Writer’s Journey with Vicky Adin

Today I have historical author and genealogist, Vicky Adin sharing her creative journey as a writer. Thank you for sharing your love of history and writing Vicky.

What, where, why?

Two separate incidents started me thinking this week. The first was a post by Nora Roberts on “Here’s how I work”.after she became embroiled in an appalling plagiarism mess involving 85 books and 36 authors. That alone is bad enough, but the fallout generated questions surrounding her methods, output and honesty. Nora took to the web to explain herself. I find it sad she feels she has to justify herself at all, but I was extremely interested in her methodology.

Now, in no way do I wish to compare myself with Nora Roberts, but I was pleased to read she, too, spends time ‘staring into space’ and ‘looking stuff up’. I wonder if that is a common trait among authors? I write historical fiction and I ‘stare’ and ‘look things up’ all the time, and while she didn’t use the word pantser, she starts at the beginning and keeps going until she reaches the end, which is also what I do.

In contrast, I tend to re-read what I wrote yesterday, fiddle with it a little bit if something jumps out that says ‘fix me’ and then I carry on. I let the story unfold in my head as I write or sometimes the characters have to have their say about the directions I’m taking. When I’m writing (and I don’t produce more than one book in a year) then I write every day solidly. While the book is away being edited, I work on the marketing and promotion. No-one, it seems, can sell books without a profile and it takes work to keep up that profile and books before the readers’ eyes. Once the editing stage is complete and the book released, then it’s back to writing again. There’s always a new story to delve into.

Which leads me to the other aspect of my writing I often get asked about. Where do I get my ideas? For me, that is easy. I’m a genealogist. I love digging into the past, searching through records, and reading old newspapers online. From that, an enormous number of ideas pop up. Tiny snippets of information will lead to a whole story line. A job – lacemaker, sugar boiler, costume maker, journalist, soldier – can often become the starting point. Other times, it’s the location: Ireland, Wales, Cornwall, but I always end up in New Zealand. On one occasion I found an article about the discovery of a long, lost painting by a Cornish artist hidden behind another painting. The research into the art world of the time was fascinating, and when I discovered links to New Zealand, the story fell into place.

My wonderful husband recognises when I’m in the zone and doesn’t disturb me other than to bring me coffee or wine (depending on the time of day) until I’m back in his world again. Often when we are driving anywhere, silence descends as my mind drifts off into whatever world or era I’m writing about at that time. I do an enormous amount of research to ensure the facts are correct and then wrap the stories of everyday life around the events of the time.

I love history, I love people and I love writing. I love my job. It’s a perfect combination.

Vicky

A fan of historical novels since her teenage years, Vicky Adin writes New Zealand based stories about the tribulations and successes of the people creating history as it happened. As a genealogist, she uncovers some amazing stories of fortitude and endurance and of love and hope. She combines her love of research and writing to weave together family sagas in a way that brings the past to life. Her books vary in format from dual-timeline. She waits for the characters to tell her how the story will unfold. Married to her greatest supporter and best friend for nearly five decades, Vicky has two children and four grandchildren. She holds a MA(Hons) in English and Education and enjoys travelling – especially caravanning and cruising; the opposite of experiences. Her writing has been compared to Catherine Cookson’s stories. Check out her website, books on Amazon, Goodreads, Kobo, facebook, and Instagram.

 

 

 

Creative Journey with Louise

Today I have a special guest, Louise Lyndon sharing her incredibly creative journey, from nail decorating, to writing, to making journals (which are stunning!), and how that has nurtured her. She’s one very talented lady. Thank you for sharing your journey Louise.

I’ve always been creative. In fact, in my family, for as long as I can remember, I’ve been known as the ‘creative one’. And I wore that title proudly. After all, I love using my imagination. I love to create – be it characters in a story I’m writing, nails I’m painting, or journals I’m making. I didn’t think much of that title because being a creative is who I am. It’s in my blood. Louise's notebook.jpg

However, I never realised, until recently (perhaps in the last five or so years) that being creative, at least for me, is so much more than producing an end product. It’s been a lifeline. It has saved me on so many different levels. You see, I have bipolar type 2 disorder. My illness is characterised mainly by depressive moods. While I am on medication (which helps) I also must help myself. I need to find ways to ‘get out of my head’ and break the cycle of negative self-talk that often fills my head. I’ve tried everything – yoga, meditation, keeping a positive list. The only thing that seems to work is sitting down and occupying my hands (and mind) by creating something. It allows me some breathing space, some downtime. And not only does it quiet the talk in my head while I’m doing a project it remains quiet often for days, sometimes months.

Handmade journal.jpgA little while ago I asked my mum could she remember when she started to see the ‘creative’ in me (aside from the usual finger painting toddlers do!). She nodded and said, ‘Just after your father died.’ I was four. So perhaps, without ever realising it, I’ve always used creativity to get me through some of my darkest moments.

Louise grew up in country Victoria, Australia, before moving to England, where for sixteen years she soaked up the vibrancy of London and the medieval history of England. She has since returned to Australia and now lives in Melbourne. In 2013, Louise won first prize in the Crested Butte Sandy Writing contest – Historical category for her story, The Promise, which is now called, Of Love and Vengeance. When not writing, she can be found either covered in mud, crawling under barbed wire and hoisting herself over twelve foot walls, or up to her elbows in vintage paper, glue, and ribbon handcrafting journals. Check out her books and handmade journals.

Missing Goals

I missed my writing goal the other day. I wanted to write 5k, but I didn’t make it. Right at this point it was easy to get down that I missed my goal. I didn’t hit my target. I’m now behind. There’s a big but coming here.

But…

How does the situation look if I focus on what I did do? That day I managed to write 4k. And that is a pretty good effort for me at the moment, because the other thing to remember is to take in to account other factors which influence how much I write. Life needs to be lived, and it’s natural for it to get in the way of writing. Sometimes it’s best not to fight this, and to go with the flow, and work with what you’ve got. Writing this many words in one day was a fantastic effort. And this is most definitely a silver lining. Sometimes it doesn’t matter if a goal is missed, as that can create a negative mindset. By focussing on what I did manage to write, I know that the story has progressed, and I’m closer to finishing.

There is a bigger picture, to always keep in mind too. They day before I wrote 6k, when my goal was 5k. So, I can sort of pinch the 1k from the previous day and use it today, and remind myself that I’m on track.

It’s helpful to be mindful like this to ensure that I don’t get down when writing, thinking I can do more. Or getting hung up on the 1k I didn’t write today. Especially when I went 1k over yesterday – and even if I hadn’t. When that happens, it’s too easy to translate into a writing block, and then no words are written. Being mindful means that I’m thinking positive. I avoid creating a block for myself, and I keep on writing. Plus, no matter the word count, the story is being written, and that is what ultimately counts.

Then the next day, I wanted to write 5k, but I only wrote 2k. Life did get in the way that day. On paper, I’m behind in my writing goal, but really, overall, in three days I’ve written 11k, and I’m cruising towards the half-way point – those 2k helped to push that bit closer. And I could only write those 2k because I had a positive mindset.

It’s easy to get down about missing a goal, but what’s achieved during the process can be a silver lining.

Lilliana

My Creative Processes ~ Bob Goodwin

Today, I have guest writer Bob Goodwin, giving us some insights on how the creative process works for him. Thank you for sharing your writing journey Bob. And I agree, wine isn’t such a good influencer on writing, but coffee is!

 

My Creative Processes

by Bob Goodwin

Some writers have a regular highly organised routine. I know writers who cannot do anything between certain hours on certain days as this is exclusively their writing time. For me, I am disorganised – any day, anytime on different devices at any place I happen to be. I have lean periods when I write very little for weeks at a time, then I write every day for just as long.
I often like to walk around aimlessly when thinking about a plot twist or a new character. If anyone was watching they think I needed treatment!
I do have a few writing dislikes – no closed-up rooms – at the very least I want to see out a window. After 10 pm my creative brain wants to do some creative dreaming. TV must be off, but music can be on, not too loud, and this can at times be inspiring. While I enjoy a red wine from time to time, I know that alcohol and half-decent writing do not mix! On the other hand, a good coffee is always welcome.
My somewhat disturbed brain gets lots of ideas from different sources. My past 35 years in mental health has been a major contributor. People watching is something I find intriguing, and I find myself making up macabre stories as I look around. Looking at the ocean never tires me – this is uplifting and stimulating. As hinted to above, my dreams also aid my creativity. They can, at times, be very disturbed and gruesome – of nightmare quality. Yes, they do wake me up, which is good because I can then remember them. Over many years they have happened so much that I am now able to quickly reset my brain and settle back to sleep.

Bunya Mountains
This is my holiday house at the Bunya Mountains – great walks – amazing wildlife – wonderfully motivating

While I have written some drama and comedy, my main genre is suspense thriller fiction and I am currently editing novel number 5. The last are a trilogy. Finishing book 5 was quite an emotional experience, more so than any other. Farewelling characters that I have spent several years with was harder than expected!
I have also written many one act and short plays, screenplays and short stories. My website is http://storiesandplays.com/
A big thanks to Lilliana for inviting me to prattle along on her blog.

Bob Goodwin was born in Nottingham, England and moved to Australia when he was 7 years old. He has spent over 35 years working in various areas of mental health – including Psychiatric Institutions, Mental Health Inpatient Units, Community Mental Health Services, Mental Health Rehab & Residential facilities and Telephone services for Mental Health Triage.

Bob started writing in 1987 and, aside from his novels, he has written several One Act Plays, short plays, feature length screenplays and short stories. Bob is an independent author and has self-published 4 novels thus far – the 5th is just around the corner! Bob has an active family life with 7 children, 14 grand-children and one great granddaughter.

Snatching Time to Write

Sometimes when and where I write isn’t planned. Today, I did my usual writing (which was actually editing today), then while at the shopping centre I went and did a few jobs. During this time, bubs well asleep. A deep sleep. One which I was very reluctant to wake him from, even though by this time I was more than ready to go home, and I was tired and not at all inspired to write.

cafe while bubs sleeps.JPG

I listened to my gut, which was to go sit at another café, and to write. I’m glad I did. Because even though I was tired, I managed to write quite a bit. A lot actually. So it was a very satisfying session as I hadn’t planned writing this book today. And I wasn’t visited by the muse. It was all about me using the time that unexpectedly came available.

writing inspiration at the beachWhen I got home, I decided some fresh air was in order, so I got bubs back in the pram, Kimba on the lead and off we went to walk along the beach. During this time my mind started composing an abstract I had worked on at the first café. Suddenly my thoughts were ordered. So I sat on a bench and wrote them in my phone capturing the essence. Was this the muse? Maybe or maybe not. I think it was more to do that I had worked on the abstract this morning and so it was in the forefront of my mind. Then while walking, my subconscious pushed forward the suggestions I needed.

So for a day which was going to be a bit unproductive writing wise, turned out to be very successful. Only because I was open to snatching time to write. This is the writer’s journey, going with the unexpected.

Lilliana

No Ink!

I can’t believe this happened! I’m usually so organised, especially when it comes to pens. And when writing with a fountain pen, there’s a little more to consider like having spare ink cartridges. There’s nothing more frustrating than running out of ink when writing, more so when I’m in the flow.

So I couldn’t believe it when I went to change my ink cartridge, to find that the spare was indeed used, empty! I can see the funny side to all of this. And as much as it pained me, I switched over and used another pen – not the look I like in my journal, but it really doesn’t matter. Now, I do have a fresh ink cartridge in my handbag, ready to go.

 

Lilliana

Pomegranates

For various reasons I stopped art class for a few months, just sometimes there are other things which need attention. I’ve returned to art classes for the three lessons at the end of the term to complete the Intermediate level.

The usual block wasn’t there for me. I wasn’t feeling as critical towards my art or self-conscious or worried whether or not I’d create a mess or not. I even went straight into a small painting of a pomegranate, no sketching beforehand, just marking out the outline with a paintbrush and a little watered down Alizarin red. I’ve never done anything like that before. I wasn’t nervous, critical or even doubting myself. I stepped up, and outlined in paint, then I got painting. What had changed?

pomegranateMaybe I feel a little more familiar with drawing and painting. I wasn’t attached to the outcome, because I wasn’t trying to be perfect first up and I wasn’t trying to produce a masterpiece. All I wanted to do was to finish this small painting in one lesson as best I could.

Reflecting on how I felt, I also noticed that I was more connected to my art, just as it came out, just as it was. I wasn’t tyring to force the process, but simply be. Without being critical about my art or doubting myself I could also be more connected to it, find the flow and let it out in whatever way that was going to be.

It was a more harmonious process. It was refreshing not to have an internal tug of war with myself. This particular art class marked a turning point in my painting journey. Before I was so out of my comfort zone, but now less so to the point where I could begin to enjoy myself and not be crippled by fear and doubt.

This was also the first time I’d been more aware of this change during a creative journey. In the past I’ve not been so self-aware. By being self-aware of the process I can ensure I repeat this positive outcome in the future when trying new writing projects or any new creative project. my painting

And of course it’s a gentle reminder to keep persisting.

Has there been a time when you were completing a creative project and you noticed a shift in how you connected with your art? Please share below.

Lilliana Rose

rose clipart

www.lillianarose.com

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In a year from now…

First day of holidays and it’s time for self reflection and thoughts of the future.

It’s hard to think what my life will be like in a year’s time, but I do know that it will be very different from now. I look forward to sealing the letter and opening it in a year’s time. I wonder how much will have come true? And if I care if it hasn’t? Will something better have happened in my life?

I’ve also taken the time to write a letter to myself about the highlights of this year so far. There have been a lot. It will be a joy and perfect reminder to also open this letter in a year’s time to remind me how much I’ve traveled, to show how far I’ve journeyed, and that I have grown even though at times it might not feel like it.

Time for some dreaming as I write.

Lilliana Rose 🌹

www.lillianarose.com