Unfocused

I had been feeling quite unfocused in my writing. I have completed my Masters in creative writing and felt myself a bit addrift. I have found that I have hundreds, or better, many hundreds of ideas for writing, they are from ideas for blog entries, short stories, and books, I even have full books delineated. Ideas I had forgotten about and only found now that I decided to organise my “ideas for writing”. I am putting them down into Scrivener, separating them in types and into appropriated project folders.

For a couple of months I was simply without focus and that left me completely unsettled. Whenever I sat down for writing I didn’t know what to write and always felt I should be working on something else.

Then I saw this TED talk about the science of happiness and understood that until you make a decision about something — or until you are given no other choice by circumstances — it is difficult for the brain to create happiness about anything. That explained why I felt it was so difficult writing about one thing alone.

That is when I realised that if I decided anything, anything at all, it would be all right. I put down a list of all the projects I could be attacking and the moment I wrote “organise my ideas for writing” I knew this was “the one”.

That one decision took me out of my unproductive phase. I started organising and lost the will to do that. But the drive to write more often in this blog replaced it. Then I felt like re-writing my website taniacreations.com which is quite old now.

I have Brazilian friends who have lived in Australia and were not happy because they missed Brazil, then they went back to Brazil and now they miss Australia and are still feeling dissatisfied. That probably happens because they live inside the eternal possibility of being here or there without making a decision for real.

Making one decision doesn’t mean you will not change your mind. However, if you decide with certainty for something and a new possibility presents itself you might make a new decision, with certainty for a new thing. By doing that you will leave your brain free to create the hormones and sinapses necessary to provide you with happiness. Doubts, indecisiveness, no acceptance, are not conducive to creativity and peace.

My solution to any doubt is: decide anything, as long as it is certain. Even if five minutes later you decide something else.

So now, I feel quite happy… writing away!

New WordPress Writtenlife, Away from Orble

Over five years ago I took over a blog inside the Orble Community. I have also created a few others. I wrote in Writtenlife at least every 60 days to keep it active; I have accumulated 85 posts in total.

One day it simply went offline. I tried everything to get in contact with the community’s administration team and nothing worked. I posted inside my other Blogs (http://www.orble.com/orble-where-is-my-blog/) to try to get them to contact me but it seems they are running on automatic.

I find it very disrespectful. They let the domain name lapse and I couldn’t get it anywhere either because it is still registered to them or because someone else got it.

I decided to move everything across to WordPress. It has been a time consuming job, copying the text, finding the images (or as close as I could) inside my old files, noting how many votes I had in Orble, the date and time they were published. I wanted to keep as close as I could from the original for historical data.

But finally here it is! What a sense of achievement! This is the new blog, ready to receive my new writing thoughts.

Here is one week of statistics I have saved from when the blog was still active:

Statistics for one Week

Is all creative writing channelled writing?

I keep wondering if all writing is channelled writing. If my words come from me or the spirit world (laugh). I wrote a book in Portuguese with a co-author.  Because we used to write and then send to each other the stories we never knew what was happening next.

I am writing the second book of that series now on my own but following the same idea we did with the first, I didn’t plan where the story is going I just sit down and write whatever happens. I have some fun ideas I intend to include but that is all. I am discovering the story as I write it, as if it wasn’t my own.

I often wonder, where does inspiration comes from?

It is very intriguing.

(Orble Votes: 19)

In Love with Scrivener

It feels fantastic when your systems are working for you rather than against you. I am in love with the software Scrivener, which is a specific tool created for writers.

I found out about it during a Non-Fiction Festival from the NSW Writers Centre (www.nswwc.org.au) last year. Ben Law talked about it and I decided to investigate.

It is one of those things that you don’t know how you lived without it before. The same way I feel about the GPS and mobile phones. I remember the panic of using a paper map guide and turning the wrong way and I have no idea what you did when you were going to be late to meet mom at the mall.

The reason Scrivener is so fantastic is because it makes it easier to organise your thoughts. I have just published a new book in Portuguese at Amazon using Scrivener (“Simplesmente Gerva”)

Converting to Mobi was very easy and quick and none of the issues I used to have with word processors happened. I didn’t need to check all titles were in the same style, check for double spaces or any other ridiculous task that were obligatory before.

Going back to organising my thoughts, each chapter is given a summary card.

For this book, I noted on the cards when, where and who were in each chapter and with this I was able to get an overview of the time flow. Sometimes my character started something on Monday and suddenly it was Wednesday without any change in the day. With this technique and tool it was easy to see the overall picture.

I also acquired a MacBook Air once I discovered that Scrivener doesn’t run on iPad and decided that my writing tools are my number one priority. With the awesome help with my parents I got my new computer, new software and every day I am a happier person.

When I open my small bag, pull out my light, fast, potent little computer, put all my ideas (including this blog) into Scrivener and it can go straight into any format desired, it makes my heart dance with joy.

A bit of pleasure every day…

(Orble Votes: 29)

Real Writer

I remember years ago when I arrived in Australia and I entered the NSW State Library, Michel room and started crying. It was an emotion I couldn’t control.
People have different values and that is why they appreciate different things. This morning I found a new (still with the tag) pair of trousers inside my wardrobe. I think I have a vague recollection of being in the store the tag told me it was from.
Friends who appreciate clothes and shoes could not understand how I had a new garment in my wardrobe and completely forgot to use it, that I had bought it even. They also could not understand how I could cry in a room full of books.

NSW State Library2
I don’t even want to read these books, they are reference books. But the emotion of seeing a large foyer with three levels of bookshelves all around was just too much for me then.
A few days ago I told this story to my friend, we mentioned the library, she said she hadn’t been here and would like to come. Today, my Writing meeting group changed venues and convened here. I felt inspired to write about it. It is as beautiful as I remembered, as emotional now as then.
To try to locate why it gave me such an emotion, it was like being in a dream place, a library you would see in movies. In a third world country culture is far from people’s minds and there is more effort put into more basic needs. That is why I hadn’t seen a place like this before. Only after moving to Australia and going back to Brazil that I visited the National Library in Rio de Janeiro. I cried there too.
Another place that took my breath away was the study room in the Customs House library but returning there years later it didn’t seem as bright as my first impression, I’m not sure if something changed or it was me.
I am here now, with a funny smile on my face and a strange satisfaction in my belly.
I feel like a real writer!

(Orble Votes: 20)

Siri doesn’t get me

The more I try to get the local accent, the more people politely ask me “where is your accent from?”
My phone also doesn’t really get my accent.
I was trying to use it to type some things while walking one day.
So I said to it:
“I am from Brazil but have been living in Sydney for a while”
The phone typed:
“IM imbecile but have been leaving in Sydney for a while”
I replied to that:
“Imbecile is your mother!”
It dutifully typed:
“In this still is your mother”
(Orble Votes: 19)

Indoors Saturday

Link: nswwc.org.au

Here I am on a Saturday, with an average of five speakers and a couple of hundred people talking about the intricacies of writing. “The take that people have on your take of them”.

It is the creative non-fiction festival at the New South Wales Writers Centre. I love being in the room thinking about what to write and not and the consequences of our words.
What to do when you are interviewing people who are big?
It is funny to think that for 10 minutes of my life I was in the same league as the lectures. With my interview with Justin Bieber I know and I knew at the time, I had no idea what I was doing… but did it. I did prepare, got over 60 questions ready, got two recorders which was great as one stopped and then did the best that I could.
Here I see a deeper level and even how wrong it could have gone.
Being in your passion makes anything interesting and talking about hurt sommeliers over a humorous article is just one of them.
(Orble Votes: 21)

Doubt is a Disease

It is like a disease, this sensation of not being sure and I wonder if everyone suffers from it one way or another.
Self-doubt it can be called but it is not a precise name. The doubt is not if you can do something, I have plenty of confidence in my abilities, what I sometimes lack is the confidence that I will do it.
It is like when you are going to meet an ex-lover you really don’t want to be involved with anymore. You know the pain but you also know how good it feels to be with him. You know you can avoid having a fireworks-unforgettable night followed up by a predictable heartache. The question is if I will avoid it.
Or when you have to do your tax declaration. You save the time, you keep the night free of any other appointments, you put in your calendar, let your friends know not to call you. But can you trust yourself not to sit on the TV, or read a book or play with your phone, or even with yourself? There is so many more interesting things to do!
During the day in question you feel half happy because you have made it all possible and you know you will do it, but another half of you is secretly suffering this self-doubting disease. Will I? Will I get home and sit on my computer and do it?
These examples were two of my victories, I have done my taxes and have avoided the ex-boyfriend but another one is afflicting me: NaNoWriMo.
A month to write 50,000 words. I know I can. I have the material, I have the voice, the narrator, the character.
I have the story, the inspiration and the will. But will I?
Am I able to wake up earlier or if I turn around and go back to sleep, will I get home after work and find the energy to write? Will I know what to write first, second and third?
Will I find a way to get the other things going at the same time or will I find distractions even within my passion? Like writing some other text to submit to an Anthology. Or will I have this fantastic inspiration to write the most amazing short story? Anything rather than concentration on this one book of 50,000 words.
Can I trust not only my will, but my barely-held-together mind?
We will see. It starts at midnight.
(Orble Votes: 22)

Great Pirate, Big Issue

There is an article inside the Big Issue magazine which is phenomenal. I have to confess I have bought the magazine a couple of times before to support “solutions to help homeless, disadvantaged and marginalised people positively change their lives”. But I had never read it until now.
It was a series of coincidences, or maybe fate, that made me read that article. I left the house a couple of minutes earlier, the moment I got to the stop the bus was getting there and even though it was a bit full, I took it. When I got to my destination, the bus stopped almost at the corner of the park which is unusual. I got the bus through the front squeezing myself in between the people and was almost spilled out, landing in front of the guy selling the Big Issue.
It wasn’t one of the most recognisable vendors they have; Sydney has a few I can now spot from the years I’ve been walking around. Some have specific looks and some specific chants for selling the product. When I landed on the man, he quickly offered the magazine and I just took it.
I’m not sure why, or even better, how. I had my iPad on one hand, one purse where I was trying to shove my iPad with the zipper half opened, still having the iPhone on my hands and another bag with my food and pretty shoes inside. I paid and him and he made a bit of fun of me. ‘Oh my God! So many things, there is the phone, the pad’ he said. I laughed and finally shoved the thing into the purse, the phone into the pocket and started skimming over the magazine while walking through the park.

Big Issue Vendor Sydney CBD


I pause here to ponder on a complete and spreadable insanity that seems to be taking us all over. Why couldn’t I wait and just walk for the four minutes and forty seven seconds it takes to get to work? Or seat down in the park to read as I was early? But I couldn’t, I had to shove some more information into my head in the couple of minutes I was walking like I had shoved the pad into the bag.
I was going through the magazine and landed on a page that had something about pirates.
I like pirates.
I started to read and laugh, from the start.
Because the bus came without a moment wasted in the morning and the traffic was blessedly light I was early to work and decided to get a toast in the cafe near the office and enjoy the reading.
The article was by Max Attwood, who is described as “a Melbourne-based comedian, actor and writer. (…) He tries to channel his laziness into creativity, but usually ends up eating biscuits instead” and his writing was simply brilliant.
It reminds me of the style of my favourite Brazilian writer, Luis Fernando Verissimo, the style being what we would call, in Brazil, a “chronicle”. We don’t seem to have a specific word here in Australia for this type of comedic writing about daily life style.
I was laughing so loud at the cafe the waitress – I refuse to call her a waiter to be politically correct, it was a lady waiter so pardon me if I will use the correct term, I don’t find or intend any offence to women – well, she got so curious when she came to deliver my toast that I showed her the cover of the magazine and said ‘ha ha, big issue, ha, very funny, great, ha ha’ I doubt she understood anything. It was a feeble attempt to explain if I couldn’t apologise for my loud and very indiscreet laugh.
It is this tale of a man who becomes a pirate. Modern days. Corporate world. I won’t say more, you have to read it. Buy the magazine if you can, it is a not for profit and will help the person you buy it from. “Pirates Don’t Need To” made my day. Thank you Mr. Attwood for writing this article rather than eating biscuits. Even though I’m pretty sure when you finished there were crumbles all over your keyboard!

(Orble Votes: 22)

The Difference in My Writing Technique

It is not about you know, it is about the knowledge that becomes intuitive…

I am on a Masters of Arts in Creative Writing at UTS which I have started two years and six subjects ago. Recently I was revising something I have written when I was beginning the course.
I have realised how far I have come.
Mostly it was like practice driving.
When you learn how to drive you learn what you have to do but only by doing it repeatedly you will get to the point of really knowing it without having to think “now I have to break and look to both sides of the road for pedestrians”.
I had the knowledge of what was point of view, verbal tense, subjectivity of the narrator, before I started the course. But with the practice of reading, correcting and workshopping so many texts, pieces, articles, I realise now it is easy for me to analyse it, really see it and find the discrepancies.
Before I knew but could not see it. I would start a text in the present and change to immediate past without realising or be unaware that the point of view jumped in subtle ways.
Now I get it, my writing becomes clearer to me.
I rewrote the text with much more confidence.
Education pays greatly in my opinion.
Of course you can learn by yourself, but learning with help from people who know what they are doing and how to teach it has been an amazing experience.

(Orble Votes: 21)