The more I write

The easier it gets, right?

Archive for the tag “Writing”

Blogging 101 – First assignment

Today marks the start of the Blogging 101 course.  The first assignment is to introduce (or reintroduce) yourself to the world and talk about the purpose of my blog…

G’day,

Mick Dundee from Australia here…

No, that’s too cheesy.  I’m Micheal and I am indeed from Australia.  I started this blog a few years ago, under a different name, but it never really took off like I’d planned.  In late 2014/early 2015 I repurposed it with a better focus on what I wanted to do, which is write.  Not writing for profit, although that would be nice, but more for pleasure.

So “The more I write” was born.

I already have an ‘About me‘ section.  It’s still pretty accurate, although I’m a little older now.

So why do I publish stuff on my blog and not in a private journal?  Fear has held me for far too long.  All my life I have written in notebooks or in docs on my computer, kept hidden away.  Scared of what people will say about my writing.  This is the first big leap into the unknown.  Hitting the blue Publish button is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but the more I do it, the easier it becomes, right?

The main aim of this blog is to write, write and write some more.  I want to write about anything and everything.  Just getting my words and ideas out of my head and onto this blog.  It’s hard to explain but this quote says it best.  “Don’t die with the music still in you”.

I have two people that inspire me.  The first is my wife.  She fights every day to beat cancer and I’m in awe of her ability to keep going.  The second is Bruce Springsteen.  I saw him in concert in 1985 and even though I was only 16 and only knew a few of his songs, it was the most amazing concert ever!  I’ve since seen him in 97, 2014 and 2015.  The ultimate would be seeing him in New York or New Jersey.  Maybe one day.

So that’s about it for now.  By doing this course I hope to get into a better blogging routine and learn a few tips along the way.  I hope I can connect with some like minded people and we can all learn from each other.

 

 

 

 

Where do you write?

My pool

The view outside the window where I write

I have no specific place where I write and maybe that’s a problem. I have a laptop set up at the end of my dinning room table that is permanently on (during the daylight hours at least) for whenever the mood strikes me. But I also write using the Pages app on my iPad when I’m traveling to and from work on public transport.

The set up in the dinning room is nice. I have windows all around me so I can see our garden and pool area with its tropical plants, it really is paradise. There is a TV in that room as well, which is also on most of the time. It can be a distraction but it can also provide inspiration and ideas. The truth be known, having an internet connection is more of a problem…”I’ll just research this topic, I won’t Google anything else but this topic.” 30 minutes later, how did I go from researching the effects of anxiety attacks on people trapped in elevators, to watching dogs say “I love you” on YouTube? Side note, I’m trying to teach our dog Otis to say “Rye ruve roo” (I love you in Scooby Doo speak).

I know that this is not the best place to get the most out of my writing, but I love my family and don’t want to lock myself away in a room until I’ve written 2000 words. Again, the more I write in this fashion, the better I’ll get at maintaining focus. I hope.

Writing on public transport is also challenging. I have progressed a few stories in the hours between home and work, work and home. But the issue with this is privacy, or lack there of. Both the bus and train become quite full, quite quickly, so I always end up with someone sitting beside me. Being the archetypal paranoid writer, I don’t want to write with someone looking over my shoulder. So that’s pretty much out as a good place to write. I generally write until the bus or train is full and then swap to playing Plants Vs Zombies or something like that.

Where is the ideal spot to write?

I have this vision of sitting in the coolest, hipster coffeehouse, with views of the busy street outside as people go about their working day (thankfully I’m not one of them). The smell of good coffee, Apple and Cinnamon muffins and raisin toast in the air. I smash out best seller after best seller while tattooed, hipster baristas bring me skinny cappuccinos.

Yeah, it could happen.

 

 

The first line is the hardest…

IMG_0464

This is my dog Otis, looking very cute.

 

This being my first post for this site, I thought there’s no better place to start than with the first sentence of a book.

Charles Dickens had a few good first lines, as did James Joyce. There’s some good websites that list the top 50, 100 and probably thousand best first lines. But are they the best first lines because the books attached to these first lines were brilliant or because the first line was brilliant and made people want to read the book? My brain hurts.

No doubt about it, you need a hook, you need to grab the readers attention, but is the first line the most important or will the first line become great if the story is great?

I should say right now that this blog isn’t about me sharing my wisdom. Not at all. If I had wisdom, skills or any marketable expertise I’d probably be published and have no time to write this gibberish. I’m writing stuff here to get it out of my head, maybe clear out the cobwebs and free up the works so that I can write. And if anyone ever reads this, maybe they can give me some tips 🙂

Anyway…back to the topic at hand.

I struggle with starting (yes that’s a lack of confidence, I don’t need Freud to tell me that) and even when I do get a line, I question it, I doubt it, I make fun of it, I hate and ultimately I change it. Then the whole process starts over.

Someone might say, the reason I struggle is because I’m not meant to be a writer and that’s a fair comment. I’ve had more jobs than I can remember. From cleaner to welder, shoe repairer to employment consultant, security guard to underground miner and for the last 12 years a public servant. But writing is the one constant, the one thing that makes me feel alive. It’s the first thing that pops into my head if anyone asks, “what do you want to do with your life?” (thanks Twisted Sister). So I don’t doubt my passion, just my ability to execute.

Here are some of my most recent first lines, you be the judge if they suck or not.

  • The graveyard was particularly nice at this time of the afternoon. Winter was behind us and Spring was happening all around the city.
  • I’m sorry, it’s not good news I’m afraid. You’re dying and there is nothing I, or any other doctor can do to change it.
  • I’m no ones first choice, no one is sitting by their phone hoping I’ll call or text them.
  • The plume of smoke rising up through the trees in the forest behind Jake’s house was concerning.

“I got a million of ’em”, but I won’t bore you with anymore.

There’s probably nothing wrong with any of those and as I look at them now they seem fine. Maybe Stephen King was right when he talked about leaving your work for 6 weeks. When you come back to it and look at it with fresh, objective eyes. This is from his book, On Writing, which I highly recommend, particularly the audio book version because he reads it.

Anyway, I have purged enough. I’m going to take one of those lines and turn it into a paragraph.

Peace

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