Tag Archive: Fun


GISHWHES

So I have just done one of the most amazing things I’ve ever participated in. Why am I posting about this on what is primarily my writing blog? That’s easy, because writers need to experience new things and sometimes step away from the books to clear out the head.

What is GISHWHES? I got asked that a lot over the last little while. In short it is the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt The World Has Ever Seen. It was created by an actor as, I believe, a way to do silly things, help charity, change lives and create community. It grew beyond his wildest expectations.

I’ve wanted to do it for a couple of years and so made my mind up that I was going to do it this year no matter what. (Sadly they have said this is the last year, hopefully, and I know I’m not the only one hoping this, they will reinvent it next year). I met someone who had done it before and was happy for me to join her team, a fact for which I was incredibly grateful, as having someone with experience is a good thing.

The best way to do this is to set out to have fun. Teams can be local or international, the competitive teams are international due to the fact challenges have to be done in a variety of locations, though you don’t need to do all the challenges.

Sure I’m a competitive person but I kind of figured first time out let’s not go in thinking you’re going to win. I’m glad I didn’t because that meant I could really focus on what I wanted to get out of it and that was fun, charity work I’d been meaning to do (good intentions however are not as effective with me it turns out as a deadline – that could be the writer in me), and push myself out of my comfort zone.

Now I’m no stranger to pushing my limits and my comfort zone, I am not a sporty person yet I’ve done two Tough Mudders and a Spartan race, both so far outside that zone that Wondered at my sanity. This was a little different and a whole lot sillier. The most insane thing I did was buy an inflatable couch, take it to the beach on a choppy, stormy day and try to surf on it and I did it, I actually got to my feet.The Unicorn Mafia (1).png

I also sat in my hammock in a storm, complete with hail, whilst drinking wine and reading, I wrote a 2000 word essay on the best way to fall pregnant for the 10th time (something I have no experience in, nor any intention to have happen) and then published via twitter at 140 characters at a time. I designed and made silly items, I held up signs of support and strangeness and annoyed my kids. I also got the opportunity to help the homeless and support a women’s shelter, two things that I have been paying lip service to doing for longer than I care to admit.

This event that lasted only a week had me up late at night researching, creating and cursing. It had me up early on my days off doing things I never would have dreamed possible. It has given me a few regrets, I really wish I’d been able to pull off a ballet troupe having a bar fight and bikies on a bouncy castle, and I wish I’d received a response from the cancer support organisation, but you can’t have everything.

What did I get from it though, I’m sure people wonder. Also an easy answer. I got to push myself into places I’ve never been before and it is always good to get yourself out of the rut we often don’t realise we are in, it can bring a refreshing to our lives and allow us to get back into the ‘normal’ with a greater understanding of ourselves and a revitalised attitude. I gained a sense of satisfaction of achieving things I set out to do and from helping others less fortunate than myself. I made friends locally and around the world and became part of a community of people who understands that in unity lives can be changed.

I take from this last week a joy, satisfaction and some incredible memories. I was so tired by the end but I didn’t care. Near the end my hubby said he could see me crashing, and that had nothing to do with cars, or tiredness but to do with the fact I’d interacted with so many, I am not by definition a people person, and so I have spent considerable time, when not at work, over the last few days with my head in a book, someone else or my own. I have a clearer head and a passion to get some more tasks done and write more from the wonderful world I have created in my head. I feel refreshed.

Would I do this again? In a heartbeat. I long for another chance because I think having done it once I have a better understanding of what is required and what I can achieve. Thank you The Unicorn Mafia for allowing me to be part of your team, you’re amazing.

The Uniforn Mafia 2.png

Why Conventions?

It is just past that time of year again and I have just volunteered for two weekends of convention work. I get asked all the time if I get paid to do these. The answer is in the word volunteer. A volunteer does not get paid.

5-types-of-Volunteers.jpg

So why then do I spend all this money and time to volunteer six times a year all around the country. There are people that say I wouldn’t do it unless I got something out of it. The answer to that is of course I do. The problem is they mean something financial or in product and I don’t.

Here is what I do get out of it in the clearest and simplest terms I can; I get friendship and family. I also get jet lag, excessive tiredness and con flu and yet I still keep signing up.

1507912_821869954575339_331949127940734963_n.jpg

I’m going to elaborate on the positives for a minute though. In doing these conventions I have made some of the best friends I have. I work in a high pressure environment, it’s a job I love don’t get me wrong but there isn’t a lot of place in it for geeky conversations. The people I work with accept that part of me but mostly they don’t understand it, not like my convention family do. Also for me conventions are personal and I try to keep a lot of my personal out of my work. My con family allow me to embrace that part of my personality. They accept that geeky, nerdy part of myself that loves fantasy, sci-fi and so many things pop culture. These are the people who get my one off random quotes, they are the people who break into Disney songs with me. They are the ones who understand when I say I don’t like people, or I just need space. So many of us have levels of anxiety or introversion, so we understand it in each other.

11134150_10205024297144429_5213667067543975341_n.jpg

I have a lot of fun on these weekends but I also work very hard. All the people I work with, work hard on these weekends and sometimes for very little gratitude. Sometimes convention goers are really rather rude to volunteers, I’ve seen it in person, I’ve read it in comment threads. I’ve been sworn at and abused (in my case I barely notice it because of my job, but most people don’t deal with that sort of behaviour on a daily basis).

There has also been a whole surprising group of people whom I’ve met and have added depth to my convention experiences, regular patrons. I get plenty of smiles, hugs and compliments from the faces I have seen again and again. We rib each other, laugh with each other and sometimes cause people to look us us weirdly with the way we interact because I am a volunteer and they are paying customers. Guess what, we don’t care, and we don’t care because on one level we understand each other and we have formed a relationship solely through the fact we often see each other at these conventions. (Thanks to Scott for this memory – though I still wonder why you would want me in your pic, how ever flattering it was to be asked.)

18157586_720125364814658_8525540004682727388_n.jpg

I have to add that in all this craziness and hard work I am privileged to have some really awesome stories of the wonderful people I’ve met and maybe I’ll put some of them in another blog post sometime. There was the Carrie Fisher line, the Peter Cullen kiss, push ups, being knighted and being given the title Evil Kylie but like I said, maybe better kept for another time.

19489251_10214170654319754_668987235_n.jpg

On these weekends I spend hours dealing with thousands of people as part of an awesome team. Then I crash. Here is the thing most people don’t understand. I am largely an introvert. So many people don’t really understand what it means to be an introvert. I can do well in social situations, I have no trouble performing in front of people and a can manage a crowd, however by the end of the day I am exhausted, totally peopled out. The less people I have to deal with the better and the friends I travel with during this times are much the same. It is not unheard of for us to talk until food arrives, then not say anything till the food is gone, go back to where ever we are staying and go to our separate corners and not speak. An introvert is energised by alone time, not people time.

I love my convention times, in some ways I need them, they are 180 degrees removed from my working life. Afterwards though there is always a crash. The crash is the come down but it is also necessary because I need to re-energise myself and I do that by being by myself.

Convention time is over for the next 5 months and I will now get right back into working on book two of the Oparna Legacy for those who care.

So Many Things

So many things to write about and just no time at the moment.
The first and foremost reason for that is the last two weekends were spent indulging my geeky nature as a vollie at SupaNova. I spent time in the photo booth in both Sydney and Perth and met some amazing individuals. I’ll post about that in more detail when I have time to upload my have pics.
Also I have possibly have some exciting news, I hope. If all the stars align and it does become real news then I will definitely keep you updated.
For the moment though I really have to get my head down and my fingers flying across the keyboard.
If dreams are to come true I am a firm believer in the fact that you have to work hard for them. Sure some people don’t, but with most of us, you never see the blood, the sweat and the tears. Believe me dreams are built of all three.

SupaNova ’13

Well it was most awesome.
That really sums it up.
I didn’t work the bookstall this year. Me I volunteered, I had thought maybe my experience in dealing with difficult people would mean I might get to be a PA, but that’s really the top, only experienced people get to do that. So I was pretty happy when I ended up working in the photo booth. I figured I’d get to see most of the celebs a bit and I was supposed to be able to get to two seminars.
Imagine my slight disappointment then when I discovered I would be so busy volunteering that I wouldn’t get to any seminars. However there was a big bonus right from the beginning. I really liked H, the lady running the photo booth. I thought right from the beginning that working with her would be huge amounts of fun.
Turns out I was right.
Conventions are great fun. They give me the chance to indulge the geek part of myself that is sometimes not really able to be let loose. I got to briefly meet one of my fav all time writers, Raymond E Feist.
IMG_0464
Also met Jay Kristoff and got him to sign my books – didn’t get a pic with him though and wish I’d had to think of asking for one.
Then of course was this:
Knights 4
My teen self thoroughly geeked out at this:
Hoff 1
My Firefly fangirl loved this:
WashA 1
And this:
Wash 1
Then who doesn’t want to get strangled by a Princess:
Carrie
I also got a LOTR signature:
Karl 1
So for a whole weekend I was around my own people. Shouting out instructions and trying to keep people moving and positive about the wait time. By the sunday I got applause and throat lozenges and even a song. I told a heap of people to breathe and saw more than a few tears.
I was fortunate to meet nearly all the stars. I got to speak to the Phelps twins, joke with the Merlin boys, get into a couple of group shots with the amazing guests and wonder if they had an over 6 foot height policy for the male guests (boy did I feel short), though there were a couple of a more normal height.
All up it was a flat out busy but great weekend. Made better by the fact I got to work with some awesome people – you totally know who you are guys. I am very much looking forward to next year.
Being a fangirl or a geek puts you in a community that seems rather accepting of certain eccentricities and for me that is a great thing. It means I can truly embrace the part of me that loves to escape reality and just hide elsewhere for a while.
Also being around that much positive energy and fandom is really refreshing for the creative soul at the core of me.
I love my SupaNova experience and now you all know it.
I am inspired.

Comic Con

I had my Comic Con and it was wonderful. In fact I think it may have gotten me through what became an incredibly full on week at work. I only had thursday off.
Here are a couple of things I want to share.
General Jack O’Neil with me and hubby.RDA! 2
My fave X-Men.
Gambit
Enough said.
Crow
This is a sexy, sexy man.
JMo! 1

So I added to my signed pics and started a new collection of prints from illustrators.
This was such a good day.
My week hasn’t been just getting through work on the Comic Con buzz. No I managed to find time to write. I started one day thinking about a couple of scenes I thought might be necessary. Throughout the course of the day one of those scenes became quite an extended piece of writing and a crucial moment for my characters. I felt so good at the end of that writing session. Sure I wish I had more time to work on it then but life and work goes on. The key to writing when you have another job which you are required to do to pay the bills, is write when you can and don’t push too hard. If you push too hard you will wear yourself out on many levels, everything will suffer and you will have to walk away for a while. I don’t like having to walk away so I try to get my stuff all balanced, of course that is much easier to say than do at times.

Hmmm

I’m a little tired right now. Today has been really full on. I worked my 12 hrs yesterday but then did a bit more as OT that was tiring but it paid for one of my things at Comic Con tomorrow. I am so looking forward to that.
Yes I’ve been writing. Once I get my office sorted out I’m pretty sure I’ll get better flow happening but I’m writing a bit and any words down on the page is a good thing.
Tomorrow though is Comic Con and it will be a great way to refresh myself. How can it not be. I will spend time with like minded people, celebs from some of my fave shows and memories. The big one this year is Richard Dean Anderson. Yes that is right Capt Jack O’Neil is in town and my geek can’t wait.
images
Exhausted too. So exhausted in fact due to much of my day being spent working on costumes. I don’t mind though. I haven’t had time to do one for myself but that’s okay, SuperNova is still to come and I’ll hopefully be ready for that.
Thing is it is good as a writer to remember to take time to refresh yourself. Get around like minded people, get around those who can feed your creativity. Take some time out from working and just do something for you.
I expect tomorrow to be very exhausting, I probably won’t get everything done I want because well the munchkins won’t want to sit still for the panels, but you know what I don’t care. I get to feed my inner geek and fan girl and spend time with my family. It is totally going to be worth it. And I am sure I will come back refreshed.
Though chances are it would be more effective if I wasn’t working monday, I’ll take what I can get.

Days On, Days Off

I am about to have my third day of work, so 36 hrs of work in 3 days. The pay off is that I’m about to have 3 days off after tomorrow. This is a great thing.

Of course it would be a better thing if I could get up on my days off, do my workout and sit in front of my computer for, oh I don’t know 6 hours and just write.

Now see that would be awesome.

Hasn’t happened yet though.

On the upside I have actually been managing to write not just on my days off but also the days I’ve done 12 hour shifts. I’m pretty pleased about this.

The big thing for me of course is the question, will I get this structural edit done this year? A question followed closely by will it be good enough to be published (one way or another?) I am not above self publishing electronically. In this day and age it would be silly to dismiss it.

There is a part of me though that really wants to be published traditionally. I know it’s a lot to do with the fact that this was my dream for such a long time. I wanted to be a published author before the first e-reader was around (not that that was really all that long ago).

So you lovely and possibly strange people out there : if your dream is publication, does it matter what format it comes out in?

Oh and while I’m asking questions does anyone know if I will get this rewrite done this year?

A Writing Love

You know one of the things I really love about writing?

I love when you think you know what is going to happen next and something surprising happens instead. Or when you think you are writing a bit character and all of a sudden the words that appear on the page let you know that this character is much bigger than you originally thought.

Writing can be a surprise to the author and it’s such a fun thing to work through.

This week, or maybe last week I was writing about this mysterious character who had no name, he was there because when he appeared it was the perfect way to fill a gap that had been bugging me. As I wrote another scene with him in it my main character’s thought process appeared from my hand and I realised this character was the one to fill a much bigger gap than I had originally thought.

The problem then was I had to find a name for him. When he was just a bit character the name could come whenever and mattered only a little but with the change in role the name became more important. As I walked around at work throwing thoughts and ideas about this new direction around in my mind a name jumped out at me. The best thing was as soon as I thought it I knew it was the right name. It fit perfectly, why? I really couldn’t say I just know that it is the right name.

I don’t know if this sort of thing happens to those writers who are big planners but for me, it is one of the things I love about writing. I get such pleasure out of discovering my characters and their lives.

 

Muse

I got my assessment back last sunday night or monday night I think and in amongst all the bad stuff that you expect there were a few little surprises. My assessor said I’d created a wonderful world, and characters and she would like to see my book on the shelves. Also she gave me the name of an appropriate publisher when I was done.

So now I have lots of work to do, mostly because now I know what the problem is I know I have a major re-write, nothing that making one book into two doesn’t fix though.

The really good news is that the muse has been speaking to me, she has been sining sweetly into my ear and I wish I hadn’t had to have gone to work. This is all good though because my blood is up and it’s flowing fast and wonderfully. It is such a good feeling to be so motivated again.

So now it’s time again for heads down and butts up. Of course there is christmas and family stuff as well as work that will interfere but I can live with that. I’m writing again.