Keto, Writing and House Plants

Keto

Why are carbs so delicious? I’m back on keto, kind of. I’m experimenting with how many carbs I can eat a day and still remain in ketosis and lose weight. The keto gurus say to eat less than twenty carbs a day. I’m going to try doing fifty carbs a day and increase my exercising. Well, actually do some exercise.

I want to lose the next ten kilo’s and I’m struggling with that because I’m struggling with staying on strict keto, which is what helped me lose the first ten kilo’s. Staying off gluten has been a good start because gluten makes me so sick and bloated and causes me to crave carbs like a crazy woman.

Writing

Being off keto and on gluten has messed with my health so badly that I haven’t been writing. It’s a vicious cycle; eating what hurts me physically and mentally, not losing weight, can’t write, I feel sad and guilty and stupid, so I eat more food and put some of the kilo’s I lost back on. It sucks. Yes, I’m feeling sorry for myself, but I’m not throwing a full-blown pity-party just yet.

On a positive note, I’ve been doing some writing related stuff like journaling and note-taking about my book, characters and story.

I need to take myself to a coffee shop and write for an hour one day this week. Writing in a coffee shop is something I really enjoy, as long as I don’t do it too often. Strangers in a coffee shop can give me ideas for my book, the way they look, the way they speak to each other and the way they behave.

House Plants

I’ve jumped on the house plant trend. We needed a new whipper snipper so we headed for Bunnings, grabbed a trolley and found the whipper snipper. Then I hit the house plant section. I bought five plants in ceramic planters; three for the bathroom, one for the loungeroom and one for my desk. They look so good and straight away I knew I would need to go back for more. But I’m also going to try propagating more plants using the ones I bought.

My great grandfather grew carnations to sell at the big markets in Sydney, and I’ve always felt connected to that. In the past I’ve had a veggie garden in every place I’ve lived. The last time I tried to grow veggies here, though, we had a very hot spell, five days over 42 degrees Celsius, and it killed every plant and I had a lot of veggies almost ready to pick that died horribly. I haven’t grown veggies since that.

It would be fun to own a greenhouse and also to grow plants in the ground all year round, which is possible where I live if I use green mesh netting to cover some of the plants during the hottest weeks in summer.

On Instagram, everyone seems to have a green thumb. I think I need to read up on what to grow easily at my place. Of course, first I’ll need to hack back the wilderness that is my backyard. That sounds like a whole lot of useful exercise!

Keto Coffee and Emptying My Head

My head is buzzing and I can’t write until I empty it.

My house needs a clean and tidy, I don’t know what’s for dinner tonight, I haven’t finished my Christmas shopping and I haven’t posted the few Christmas cards I want to send.

I’ll do these things and then I’ll get writing:

  • Vacuum the lounge-room floor
  • Tidy the dining table
  • Wash the ensuite bathroom floor
  • Decide what to make for dinner
  • Make and write the few cards I want to send

I feel lighter already. Bring on the writing!

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

Loving My Writing Studio

It’s a gorgeous, sunny Winter Sunday and my writing studio is bright and warm thanks to the wall of windows across the back. It’s a really nice place to be. The kind of place I can look forward to spending time.

I have a second hand recliner in the corner, where I sit and read or edit my work. I have a white melamine round table in the centre of the room, with plants on it that I often forget to water and then wonder why they’re not thriving. At the moment I have papers spread across my whole desk, needing to be sorted into trays; my old business, tax, blog or writing fodder, government forms, current work. Maybe tomorrow?

Our chickens are very quiet in the yard. They’re not loving this cold weather. Usually they’d be marching around the entire yard clucking and chatting to one another, reinforcing the pecking order, hoping we’ll step out the back with a bucket of kitchen scraps so they can fight like ninjas for each little bit.

My dog Kira needs a bath. Really badly needs a bath. She loves to go under the house and take a dust bath, or dig up an old lizard she killed and rub herself in its putrid goo. She gets so confused when we invite her into the house and then start yelling in disgust at the smell and order her back outside. I thing she sees us as mentally deficient and incapable of making a decision.

It’s time to make Sunday lunch, but I feel like baking instead. I have leftover stewed fresh strawberries and I thought I might make vanilla cupcakes with the strawberries mixed through. Maybe I’ll have some of last nights leftover spaghetti in garlic red sauce first.

I hope your day is as nice as mine has been so far.

be you xx Rachel

Writing Fiction and Living In The Story

It happens to me every time I get the momentum to write a new book. I start writing and the story carries me into the lives of my characters, into the scenes I write, in front of them a little, so I know what’s about to happen. Sometimes. Other times I have no idea what I’m going to write until it comes out on the page.

I’m writing by hand, with pen and paper. This story just cried out to have the groundwork written by hand. When I say the groundwork, I mean the first draft, but I have a thing against the term ‘first draft’. What is a first draft? It is writing! Everything after that is rewriting or editing or the adding on of words. I’ve been known to scrap a whole chapter and write it again, but I still classify that as rewriting.

Inside a new book, as I am, everything that happens in my day is possible fodder to be included in the story. My husband cooking garlic and tomatoes for pasta, my cat standing on his one remaining back leg, trying to open the window, songs from the eighties being played on the radio, all of these things might just appear on my page, in the groundwork.

Some of what I write will end up having no place in the book. Some of it will turn out to be a distraction, a misuse of words, a dead end that I had to write at the time to get to the real story. Every word of the finished work must be in service of the story as a whole. Every character, setting, event and even the red herrings, must somehow service the story. This is the only way to write a delicious, fulfilling whole.

The great thing about writing with pen and paper is that I can do it anywhere, there are no batteries to go flat, I don’t have to keep saving it and in a strange way, I feel connected to the words in a way that I never do when typing them.

My book has a working title, but I’m not ready to share that just yet. I guess I think of it as book #6, but also as the book I’m writing after my divorce, after being single in my forties, after being remarried, and lots more. Life experiences definitely impact on my writing, and I wonder what I’m writing now that I wouldn’t have written say a month or a year ago. I know I have a different feel for what it’s like to be single, now that I’ve spent some time out there after a nineteen year marriage. I have a different feel for what it is to fall in love.

I’m much less mechanical about my writing than I used to be. I think because I spent time ghost writing and learned to trust myself that the words would get written as long as I kept at it daily. Years ago, I would write at the same time every day, seven days a week. I had a minimum word count for the day and would push my way to it. Now I just pour the words out as they come, I spend time every day just daydreaming about the book, the story, the characters, the theme. I’m really enjoying it.

I am looking forward to seeing what I write tomorrow, and I can’t wait until I have the whole book down. I love those two little words we writers constantly head towards; The End.

be you xx Rachel