- In order to understand most things of significance in life, and even sometimes the trivial stuff, I have to write it out.
- Out and about, I find myself eavesdropping. There are snatches of stories everywhere. Recently, at a cafe in a small town, I couldn’t help but jot down some of the vibrant conversations happening around me. Will it ever resurface anywhere? Whispers of it, maybe.
- Narratives matter. Understanding, within reason, why something happened and what triggered it and what happened next. And if it can’t be known, what might have caused it? Another opportunity to simply imagine.
- Time spent waiting is not lost. It can be used to think through a piece in progress or to dream up something new to write.
- I like to watch: observing how people interact – or don’t interact – is an endless source of fascination. I try to be discreet but it is interesting as people are unpredictable.
- New words or words freshly discovered, are a joy. Rolling them around, getting the feel for their sound, learning their meanings.
- Reading is a constant backdrop to life. Books are devoured for joy, for learning, to admire works of writers that blaze a way through the landscape. Books provide a trusted bolthole to other worlds, a guaranteed escape hatch at any time.
- My tools of trade matter to me. They change from time to time, but for the last few years, my constants have been a mixture of gadgets and stationery. My trusty iPad with a keyboard attached accompanies me most days. It fits into my work satchel for quick writing blitzes during lunchtimes, or when I’m stuck on long conference calls. Of a weekend it fits into my tote bag, and I’ve been known to whip it out and start tapping out words when thoughts occur. A writing notebook and a pen are the other essentials.
- I write every day. The first piece of writing is usually my morning pages, scratched out with the morning coffee after a tour of the neighbourhood with my dog. These pages feel mundane at times, but by clearing this out of my system it seems to free up space for other stuff. It is a safe place to capture bits of dreams and story ideas that need to be teased out a bit before they go any further.
- Like many writers and creative types, I am endlessly fascinated by the creative process of others. Every type of creation is different, and the process that is followed by one person will not necessarily work for the next person. This enduring interest thrives in the hope that tips and tricks may be gleaned, or slight tweaks made to my own practice.
- Books on writing are gathered about me. They are good for dipping into for inspiration, or for technical assistance.
- Dictionaries are another obsession. Not all word definitions are equal, and one of my favourites is The Australian National Dictionary. It focuses on specifically Australian words or words used in an Australian context. This includes citing instances of the word used from a wide range of newspapers, periodicals and novels. It is illuminating and entertaining and has helped me to understand how word usage evolved over time.
- Back to reading. A turn of phrase can sweep me away, having resonated with a personal experience or something that I read before. Some phrases are written down in the trusty writing notebook and might be used or referred to somewhere else. It is another way of learning and embracing the writing craft which helps to make up a writing life.
What does your writing life look like?
[Photo: daily pages journal]