Monday, January 12, 2009


A strange malaise has overcome me the last few days.

With the not so subtle help of a beta reader, I realise the ending for "Dreaming" currently blows the big one. It needs to be rewritten. It's currently a little over 3000 words, but I need to cut the ending and then write another 2-3K to finish it properly. Probably not going to happen in my current state of mind.

I am seriously considering retiring Grimoire because it's full of cliche's and B grade crap (that's it, I'm retiring it - if I've resigned myself to those facts, then it needs to go).

Two of my better stories have received nice enough feedback but rejections still the same. I've had no inclination to write anything else on Newland or any other story recently.

I've been trying to come up with ideas for the AHWA competition, PARSEC, Salisbury Writing Comp - and I have a big fat zero to show for my efforts. I've read a fair bit recently, I'm out and about, Xmas has come and gone, a break from the daily grind to refresh the batteries - and I've got zip, nil, nada creative to show for it.

I'm probably a bit down today due to lack of sleep. I was called into work yesterday due to a power outage leading to a system shutdown due to the battery backup on the fire board running out. Who would have thought you can make all the backup contingencies for power you like and then a little power board connected to the fire system lets you down. Anyway, the battery failed, which triggered the shutdown. We were then called in to power back up so our "clients" would be able to work first thing this morning. So I was tired by the time I got home last night but I then decided to stay up late and watch the Man Utd v Chelsea game. As a Red Devil supporter from way back - its was seriously worth the loss of sleep. Paying for it this morning though.

I did a quick browse over the action markets as advertised by Duotrope. Not pleasant reading. It mostly aimed at the kids market. I don't write stuff aimed at kids.

I think I just need to leave all this alone at the moment. Even the thought of getting a refund on this years study has crossed my mind once or twice. Consideration of packing it all in and going and playing golf or something.

Yeah I know, boo-bloody-hoo for the oh-why-is-me wanker behind the words. I'm not after sympathy or pep talks or any of that. This is "The Musings of an Aussie Writer", a blog about the life and times of me: an Aussie writer. The way I'm feeling at the moment is part of being a writer, or at least it's part of me and my journey in writing, and so it makes it onto this blog.

Over at David Such's blog (welcome back from India David), he's listed quotes from various literary individuals. Go have a read and grab a favourite.

For years I've been partial to this quote from Stephen King: "Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work."

Right now, I'm leaning more toward this one from David's list: "No one is asking, let alone demanding, that you write. The world is not waiting with bated breath for your article or book. Whether or not you get a single word on paper, the sun will rise, the earth will spin, the universe will expand. Writing is forever and always a choice -- your choice." – Beth Mende Conny.

My problem is I currently believe myself to be bereft of inspiration, lacking in creativity, and sadly inept at the art of writing. With Mr King's quote in mind: I have limited talent, but I'm a firm believer the mechanics of writing, as a skill, is able to be learned. Inspiration for what to write is something else entirely. The second part of the quote concerning hard work - well my wife and family would attest to the amount of hard work I've put into this over the past two years.

As for Ms Conny's quote, I have a choice. If I gave this up tomorrow, at least gave up any thoughts of writing for publication, blogging, market research for others, study - all that stuff which I've allowed into my life over the last two years which more often than not makes me feel stressed, down, or simply unhappy - the the world wouldn't care. I have no doubt I would still write reviews for HorrorScope and Black as I will forever enjoy reading. I will probably keep writing Newland. I may even write other things on occasion as I feel the whims come and go, but then I'm not really putting in the hard work.

So the choice is: do I want to continue putting in all the hard yards? At the moment, I don't know...


  1. Inspiration is fickle indeed. Luckily it sometimes sneaks up on an author when writing is the last thing on their mind ; )

  2. Hope springs eternal Ms Sin.

  3. Stephen King has the best quotes.

    As for how you're feeling - we all get that way at times. It will pass.

  4. Hang in there big fella - at least you are not getting rejections in LARGE BOLD TYPE that flash at you.

    I received the following recently and thought of you (just a reminder that all jobs suck at times - even writing) ...

    Here's a quick check list for those who need to understand
    technical instructions from their IT department: Supplied by a
    leading IT outsourcing firm.

    1. When you call us to have your computer moved, be sure to leave
    it buried under half a ton of postcards, baby pictures, stuffed
    animals, dried flowers, bowling trophies and children's art. We
    don't have a life and we find it deeply moving to catch a fleeting
    glimpse of yours.

    2. Don't write anything down. Ever. We can play back the error
    messages from here.

    3. When an I.T. person says he's coming right over, go for coffee.
    That way you won't be there when we need your password. It's
    nothing for us to remember 700 screen saver passwords.

    4. When you call the help desk, state what you want, not what's
    keeping you from getting it. We don't need to know that you can't
    get into your mail because your computer won't power on at all.

    5. When I.T. support sends you an E-Mail with high importance,
    delete it at once. We're just testing.

    6. When an I.T. person is eating lunch at his desk, walk right in
    and spill your guts right out. We exist only to serve.

    7. Send urgent e-mail all in uppercase. The mail server picks it up
    and flags it as a rush delivery.

    8. When the photocopier doesn't work, call computer support.
    There's electronics in it.

    9. When you're getting a NO DIAL TONE message at home, call
    computer support. We can fix your telephone line from here.

    10. When you have a dozen old computer screens to get rid of, call
    computer support. We're collectors.

    11. When something's wrong with your home PC, dump it on an I.T.
    person's chair with no name, no phone number and no description of
    the problem. We love a puzzle.

    12. When an I.T. person tells you that computer screens don't have
    cartridges in them, argue. We love a good argument.

    13. When an I.T. person tells you that he'll be there shortly,
    reply in a scathing tone of voice: "And just how many weeks do you
    mean by shortly?" That motivates us.

    14. When the printer won't print, re-send the job at least 20
    times. Print jobs frequently get sucked into black holes.

    15. When the printer still won't print after 20 tries, send the job
    to all 68 printers in the company. One of them is bound to work.

  5. Instead of trying to scrape up some inspiration (which I always find is the best way to work myself into a state of utter writer's block), why not assign yourself to read, say, three books by authors you've never tried before? A big part of writing is reading, so you don't have to feel guilty if you're reading but not writing. And when you come back from reading other people's stuff, hopefully you'll be ready to work on your own. And if not, more books to read!

  6. I have two books I return to when I'm feeling low about my work. Maybe they would help you too. The Writer's Book of Hope and The Courage to Write, written by Ralph Keys. Hang in there.

  7. Cat - I agree on SK quotes and on these things passing, but it's somehow more than that. Maybe I'm just hitting my midlife crisis point...

    David - I work in IT too. I've been sent that particular email on a number of occasions over the years - the wierd thing is how close to reality it often is.

    K.C. - I agree on the reading bit. I've just finished The Schumann Frequency by a new Australian author and have 20-odd other books on my to-read shelf. Reading has always provided inspiration for me.

    Rebecca - Thanks for the tips on the books. I'll add them to my list of must reads. Unfortunately that list is getting longer and longer so who knows when I'll actually get to them.