinner. I lift my glass of water. “To procrastination,” I say.

“Writers are weird,” comments eight year old.

It pleases and thrills me that she recognises me as a writer. I enjoy my chicken, toss out my water and open a bottle of wine!

The Australian Pocket Oxford Dictionary tells me:- PROCRASTINATE – put off doing things, leave things undone as long as possible.

I wonder whether the red belly black snake is in fact procrastinating.

I am back on the white plastic chair in the sun. I bite into a mandarin. Its juices wet my mouth. I suck on it. My tongue breaks the inner skin. Cool and sweet. I drink its juice, until there is none. Nothing. I leave it in the sun, to dry and shrivel.

And just when I really begin to wonder about myself. I am stunned … a letter of acceptance arrives in the mail. They want to publish my short story, and they want to pay me! Oh, what a feeling! I leave the road side mail boxes and run up the steep drive. This is what it’s all about – you’ve got something to say, and they want to listen! The whole mountain knows I’m happy!

I ponder the possibility I am ‘a real writer’. My writing is blossoming and will do so until my final written word. I am determined.

Confidence draws a powerful energy.

The second man from W.I.R.E.S. rides up on a motor bike. I hear him say that red belly black snakes are docile … I think how the snake has eluded man, sunned himself each day every day for the last ten days … and wonder who is docile? The second man from W.I.R.E.S. rides away on his motorbike without the red belly black snake. TWO! for the red belly black snake.

The red belly black snake who doesn’t want to be caught. Who doesn’t want to be released somewhere into the bush. Who doesn’t want to be collected into a dark bag and taken away. Wants to stay where he is and enjoy the sun. My sun, your sun, everyone’s sun, even the red belly black snake’s sun. Snakes need sun … it helps them survive! Writers need readers … it keeps them alive!

Four year old chases a ball into the garden … the same garden the red belly black snake suns himself in. I realise husband’s fears. Death is a scraping and slicing of shovel on rock. Hearing life being taken away disturbs me. Sometimes we have to do what has to be done. Goodbye red belly black snake.

I sit in my usual place, a white plastic chair in the sun. I listen.

The Voice: You haven’t put pen to paper in days.
Me: I have so.
The Voice: Those few words, scattered here and there?
Me: Words join, make sentences. They blend.
The Voice: Tell me more.
Me: I’m in the thinking stage … again. I’m absorbing – people, voices, faces, sound, colour ….
The Voice: Writer’s Block huh?
Me: I hear it sorts out the real writers from the pretend ones.
The Voice: Are you a real writer?
Me: Can I get back to you on that?

* * *

Well, I better get back to tidying up those bookshelves. I wonder what else I will find?

Happy writing ….

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Here are some interesting writing prompts I came across and wanted to share them with you. I hope you find them useful:-

A baby sitter is snooping around her employer’s house and finds a disturbing photograph….

You come home and check your phone messages. You get to your third message and freeze….

A drunk man sits next to you in a bar, thinks you’re his buddy and starts confessing ‘the truth’. Write about what the truth is, and what you do with that information.

Write for ten minutes using, ‘I used to think….’

What would you do with three wishes?

Describe a perfect world.

Write a letter to someone you feel you need to spend more time with.

Write about one of the most difficult decisions you’ve made in your life.

Begin your story with:

    This time her boss had gone too far…

    The garden was overgrown now…

    He’d never noticed a door there before…

    She’d have to hitch a ride home…

    She touched the little box in her pocket and

Happy Writing ….

Saturday, May 14, 2011


Thank you to my writing friends Teresa Ashby and Rosemary Gemmell for the Stylish and Versatile Blogger Awards. Here are seven things about myself that I hope you find interesting:

I love the beach and getting out there on my body board. I get a lot of smiles and waves from the shore and wonder whether it's admiration or a thank you for the humorous sight of seeing a 47 year old carrying on like a big kid.

I enjoy the seclusion, excitement and adventure of camping; nothing beats cooking outdoors, the sights and sounds of the wild life and the sense of freedom. I love Australia!

I worked in a law firm for ten years - started out as a junior and worked my way up to a para-legal. I learned a lot about people, patience and organisational skills which has served me well in life.

I love chocolate - Cadbury - Yummy!

I adore my kids. My Mum was spot on when she said no matter how old your kids are you always worry about them. I have a 25, 21 and a 4 year old.

I struggled with my personal identity for a long time. I am a first generation Australian. My parents were born in Malta. It was tough growing up and having to deal with racism. On the upside it instilled in me the importance of being empathetic towards others and celebrating the multi-culturalism of my country and home - Australia. Writing is something that gives me a sense of self - of who I am and what I am about.

I strive to one day be remembered and respected for writing something that impacts on people's lives in an uplifting and positive way.

I am going to take the easy way out here and pass on awards to anyone who hasn't received one yet. Please post your name in this post so we can all wander over and learn seven things about you. Thank you for taking the time to read my post and learn a little more about me. It's your turn now. I would very much like to learn more about you!