novel

Writing goals 2018 and a question, dear readers…

 

Welcome to 2018! I’ve found it was useful to talk about writing goals at various points in the past so this is my housekeeping/ looking forward/ looking back blog for the year. Partly for my own reference but I’ve also got a question for you guys!

Housekeeping: I was really pleased to finish #26Cantons52weeks in the allotted time. I made a snazzy (sort of) homepage for it here: https://clairevetica.wordpress.com/26cantons52weeks/

I’ve also updated my About me page and added a new pic.

Taking stock: according to my submissions document, in 2017 I had 32 rejections and 4 acceptances. They say you should aim for 100 rejections per year so I only got a third of the way there. Partly this is because I only have about 6 hours ‘writing time’ per week but mostly because I really slowed down on sending submissions for various reasons, including making a decision not to pay for any submissions/reading fees/competition entries. Three acceptances were short stories, one is a poem that’s still in the pipeline. I love my poems but I guess in general the lit journals don’t? Or maybe I’m too impatient and I just publish all the best ones here 😉

My writing plans for 2017 were as follows

  • have a reasonable first draft of the novel by mid-year to give to early readers to feed back on – Not even close, I’ve barely touched my novel, although I did have a brainwave for a new start the other day, watch this space
  • (self-?) publish a chapbook of poetry and/or publish or contribute to a book of short stories –  The more I think about this, I don’t think I’m ready yet. I need to keep writing poems and consider themes etc.  before I go there.
  • record more poems – let’s say 6. At least one every two months – I achieved this and more, yay! Check out my soundcloud
  • perform some poetry live to an audience at least once (eek!) – haven’t made much headway here 
  • make a bit of money off my creative writing (ie: non-journalism) – not so far, still hopeful! 
  • get at least five pieces published in places that are not Claire-controlled: journals etc. – I made this target, if I include my upcoming poem and this writeCon writeup I had in The Woolf 
  • And I finished the #26Cantons25Weeks project. Woo hoo! As I say in the Woolf story, it was a valuable lesson to learn from Diccon Bewes about the amount of work it would take to potentially spin a project such as this into a book. Food for thought…

Writing goals 2018

I’m at a point where I really need a paid job. Both for myself and due to family circumstances. So I’ll be focusing on that for the next couple of months, which will mean less blogging. At this stage, I’ve had to be a bit tough with myself and decide I won’t even think about novel writing, short stories or poems too much while I focus on the job-hunt. It’s make or break time.

I’m sure a few poems will pop out, and maybe some travel stuff, but I need to give myself permission not to feel bad about putting my creativity on hold (sob!) to focus on finding work. And unfortunately, due to some travel in April, I won’t be able to participate in GloPoWriMo global poetry month this year either. 😦

Otherwise from that, I guess my goals remain much as above… I will revisit it all in May.

 

A few other bits and pieces:

  • I have created a Facebook author page if you want to ‘like’ me on there. It is mostly just publicising my blog posts at this stage but hoping to share a few articles and maybe have more writer-type discussions there. https://www.facebook.com/clairedoblewriter/
  • I’ve started using Twitter a bit more and I’m @Carabosse there

 

 

AND FINALLY…

I made this poll a while back and never published it. I was going to ask you, my readers, what you would you like to see in the next, say, six to twelve months, from Clairevetica?

Since this is mostly a place for me to write whatever, I don’t promise I’ll actually follow your advice. But it would be nice to know what some of you think!

Please feel free to pm/ speak / email me with your thoughts as well

 

 

Thanks for reading!

 

Cheers, Claire

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Writing for my life / Fighting for my life

 

This is going to sound melodramatic (but hey, you know me, right?). I realised today that I’m currently fighting for my life.

I don’t have cancer, nor am I trapped in a nuclear bunker or anything (although I’m pictured in one above!) But these past few months I’ve been urgently writing a novel. I say urgently because it FEELS urgent at the moment. My motivation? This is my Eminem-style one-shot moment. OK – so again, I’m not struggling along on Eight-Mile, I live in Zurich, Switzerland, of all places! But, while I’m in this position where myself and my little family are stable, relatively happy and secure, we currently have no paid employment (although we have some income). We are trapped, even if quite pleasantly, in a situation where we can’t do anything major such as buying a house, or even moving to a different rented flat, nor plan a large overseas holiday such as a trip back to Australia. We don’t know what will happen in the next 12 months and everything’s in stasis. Well not entirely in stasis. Because, in some ways, I’m busier than ever.

I’ve talked about writing a novel for years. Who hasn’t? But this particular time is one of the few moments in my life I’ve actually had the space, and kinda the right headspace, to go for it. And I’ve been going for it like the clappers. I’ve pounded out 70,000+ words in about three months (part of it during November’s NaNoWriMo). A rough draft of the book is finished. I wouldn’t call it a “first draft” yet – that, to me, would imply something I could hand over to a few, very kind, first readers. This thing I’ve produced is a mess with notes and loose ends and chunks that will need to be completely trashed and possibly whole sections still to be written. And yet, IT IS DONE.

I haven’t made a big fuss about completing and I’ve been questioning myself as to why. I tell you, it’s because I’m fighting for my life and the battle is far from over. I’m about a year off turning 40. Therefore I’m looking down the barrel of another ~30 years of “career” after having completed a shade over 20 years of working up until now. I cannot think of anything I’d rather do – that I actually can do – than write for myself and get paid and maybe become a Rockstar poet. I’m waging my own personal war towards achieving both those things right now because if it doesn’t get happening in this short, sweet lull in my life, I honestly don’t think it ever will.

So there you go. I’m in a frenzy. I’m working hard but it’s all for my own ends. I’m doing what I love. I’m happy. I’m a ball of anxiety. I’m lonely. I’m content. I’m completing pieces of work and kicking goals like a mofo but I’ve barely even reached Base Camp on Everest at this stage. There is no time to stop and pop the Champers (Oh, OK maybe just a little…) Because I’m writing for my life. Please wish me luck.

I don’t usually say this – but if you enjoy my blog and poetry, please chuck me a like or a follow – I really appreciate it.  I’m also trying to wean myself off my horrible, sickeningly near-constant use of Facebook so if you wish to keep up with my exploits, this blog will be a good place to do so!

A couple of late-breaking links – right after I wrote this, I saw this article on How Your Novel Will Save The World and this wonderful Mary Oliver poem “Going Deeper”, which basically cover the same ground. You can only save yourself.

No Borders

No Borders. Photo: Claire Doble

 

No borders

Sans Frontières

Ohne Grenzen

 

Let there no more be

Criminals of geography

Set them free

Those refugees

Is that Anarchy?

 

Let no more customs taxes

Be used as palm-waxers

But patch the cracks

Where company fat

Lurks in loopholes instead of mending train tracks

 

Human beings being

Disallowed for fleeing

Government regimes

Punished twice it seems;

they didn’t want to leave

 

Open the gates, cut the cord

Move free, back and forward

Stifle stupid laws

Smash established orders

No borders

 

Here’s one I prepared earlier… I wrote this poem a while back and tried submitting it to a few poetry journals. However, no one wanted to publish it (for various reasons) so here ’tis. It’s also a little something to keep Clairevetica ticking over as I’m doing NaNoWriMo this month so I won’t have a lot of time for blogging! Plus, I needed to use this perfectly-suited photo I took. Hope you enjoy it, and wish me luck on my emerging novel. Oh, my novel? A feminist sci-fi set in post-apocalyptic Switzerland, thanks for asking!

The Fall

Autumn in Zurich Feeling a bit sad lately for various reasons. But not depressed. It’s full-blown autumn now and I’m finding myself slightly dreading the winter months of cold and dark weather and being stuck indoors. Which is kind of crazy because last year’s winter was actually pretty magical with all the snow. And this year, I’m not even pregnant, which basically sucked last winter. There were lots of blue skies too, although people have told me that’s quite unusual for Zurich.

A freelance job ended recently and it was a bit of a shock. I’m mostly relieved, because the work really wasn’t compatible with my family commitments. But still, it was a rather abrupt and unexpected finish that left me flailing a bit.

It was also a bit annoying because after my recent post musing on work v. German classes had helped me decide I should focus on the German, it turned out the classes I was interested in were booked solid! And then I thought even more about it and figured starting childcare and German all at once would put too much pressure on not just me but the family so I’d decided to leave it for a few months and focus on work. Luckily I have other bits and pieces to do.

My baby is 9 months this week and I’ve just this morning dropped him off at a casual daycare, which should give me a bit of a breather… I thought it would be easier leaving the second child. And it is, in a way. On the other hand, it’s somehow more devastating.

I’m also sad because October is the month I’m usually off to Australia – for the past four years I’ve visited my homeland in October-November. I may have slightly talked myself into this one but it doesn’t stop the fact that… ARrrgghhh!!! I could-should-would be getting on a plane right now!! Instead of golden leaves and crisp breezes, I would have a lilac sea of Jacaranda in soft Sydney springtime. Not to mention the sea itself – that sparkling blue-green ocean, set off by tawny beaches and buff cliffs of Sydney sandstone. And now Facebook is showing memories of me out on the town with my two besties/bridesmaids… Oh, my heart.

Besties

Homesickness can take some funny forms though. Out of the blue recently, I got a craving for Iku macroburgers. These meatless mofos were a delicious treat, best eaten when one was hungover or equally ravenous! Anyway, after a bit of frantic googling, I decided to have a crack at making my own. The Iku website lists the ingredients for the tofu fritters, but has no recipes – however I found this approximation on Billie Bites and, with a few modifcations it came up a treat (couldn’t find Aussie-style brown rice, and wanted to include umeboshi vinegar, not that I could find the stuff in Zurich!) I also found a recipe for the steamed buns but since I am not a breadmaker and it would involve purchasing special equipment (ie: steamer) they will have to wait for another day. If ever. My homemade Iku-style tofu fritters and tahini sauce, on a bun and with salad, while not a dead-match, is close enough to quite vividly recall the real thing. Yumm. I was going to post pics but a) They don’t look that amazing and b) I didn’t take any – too busy eating.

Plus there was a mystic ipod moment – while eating them, my ipod on shuffle threw out Crowded House (Weather With You), Cat Power and AC/DC… I dunno, sometimes things just come together.

Now I’m also wondering if it’s time to really have a crack at that novel? There’s so many ideas floating around in my head. My biggest problem is picking one to stick to and then fleshing it out with, hey, actual story, plot, characters (rather than just fancy turns of phrase). I guess now we’ve started this childcare, I might even have time for that too…

Sometimes, I think Autumn is my favourite time of year. The turn of season and the bite of the wind feels like there’s so many exciting possibilities, with that all-so-important dash of melancholy or nostalgia that seems to produce the best art – stir the creative juices. I hope I can capture that feeling and not be too sad as the days close in this year. Maybe I need to also book a plane ticket for Sydney at some point. I don’t know if I can wait until 2017!