Writing update – running out of time!

Just a quick update this week – but I’m still blogging, no ball-dropping this early into my new commitment!

The main reason for the rushed blog post is that I’m writing like a demon trying to finish my submission for Rebuilding Tomorrow before submissions close at the end of January. I’ve been working on and off on this story concept since, argh, October? – but at a glacial speed that’s been typical of my 2019 writing output.

At the start of January, with less than a month left before the deadline, I finally started pushing myself to work harder on finishing this story, even though I still wasn’t really feeling excited about writing (not just writing this, but writing anything). And as usually happens, once I started actually pushing through the hard bedrock, I finally began striking gold – gleams of understanding where the story was going, nuggets of actually solid characterisation and theme, the stuff I have to find to get excited about a story.

Which is all just another way of saying, if I want to write I can’t wait for inspiration to strike. I have to write my way to inspiration.

So, having achieved inspiration with all of two weeks to get the job done, right now I’m as focused as my wandering mind can be on getting this story actually drafted, edited, beta read, further edited, and submitted in the next… eight days (meep).

Just as well my ADHD brain responds best to high-stress situations, right…?

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A view from Hirta island in the St Kilda archipelago

Think you know St Kilda? Well…

This week my story research led me on a quest to find out about the mysterious Saint Kilda, origin of the Melbourne suburb of St Kilda, only to discover that no such saint ever existed.

The Australian St Kilda, it turns out, is named after a ship, the Lady of St Kilda. This ship, in turn, was named after an archipelago in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. And the Scottish archipelago was named after… a mistake.

Continue reading “Think you know St Kilda? Well…”

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A distant thunderstorm looming over a quiet ocean

New Year’s thoughts 2020

It’s that time of year when people are taking stock – of the year (and decade) that has been, and of their goals for the year (and decade) to come.

I am singularly bad at both of these.

It’s hard enough for my butterfly brain to retain enough detail and sense of time for me to confidently tell you what I did yesterday, let alone in the last year. And I’ve come to mistrust personal goals, because when I’m excited by a shiny new hobby or technique I set myself dozens of them and then achieve few to none as my interest wanes or moves on.

Often I let the turning of the new year go by without even trying. But this year, for whatever reason, it feels important. So here goes: three significant events from 2019, and three aspirations for 2020.

Continue reading “New Year’s thoughts 2020”

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The Miller’s Daughter out now in Epic Fantasy

For anyone who’s been waiting for a version of The Miller’s Daughter you can hold in your hands, not in your ears – it’s here!

Epic Fantasy, the latest anthology from Flame Tree Publishing, has now landed in all its epically embossed glory. At 480 pages, it’s a decently mammoth collection of short fiction from both classic fantasy authors and new faces like ahem yours truly.

Flame Tree have also published two collations of interviews with their authors, including me – in part 1 we talk about the inspiration behind our stories (my answer might look familiar if you read my interview with Remastered Words last year) and in part 2 we talk about our genre favourites and our writing processes.

As for me, on Wednesday I landed in New Zealand, there to dwell for the next 5-6 months while working a short-term conservation role that will see me spending every other week out of civilisation. Which means on the one hand, limited internet access, but on the other hand, potentially a lot of writing time.

It also means a total shake up of my routine. That can be a problem, as I’ve written about before (and surprise surprise, it turns out that’s an ADHD thing too) – but I’m trying to treat it as an opportunity to turn writing into a daily habit.

Like all writing tips, writing every day is no golden key – some writers don’t need it and some will find it unhelpful to aspire to. But for me, I think working writing into my new daily routine is the only way to get any kind of reliable output going so that I can stop treating writing as “that miraculous thing I only do when I’m exactly the right place, time, and mindset”.

Watch this space…

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‘Nie Among the Tree-people’ out now in Aurealis #124

Folks, my short story ‘Nie Among the Tree-people’ is out now in the September issue of Aurealis, complete with a delightful fire god illustration by animator Leah Clementson. As I’ve said before, I have a massive soft spot for this weird, queer tale of gods and hermits, which is also the first story I’ve written with a non-binary protagonist. I’m deeply happy to have it out in the world at last.

I know I’ve been pretty quiet lately, but I’m still here and today, for the first time in too many months, I actually sat down at my computer and wrote fiction. I still have a long road ahead, but it’s a start.

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Person buried under a doona and pillows, only their arm sticking out

Executive dysfunction – when laziness isn’t laziness

Let’s talk about laziness, and what it isn’t.

Recently a friend was telling me about how someone in his family – someone he by necessity has to live with – calls him lazy because he takes on too much and then doesn’t have the headspace to get it done. I told him, that sounds pretty toxic of them, and he responded, it’s understandable. It’s just me being a trash human.

“Lazy” is one of the biggest sticks that gets used to beat people who can’t achieve as much, or as regularly, as what’s considered “normal”. Other people use the “lazy” stick on us – and worse, we use it on ourselves.

It’s easy to think of ourselves as lazy, or useless, or trash humans, when we don’t live up to our own or others’ expectations of what we “should” be able to get done. Goodness knows I did, for many years.

I called myself lazy because my house is always a mess. Because there’s always another load of dishes waiting to be done. Because of the pile of clothes in limbo by the sewing machine, waiting eternally to be mended. Because even when I was doing a job I loved, many days I still had to drag myself, unwilling, out of bed and off to work.

It’s taken me many years to shed that way of thinking. But now I know: that’s not laziness.

Continue reading “Executive dysfunction – when laziness isn’t laziness”

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A person sitting down and holding a brighly-coloured piece of paper in front of their head, with a sad face drawn on it

Learning lessons from my bad days

As you may have gathered from my last update and from the lack of blog posts generally, the brain weasels have been biting hard.

Stepping down off Effexor has been a painful process. At the higher doses, it was mostly a case of waiting out the first week of adjustment: the dizzy head-spins, the oversleeping, getting motion sickness from something as minor as looking at my phone while walking. As I’ve hit the lower doses, though, I’ve started to experience effects that don’t go away as I adjust.

It’s been hard – but it’s also been instructive.

Continue reading “Learning lessons from my bad days”

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New publication news, and a new short story available in My Fiction

I’m still alive, I promise!

It’s been a bugger of a fortnight – two weeks ago I stepped down my Effexor dose another level (more on that in the next post), and just as I was regaining my equilibrium from that I got a thankfully mild case of flu.

But! I’m now on my way back up from the latter, and I have more exciting things to talk about today. I have WRITING NEWS. Two pieces of writing news, in fact!

Continue reading “New publication news, and a new short story available in My Fiction”

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Living with ADHD: why can’t I just do the things that need doing?

I didn’t have work today, or any other prearranged commitments. It was one of those rare days when I could, in theory, get anything done that I needed to.

And that makes it the perfect day to explore one of the defining elements of ADHD: the interest-based nervous system, a.k.a. the reason why the things I actually did today bore almost no resemblance to the things I intended to do.

Continue reading “Living with ADHD: why can’t I just do the things that need doing?”

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‘The Miller’s Daughter’ rides again!

I’m delighted to announce my latest bit of publishing news: ‘The Miller’s Daughter’ is to be reprinted by UK independent publisher Flame Tree Press in their Epic Fantasy anthology.

That means this story – which has previously appeared in the the Continuum conbook and the Remastered Words audio anthology – will now see the inside of a physical book cover. And what a fancy cover it will be!

Flame Tree’s Gothic Fantasy series of illustrated anthologies combine new and classic short fiction from a given subgenre. They look exceedingly classy, and the list of authors I will appear alongside is both long and impressive. I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy!

While I would love to be getting new stories out there (and I’m working on it), ‘The Miller’s Daughter’ holds a special place in my heart and I couldn’t be happier that it has a new home.

Epic Fantasy is available for pre-order (and, when it actually exists, purchase) here.

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