A few people have asked me recently how my book is going so I thought I’d give you all a little update. It’s going…slowly. In terms of the actual book draft I’ve written just shy of 5,000 words but there has been a lot more writing, planning and plotting going on behind the scenes thank that. You see I’d spent so long procrastinating and having this idea for a book but not actually doing anything with it…and then I kept seeing all these memes and reading books and advice that said ‘just make a start’. So I did, I started. I tried to just start writing but I quickly realised that’s not the approach for me. I’m a planner. In every other part of my life I’m a planner; I make lists and research and organise things; so why would my approach to writing a book by any different? It shouldn’t be. So I’ve had to take a little step back, do a bit of planning, write some character profiles, do some plot planning…it’s a lot of work and I’ll be honest and say that a few times I’ve found myself a little lost but I’m not giving up. Instead, I think I’d like to try taking some classes or workshops to learn more and find some guidance. So if anyone has any recommendations for some good courses I’d love to hear them.
Writing a book is hard. Of course it is, or more people would do it. And I’m trying to find the balance; between staying motivated and not feeling pressured; because at the end of the day I’m doing it because I want to, not because I have to. So whilst it is hard work, it should also be fun.
Any writers out there with any advice, resources or tips on where to from here, I’d love to hear from you!
School holidays; I’d actually been really looking forward to it. Watching my boy grow so fast lately, I’ve realised just how much I miss spending our days today now that he is at school and I am back at work. So I was looking forward to it. And we had it all figured out. Hubby and I had managed to juggle our work days around so that we’d both get to spend some time at home with the little man. And then I went and got sick. Always seems to happen on school holidays doesn’t it? Today is day four of laryngitis and tonsillitis; no voice, a horrible cough, heavy headaches and just feeling all round crappy. Woe is me.
A trip to the doctors earlier this week confirmed that it is viral and there’s nothing to be done but rest. Day four and I’m over resting. I’ve been drinking lemon and honey drinks and downing Panadol like it’s going out of supply. And I miss my boy. My hubby and some good friends have done a great job at making sure he hasn’t missed out on the school holiday fun which I’m really grateful for, but also sad to be missing out myself. Yes, I’m aware it could be worse, I’m not dying, I will get better but I did warn you this was going to be self indulgent post so just excuse me whilst I sit here feeling sorry for myself. It’s hard to be sick when you’re a Mum. Woe is me.
I’m also aware this is probably my body’s way of saying slow down. It’s been a busy start to the year (is it really July already?!) With the little man starting school and my return to work, it’s been all systems go. I’m loving it, but it is busy and has been an adjustment for everyone. So, back to bed for some more rest I go and fingers crossed that I’m feeling better to enjoy the second week of school holidays.
Meanwhile, how are your school holidays going? And any suggestions for some shows on Netflix I could binge watch? After all that is probably the only good thing about being sick am I right?
I watched my son ride his bike without training wheels for the first time the other week. Off he went, full of confidence, like he’d been doing it all his life. Then on the weekend, he lost his first tooth. And it got me thinking about all the milestones he’s already achieved and all those yet to come. There are so many milestones that as a parent you will see your child reach. All the big firsts; crawling, walking, talking, first day at kinder and school, first tooth…the list goes on. But what about all those other milestones? The little ones that no one really tells you about but are just as important as those ‘big milestones’. If you’re a parent you can probably think of quite a few yourself, here’s what I’m talking about….
That moment when:
Your child can finally wipe their own butt themselves (without getting it halfway up their back). Man that’s a good day, am I right? Same goes for wiping their own nose.
Your child can now spell and you can no longer get away with spelling things out to your significant other in front of them when you don’t want them to know what you’re talking about. Last weekend I said to my hubby ‘how about we go to the z-o-o today?’ and the little man immediately jumped up and down ‘yay, we’re going to the zoo!’ Crap. Who knew he could now spell zoo?
They don’t want to hold your hand or hug/kiss you in public anymore. My son isn’t there yet so I’m hanging on for dear life while I can!
They get up by themselves in the morning and make their own breakfast. Again, my son isn’t there yet, not even close, I look forward to that day..and a sleep in.
They have their first trip to the hospital. It’s sort of like a right of passage that every parent inevitably has to go through and regardless of the reason, it’s always scary.
They can click themselves in and out of their car seat. Double bonus when they no longer even need a car seat!
You can leave them in the bath unsupervised. I love this. My son will now happily play and splash around whilst I’m in the next room cooking dinner on those nights when everything seems like a rush. Total time saver. The fact he sings the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles theme song on repeat at the top of his lungs lets me know he’s still above water ha!
What other little big milestones can you think of that really deserve as much credit as the big ones?
A couple of weeks ago, Lisa from The Art of Joy wrote a post titled ‘Keeping it Real- 10 Things I’m Afraid to Tell You’ I thought it was really brave of Lisa to share these things; she says she did it ‘in the spirit of vulnerability, connection and opening up the tough conversations’ and I love that. I found myself nodding along to a few of Lisa’s confessions and so I thought today I would share my own 10 things, and I love you to share some of yours, even just one thing, in the comments below. What real things are you afraid to tell other people about yourself?
I’m a fussy eater. I wish I wasn’t. I wish I liked a wider variety of food and was more adventurous with my cooking but I’m just not. I’m slowly getting better as I get older. Becoming a mum has made me want to be a better role model for my son.
I’m a bit of a home body and travelling makes me anxious, being far from home makes me anxious. But it’s something that I push myself to do because despite my fears I don’t actually want to spend my entire life at home.
I’m a bit OCD when it comes to having a tidy house. Everything needs to be straight, I don’t do clutter and the beds are always made.
I’m not sure I believe in God, I believe in something, I’m just not sure what. I do believe in ghosts, I’ve seen them.
I’ve started two university degress and finished neither…and I don’t regret it. The only brought me closer to what I actually wanted to be doing.
Ive never watched Game of Thrones or Orange Is The New Black and don’t really have any desire to. Are we still friends?
I’m claustrophobic. I will only get in an elevator if it’s totally necessary and even then, never alone. I will only stay in hotel rooms that have balaconies, it’s a non negotiable.
I’ve spent way too much of my time as a parent worrying about what other people think and questioning myself. I’m slowly getting better with this but still often feel the need to justify and explain myself when I really shouldn’t.
I carry a bottle of water and a pack of lifesavers in my handbag with me wherever I go. It’s my first line defence and safe guard against panic attacks.
13 Reasons: I’ve debated for a while about watching this but intrigue finally got the better me. There’s been much conversation and debate about this show that’s based on the story of a teenager who commits suicide. I’ve decided to watch it so that I can make up my own mind. I’m five episodes into the thirteen episodes so I’ll let you know what I think when I get to the end…I hear that the final episode is especially confronting. Have you watched?
This is us: Who’s hooked? I am. This show had me right from that brilliant twist in the very first episode. I feel like it’s all building to something, and of course we all want to know how Jack died (I still can’t believe he’s going to die). Any theories?
Small Great Things: Last month I finally found the time to sit down and read ‘Small Great Things’ by Jodi Picoult. Jodi is one of my all time favourite authors so I always have high hopes whenever she releases a new book. Jodi is renowed for always have some kind of big twist towards the ending and I have to say that was probably my only real disappointment in this book. For me, the ‘big twist’ lacked the usual punch and shock factor, maybe even seemed a little too neat, with everything tied up in a neat little bow at the end. But, having said that, I still thoroughly enjoyed the book and it held me captive right the way through.
Work Strife Balance:I’m going to be brutally honest and say I’ve never been a big fan of Mia Freedman (she seems to be the woman that other woman love to hate) but I didn’t really know why exactly. I don’t think I’ve ever actually even read anything on Mamamia before (not that I can remember anyway) but I do love her podcast No Filter; though I think that’s more about the subjects she interviews than Mia herself. Anyway, I decided I didn’t really know enough about Mia to judge so I picked up this book, a little intrigued to find out more. And you know what? I actually really, really enjoyed the book. There were funny bits and touching bits and even some uncomfortable bits. There were bits I couldn’t relate to and bits I couldn’t. But overall, I enjoyed it and I definitely feel like I know Mia a lot better now (as much as a total stranger can!) At the end of the day, she just another woman, another mum, trying to do the best she can, stuffing up a lot along the way; something which she openly admits. Have you read Mia’s book?
The Well: One of my favourite podcasts is finally back after a long break! I’ve talked about The Well here before; Rebecca Sparrow and Robin Bailey talk all things motherhood, friendship and life. And they’re back with a bang with the “when life pulls the rug out from under you” episode. Get on it people.
S- Town: Oh man, I could devote an entire blog post to this podcast (and I might just do that one day). Just seven episodes long I binged listened to the whole thing in a week. And then I couldn’t stop thinking about it. So I recommended it to a friend who I knew would enjoy it as much as I did so I had someone to talk to about it. If you haven’t listened to S-Town it’s hard to explain in too much detail without giving anything away. I can say this; it is quite unlike anything I’ve ever come across before. As my friend so perfectly put it in a late night text message after he’d finished listening “clocks, mercury and gold. A story about nothing and everything”. The story begins with a man contacting a journalist, Brian Reed (the creator and narrator of the podcast) informing him there had been a murder in his small town that had been covered up and asked him to investigate. In the end, that’s not really story at all….and that’s all I’m going to say. A little like Sarah Koenig’s commentary in Serial, you find yourself mesmerised by Brian’s voice and left wanting to hear more. Lucky for me I will be as my friend and I scored tickets to this event in Melbourne next month where we’ll get to hear Brian talk.
So, what have you been reading, watching and listening to lately?
They say that smell is one of the strongest links our brain has to memory and I totally agree. Ever noticed how sometimes, certain smells, are enough to transport you back in time, to a place or a person or an event. I can rattle off a whole bunch of different smells and what they mean to me like:
The smell of incense burning takes me to Bali, on holiday with my new husband, my sister, brother in law and niece who was one at the time (she’s now seven). It’s navigating the tiny, hectic laneways of Kuta on a hot, muggy day bartering for cheap shoes.
The smell of vinegar and hot water reminds me of my childhood, when my Mum would make my sister and I wash our long, blonde hair in vinegar once a week.
The smell of eucalyptus trees, a campfire burning or canvas takes me back to camping along the Murray when I was younger. It’s one of my all time favourite smells. My sister will tell you the same.
The smell of steaming plum pudding reminds me of my Grandma. She used to make it for dessert every Christmas. My sister and I hated it but would always ask for piece because she would hide one and two cent coins in it (they still existed back in those days). We would shuffle it around in our bowls with our spoons until we found the coins then promptly declare we were full.
The smell of coconut is summer.
Cuddly softener smells like my Mum and her house. Whenever my son comes home from a sleepover at Grandmas house I love to inhale the smell of his clothes. Even he will sniff it and say “this smells like Grandma”. I love that.
What smells transport you to a different place? What’s your favourite smell?
Have you ever heard the one that goes a little something like this:
There once was a man who used to pray to God every night that he would win tattslotto. He would get down on his knees, look up at the sky and beg God, please God please, let me win tattslotto. And then one night God answered. His big voice boomed down a reply from the heavens above and do you know what he said? Help me out here man, buy a ticket. Ha!
I’ve realised recently that I’ve had exactly the same attitude towards becoming writing a book. For as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to write a book and have that book published. But you see, to make that happen, I would first actually have to write a book. Seems obvious right? Well yes, it is, yet it’s something that I have yet to do, or even give a go really. I mean there was that one (rather feeble) attempt last year for NaNoWriMo but apart from that, my book has been nothing more than an idea, a dream, for many, many years.
So last week, I decided I’ve had enough of waiting, enough of the excuses (enough of praying to God if you will) it was finally time to take action and write the damn book. I announced it on social media; not because I wanted people to pat me on the back, say well done or offer any type of congratulations (though I did get that, which was lovely). No, I actually posted it for accountability. Because I know now that I’ve put it out there people might just ask me from time to time ‘hey, how’s that book of yours going?’ and I want to be able to give an answer that doesn’t entail me looking down at my feet, shrugging and offering some lame excuse as to why I have done anything about it.
Anyone who has read Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert would know of her theory about creative ideas having a life of their own. The concept being that ideas find their way and attach themselves to people and if you don’t do anything with those ideas they will move on to someone else. She provides a (quite amazing) story about this great idea for a book she once had that she began to research but then gave up on and never wrote. Years later, another author wrote that book. The exact same story she had planned to write. The concept of the book was very specific, very unique and Liz had never shared the idea; there was no way this other writer could’ve have ‘stolen’ or copied the idea. The thought of that happening to me and my book idea actually scares the crap out of me (wouldn’t I just kick myself if that happened) and has been the final motivation I needed to get started.
So yes, I’m writing a book and it turns out it’s nothing like the book I have always thought I might write. It’s a young adult (YA) fantasy/sci fi…I don’t even really read sci fi, it’s never particularly been my thing, yet there it is. I think I’ve tried for many ideas to ‘come up’ with an idea for a great book and it’s always felt a bit forced. But this one? Well it’s just like Elizabeth Gilbert says; it seems to have a life of its own and has just come to me, out of nowhere and it just keeps coming, shifting and shaping…and I’m excited to see where it takes me.
So yes, I’m writing a book.
What have you been up to lately? Ever attempted to write a book? Ever wanted to?
To celebrate International Women’s Day this year my work held a free screening of the documentary ‘Embrace‘ at our local cinemas. I had heard great things about it so decided to invite my sister and Mum along for a girls night out. The film is brilliantly done with a good balance of seriousness and humour. If you haven’t yet seen it, I highly recommend you do. I was a bit worried that the film might be a bit preachy, and to be honest, I was also a bit worried that I might not relate to it. Because here’s the thing, I’ve never had to battle with my weight in the traditional sense. I’ve never struggled with weight gain or trying to lose weight. But yes, I did still relate to the film, because even if I’ve never worried about being ‘too big’ I’ve certainly still had my fair share of body issues.
Case in point; I have a big nose. There’s no denying it, there’s no missing it, I have a big nose and I also have crooked teeth with pointy little fangs that a boy in high school once told me looked like I’d stuck two tic tacs to the top of my gums. I spent many years trying to perfect my smile without showing my teeth. It always looked awkward. And I’m naturally thin…oh yeah, I see you rolling your eyes sarcastically thinking ‘gee you poor thing’ but I can tell you that it was well into my mid twenties before I began to wear skirts or shorts due to being so self-conscious about my so called ‘chicken legs’. I was thirteen when a girl in my class began tormenting over those chicken legs, screaming out ‘anorexic’ across the courtyard every time she saw me. I quickly took to wearing pants, even on thirty plus degree days. That became a bit of a problem when I switchedto a private catholic school a few years later and school dresses were mandatory for girls during summer. I wore them long, under sufferance and great awkwardness. Skinny shaming is totally a thing; I cannot begin to tell you the amount of strangers that have told me I need to ‘eat more’ or ‘put some meat on my bones’ like they actually know how much I eat! Pretty sure they would never dare tell a larger person to eat less so I wonder why they think it’s ok to comment on my weight?
I know someone who commented that the Embrace movie was sending the message to people that it’s ok to be ‘fat and unhealthy’. Umm, no, that person totally missed the whole point! The point is ,health and weight are not synonymous. You can be considered a ‘bigger’ person and still be really healthy. You can also be thin and be unhealthy. It’s not about weight, it’s simply not. It’s about learning to love our bodies and being kind to ourselves. It’s about the things we say to ourselves and the messages we send to our kids. As Nora Tschirner (German actress) says in the film “My body is my home. It’s my soul’s mate”. So take care of it, love it, embrace it. I’m learning to.
Wednesday is usually my day for getting stuff done; it’s the one day of the week that I don’t have to go into the office and I’m kid free. Wednesdays for me usually involve working from home, doing the housework and washing, paying bills, going to the bank and the post office…you know all that boring grown up stuff that you don’t really want to do but needs to be done. But today? Well today I was totally self indulgent and I spent the whole day in bed reading. Hubby was home from work so he took the little man to and from school. It was cold and miserable outside so I cuddled up in bed with my heat bag and my latest read ‘first, we make the beast beautiful’ by Sarah Wilson. Hour later, I have emerged and I just need to share….
I’ve read many books on the subject of anxiety over the years but this one was different. The title and the cover grabbed me from the start, it promised to be ‘a new story about anxiety’ it really was.
As I was reading, there were parts of the book that I couldn’t relate to; Sarah’s life is (of course) quiet different to my own and she has done things I would never even dream of doing; from bungee jumping to taking off on week long hikes alone and living in a deserted shed in the woods for six months. Just reading about that stuff made me feel anxious. Nope, that’s not for me, because of course the control freak in me would never allow anything like that to happen! But there was so much in this book, and in Sarah, that I could relate to. I found myself nodding along furiously to parts wanting to yell “oh my god yes, this!”
By the time that hubby got home from running some errands I had flagged a whole bunch of pages that I wanted to read to him, which he lovingly let me do over lunch (bless him). There’s a part in the book where Sarah talks about how our loved ones can help us when we are feeling anxious or mid panic attack…
“Just be there when we wobble. Just stay. and be entirely certain and solid about doing so, even in the very convincing face of pushback and the frantic wobbliness from us. Your patience and calmness will exist in such stark contrast to our funk that we’ll start to feel silly and return to Earth. Our anxiety does pass.” Umm yes! I’m lucky that my hubby is actually pretty good at doing this. It’s why he’s the one I always want nearby when I’m feeling anxious. He’s great at staying solid and bring me back down to earth.
And this; “don’t confuse our need to control our environment with our need to control you”. Yep, we anxious folks are control freaks but it’s not that we want to control other people, we’re just doing our best to try and control everything else to prevent (gasp) the worst from ever happening. (Of course deep down we know that’s actually impossible, because if we could control that we’d be God!)
And I giggled out loud at the trueness of this one; “Never in the history of calming down has anyone calmed down from someone telling them to calm down”. In fact, it does the exact opposite…thankfully my husband learned this a long time ago!
There were so many other random and weird things that popped up throughout the book that I have always thought to be a ‘Sarah thing’ (me that is, not Sarah Wilson) but now wonder if it’s actually an anxious person thing. Like the fact that I just cannot relax at a day spa but I totally love those cheap and nasty, walk in and walk out, Thai massage places. The best! And why I sometimes like to sleep upside down in bed; putting my head where my feet usually are and vice versa (a trick I introduced to hubby years ago and he now also loves to try when either of us are having trouble sleeping). Or why I’m so bad at making decisions; Sarah explains this so perfectly in her book but I won’t delve into that here, it’s a little complex and I don’t want to give o away.
If you suffer from anxiety I highly recommend you grab yourself a copy of this book. Allow yourself to get swept away into the amazing, raw, yet ever wonderful world of Sarah Wilsons mind. You might just find some comfort in it.
So, as most of you would know, our little man started school this year and with that, I’ve been thrown into a whole new world (of course he has too, but let’s focus on me for a minute, it is my blog after all ha!) I’ve had to learn all about readers and golden words and assemblies and canteen ordering….and the list goes on. It appears school has changed a lot since I was there!
Anyway, I digress, what I really wanted to talk about today was a certain certificate that the lil man was recently awarded at school. ‘Perfect attendance for Term 1’ it read. He was also given a little badge to wear on his chest along with all the other kids in school that managed to show up to school each and every day of term one. Normally I’d be super proud of any award my son wins, but this one just doesn’t quite sit right with me. I get it’s intention, I get that many schools are struggling with poor attendance and some children have parents that just don’t seem to understand the importance of regular school attendance. But what about all those other kids? Those kids that maybe had a day or two off because they were genuinely sick? I feel as though they’re kinda being punished for that; they’re being told they’re less than perfect. Sure, they’re not coping the strap or anything drastic like that but I’ll bet they felt left out when the other kids their class got an award and they didn’t. It’s like saying they did something wrong just by being sick.
I don’t think my son really got it; he was rapt he got an award sure, but I’m not sure he fully understood what it was for. But he’ll eventually get to the age that he will and I hope that he doesn’t feel any pressure to go to school when he’s not feeling well just because he’ll miss out on a certificate (because I’m pretty sure there will be some kids out there who would do just that). And it’s not even just about sickness; what about holidays? Yes, kids get school holidays but not all parents do (case in point- my hubby and I). The reality is, we probably will choose to take our son on a holiday away from school holiday times because it’s ridiculously more expensive! Yep, I totally get school is important but I also think life experience and travel is just as important.
So, an award for perfect attendance…hmm, I’m just not sure about this one. I don’t know what the answer is and how we can encourage those families whose lack of school attendance is negatively effecting their kids, I just think it’s a more complex issue….or maybe I’m just over thinking the whole damn thing, who knows! I would really love to hear your thoughts on this one.