The Writing Process

The unit I am studying this semester is about being an author and getting published. Our first task is to read an essay by Lucy Neave about the different processes used by two writers: Sonya Harnett and Helen Garner. Their processes are very different from each other and I won’t go into that here, however, it made me think about what processes, if any, I use to write.

I haven’t written short stories or novels and not sure that I ever will. I have written about 700 blog articles though. I figure that must count for something. I wonder if I can make the move from blogger to writer! This unit of study may help me bridge the gap. The reading list below may be of interest to some … sorry the print is a bit small.

Readings list

So, how does a blog idea materialize? Some of my best ideas come when I am mindlessly doing household tasks like ironing or making beds. When I get the core of an idea, I write a few notes down near the computer so that I won’t forget. Once I have the core idea I start writing, knowing that it is a draft and if it doesn’t shape up, I can delete it.

Sometimes I find I need to do a little research to give a bit more substance to the idea. I will save a draft and look for relevant information or images that I can add to my blog. This process may happen a few times with the one blog. I don’t spend much time thinking about the grammar or punctuation but I do check to see if it sounds alright to me. I might make some amendments.

If I was to write a short story or novel I imagine I would need to develop the process further. Fortunately, the practice of blogging regularly means I don’t sit staring at a blank screen waiting for inspiration. I just write! Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Of course, I am not being marked for my blogging so there is not the same degree of pressure here.

So, please share if you have any processes that you use to help shape your writing. I would love to hear them 🙂

PS Not grumpy anymore!

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Grumpy …

Is there an acceptable way to be miserable? These past few weeks I have been feeling really moody under the surface but have been trying really hard to hide how I feel. Today I just feel like being honest about where I am at – and it is not a good space!

I have everything to be grateful for and nothing to complain about – except perhaps a desire for linking up with some people with similar interests. I get a lot of satisfaction from connecting with my online friends but sometimes it needs to be face-to-face.

I have signed up with a Creative Writing group  that commences meeting on 10 March – hopefully that will hit the spot :-).

I am trying to make the most of this stage of my life but I still feel redundant at times. To counteract this, I have been working on another blog about Baby Boomers at Encore Australia and looking at all the positive opportunities open to me and others my age.

Anyway, some nice flowers to brighten the day:

Keeping the creativity going …

I have been making a special effort to cook something different each week that I have never cooked before.

Tonight I am cooking RICE PORK LARB – click HERE for original recipe and instructions

INGREDIENTS

1.5 cups of jasmine rice, rinsed

I tablespoon of peanut oil

I tablespoon of chopped lemon-grass (I will have to see if my neighbour has some or I will be using a lemon!)

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

500g of pork mince

I red onion (I hope a brown one will do!), halved, thinly sliced

1/2 small pineapple, chopped

1/4 cup fish sauce

2 teaspoons of caster sugar (ordinary sugar will have to do!)

1 tablespoon of light, soy sauce

2 limes, juiced

12 small cos lettuce leaves (I only have iceberg lettuce)

1/3 cup of roasted peanuts, chopped

METHOD

1. Cook rice following absorption method on packet. Remove from heat. Cover and stand for 5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Set aside to cool.

2. Meanwhile, heat a wok (I don’t have one :-() over medium heat. Add oil, lemon-grass and garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add pork and cook, breaking up lumps with a wooden spoon, for 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Add a 1/2 cup of cold water. Simmer, uncovered for 5 minutes or until water is absorbed. Stir in onion and pineapple. Set aside to cool.

3. Place fish sauce, sugar, soy sauce and 1/3 cup of lime juice in a small bowl. Stir to combine. Add sauce mixture and pork mixture to rice. Stir to combine. Arrange lettuce on a platter. Spoon over rice mixture and sprinkle with peanuts before serving.

*** It was very nice 🙂

pork dish 001 (Copy)

Up close and personal

 

Many local “baby boomers” are taking part in a new four-year study on healthy ageing. I recently received a letter in the post inviting me to take part and I happily agreed to participate.

The State Government is contributing $1 million to the Busselton Population Medical Research Foundation Inc to conduct the study. The Foundation is working in conjunction with researchers from The University of Western Australia, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Edith Cowan University, Curtin University, Lions Eye Institute and Ear Science Institute of Australia.

18 February 2014 006 (Copy)

I had to fast from midnight and arrive at the facility at 7.30am this morning. The process started with a range of blood tests, including one for my DNA. Afterwards they provided me with toast and Vegemite for breakfast, then on with lots more tests.

I was there for three hours in total and there wasn’t a minute where I wasn’t being tested for one thing or another.

The study hopes to include about 4,000 people. There are around 7,000 “baby boomers” living locally but not everyone wants to take part in research. From my point of view, it was a great opportunity to get a comprehensive medical check-up for free!
Researchers are investigating factors related to:

  • Obesity, nutrition and physical activity
  • Heart and blood vessel disease
  • Stroke and disability
  • Dementia and mental disease
  • Respiratory and sleep health
  • Physical function
  • Spinal pain
  • Hearing loss
  • Vision loss

Media references from the original press release in 2009.

Jennie Hui (Busselton Population Medical Research Foundation)  (+61 4) 11 233 458
Janine MacDonald (UWA Public Affairs)  (+61 8)  6488 5563  /  (+61 4) 32 637 716

Weekly Photo Challenge: Treasure

When I got up this morning I came across my little teddy bear that my Mum gave me many years ago. I spent a few moments just looking at it and remembering her.

I used to collect teddy bears of all shapes, sizes, textures and colours. My Mum wasn’t one for collecting pretty things. I remember she hated ribbons on dresses and used to cut them off! So I was very surprised one day when I was visiting her and she gave me this little knitted bear. She said, ‘I saw this, and thought of you.’

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It isn’t the prettiest bear, but the fact that Mum thought of me and bought it for me, makes it a real treasure in my eyes.

PS I still have my bear collection and have been tempted to give them away on many occasions but I can’t bring myself to part with them 🙂

To Sleep or Not to Sleep …

Today, or I should say, tonight, I am having a sleep study.

I am not a good sleeper and have been known to SNORE (so I am told :-)) THRASH about and GASP in my sleep. I am required to go to Sleep and Snore Solutions and get wired up (see below) and then go home and sleep!  I return to get unwired tomorrow. Should be interesting 🙂

Sleep study 1

O sleep, O gentle sleep, nature’s soft nurse, how have I frighted thee, that thou no more wilt weigh my eyelids down, and steep my senses in forgetfulness.
William Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part II, Act III, sc. 1
sleep study 2

My cooking adventures

Each week I am trying a new dish that I have never cooked before. This is what I cooked today!

TASTE OF HOME – Click on the link below for the web version of the recipe

Best Veal Scallopini

Veal 001 (Copy)

Ingredients

  • 2 veal cutlet (about 4 ounces each)
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 pound fresh mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley

Directions

  • Flatten cutlets to 1/8-in. thickness. In a resealable plastic bag,combine the flour, salt and pepper. Add veal; seal bag and shake to coat evenly. In a skillet, heat 2 tablespoons butter and oil. Add veal; cook over medium heat for about 1 minute on each side or until juices run clear. Remove and keep warm.
  • Add mushrooms to skillet; cook and stir for 2-3 minutes or until tender. Spoon over veal. Stir broth into skillet, stirring up any browned bits. Add parsley and remaining butter; cook and stir 2 minutes longer or until slightly thickened. Pour over veal and mushrooms. Yield: 2 servings.

I served the veal with mashed potato, silver-beet (from my garden), Brussels sprouts and carrots.