The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible - Vladimir Nabokov

There is no agony like bearing an untold story inside you - Zora Neale Hurston

31 December 2011

Happy New Year!

One advantage of living in Australia is we get the New Year nearly a day ahead of my family in North America, so I can get a head start on my New Year's resolutions. Unfortunately, I can't help them out with the lottery numbers as much as they'd like.

First resolution? Get back into contact, and that means you, you beautiful blog readers! I've been busy with my gorgeous little boy (you can see from the pic how easy it is to be enraptured by his smile), and I've suddenly realized he's 9 months old and it's almost 2012!

Second resolution: slow time. I know it's impossible, but I will try to savor every moment with my family.

Final resolution: don't be afraid of change!

I knew I was taking the tiger by the tail when I decided to start a family, so I'm going to hold on and see where it leads me. The changes are already coming fast and furious; I'd just grown comfortable with being a mommy and making homemade baby food when work has asked me to come back months early and change my career. It looks like (fingers crossed everything works out) I'm going to be melding my love of writing with my training in science and take up the science communications job for the charitable institute where I work. Wow, getting paid to write!

It's exciting, and I've got a lot to learn, but at least I have an excuse to blog more--it builds up my 'new media and social networking skills' as requested for the job description. Best of all, it will be a 9 to 5 position instead of the crazy hours I was putting in before, so I should have more time to spend with my cute little elf boy and still squeeze in some novel writing when he goes to bed at night. I've managed 50,000 words while on maternity leave (in between diapers, feeding, and endless hours of play time and baby related activities), so I'm feeling pretty good about 2011. Here's to an even better 2012!

May all your dreams come true in the New Year, my friends. (Holds up imaginary champagne glass) Cheers!

22 July 2011

6 tips for writing with a 3-month-old baby in the room

1. Learn to type (fast) one-handed.
I'm doing this now while rocking the baby in his pram. It's a trick I picked up in hospital when I was on bedrest and forced to lay on my side for two months. Remember, you can use Caps Lock even when only writing the word "I". Doesn't work for those pesky quotes though. I can't guarantee accuracy either, but you can fix that when he finally passes out from screaming his head off. Which leads me to...
2. Close your ears. Don't ignore the crying baby--rock him, put the binky in his mouth, feed him and making soothing noises, whatever it takes--just don't let it interrupt your thought processes or the character's voices (remember, you're still typing with the other hand during all this). Good training is listening to hard rock while you write and slowly tuning it out. Other tips: baby slings and weight training for your biceps.
3. Use every spare minute. Priorities are the baby's care and play time, food, and and sleep (hah! good luck with that), but when that little guy is dozing, be it 20 minutes or 2 hours, write. There is no time for courting the muse here. Get it done.
4. Keep the muse fed. I said there was no courting her, no gentle routines to entice her into whispering in your ear. What you have to do is chain her to you like a slave.
5. Write notes whenever you're not at the computer, and keep pen and paper everywhere--even beside the change table (with hand disinfectant too).
6. Enjoy that lack of sleep. Sleep-deprivation, like alcohol, makes everything better--at least to you and Hemingway. But if you check your writing the next day and everything reads "feed the baby, feed the baby..." then you might be in trouble.

26 April 2011

Forget Plans

I'm a huge planner. I have lists for everything from what to do today, to next week, and next year, not to mention the shopping lists, birthday lists, etc. From the start of my 3rd trimester, though, NOTHING went according to plan. My baby was due May 20th, plenty of time to finish up some writing projects, especially work related stuff. Well, complications ensued, and to cut a very long and interesting story (which I may revisit in more detail later in this blog) short--I've been in hospital the last two months and the baby is here already!

Meet Max Alexander:

Isn't he the cutest!
Thus, there has been no blog posts and sporadic work on my novel, but at least I finished my grant for work from my hospital bed, while being forced to lay flat on my side and type one-handed with IV's sticking out of me. This impressed all my workmates, so I hope it impressed my boss too.
Now, I'm on maternity leave, snatching one hour bits of sleep between feeds, and generally trying to learn this mommy gig.
I'm not making any definite plans--I've learned my lesson!-- but I want to start blogging/writing again soon.
Hope to see you all around!