Category Archives: Writing

Back from the Wilderness

by Vanessa Preston

In the survival story I was writing for NaNoWriMo last November, my characters were stranded in the wilderness … an imaginary and extremely remote area somewhere near  Barrington Tops in NSW, Australia, to be precise.  When I last saw them, Indi and her friends were only just discovering the depth of their predicament.

That was several months ago, and my characters are still there.  I didn’t finishing the story, and I left the children stranded there, in the bush, fending for themselves through flooding rain and searing heat.  Poor darlings!

Fortunately, I escaped … did I even deserve to survive after abandoning a bunch of children in such horrifying circumstances?

Ahem.  Normally at this point I would still be stuck there, drowning in despair and procrastination, frying in the heat of self-criticism … but this time something was different, and thankfully I wasn’t lost for too long.

I’d better rescue those kids sometime soon … in the meantime, I have SO much to tell you!

For the last six months I’ve been buzzing with learning, experimenting, and implementing strategies in my daily life which have changed the way I work as a writer and artist.  I wish I was better at recording the process as it occurred, so that I could present you with a foolproof rescue remedy.  Instead of keeping a detailed journal I was busy making up for lost time, and I just shared snapshots and snippets on Facebook.

Tomorrow I will share the first instalment in my “Survival Guide for Stranded Writers” series.  I am excited to share what I’ve learned, and hope it will be super helpful!

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Break and Back

by Vanessa Preston

I’m back after a break from my normal life.  A week away from writing too, as it happens.  I thought surely I could squeeze in a little writing and painting here and there.  I worried that a break from my new routine might be painful and possibly dangerous.

What if I became lazy and disillusioned, or lost interest in my book?

As it turns out, I didn’t have time to miss writing!
And I didn’t end up despising my book.

My family spent almost a week at Kid’s Camp, and my main role was assistant activity leader.  No internet or computer.  Falling into my dormitory bunk at night exhausted.  Up at dawn to help cook breakfast.  Barely enough time to send a text message.  Any breaks were dedicated to having a shower or nap (not a tranquil nap, more a collapse-amidst-the-chaos kind of nap).

It was fun working with friends and being surrounded by happy (boisterous) children.  New sights and sounds and things to talk about.  Most meals (delicious and healthy) cooked for me!  And I am relieved to report that none of my fears about the demise of my writing dreams materialised.  By the time I got home and had a shower and a nap, I felt excited, confident and ready to press on.  Whew!

Back in the saddle …

I finished my first, handwritten draft of ‘Writer’s Apprenticeship’ before packing for camp, so that was the first goal achieved.  Yay!  Now it’s time to type it into Scrivener and start polishing:  editing, adding links, quotes and anecdotes, checking references and so on.  I am still planning to have it ready for sale on Kindle by 1st November this year.

A new spark … 

Coming home, I also started to feel a glimmer of enthusiasm for NaNoWriMo 2016, which I had (quite decisively) planned to skip.  Fiction-writing and I have had an on-again, off-again relationship, and I had intended to stick with simply writing and publishing my non-fiction book.

 

I started to play with new ideas, and let my pen do the talking, and before I knew it a new story had been born!  I am journaling the prewriting phase (aka NaNoPrepMo) on  InkyWings Facebook.  I have no idea what to call this story for now, but the temporary working title is ‘BeWILDering’.

Onwards …

After my week away from writing I have a fresh perspective and a new appreciation for the creative time my lifestyle allows.  The learning curve I’m on is steep but exhilarating.  October will be spent preparing one book for publication, planning a new novel, and playing with pencils, paint and pastels to bring some visual ideas to life.

What is your ‘Writing Why’?

by Vanessa Preston

“Your WHY is the internal fire, passion, motivation,
inspiration and drive for your creative work”

–  Jennifer Blanchard

My WRITING WHY can be summed up in one word:  GLOW

“GLOW” brings to mind my faith, creativity, love and desire to grow and shine.  It encompasses who I am, who I want to be and how I want to live.

Some of the reasons I write (and paint) are:

* to capture and share inspiration, ideas and beautiful memories
* to give light and love and express faith
* to inspire, empower and encourage
* the flow of creative work energises me and makes my true self glow

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I want to GLOW … be my best & brightest self and
I want to help people GLOW … by encouraging, inspiring and empowering.

I created GLOW: Heart, Mind & Soul and the GLOW Facebook as a way to achieve my goal:

Growing … in joy, kindness, love, faith, gratitude, wisdom, energy
Loving, Living, Learning … passionate, authentic, wholehearted, limitless, lifelong
Outreaching … pay it forward, shine your way, acts of kindness, be your true self for the benefit of many, smile
Wellbeing … physical, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, social, environmental

Align Your Writing Habits To Success: From procrastinating writer to productive writer in 30 days (or less) by Jennifer Blanchard is one of the most remarkable writer’s resources I have come across!  Finding my writing why was one of the hardest, and most rewarding, writing exercises I have done.  This book has played a huge role in rekindling the spark in my creative life.

What is your ‘Writing Why’?  

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P.S.  Have you discovered Inky Wings on Facebook yet?  That’s where I share links most days to inspire your creative life … I hope you can join me there sometime!

Pivot Point

by Vanessa Preston

Do you feel like something about your writing needs to change, but you’re not sure what?  Or you have an idea of what, but you wonder how?

A month ago I felt exactly like that.  After a pivotal point in my personal life, I wrote in my journal to figure out what I actually wanted to do in life.  Writing and Art stayed on the list.  Phew!

So, I knew I wanted to write … but the novel I was working on was full of plot holes.  Big plot holes, like lack of conflict, and an absent antagonist.  I didn’t want that to stop me so I decided my first goal would simply be to ‘Rekindle the Spark’ in my writing.

Whilst searching resources to learn the skills to overcome those obstacles, I discovered some new websites, worksheets, ecourses and a stack of ebooks by Kristen Kieffer and Jennifer Blanchard.  They were either free or very affordable (like $1), and they transformed my mindset and inspired daily, positive action.  I printed, signed up, bought, read, and basically soaked up the lessons and did the exercises as if my life depended on it!

Within two weeks I established new habits and worked out what I really wanted to do, writing wise.  I was still struggling with my fiction writing, so having ticked the boxes in my ‘Rekindle the Spark’ plan, I set myself two new goals:

‘Revisit Prewriting my Novel’, and
‘Publish my first non-fiction ebook’

My non-fiction ebook grew wings and took off.  All I had to do each day was show up and let my pen spill ideas onto the page.  Two weeks in, I am almost finished the first draft, and I plan to have the book ready for Kindle by the end of October.  I have promised readers on my Inky Wings Facebook page that I will announce the title this week.

One of my pivot points was simply deciding to take action to make my writing dreams come true.  Another was realising that writing non-fiction comes more naturally to me than fiction writing.  I LOVE the spark of new ideas, crafting a plot and creating characters, but non-fiction is another legitimate way to be a writer.  I accepted that publishing my non-fiction is a more achievable goal right now than finishing my novels.   Their time will come.  While I learn what I need to progress in fiction writing, I can make other parts of my writing dreams come true.

Katy at Elsie Road Magazine asked a great question today:
“I’d love to hear your stories of pivoting–what worked?
What didn’t? How did you know the time was right?”  

You’ve read my expanded answer.  I’d love to read yours!