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READ WRITE INSPIRE. Welcome to my Words, a place devoted to making Reading and Writing for children more Inspired.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Book Week Bravado

I have recently been invited to participate in and conduct a number of creative writing workshops at our local primary school as part of this year's Book Week. The aim being to promote and foster the fun and worthiness of literature within a child's world.

Running from the 22nd to the 26th of August, it promises to be a packed, productive and I wonder, if not slightly punishing week.

Of course I'm looking forward to engaging the creative minds and spirits of every child from Prep to Year 7 with a stomach turning mixture of sheer excitement and trepidation. After all how many similar workshops have I attended thus feeling well confident with my content and subject matter? After all how much passion do I possess about the subject matter? After all how difficult can it be to persuade kids to feel the passion too? After all they're kids...They're kids. And there in lies the rub. They're kids; possibly the world's most difficult group to publicly address.

And so with this in mind I feel it prudent to properly prepare myself for Book Week. I'm pretty sure bribes of sweets and gifts won't sustain their attention for long so am issuing this little prayer instead:

God bless all the lovely children. Give them the ability to forgive (and possibly forget if it all goes pear shaped). Allow them to find humour in all that they see and hear from me and equip them with humility and compassion in sufficient enough quantities to get all of us through this wonderful, wonderful week.

I'll let you know how it goes...

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Eggsacting Times

Feathers are flying. Egg count diminishing. No wait, Zero Eggs last count. Our Cackleberries are officially Off The Lay. Apparently you can't make eggs and new feathers simultaneously. So as our beloved chookies lose feathers by the doona full, so we lose our supply of happy eggs.

So what now? What do you do when your production drops off? How to you maintain your productivity? What keeps you driving forward with your writing or your life when all you feel like doing is hunkering down and waiting for the miracle of new feathers or inspiration to reappear?

Well for chooks, it's all about the amount of daylight they get a day. The more they get the more they are inclined to lay eggs. So...

1. Install an industrial strength fluorescent light (the kind film gaffers use) over your desk. Direct glare into your eyes and watch the colours of inspiration swirl before you.

 Chooks love a warm high protein mash of grains, garlic and chillies. Gets them through the winter months and supposedly entices them to lay again. So...

2. Eat more roast silverside dinners over winter, preferably with cauliflower and lashings of thick cheesy sauce if you're not into wheat mash.

Chook hormones respond well to verbal threats and the waving of sharp implements over their heads. So...

3. Sulk off to computer when significant other (aka common old husband) yells at you, "For Goodness Sakes, stop talking about it and just write the damn thing!"

Let the chooks out for a bit of a wonder and muse around the garden. Happy chooks produce happy eggs...So

4. Turn the computer off. Shut the note book. Go outside, lay down on the grass and look at the clouds. I bet they all look like chooks about now. Point is do something completely removed from trying to reach that word count, finish that scene, validate that character. Just breathe and rest your mind. Your spirit will thank you for it.

Chooks tend to huddle together at this time of moult for warmth and mutual support. So...

5. Focus on connecting with others in your times of need. Use your social support networks, read around for new advise, speak to like minded readers or writers so you know you're not the only one temporarily stuck in the mire. Better still become part of  a connected effort such as the Queensland Writers' Centre recent Down the Rabbit Hole Challenge or the International Writing Sprint Group  hosted by Angela Sunde, all designed to focus your effort back into the art of writing with no distractions whilst being part of a common purpose and whole.

It's worth knowing that you can't really con a chook into coming on the lay again after they have moulted. It's something they are already pre-programmed to do. It's a question of hormones. And time.

I don't believe every little lapse and delay in the forward thrust on your project amounts to the chooks' equivalent  of being Egg Bound.....the dreaded Writers' Block. It's more a complicated slurry of procrastination, self doubt, time deficiencies, laziness, and quite possibly celestial alignment. A bit like moulting.

If you can't wait for your all-important-inspiration-writing-hormone to sort itself out, sometimes it serves to just sit down and write rubbish. Anything will do, chicken scrawl away. Might just be the boost you need to step up your production again.

Now I've just got to pop out and BUY?? some eggs. Well you can't expect me to serve up a half cooked manuscript to my family for breakfast now can you??

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

5 More Things I Should Have Realised By Now

With little time to deliver a sensible, insightful, useful or otherwise entertaining post, these REALISATIONS grow ever more ostensible.

1. Glitter is harder to vacuum up than you'd think. My vacuum just tends to move it around the house. So if you don't mind your floors looking like a fairy has thrown up all over them, repeatedly, confine all glitter activity to the great outdoors.

2. School Holidays are not a good time to complete your next best seller. In fact abandon all hope of completing anything during this enforced hiatus.

3. I need a new vacuum.

4. There is no finite number of times you can ask your significant other (aka common old husband) to do something. Better to stick a post it note bearing request to his forehead. He will act on it, eventually, when he feels like it or when somebody else politely points out he has a post it note stuck to his forehead.

5. Children under the age of four really do mean it when they say they love you. Anything beyond that should be treated with some degree of suspicion.