Stocktake on Words

Last year flew by in a clattering of keys yet when I came up for air, I had the sinking feeling that I hadn’t managed to achieve very much in the whole of 2017.

The paid writing jobs I managed to secure all proved to be temporary or short-lived.

My goal of making Fundraising Mums not only self-sufficient but profitable, didn’t eventuate.

I didn’t even manage to finish the full first draft of my novel.

I had all three children in full-time school. 2017 was meant to be my year. What happened?

With a bit of naval-gazing and some thoughtful words from friends, I began to put it in context.

Full-time schooling, while it might feel like ‘forever’ to a seven year old, is actually only 1,200 hours. When you start taking away travel time, parent help, pupil-free days, excursions, meetings, driving kids to PEAC and all the rest of it, you’d be lucky to get 1,100 uninterrupted hours a year.

So instead of moaning about it (which I do like to indulge in every now and then) I decided to do the other thing that makes me happy – write a list.

And this is what it looked like:

In 2017 I wrote more than 270 articles, for ten different websites.

As I typically write lengthy articles, easily averaging 1,000 words each, that equates to well over a quarter of a million words.

I also managed to write just over 57,000 words of my novel, so by my estimation I am well over two thirds of the way to a first draft.

My novel, with the working title The Teacher’s Story, will be my main focus in 2018. It’s not my story, but a story that feels personal – and I have a compulsion to tell it. It is based on the true story of the woman who lived in my house in the 1940s. Although my story is a fictionalised account of her teenaged years, I feel a real connection with her. We walked on the same floors, slept within the same walls, saw the same sunsets streaming through the same windows and heard the same rumble of trains at the end of the street.

Doris, and her fictionalised alter-ego Isabelle were probably what absorbed me most during 2017. The research of pre-WW1 Perth has fascinated me. I have decorated my writing space with images of the College where she studied, old road maps of where she lived, and pictures of people she went to school with. I have my Grandmother’s old clock and crystal, and framed the men who will be her beaus in the story. I know almost everything about her – except what she looks like. But that’s fine with me, because I will leave her undescribed in the book – so readers will be able to make their own image of her, and see themselves in her story.

So that, in a few hundred words, ties up 2017 and opens up 2018. Suddenly I am feeling a lot better about what I managed to get done, and what lies ahead.

my desk 2017

 

 

50 Foolproof Writing Prompts That Will Motivate Anyone (Part 10)

I have designed these writing prompts for people like me who have the bare bones of a story or character and just need to get to know them better.

This is the final week of writing prompts.  I hope that you have had fun writing and are more in love with your characters and novel than ever.

46. What is your character’s greatest regret?

47. Write a scene where your character is almost killed in a car accident, whether as a driver, passenger or pedestrian.

48. Your character is applying for a new job. Write the cover letter.

49. Write a scene where your character talks to someone about wanting a family (or not). Do they want children? How many? Are they fearful, disinterested, excited?

50. Write your characters obituary. What have they achieved in their life? How do others view them?

 

50 Foolproof Writing Prompts That Will Motivate Anyone (Part 9)

I have designed these writing prompts for people like me who have the bare bones of a story or character and just need to get to know them better. Every week I will publish five more prompts that will help you see your character and novel in a new light.

 

41. Write a scene where your character is sitting around the dinner table with other characters from the story, but write it from the perspective that they are all actors, and they are talking about their ‘work’ as the characters in the book. Do they like their own characters? What do they think about their costumes? What do they think of the story?

42. Go to one of the scenes you have already written and re-write it from a different perspective – either someone else in the scene, or someone else watching from a distance.

43. Describe what you want the front cover of your book to look like.

44. What personal characteristics do you share with your character? How do you differ?

45. Write a scene where your character comes home and finds an enormous box on the front door step. What is in the box?

50 Foolproof Writing Prompts That Will Motivate Anyone (Part 8)

I have designed these writing prompts for people like me who have the bare bones of a story or character and just need to get to know them better. Every week I will publish five more prompts that will help you see your character and novel in a new light.

36. Write a scene where your character is standing naked in front of a mirror.

37. Send your character to an event (a party or meeting) that they don’t want to go to.

38. Write a conversation between your character as yourself as the author, and they ask you questions about why you are writing the story the way you are. Does talking to your character change the way your feel about them?

39. What was your character’s favourite subject at school? Why?

40. Write a scene where your character sees someone they have a crush on.

 

50 Foolproof Writing Prompts That Will Motivate Anyone (Part 7)

I have designed these writing prompts for people like me who have the bare bones of a story or character and just need to get to know them better. Every week I will publish five more prompts that will help you see your character and novel in a new light.

31. Write a scene where your character must make a difficult choice.

32. What is your character’s middle name? Why is it significant?

33. Write the one or two line ‘hook’ that appears on the marketing posters for your finished, best-selling novel.

34. What is the view from the window right now, from where your character is sitting?

35. What the secret your character’s ex-best friend is keeping about them?

 

50 Foolproof Writing Prompts That Will Motivate Anyone (Part 6)

I have designed these writing prompts for people like me who have the bare bones of a story or character and just need to get to know them better. Every week I will publish five more prompts that will help you see your character and novel in a new light.

26. Describe how your character would spend four hours while waiting for potentially bad news about someone they love.

27. Tell the story (from your character’s parents’ perspective) of the day they were born.

28. What would your character do if they found a bag with a large sum of money in it?

29. What is your character’s hidden talent or party trick?

30. Describe your character packing a suitcase, when they have to leave their home forever.

 

50 Foolproof Writing Prompts That Will Motivate Anyone (Part 5)

I have designed these writing prompts for people like me who have the bare bones of a story or character and just need to get to know them better. Every week I will publish five more prompts that will help you see your character and novel in a new light.

21If your character had a pet, what would it be?

22. Write the transcript of an interview between yourself and a famous chat show host after your book has been published and is a world-wide success. What questions do they ask? How do you talk about the process of writing your novel?

23. Write a scene where your character gets into trouble for something they didn’t do. How do they react? Can they talk their way out of it?

24. What did your character want to be when they grew up? Did they achieve that?

25. Which actor would you want to play your character and why?