Just Keep Writing

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I arrived back in Melbourne yesterday at 8:00am. It was a red-eye flight and I had very little sleep: I had one screaming toddler, one loud snorer, and a man sitting next to me who seemed unhappy with the amount of space I wanted to take up. I can’t say I blame him, economy seats are not large.

I had a fantastic time in Japan, my Facebook friends have all been spammed with my food photos, and my various landscapes, but here is a sample of the good ones:

I managed to keep up with NaNoWriMo while I was travelling. I had plenty of time on trains where I was able to sit down and just write for an hour or so. I’m lucky enough to be able to get my 1700-odd words out in about an hour, usually, and being unable to scroll through my social media while ‘thinking’ about writing certainly helps.

My NaNoWriMo manuscript’s working title is ‘Well Suited’. The two main characters are both professional, and very well dressed. My hero is a three-piece suit wearing graphic designer and my heroine is a sharply dressed legal adviser. I mocked up a cover but I don’t like it enough to show anyone.

Now that I’m back, I think it will be harder to get my words done. I’ve filled up my days a lot now that I’m home. I’ve even had to pull out of a project until after December 1 because I was trying to do too many things at once. Even now I’m blogging instead of NaNo-ing!

Better get back to it. Much love!

Letters from abroad

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I am coming to you, dear readers, from the Shinkansen service destined for Hiroshima*. I am travelling again!

This time I’m going around Japan. I’ve been here for just over a week already, I had a few days in Tokyo on my own before I joined a tour group last Tuesday. I had hoped to get to the Studio Ghibli Museum on my second day in the city, but I managed to get food poisoning.

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Harajuku fashion district in Tokyo

I had thought I would be safe in Japan; it’s a highly developed country with an obsession with cleanliness, but maybe I just got lucky. I managed to get through most of India without any issues and ended up having an issue with the food on the airplane to come home!

My impressions of Japan so far are that it is a highly organised and highly regulated society. The rules are well-known and they are strictly adhered to by most. I’m on a package tour which allows me to have a planned itinerary and tour guide available to answer my random questions.

I haven’t yet had any conversations with him about the state of Japan’s drug problems, or societal problems other than the ageing population, which was discussed briefly.

I had a surreal experience at the train station in Kanazawa. The local police were handing out small packets of tissues which had a leaflet inside with mug shots of wanted criminals. The police were so jolly and polite I wasn’t sure what was going on.

The landscapes here are completely different to those back at home. It’s probably the most extreme difference I’ve seen in all the travel that I’ve done. Geologically I suppose that Japan must be relatively young; it’s mountains are all high and steep, and haven’t yet shrunk with the passage of time and the erosion of wind and water.

It’s autumn here and the leaves are turning. While the pines remain evergreen, the maples, plum and cherry trees are putting on a show of colour; red, magenta, orange, yellow. Hillsides covered in this array of colours are breathtaking and remind me that I’m a long way from the uniform grey-green of eucalypts.

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Maple tree in the Hida Folk Village, Takayama

I have almost two weeks more here, I will try to get time to put up another post or two, but it will really depend on scheduling and energy. I’ve started doing NaNoWriMo again this year and so far I’m keeping up with the daily word counts. Travel time is particularly useful for making up my word counts! The story is slowly coming together. I went into this year’s novel with less plot development than I’ve had in previous years, but I think it will come together in the end. Probably in the second or third drafting stages.

I’m having a lovely time so far, food-poisoning notwithstanding, and I’m looking forward to my next two weeks and the projects I’ll be coming home to after that.

Big Love.

*The train didn’t have wi-fi, so I’m posting later.

Show Review and Other News

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Dear readers

I’m not sure why I started with that, but there you go. Since I last updated you, Alex found that Milk Bar Mag have put up a review of our little show here. It’s always very gratifying for people  you don’t know to say they enjoyed your work!Nanowrimo

I’m busily preparing to go overseas for a few weeks on holiday AND do NaNoWriMo at the same time. Past Fleur thought this was a good idea, but Present Fleur is starting to doubt her judgement. I will press on though, and even if I don’t get much done, I’ll have nearly two weeks after I get back to catch up.

I attended my monthly Romance Writers’ group today, and we had a presentation from Lauren Clarke on Creating Compelling Characters. She had a great balance of information and activities, although there was a lot to take in. I took notes so I’ll be able to go back and look at it later if I forget.

It was a great opportunity to come up with some new characters, and from that I developed about half a plot for the new novel. It’s a relief to know I can still come up with stuff after taking a while off writing new fiction for the show, and to edit previous work.

I have a fresh new notebook to use for drafting, I bought myself fancy new fine-liner pens, in multiple colours, and I have the bones of a story. I might even make it through this NaNoWriMo with a novel that’s worth editing!

While I’m travelling and drafting, I’ve also arranged for the editor of my first book, Annie Seaton, to have a look at a new 45k manuscript. I’ll look at her feedback in December and aim to have something ready to publish in February. So keep your eyes peeled and on this blog for further announcements.

Lots of things are bubbling along, as is always the way, here at Fleur HQ. Thank you all for your continued support and love. I couldn’t do it without you.

Next on the list

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It was my birthday last week. With all of the goings on for my Fringe Festival show I didn’t have much mental capacity for organising a birthday do, or for contemplating mortality. This week I do! So I’ve been thinking about what it means to be 34.

If I think back to when I was younger, let’s say school leaving age, and what I thought I would have achieved by the time I was in my 30s. It included married/long term relationship, kids, uni, working as a doctor. Untitled design.jpg

I have achieved only one of those things: I successfully completed uni. I have also achieved numerous things that weren’t even remotely on the list: I’ve been in three bands; produced/performed two independent theatre shows; and I’ve published one novel, one zine, and has several short works included in anthologies.

At the end of year 12, when I got my university entrance result, I cried. I had missed out on medicine by less than one point. Sitting at my desk now, I don’t think I would have been very happy as a doctor. I probably wouldn’t have rediscovered my creativity. I wouldn’t have had the self-assurance (or possibly stupidity) to make my own opportunities.

I don’t particularly believe in an all-powerful omniscient being who has a plan for our lives, but I do think some things happen for a reason. I’ve been through some rough patches, and I’ve had some really great patches. Today I’m still trying to refocus my brain from the world of the show into the world of writing. I’m planning to do NaNoWriMo again this November, which will be somewhat more difficult due to spending half the month in Japan. I also don’t have any ideas yet! I’m sure I’ll think of something.

The passage of time has its effect on everyone. I find it interesting to think back on what used to be important to me, and compare it to what is important to me now. I’m proud of the life I’ve created for myself. I hope that my future holds even more stuff that I didn’t expect that makes my life richer. Who knows, this time next year I might have a completely different to-do list.

Sneaky Preview

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Dear readers!

It’s started! Two shows down, four to go! Reviews from family and friends are that the show is the funniest thing they’ve ever seen and excellent entertainment value.

The drummer from my band, Wasted Monday, Sarah, took this fabulous photo of us on stage on Monday.41991634_1099127766919997_5446149927262486528_n

So much silver! So much silliness! So many exclamation marks!

Tickets are still available for all shows, I recommend the Friday or Sunday performance.

I’d love to see you there! xxx

Holy Crap it’s Coming!

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I haven’t been writing much, nor blogging, because I’ve been frantically preparing for my second Melbourne Fringe Festival Show, Fleur and Alexandra are Out of This World.

We open on Monday night, we’ve done one dress rehearsal in the venue which was both exciting and terrifying. It’s all coming together but there are a few little niggles to iron out as is always the case with opening a new show.

ONLY 3 sleeps

We’d love to see you there, it’s going to be a great, silly, peculiar, over the top show. Happy Fringe!

 

 

The Fringe Festival is Launched for 2018

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I’m excited to announce that tickets for this year’s Melbourne Fringe Festival are now available to purchase!

A hilarious quest through space and time

Our show, Fleur and Alexandra are Out of This World will be playing at The Butterfly Club 17, 19-23 September 2018.

Tickets are available through The Butterfly Club and the Melbourne Fringe Festival.

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Get in before 25 August for the early bird tickets. There are limited seats so please don’t miss out.

We can’t wait to see you all there!

It’s a real book!

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Exciting news! Print copies of my Choose Your Own Adventure novel, Sophie’s Path, are now available. 

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Sophie’s path – Print edition cover

They are $15.99 (AU), and you can order them from me directly. I haven’t worked out how to distribute them through Amazon yet.

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Sophie’s Path – Print edition interior

In other news, preparations for Fleur and Alexandra are Out of This World are coming along great.

Tickets for our show as part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival go on sale 15 August, 2018, and I’ll make sure you have the details. You can follow Fleur and Alexandra on Facebook for all the updates, and make sure you’re in Melbourne 17-23 September, 2018!

Follow the Leader

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Last week I attended a three-day leadership conference in Sydney, hosted by McKinsey & Company. I was nominated by one of the General Managers at work, and they paid for my travel and accommodation. It was 300+ people from all over Australia and from a variety of companies all coming together to learn how to be better leaders.

I’ve struggled with the idea of feeling like a leader. Ever since high-school I’ve been in positions of leadership, both at work and in the community. I tell myself stories about why; I was the only choice, no one else would do it, whoever made the decision didn’t know I wasn’t qualified.

I want to stop telling myself those stories. I want to believe I deserve these roles. At the closing of the conference participants were asked to talk about what they would be taking home. I stood up and said I need to re-frame my idea of ‘leader’. I have often had people in my life for whom I acted as an advocate. I have had people in my life who were willing to do what I suggested. I’ve had people who followed me, and I feel a responsibility to those people. This is a big part of what makes me a leader – taking due care of the people who are following me, relying on me, trusting me to take care of them. I use my strength, my skills, my energy to help others.

My mother has had numerous positions of leadership throughout her life and I think she feels much the same as I do. I’m proud of her, she has set an excellent example of leadership and community service. The roles she’s had have made me more comfortable accepting the roles I’ve been given.

Sometimes I wish I could give up my ‘day job’ and make money off my creative stuff, but there are parts of it that energise my other pursuits. I learn new skills, I develop new networks, I earn a living so that when my writing, or performance, don’t make any money I’m not resentful or stressed out.

The biggest lessons I took from the conference were about leading myself. They were things I can do to be a better leader, but also a better person. So I’m now going to try to focus on three things:

  • Eat that frog (stop putting off the hard stuff)
  • Be present (do one thing at a time)
  • Be kind (to myself first and to others)

It feels wanky using my blog to talk about this stuff, probably because I’m still not 100% comfortable, but as one of the participants said to me afterwards : ‘You are a natural leader. It’s time to take the next step.’