Stepping Into 2022

It has taken a while for me to get my head into my 2022 goals. I have sat, thought, pondered and journaled about what it is I want to achieve. Recently I have spent my mornings at the beach in Rockingham where we are taking our two dogs for their morning swim. the weather is hot, and our aging shepherd Annie loves to swim. We know we will have to say goodbye to her soon and try to make every day a good day for her. I guess I have been distracted.

My Pandemic World

I am not about to complain about my experience with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. I have been lucky. I sit here in my home in West Australia, double vaxxed and healthy, well as healthy as I can be but more on that later. It is easy to be complacent, our government has been tough on those reluctant to be vaccinated and this has caused the predictable back lash in the community. I should specify that it is six percent of the population now in Western Australia that are not vaccinated, and that is fine, it is their choice. My only wish is that they wouldn’t be so aggressive about their position, that they wouldn’t use fake science and hearsay to back up their claims. I trust the science and the empirical evidence that tells me, quite clearly that I have a better chance of surviving COVID when vaccinated.

Our borders are due to open soon, and travelers from around the world will be coming back to Western Australia for whatever reason, and history shows with open borders the virus will run rampant. I want myself and my family to have a fighting chance of getting through this pandemic, isn’t that all any of us want?

Good Reads Challenge

I have registered for a Good reads challenge, and I have committed to reading fifty two books a year! Four books down – follow by reading journey here…. (Insert links to good reads)

Dissolve by Nikki Gemmel

With the exceptions of Nikki Gemmel’s successful television career and award winning novels, I could have been reading my life story. The names and places are different but the emotions are all there. if you are a women, writing or following some other creative pursuit, read this book.

Writing Goals for 2022

I am sharing my writing goals here to help me to stay accountable. I can’t remember who it was that said ‘No one cares if you don’t write,’ and that is true. People are if you don’t shower, make dinner and wash dishes, but not one other person in my household at least cares if I don’t get my arse in the chair and write!”

Love Heals the Heart – is the third book in m multi-protagonist series – Shades of Love. This book is currently under going final edits and should be released in March/April.

Theodore Bear Goes to Karate – my first children’s book and a big departure from what I usually write, its a lot of fun and I am learning so much about illustration and writing for children. I plan for this book to be released in July.

Body Peace Writer Retreat – is a book I have been planning for a long time, years. It will combine my yoga, reiki, meditation and aromatherapy knowledge, with everything that I know and have tried about writing and unleashing the muse, in what ever form your inspiration takes. This book will guide you through creating your own retreat, at home and will be filled with tips, exercises, yoga sequences. etc..

I would then like to write a fourth book in my series that follows on from Love Heals the Heart.

I want to write another book, I want to journal more often, to meditate and grow the repertoire of work that I can do. This includes an expansion in the social media marketing that I do to include tik tok… don’t laugh. Well at least not until you follow me here: https://www.tiktok.com/@vanessamckayauthor

Financial Goals 2022

As I type this my books are selling weekly in their ones. I want this change, I want to move my writing from being my number one expense to being a sustainable income that I build on year after year over the next decade. I plan to do that by sticking to all of the above.

Health Goals 2022

I want to resume teaching this year, it is hard in the COVID climate so I am looking at creating classes on Patreon as a way to generate a small income while helping other writers look after their bodies from the safety and security of their own homes. The big upside to Patreon is that students can take the classes whenever it suits them and often as they like so watch this space as I bring this plan to fruition.

Don’t forget to like and subscribe and I will be back with an update and more photos soon. xx

Why We Write…

Why do we want to write?  Maybe you don’t want to write and I am an arse for making an assumption.  I am currently editing my first novel, Allison.  Due for release in December 2019.  It is a love and suspense story with the necessary love, heartbreak, romance, raging psychopath combo.

Nanowrimo, is making its way around again. I have a new story burbling away waiting to be unleashed.  It will be my third run and nano and as impractical as it may be to commit this time, I simply have to.

Allison was my first and I think it is about time I let her out of the drawer, polish her up and set her free to make way for a new adventure           

“The Road to hell is paved with works in progress.” Philip Roth

type writer

George Orwell said “Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness.  One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.”

While I don’t think of writing as a painful illness, it is certainly an addiction.  I often think that I will be driven mad if I fail to squeeze out the opportunities to write around the edges of my day.  My days are busy, but so is  my mind.  What a failed life I will live if I do not write the stories I have inside, the ones to come and to one day dust off the ones forgotten.  Nanowrimo ensures that I take time to write, to meet the challenge, to expel the story.

The true discipline for me is what comes after, the slow seemingly unending process of editing.  I am giving myself four weeks to complete a comprehensive line edit on Allison before sending her off to an editor, while I kick on with Nano.

I am looking forward to Nano, to finding out about my characters, listening to them and seeing their lives, however briefly, take flight across the white screen.  The joy of watching my story unfold makes it all worth while.

Wish me luck!

Pre-NaNoWriMo

October 27th and I am home alone while my husband and daughter are at a regional karate grading in Kalgoorlie.

I stayed behind recovering from flu, I probably could have gone but I would be the worst for it on our return. Two nights and a 7 hour car ride either way. No thank you. I made an executive decision days away from Nano that I want to get myself prepared.

It’s hard sleeping without my husband of 15 years so I tossed and turned most of the night. Stephen Fry helped lull me back to sleep via Audible reading ‘The Liar’ during my restless night. But in the word of Sting “the beds too big without you” anyhow sad sacking aside.

I am Turing my remainding 48 hours into a pre nano retreat. I plan to be hot and ready to plunge in on Nov 1st with Delilah!

I woke up and after returning to bed with a cup of tea continued reading Chris Baty’s No Plot, No Problem. (For anyone that doesn’t know Chris is the founder of NaNoWriMo, and I along with many others have him to thank for putting me on the right track and getting my novels written. You can find his books and lots of great merchandise here.   if you haven’t yet registered for this year’s NaNoWriMo you can do that here.

Writing along with any type of desk or similar repetitive work is bad for your body so I will begin my day with Yoga, more specifically a series of sun and moon salutations. It’s not that hard you don’t have to be flexible but you do have to breathe, see not so hard? If you would like to learn more about my Body Peace Yoga you can find information here.

Later I will walk our Annie to the local park. But first it’s breakfast and some note taking about my protagonist with a focus her image and voice both are now starting to form and I am getting excited!

My most important task this weekend, is clearing the decks. Getting the household chores up to date in an effort to ward off the inevitable writing procrastination.

Next I charge up my working away from home appliances which include a set of noise cancelling headphones, genuine Bose from a market in Bangkok, so yes I am sure they are just as the salesman said.  What a great bargain at only $40 Australian dollars.  Next is the handy Bluetooth keyboard I can attach to my phone.  Working with google docs allows me to write anywhere and instantly update my novel as I go.

Finally in a effort to set a calm, natural environment I am loading up the atomizer with Doterra’s Whisper Blend (you can pick up some here) a pure delight to the senses while I finish some final reading.  Occasionally my writing life all comes together.  These are the moments I love to nestle into.  Great things are on the horizon in the new year.

10 Hazards of NaNoWriMo

November is a trying month in our household.  Even with the best preparations things go awry.  I am only a week and 12,348 words in and already I have fought and struggled hard again these Nanowrimo inflictions.

  1. Typing so hard I broke my nails on both my little, and ring fingers so low to the quick that they now smart every time they hit the keys.
  2. Headaches!
  3. Forgetting regular things – like where I put a box of Karate equipment because my mind is literally wandering away with the plot.
  4. Losing the plot only to be led in a new direction by my lead character, who is turning out to be far less villainous than I had intended.  This could change? I don’t know and I am worried about that, but learning to let go, no still trying to let go but letting go is hard with white knuckles.
  5. Writing blog posts like this while waiting for the washer to finish because I know if I start writing words before then I will have to get up and sort it out and could lose my way.
  6. Wrist pain.  There is something about Nanowrimo writing that is unlike any other type of writing that I do.  There is an urgency to getting the words down before I have a chance to think too clearly.  I just want Delilah’s story to be told and she is in a hurry.
  7. Running out of Nanowrimo treats.  See picture.
  8. Arse getting fatter from too many Nanowrimo treats (thankfully no picture).
  1. Neck and should pain from too many intense hours at the computer.
  2. Obsessive, compulsive character driven disorder.  She is back!  I can hear Delilah’s voice again. Time to get my words down for today.  As soon as I check the letter box and sort the washing on.  Yes I hear you..

Good luck fellow nanowrimo’s!!

When November is finished I will be putting on my yoga teacher’s hat and sharing some information on dealing with those story induced body aches and pains on my other site BodyPeaceWriter.com.

NaNoWriMo Winner 2019

So yesterday on the 22nd November, I finished this years nano novel, yesterday I was in the zone and pumped out over ten thousand words in a twelve hour writing marathon.

The story came out faster than my arthritic hands could cope. But I did it. Such elation, a celebratory gin and tonic and I was done.

Delilah is printed and resting until edit time in the new year. I can’t wait to tear it open and polish her to perfection. I love this story. It’s of growth and adventure, it is about a women coming of age, of seeing the true light in her life during unusual and difficult circumstances.

I am so grateful to the team at nano for giving us writers an opportunity to take time out of our everyday lives and focus on our novels. This is my fifth year competing nano and I already have plans for next year’s novel.

I am grateful to my family for putting up with nano and letting me nap gratefully this afternoon when we get home from work.

My next task is editing Allison, due for release early 2020🙂

(First posted on VanessaMcKay.com 22/11/2019)

Scheduling Your Day for Writing… Simply.

Preparing:

Don’t try to remove obstacles- they will never be gone.

Do it first- even before you get dressed if possible.

Before the housework is finished. Take a leaf out of Sarah Millican’s book and just put the staff to work (dishwasher washing machine dryer) then ignore the housework.

Put your phone on ’do not disturb’ – Joanna penn has hers on do not disturb (me too but now and feels okay, friends have learned not to call me).

Make yourself a cuppa and write 45 mins and take a break, then do it again and again and again until you are done 🙂

An Isolated Disposition

Writers are often alone, we need to be alone, clear and silent with our projects, listening for our muse, our characters, our direction. Whatever it is that you as a writer listens out for, you need silence to hear it. That silence does not mean the absence of noise, perhaps you like music, storms, rain, birds, nature, cello? It is what you need to put up a veil between you and the busyness of the world around you. There is bliss in settling in to write, in stepping behind this veil.

An online dictionary describes isolated as the following:

isolated/ˈʌɪsəleɪtɪd/ Learn to pronounce adjective adjective: isolated

  1. far away from other places, buildings, or people; remote.”isolated farms and villages”synonyms:remote, out of the way, outlying, off the beaten track, secluded, in the depths of …, hard to find, lonely, in the back of beyond, in the hinterlands, off the map, in the middle of nowhere, godforsaken, obscure, inaccessible, cut-off, unreachable; Morefaraway, far-flung; in the backwoods, lonesome; in the backveld, in the platteland; in the backblocks, in the booay; informalunget-at-able, in the sticks; informaljerkwater, in the tall timbers; informalBarcoo, beyond the black stump; archaicunapproachable “railways are not flexible enough to be able to serve isolated communities”antonyms:accessible
    • having minimal contact or little in common with others.”he lived a very isolated existence”synonyms:solitary, lonely, companionless, unaccompanied, by oneself, on one’s own, (all) alone, friendless; More

So where am I? I long for the silence of my writing time, the soft rhythmic sound of the dishwasher humming away behind me while I write my first blog post on this new site. I am at my desk which is a dumping ground for the life that goes on around my writing and I often guiltily struggle to squeeze in my writing time around it.

There is an oddity to being a writer that I don’t believe other people understand. Who else would: sit in a coffee shop wearing noise cancelling headphones blocking out the chatter while scribbling furiously into notebooks; who else wakes in the dark of night to type words (that make sense only at that point in time) blurry eyed into evernote and who else truly believes a rainy day with nothing to do but outline a new story is bliss. That to be alone is bliss?

I love my family and enjoy spending time with them, my other work is very people orientated and I find it tiring, the introvert in me often silently cries for peace and quiet, then after some rest she wants me to pick up the pen or open up the computer and begin, she wills me to create, to put words out into the world, words she doesn’t want fame and recognition for. She just wants to write. It edges her a place in the world and yes perhaps gives credence to her self imposed isolation.

Isolation is only a problem if it makes you feel unhappy. I will list below some websites that offer great advice in this area. The online world of writers has been the best thing to ever happen to writers since the creation of the quill, don’t be afraid to reach out to positive influences. I find listening to The Creative Penn Podcasts an important part of my writing journey, so much of what Joanna Penn talks about resonates with me and inspires me to strive forward, start there and watch your writing world expand.

If your isolation is about more than your creative aspirations you can find more information at Lifeline.org.