There is just one thing to ask when we identify as writers- when will we feel comfortable doing so? How many books or articles do we need to have published before we can say confidently ‘I am a writer’? I have heard published authors confessing that they still didn’t feel like writers.
Liz Byrski for example had published several non- fiction books and was a successful journalist, as well as being an ABC radio co host. It was a comment from her then husband that spurred her into writing fiction. When she said she had published books, his reply was allegedly ‘yes, but they’re not the right books.’
As far as I know he wasn’t a writer, but he certainly was a critic. She needn’t have listened, she could have said ‘I ‘m fine, I’m happy with what I do, Its paying the bills,’ but when your nearest and dearest speak, you tend to listen.
We writers are sensitive souls, we struggle with fear to put words onto the page. The fear of being exposed as stupid, not clever enough, odd, strange and all those other critical things we say to ourselves and are afraid that others will say to us too.
Is this why we want to have written, but procrastinate about writing? If there is nothing on the page then there is nothing to criticise, but equally there is nothing to praise, nothing to improve, nothing to challenge us to do more and to do it better.
Are we waiting for a sign from the universe?
Folks this is it – here is your sign-
Write with pen and paper, write on your I-pad, write in a notebook, jot notes and observations while you are out or sit at home with your laptop or desktop computer and simply write without restraint, without fear of criticism. Let the words flow and deal with the overflow, later.
Would you go into a relationship knowing that it had to end?
* How about if you knew that one of you were going to die?
* What if you even knew the likelihood of which of you it would be?
* Could you still commit wholeheartedly to the relationship?
By now most people are probably shaking their heads and saying “No, no way”.
Yet this is exactly what pet lovers do when they decide to share their home with a companion animal.
People have animals for many reasons – Practical reasons such as to boost their security, or the need for a working animal, such as a farm dog.
For others, it is as simple as an animal in distress or turning up in need of a home. Others choose to have a particular breed of pet – “We’ve always had West Highland Terriers” – feeling an emotional link to a specific breed.
Pet Lovers Form an Emotional Bond with their Pet
The strong emotional bond that some of us share with our pets, and the feelings of grief and loss when our beloved pet dies. It is unrelated to the cost of the animal.
Moggies are mourned as much as pedigrees. Mutts are missed with as much intensity as the Champion of the Breed.
For us, our companion is a champion, whatever others think.
What matters is the expressive bond and the feeling of closeness. Here is a confidant who will never break that trust. Here is someone who is always pleased to see you, who thinks that you are tops.
While animal lovers often have more than one pet, each animal has a different yet totally unique bond with its owner.
Our Pets are not Interchangeable
When my beloved cat Midnight was killed, others suggested I get another cat.
It is not that simple.
Yes, cats of all kinds need homes, but cats and dogs are not interchangeable any more than people are. I was in deepest mourning; a unique family member had died. Nothing in my world would ever feel the same again.
My life held a Midnight-sized space, as the fabric of daily routine wove on. The gaps were evident and poignant.
Classic Stages of grief
I went through the classic stages of grief – including denial and anger. No one seemed to comprehend that I would not “get over it”. Indeed if “getting over it” meant forgetting Midnight, then I did not want to get over it.
Few would be so insensitive when dealing with a human death. It is many years since Midnight was killed. I still think of him often, even find his name on my lips. He was irreplaceable, and although I was tempted from time to time by thoughts of a black kitten, I knew that it would be unfair to both of us. You cannot be what you are not, I could not take a kitten and expect it to behave and interact as Midnight had.
Midnight was a jet-black tomcat, estimated at about three years when he strolled into my life. He was solid muscle and power but possessed a gentle nature. Soon, he became my shadow, following me to neighbours if I went visiting. He waited to accompany me home. His miaow had many different tones for greeting, food, milk, and chat. He was never a lap cat whilst indoors. It was different in the garden. There he would perch on, and overhang my knee, all the time purring loudly. His sudden death, at age six and a half, deprived us both of so much. Another of my cats had lived until almost twenty-one years old, so I had expected many happy years together.
Strangely, I did eventually get another black male cat. He walked into my life exactly three years and three months after Midnight’s death. He looked like Midnight, tried to get into the cat flap and finally crossed the threshold as our clock struck midnight. Chance? Coincidence?
Whatever the reason, I believe it was meant to be, and Mystic Midnight enriched my life. I knew he was not the same cat, although he shared many characteristics with the original Midnight. He was as talkative and affectionate and wound his way into my heart. Sadly he too became ill and died much too soon.
We fools for love cannot help but accept that our loved animals will die before us. Meanwhile, we try to forget and cherish every day as precious and special, as indeed it is.
How to do what you know you want to do- if only you had the time!
We all think we need more time, as our days rush by in a round of busy-ness often at the back of our minds is the dream,the ONE DAY project.
Maybe its something as simple as taking a class, or something more complicated like building a boat,or writing a book.
It’s there in our minds, yet we never find that chunk of time to actually start.
As part of my daily routine I’ve been writing in a journal for a couple of years, two or three pages written while I sip my morning cuppa.Initially I just wrote what was on my mind until one day I wrote INTENTIONS at the foot of the page.
There I listed what I wanted to do that day, often things to do with writing or creativity.If they were there the next day I transferred them to the next day’s page. It showed me how little time I spent on what was to me so important I paid more attention and used my time better,so if I only had ten minutes, I’d begin to write something in ten minutes.
At New Year I took it one step further, I thought about what I wanted to achieve with my writing and set out a list of realistic but slightly challenging goals. I wrote them out and stuck the list by my desk, where I would see it daily. I called it
MY YEARLY INTENTIONS
I ended up with a list of nine items some were simple, like joining Romance Writers of Australia. While other required more effort from me ,such as completing a novella of around33,500 words.
Perhaps you’ve guessed that one of those intentions was to start a blog?
It’s almost mid-point of the year and so far I have completed five of the nine items on my list.
The things that made it work for me were.
Having a mix of easy and more difficult things
All were slightly challenging but achievable I hadn’t for example put write a best seller on the list
They were things I actually wanted to do but hadn’t got round to doing.
Seeing them daily as I sat at my desk encouraged me towork to achieve them.
Maybe its time for you to write your own list of intentions?
Make it specific and give yourself a mix of tasks that you think might work for you.
I wrote about online courses and I have taken several of them through Future Learn(UK) and the University of Iowa(USA),Yes I admit am a bit of a girlie swot! I have taken history, fiction writing and even a short psychology course
Both sites offer free courses, Future Learn offers short courses in variety of subjects from health to history from Literature to archaeology as well as courses on writing. They provide a glimpse of what a more extensive course would be. The history course I took provided informed comments from learners worldwide,Sadly those friendships ended with the course,
Not so with the University of Iowa courses the depth of knowledge and information was excellent( A course is just starting -look them up!) The bonus was the valued friendships that were forged. I met a poet from New Zealand and we are still in contact a couple of year later. I also made great connections with a couple of writers in the USA and in Canada, I trust these people to be honest with me about my work We are still friends today,
Learning was the aim the friendships were the bonus.
Almost all the creative people I have met have been generous with sharing their expertise. Writers, who are the group I generally hang out with share websites, contests, and information. There seems to be little competitiveness rather a spirit of celebrating everyone’s success and commiserating when things don’t go so well.
A group I call’ the friends I have yet to meet ‘have come into my life via one of the online courses I took or even via Facebook. They too tend to be creative people and are happy to share resources. These ‘kindred spirits’ are based in differing places.
A couple are in the UK, one is Isabella Rose we connected over her brilliant photographs and her love of nature. She has given me permission to use this lovely photograph of a bluebell wood.