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  • Writer's pictureLisa

A Year of Saying 'F*ck it!'

It’s been a rough start to the year for my mob, and for me personally. I’ve been silent on social media and pretty much everywhere. I always planned to come back though, cos I really want to connect with people. I’m not sure sometimes if that’s what this blog does, but it’s worth a try.

Talking about connecting, I’ve just updated my website, including a proper events section at last, and there’s a whole list of workshops, talks, etc, that I’ve got coming up. Go check it out (above). And if you’re going to any of the events, please come say hi! … Not before, I’ll be too nervous to speak in whole sentences, after is better, especially if I have wine in my hand lol.

As part of my website revamp, I’m also keen to start engaging with subscribers to my website. I’m actually going to message them soon and ask what they’d like from me. Is it just updates on my writing? Do they read the blog posts? How can I add value to their lives?

If you aren’t already subscribed, head over to the Home page and scroll to the bottom. I’ve tried to make this easier, but for some reason it just isn’t working for me. I won’t give up though.

On to what's been going on for me in the last few months:

  • nephew in and out of hospital, has been very sick but is currently doing better

  • the PhD is back on the track with a completed first draft of my exegesis, and working on draft two of my novel

  • had two short stories accepted (details to come)

  • finished my first mermaids tail blanket (have organised a friend’s niece to be my tester)

  • submitted poetry to a few different places, including some haikus that have been accepted as part of the Poetic City Canberra Festival (if you’re in the Berra, keep an eye out for the posters, some have already been spotted)

  • percolating on a sequel to Ghost Bird

  • oh, and that little thing about Ghost Bird being shortlisted in the 2021 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards, for the Ethel Turner Prize for Young People’s Literature (*insert squeals*)

With my nephew doing better I can finally sleep. Not being sleep-deprived, nor a walking ball of anxious fear, has meant I’ve been able to work on my PhD. Now that I’m feeling on top of my PhD, it seems like my creative floodgates have opened. But it’s more than that.

I used to have this idea that true creativity was born of struggle and torture, or my best work anyway. Having my family going through so much, and also being a debut novelist, has taught me that while there is some of that, it’s the play that keeps me coming back.

Who cares if it’s a masterpiece and/or if it never sees the light of day? I’m having too much fun with this character, that setting, this idea.

My partner recently pointed out to me that I only seem to finish a manuscript when I’m convinced it’s doomed to fail. When he said it I busted out laughing, doubled over and gasping. He thought I'd lost it, but it was funny cos it's true. And I'd only just been contemplating it for the last 24 hours when he raised it. Let's review:

  • I only finished the first draft of Ghost Bird cos I knew it wouldn’t win the David Unaipon, but it was always a goal of mine to submit to it and I wanted those judges’ feedback. Click the link above to see how that's going.

  • I only completed a children’s picture book as a fun Christmas present for all my niblings. It's now signed to Magabala Books.

  • I only finished my middle grade fantasy novel, Washpool, because it was a fun exchange with my niblings. It's won a fellowship and more news is coming.

  • I only finished my exegesis draft because I’m sure it won’t pass. Somehow my supervisor likes it.

Every last one of these projects I convinced myself sucked at some point. But it meant I finished it.

Why not embrace the fail if it means I get to stay in the play space?

There’s plenty of time later to freak out about what it ‘should’ be, look like, equate to, how it’ll be seen. Freak out I will, but the longer I can stay in play mode, the better everything becomes.

I've been taking breaks between my PhD and freelance work to play with a graphic novel idea for my niblings. It was a total blast, till I fell into the trap of worrying if it was even publishable. I can't even draw, where would I find an artist? What possible reason could I think I'm even capable to writing something like this? I should stick to my wheelhouse! I started a comparison spiral that kept me awake till 1am. And for what?

I woke up this morning thinking, 'Fuck it'. Who cares if it sucks? Who cares if it's not my forte, who says I have to be on par with others anyway? I'm having fun, and I don't need everything I write to be publishable. It's boring sticking to what I know, I'll never learn or grow that way.

With that in mind, I’m taking on new challenges. Everything may fail, and to galvanise myself I'm just going to assume it all will. Fuck it. Let’s just play and see what happens!

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