Category Archives: Writing

Balance: writing and life

I struggle to find time to write lately. Now that I’ve re-found my passion for writing, that’s a problem. It’s not so easy to justify stealing time to write when Child is harping, “Mum, I’m still hungry.” and study books are sitting there silently singing out at me to ensure I feel guilt for ignoring them. In the evenings I dislike sinking so far into my worlds that I don’t hear hubby’s attempts at conversation. But while Child is at kindy I am overwhelmed by social engagements.

This is why I’m in awe at those like J. C. Hart, who writes, gets published!, and studies, mothers, and fulfills household duties, etc.

For me something (or more than one something) gets dumped. Normally what suffers most is housework, but that makes me moody cos everything ends up a mess and I can’t make a cup of tea without fighting for bench space. If I keep up with housework, then study time gets cut. If I focus on study, then the writing falls through the cracks.

No matter the attempt, the end result is always guilt.

Balance is something I’ve always struggled with. What’s the answer? Is there even an answer?

So often, ‘give up trying to write’, ends up being my answer, but then I’m always dissatisfied. No matter how much a suppress it, the desire is still there. Just let me sit down and lose myself in words! I guess that’s what makes me a writer even in those months I don’t manage to write anything.

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Posted by on 12/09/2014 in Writing


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Ideas and Inspiration

I was having some serious fears up till the start of this week. The fearful thought went, “what if I don’t have any new story ideas ever again?”

This fear isn’t totally unfounded. I’d really only had one new story since starting meds, and that was a fever-dream that wouldn’t leave me alone and I ended up writing down so it would get out of my head. (“Evacuation” is now quite different to how it started, and is due for publication in July in the anthology Regeneration).

That’s one story in 2 years. Everything else I’ve been working on are old stories from pre-meds Fran’s brain. The lack of ideas is scary considering I would have a million ideas a year back then (I’m not even sure that’s a hyperbole).

What if medicated Fran couldn’t produce story ideas?

Breathe a sigh of relief: I have a new shiny story! And I think how it came into being highlights some changes that may have caused the lack of story ideas.

I was sick in the weekend. Just a fairly standard cold, with exhaustion and sore throat being the main kicks. In celebration of being allowed to do nothing, I read a book a friend loaned me. I don’t read much anymore; reading got lost off my priority list around the same time Jake was born. I’ve started a lot of books (hehe, that’s an ADHD trait right there for those that don’t know) and I’ve been adding to my ‘to read’ pile, but I think I’ve only finished about a dozen ‘new’ books in the last 3 years. As a book-worm, that’s shocking.

The book I read was something I wouldn’t ordinarily read, but it was so fascinating. The Curse: confronting the last unmentionable taboo: menstruation by Karen Houppert. It’s a culture study (novel sized) on how society treats menstruation, why that is, and why it’s not a healthy way to treat something so normal. The book has a whole section on adolescents, and the psychology of moving from a child to a woman. That’s led to one of the themes of my new story (though I didn’t know that when I started writing).

I was also playing some Civ V, which I get pretty hyper-focused on, and I know that so I avoid it. It was another, ‘I’m sick, I’m going to indulge’ moment. I actually find Civ pretty inspiring. I don’t really know why. It’s a great way to learn what cities need when you’re world building. I just wish that I was able to use the Civ V World Builder, but that’s PC Steam only *pouts*.

Basically, I was sick and indulging in sleeping lots, reading, and playing games, leaving things like housework and mothering to Dale and the TV (turns out neither TV nor Dale are very good at doing dishes. I should get onto that pile).

If you don’t know, I’ve been kind of co-writing a children’s novel with B~ (I say kind of, because she’s done most of the work lately). It’s a fun story with pirate and princesses, aimed at girls. We’re not taking it, or ourselves, too seriously, and having some fun with it. It’s also introduced me to a new audience I’d never really tried to write for. It’s allowed me to realise that not all writing should be serious, or done in seriousness. Now I’m enjoying writing my new shiny for the same age, because it gets to leave out all the teen angst that comes with YA, and allowing myself to just have fun with the story.

Ultimately, all this means, when mini dragons and a girl who collected egg-shaped stones dreaming that one day she’d stumble across a real dragon egg, came into my head, I indulged simply because I was sick. When a bard waltzed into the story I let him stay. When MC wanted to run away from home, I let her. Basically, I’m letting my subconscious direct the story more than I ever have before all in the name of indulging. 2000 words later (in one sitting) I dragged myself to bed with a head full of story. Since then I’ve been working on world building and plot building, because I needed a clear path to follow (needing a path is a new phenomenon too).

It’s coming together really well. I’m amazed. It’s really made me realise something that I already knew on some level: reading is inspiring. And I’ve realised that maybe the ideas were there, but my ego wasn’t letting them develop. If I’d thought how fun it would be to write a story with mini dragons in it while I wasn’t sick and feeling indulgent, my ego would have stepped in and said, “no way. We don’t do dragons” (don’t ask why my ego feels that way. We’re working on clearing a lot of things like that). In fact, I’m fairly sure I’ve often wanted to write such a story.

I feel like I’ve grown a lot in the last week because of all this.

Yay for being sick?


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Posted by on 26/04/2013 in Writing


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Going Camping in April

As I said this morning over on the Christchurch Writers’ Guild blog, I’ve taken on the Camp NaNoWriMo challenge.
Camp is just like normal NaNo. 50,000 words in 30 days. I’ll be working on my novel Entangled, which needs a good injection of plot.
I’ll also continue to work on the children’s novel I’m co-writing with Beaulah. It has pirates. What more do I need to say? 😉 But the words for that won’t count towards my 50k, mainly because it would be impossible to track how many of the words were even mine.
I don’t really have much else happening in April. My baby sister turns 20 on the 1st, so I feel super old! My toddler should be starting kindy in the next month or so, we just have to wait till we’re at the top of the waiting list. I’m still adjusting to the idea that he is 3! Did anyone see where the lat two years went?
I will be working Sundays down at The Make Cafe (dream job!), and hanging out there on Thursday evenings with the rest of the Pleasantville Community Club (so named as there is a sign hanging above our couches with that on so we have out own sign!)
I’ll also continue to make crafty things for Sweet F. Atkinson. Demand is higher than the time I have, which is great, but I feel like I don’t work on that ‘to do’ list often enough.
And, of course, it’s Easter! Yay, and all that. Dale did get Friday off work, which is awesome and he won’t have had work calls today, which is nice to know. I worked today, in the cafe rather than my normal spot in the shop, which has been full on and very educational. We did make some wicked awesome quiches 😀
I’m determined to not take on anything else! Ha, I was determined not to yesterday yet I still signed up to CampNaNoWriMo.
Keep smiling and stuff 😀


Posted by on 31/03/2013 in Craft, General, Sweet F. Atkinson, Writing


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Putting Myself Out There

I’ve been meaning to post this all month 😛 Now to actually do it!

As my focus this year is to finish things, I then have to decide what to do with things that have been finished. I think one of the barriers between me and finished projects was just that dilemma. I’m writing a novel, but what will I do with it when I’m finished? Oh well, if I don’t finish it I don’t actually have to make that decision.

But I’m trying for a change in perspective. Rather than making that decision a burden, I’m trying to look at it as an opportunity. Awesome, it’s finished, what can I do with it now? (with a tone of excitement and enthusiasm, rather than one of heaviness).

I FINISHED my short story “Evacuation”, which was a huge achievement in itself. Then I went through a stage of thinking there was no way that something I had written would be worth recognition let alone publication. Then I decided that I wasn’t going to lose anything by submitting it, and in submitting I would learn something about the submission process (as I’d never submitted a story before (having never totally finished one before)).

I never ever expected it to be accepted.

Not because it’s not a good story, because it is a good story, that is, it would be, if it was written by someone else. But I had written it, so it wouldn’t, couldn’t, be good enough. How could it be worth anything when I was the one that created it?

When I got the acceptance email last weekend I almost died. I scanned it at first, to distance myself from the rejection, but then it didn’t say what I expected it to. Then I read it properly. And re-read it. And perused it. I bounced around the house. I called Dale in and told him. I bounced some more, and when I was sure that it was real I yelled about it on Facebook.

It still doesn’t feel real, and I’m not sure it will until I’m holding a book in my hands that has my name in it.

I finished something, put it out there, and I learned a valuable lesson, “Fran can produce something worth having”.

Choosing to put myself out there is something I’m trying to do with everything I create. People kept saying to me, “you should sell that,” or “sell your designs”. Finally I created a logo.

My Logo :D The "creates" at the bottom will be changed depending on what it's for.

My Logo 😀 The “creates” at the bottom will be changed depending on what it’s for.

I made a few things. I created a Facebook page. I’ve sold two headbands and someone wants the shrug I’m currently knitting enough to pay!


I also have a cross stitch piece I designed hanging at Make Cafe (as part of their ‘Love’ themed hoop art challenge), though that is not for sale.

For my husband on Valentine's Day

For my husband on Valentine’s Day

I’m a business!

I’m going to get things onto Felt at some point. I’ve listed things on TradeMe but had no luck. I’m hoping to sell some notebooks at a market next weekend. I’ve also been asked to run some crochet workshops.

People are praising my work, my ideas and my abilities.

It’s all a bit overwhelming, and my self-esteem is all confused; people’s support and admiration is going directly against my core self-belief of worthlessness.

I’ll be the first to say that it’s a stupid core belief, but that doesn’t make it go away. It takes much more evidence to convince me that it’s not true, and being convinced is only a transient thing. There’s always plenty of evidence to convince me that it is true and that I’m a waste of space and oxygen.

If it was easy, I wouldn’t be trying so hard!

Anyway, I’m getting published! And people are buying my stuff!

Didn’t see that coming 😛


Posted by on 23/02/2013 in Craft, General, Writing


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Challenge Two

I think I’ve managed to get this to a point that I’ll dare post it. I’m not happy with it as a scene, but I think it’s just not something that fits in the story; the scene fits, but for the most part the tone doesn’t.

But it was interesting, and I’m loving getting back into this world. Over the last few years I’ve written squillions (maybe 50,000, but that feels like a lot) of words in this world from various people’s POVs. I’m thinking I’ll work in this world for NaNo and maybe come out of it with something akin to a novel draft.

So this scene is from Evie’s POV. The couple (Alayna and Michelle) are her flatmates (not friends), and Molly is their friend.

Read it here.

Keep Smiling 😀

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Posted by on 23/09/2012 in 3 A.M. Epiphany Project, Writing


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