By the looks of things I haven’t written on this blog since March, so I should probably give you a little update on what I’ve been doing since then.
I think by the end of February I had lost almost all motivation to do anything. I find once I lose motivation it’s really hard to try and get it back. Then the procrastination starts and in my case that means watching tv in bulk. I have a friend who downloads full seasons for me and I will spend a day or two watching nothing but.
Also things for me are getting a little depressing as I’ve been out of work since I got home in December. It is now almost the end of May and I still haven’t found anything workwise. I’m starting to get desperate. I really wanted to do something different. I want to get out of settling for shit jobs. I don’t want to do hospitality anymore. So I’ve been looking at admin jobs but I don’t think my resume is doing me any favours. As I’ve spent the past 5 years, at least, working to travel it kind of looks like all I can do is menial jobs.
The other thing I am a little depressed about is that at the end of this year it will be 10 years since I graduated from University and I’ve done nothing with my degree. I do plan to write a post about my university experience so I won’t get into it here but it’s suffice to say that I’m a little disappointed by my lack of experience in this area.
Anyway, so what have I been up to these past few months writing wise?
At the end of March I was taken on board a new online magazine. I answered an ad on Gumtree to be a contributor for the Home Journal. It is an Australian home and lifestyle magazine headed by Dani Wales from The Block. If you have no idea who she is and you don’t watch The Block that’s fine, neither do I. The “magazine” is actually a blog but the situation has been an interesting learning experience in how to deal with changes in deadlines and miscommunication. I’m not exactly pleased I’ve been tarred with the ‘craft and fashion’ brush but I do want my writing to be versatile so it’s a good experience in how to be adaptable until I find my niche. You can check out my contribution HERE.
I also worked on an article for Tasmanian Life magazine. The piece is about the veteran car club that runs in Tasmania. This piece was taken on after I pitched a few ideas to the editor, and was a learning experience in what not to do. Turns out editors are very busy people and not particularly helpful so my top tip here is to not give them extra work despite what they’ve said to you. I was told to send through a draft, she would give me advice and make suggestions then I would have a week to fix it up, so that is what I did. Top tip number two: Never send a draft. Always make sure it is the best work you can produce. I ended up getting an e-mail back saying my piece could not be used. I wrote back explaining that I had done what she’d told me to and supplied evidence. She apologised but still couldn’t use my piece.
A couple of weeks later something must have fallen through because she asked to see it again. I sent the exact same piece thinking that maybe she had time to offer some guidance. Nope, she wanted to publish it! A few weeks after that she e-mailed the heavily edited version that would be going to print. Now I should have been excited that something I wrote was going to be published but I was actually disappointed. It was not at all my best work and I didn’t get the opportunity to work with the editor to fix whatever was wrong with it. If I had just got some suggestions I could have produced something more suitable. It also felt like a consolation prize. I have learnt a lot from this experience so I will know better for next time.
Other than writing I have been doing a bit of reading about writing over the past few months. I read Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird which is a lovely book about the writing process and gives some handy hints on ways to approach it. Sometimes the amount of writing you need to do becomes overwhelming but this book tells you how to break it down to smaller, more manageable stages.
The other book was Natalie Goldberg’s Writing down the Bones. I found this book really useful and ended up taking notes from it. It’s encouraging and gives practical suggestions on how to approach writing. The author is also a writing teacher so the book is littered with suggestions for exercises and she talks about her own personal experience.
I have just finished reading Stephan King’s On Writing. This one is interesting because he is very opinionated in what he considers good writing. He mentions some books by title that he openly despises and he is not a fan of the personal essay. He does make some interesting suggestions but these are things he has learnt from his own experiences and may not work for everyone.
The overall message from each book is to just write. If you want to be a writer you have to write. Write through the pain, write even when you don’t feel like it then keep writing some more, there is no other way around it. And when you are not writing you should be reading.
On that note I will leave you there. I will try to keep this blog more regular in future. I am not short on ideas for it and as I’m unemployed I have all the time in the world I just lack motivation and that is what needs to change.
Til next time, keep writing…