Tuesday, December 3, 2013

So… yeah. Hi.

Remember me?

Tallish guy, glasses, used to hang around here a bit? Yep. That one.

So, as you probably gathered from my last post, about a century ago, it's been a busy year. Real busy. 12 months ago next week, Min and I saw,  fell in love with, and bought a new house (well, technically a rather old house, but new for us). To make life more interesting, we also both started new and very busy jobs. Toby started pre-school (and turned 5 years old last sunday!), I went to Europe for a conference and came back with a buggered ankle caused by falling down the stairs on a train in a most undignified manner, I won a teaching award, finished* The Hunter (which is currently re-titled Tabula Rasa) and sent it off to my agent (still waiting to hear from her on the most recent rewrite). I am also halfway through a NaNoWriMo novel, which is problematic, given that it's now December, and in a week or so we will be leaving for Christmas back in Perth with my gathered family.

There's some other stuff, too, but those are the highlights.

The good news is that, as you may have gathered, I'm actually getting some writing done, again. After a pretty extended period of feeling as though my writing mojo had deserted me, just lately I've been aware of it scratching away at the back door of my brain, begging me to let it in again. So a month or two ago I opened the door, just a crack, and now here we are…

Really it's one of the vagaries of life as a writer - if you want to make a living, chances are that you're going to be pretty busy doing a lot of things that aren't writing, and every single one of them kills off just a little bit of your creative time and energy. Even if you love your job, as I do.

This year, for me, the biggest issue was Course Convening. It's a two year gig, which I'm now halfway through. It means that I get a little bit of teaching relief each week in return for which I do a fairly hefty amount of work: student consultations and course troubleshooting, admission decisions, organising course credits and variations, approving and compliance checking unit outlines, organising staffing for our various units, ensuring moderation processes happen, organising and chairing course advisory committees, ensuring that our units and courses are accredited and compliant with federal standards. Plus lecturing, teaching tutorials, grading and producing research. Phew.

And even though I enjoy most of the work, by the end of the day I'm almost always totally buggered** And that doesn't leave a lot of time for thinking about writing or, for that matter, doing it.

At the start of the year, I tried to block out big chunks of my time - a couple of hours each morning - for writing.

"No phone, no email, no appointments. Just me and my book…" I told myself and anyone else who'd listen.

And, for a while there, it worked quite well. Perhaps a month, or even two.

But, of course, little things began to creep in - the emails began building up, the meeting requests kept coming up on my calendar, lectures needed to be written or revised and, gradually, those precious hours got nibbled away until the concept of 'writing time' was just a dim memory.

So in mid-october, I drew a line under the year, re-allocated my writing time to the start of my days, and started over. And apart from a few little lapses, I'm doing okay. I've added 15,000 words into the next, hopefully final, draft of The Hunter, plus written about 12,000 words of a younger readers novella which I'm thoroughly enjoying.

Plus, of course, all the course convener-y stuff I talked about earlier.

And now I'm back here at Musings from an Outer Spiral Arm.

So, anyway, that's my excuse for being away so long. At least I managed to return before the year was out. Thank you all for your patience. It's nice to be back.

*Agent depending
** who am I kidding? by the start of the day I'm almost always totally buggered

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