Pandemic Living

Pandemic living is a lot like living with a disabling mental illness. You think nobody wants you out on the street, nobody wants you too close to them, and even if every other day of the year you want to stay home and watch Netflix, all of a sudden you miss going out. Even a trip to the supermarket makes you want to put on lipstick and a dress. You want to keep the safe distance from people, the magical 1.5 metres, but in the aisles there just isn’t that much room. Even the businesses that only allow four people per aisle, you get into choke points, spots where we all need to pass one another and it’s much closer than 1.5 metres, we all stand back, trying to be well-mannered. It’s awkward and it’s crazy.



You Don’t Know This About Me

The title says it all! You don’t know this about me, but I like to change where I write, on a regular basis. Sometimes I go through a real outdoors stage, taking my notebook and laptop outside, on my front veranda or to the park or onto my back veranda while I throw the ball for Sally. If I can accidentally discover a new place to write I get very excited, and this week while I was on Facebook a wonderful thing happened; I found a new way to write anywhere I want!

In the marketplace area, someone was advertising a laptop table and it was only twenty dollars, which I could afford, so I jumped on that baby. I had to drive twenty minutes to pick it up, but it’s just like a new one and the new ones are expensive. The cheapest new one I found online was forty bucks and it wasn’t nearly as nice as the one I bought, so I am very happy. Now I am typing this on my little white laptop and it’s on my new table which is tilted at the perfect angle and it’s at the perfect height. Perfect new writing space!

Something else you don’t know about me is that when I look back over my first draft writing I cannot tell where one day of writing ends and the next day of writing begins, even if I had terrible days mixed with happy days. It amazes me that I can feel so different facing my work from day to day and yet produce content that is homogeneous. This, of course, shows me that there is never any excuse not to write, no matter how crap I may feel. As far as productivity is concerned, I love that this is true. On the other hand, when I’m having a shocker of a day, I have no out. I guess I’ll keep on writing each day and just trust my process.

I recommend to beginner writers that they write every day, aim for a word count of their choosing, trust that their daily writing will be useful no matter how they feel about putting their butt on the chair, and definitely try switching up the place where they write. Of course, these are things that work for me and might not work for everyone. I acknowledge that. So, whoever you are, find what works for you, what gets those words on the page, and do that until you reach the finish line.


I am Writing Again

I’m finally writing again. At last. I was so twisted up about wanting to write and not being able to write that I had a session with a brilliant local creative counselor, Jenneth Graham, and she helped me work through the issues that were messing with my head and preventing me from writing. Now I’m back in my favourite creative space which is; just get your ass on the chair and do it, girl. I’ve written ten thousand words in one week. it feels great. Thanks Jenneth.

I’m writing a novel that has a few main characters, and I’m enjoying going from one to another. I have a heart for each of them, even though to be honest, I don’t like them all equally. As I write about each character I imagine myself interacting with them, wondering, would we get along in real life? I’d definitely be able to hold a conversation with all of my current characters, and a way that I find out more about any of my characters is to meditate and imagine we are talking to each other and ask them questions about themselves. It’s a powerful writing tool. It works for me.

I may or may not send this book to a publisher. I may self publish. I may go straight through Amazon. Lots of options. I might just write 2000 words of first drafts for the rest of my days. But hell it feels good to be back writing like this again.

Be you. Rachel

Trying to Meditate When You Need to Scream


OMG. It is really hard to meditate when you need to scream. I want to do this meditation which is the next step in an online art course I’m doing called Ever After, but there are things happening in my home that are beating me about the head trying to get my attention. Nothing terrible or horrible, but definitely shouting my name. I want to meditate. Be all chill and arty. Unclench my teeth. Loosen my spine. But hey, no, I have to keep on the alert for what the three other adults in the house are doing and whether they might need me at a moments notice. I might have to Mum or Wife at the drop of a bloody hat.

I love my role in the family, and I always give as much as I can in my mothering and wife-ing. But now I’m in my fifties and everyone is grown up I seem to still be on call in a way that has me on high alert, even when I think hey, it’s my turn and really, I want to art. Thinking that things will change in life without actually making any changes is silly, I know this. I’ve done loads of self awareness work and counselling through my adult decades, I know how this stuff works; you change something then everything around you shifts as well. Not always in ways you expected, but still, there are alterations to the status quo. The new way of being invites more new ways of being and the ripples go out into the world. Argh, at times the ripples can cause quakes and everyone in the house is suddenly snapping and sniping about nothing because we aren’t very good at change, us humans unless we are the masters of that change.

We do like to be the Masters of our own Universe, us bipedal geniuses of global warming and the interwebs. We like to think that we choose our own fate, no matter how obvious it is that things work randomly for and against our wishes, whims and wants. There just is no real way to control the pinball machine of a life we lead. We ping this way, hit the right flipper and watch, open mouthed as the ball shoots past the left flipper instead.

I am very loved, and for that I’m grateful. I’m grateful that people need me. It seems as though I still have lessons to learn about getting what I want, doing what I want, feeling happy to block out the time to be arty me. The word ‘no’, or at least ‘later’ needs to be a mantra I practice maybe in the shower. I’ll be busy for the next hour arting. Please do not disturb unless there’s an emergency, or ice cream. Yes, I can be strong, I can be me, I can have, uninterrupted free time. Maybe I’ll just bake some cookies and some finger foods first, you know, in case anyone gets hungry while I’m doing my thing, because god forbid I should let them make a jam sandwich for themselves. I really need to watch Frozen again and just Let It Go.

be you xx Rach


Face to Face Time is Precious

free yacht on sea

Right now I’m saving my face-to-face time for my family and close friends. This is really easy to explain to my family and close friends and to people who are only acquaintances; my acquaintances are so understanding. They let me off the hook, Facebook with me, enjoy our online connection, which is so much easier for me to manage and requires very little recovery time.

This is much harder to explain to people who outside these categories. Yes I care about you, but no I don’t want to see you for coffee. It doesn’t matter how much I like who you are, or how understanding you can be, or how great it would be to catch up; getting together spends some of my limited people time. Precious time that I don’t get much of. I have never found an easy way to explain this about myself. What I mean is I have never found a way to explain it so the other person doesn’t get hurt. I hate that. But still, my limited face time will always belong to the ones closest to me.

Do My Magical Characters Brush Their Teeth

sally august 2015

Today I washed the kitchen floor. Not very exciting, but it made me think of the characters in my book, as always. Had they ever washed a kitchen floor? If so, how did they do it? If not, who has done this for them and why? Every action in my life has a corresponding thought, a wondering about my characters. Thinking about one guy I’m writing, I had to laugh at the thought of him ever cleaning anything with his own hands. As I thought about another character, a woman, I decided I couldn’t imagine her having ever cleaned either, but in a very different way. My female character wouldn’t consider herself ‘above’ such things, like the guy might, but it would never have occurred to her to clean with her hands when she can wave it into being done magically and get on with some form of fun or adventure.

Showering is another intriguing one, does a magical character clean itself or does it perform a ritual or a spell, or do they have the ability to kind of pre-set a regular cleaning spell that kicks in every certain number of hours or so? Do they brush their teeth? Do they floss? Imaginative minds want to explore everything and anything in the life of a character. Not all of this will end up in my book of course, maybe only a small fraction of it needs to be in the story to show who the character is. The rest still has value for me as I write, though, to add to my encyclopaedia of the story.

I have a handwritten encyclopaedia and a computer file as well. The computer file mostly holds parts of the book that I write and then decide to cut, character descriptions, place descriptions and bits from the text of the book that I want to be able to reference easily for consistent writing. I also have some pages in the file for things I find online, like a photo of someone who looks like one of my characters, or places that look similar to places in my book. My handwritten encyclopaedia is a collection of information I’ve written by hand about my story. I’m thinking about taking a photo of these bits so I can have everything in my computer file, all set out alphabetically. Ease of access when I’m writing is the most important thing.

Sally, in my photo above, is my muse. She lays at my feet while I’m writing and takes me out to our big back yard to run and play ball when I need a break. I love my labradaughter.

be you xx Rachel

The world needs you.

I’m sure there is at least one poor, unfortunate soul out there wanting to be more like me. Surely one at least. I’m basing this on the amount of time people I know seem to spend trying to be something other than who they are. Also, the extraordinary amount of mainstream media hype about how to be healthier, how to look better, how to act like the majority of people. Sure, there are headlines telling us to be the best we can be, but inside that line I hear as loud as anything else, you need to be told to be this because hey, you’re not. Not yet.

Faux Fauxbonichi Journaling

This is my 2015 diary playing as a fauxbonichi. This way of journaling is fun. I’m hooked. Recording my day with doodling is so perfect.

My Labrador Sally is still recovering from her desexing op. She did some running this morning while I held my breath and hoped she didn’t hurt herself. It’s so much like having a two year old child.

I haven’t done any editing this week. I am determined to spend at least an hour editing today. If I can just wake my head up.

I Have Found A New Way to Write

I’ve found a new way to write! This is a new-to-me, exciting way to write a diary every day and includes doodling, stickers, and all kinds of fun pens and pencils. What is it? So glad you asked! I’ve discovered fauxbonichi. Yes, I had no idea what it was either, or maybe you know exactly what it is? I was watching the usual amazing YouTube videos about art and book making, and a video popped up on fauxbonichi.

I’ve kept a personal journal for many years, and every now and then I just stop journalling for a while, as I have now. This time, though, I haven’t done any daily regular journalling for months. Admittedly, I wasn’t able to replace my journal with the same type I always use, which made me much madder than it should have! I have been using the same style of journal for years and I am addicted to the feel of it. Not having the right journal really upset my head. Screw it, I thought day after day, I just don’t want to write in the lesser journals I’d found. My inner child had a lot to do with this I reckon. For me there’s a lot of inner child in journalling, and so having the right materials is absolutely necessary.

Fauxbonichi is not a brand of journal, although there is a brand called Hobonichi which is the original and genuine version of this home-made version called fauxbonichi. I may work my way up to the real thing, but for now I like the idea of freestyling, as always.

I have ordered the most popular journal used for this daily dairy doodling journal, which is the MiquelRuis one from Barnes and Noble in the USA. Yes, it was cheaper to buy that and have it sent here than to buy one here in Australia. I love a bargain. In the meantime, I’m playing at faubonichi in my 2015 diary. I have joined a Facebook group and there are some truly talented people in there, making their daily lives come to life with words and doodles and stickers and paint. Bring it on, I say!

If you’d like to see my progress, check out my Facebook page by clicking here.

happy writing x Rachel

My Top 5 Excuses For Not Writing

  1. Housework… I decide that I absolutely must do some housework. Usually something that can wait, or that has been on my list for months. I get this sudden ridiculous desire to clean out the fridge.
  2. Family… I decide that someone in the family needs me to take care of them in some way or another. Cooking, taxiing, supporting, you name it, I’ve used it as an excuse not to write. We’re not talking broken limbs here.
  3. Facebook… I mess around on Facebook or YouTube and use up all of my qwt (quality writing time). Such a dumb choice, except when I’m reading about blogging, writing, editing or other useful stuff.
  4. My dog, Sally… I absolutely adore my labrador. She is gorgeous and such a temptation when I should be writing. She happily sits beside me while I write, with lots of opportunities for pats. So, no excuse for slacking off my writing to play with Sally.
  5. Cooking… which I no longer truly love doing. I have been a good cook most of my adult life and I’ve enjoyed cooking in the past but now, really, I do it so we can eat good yummy food, not because it’s loads of fun.