Thursday, 17 July 2014

why I write

I was recently tagged by Jodi Gibson as part of the writing meme featured on Maxabella and Always Josefa.  I've mixed up the original order of questions because for me, the most important one is...

Why do I write?
I can't imagine doing anything else - and believe me, as someone whose always wanted to be a writer, I have: grant writing, communications and marketing, journalist, graphic design, photographer, accounts and office administration, handcrafter, ice cream shop attendant, cleaner, farm worker, nanny, baker and more.

My huge love of reading was the springboard for my early writing career, most notably 'An Orphaned Duckling', self-published in late 1983 (when I was nearly 10!).  Mum says I taught myself to read when I was quite young, but my older sister says she played a large part in it herself - thanks A!

Wherever I've been, I've always written.  In my late teens and twenties I had wanderlust and travelled, always with a pen and pad by my side.  I've journalled and written fiction and poetry and have the proverbial bottom drawer filled with projects from over the years.

This is the ideal stage to pursue my writing career, a short window of time before my youngest child starts school in 18 months.  At that point, I'll be looking at going back to work part- or full-time, so it's now or never!

What am I working on?
I'm 75,000 words into my first full-length manuscript.  It's a fictional piece about first time parents, one of whom is working away from home.  I'm currently editing and working towards the end of my first draft.

I started this piece when we were living overseas - my husband is Irish and that's where we commenced married life.  In early 2013, I committed towards completing this unfinished project.  The progress I've made since then (over 60,000 words) has been achieved in slots of stolen time - after breakfast, cooking dinner, the odd quiet moment when everybody else is out of the house.

How does my writing differ from others in its genre?
My writing reflects the sum of my life experiences.  I've lived in 33 different houses in three countries (Australia, Scotland and Ireland) in cities, out in the bush and in small country towns.  I've had many jobs, as listed above, and met heaps of people along the way.

In my married life, we've survived mainly on one income, taking over ten years to finally live in our own house.  Earlier on, Joe and I juggled my part-time with his full-time work so we could care for the kids between us (attempts at daycare were unsuccessful - great facilities but the kids just wanted to be at home).  Most recently, I've worked from home.

Put this all together and it feeds the way I write, from being empathetic and able to develop a budget in my grant writing or giving voice to the male protagonist in my manuscript, from my time spent working in the country.

How does my writing process work?
I veer from being highly organised - developing system cards to break down each chapter - to writing on the fly.  My editing is split between the computer and the printed page.  Both methods are effective, but the latter means I can sit anywhere and read out loud.  It's amazing how many errors I've found this way, from syntax to flow.

On the blog, I either use my photos as a starting point (my love of photography is equal to that of writing) or talk about recent experiences, books I've read etc.  I have three lively, creative and beautiful children who provide a great deal of inspiration.  There's also our garden which we started from scratch (bar a few larger trees) when we built our house - photographing it changing through the seasons is a real love/obsession of mine.

I'm always having ideas and if I'm not physically writing, my mind is working away by itself.  I'll be driving along in the car and think of what comes next in my manuscript and have to mentally store it away until I get home.  Sometimes this is more effective than others, but eventually the thoughts return!

Here are some links to other posts for further thoughts on writing:

As I see it: the truth about writing

The word terminator

Working differently

Developing character: writing insight

Filtering the narrative voice (in pictures)

Now, it's over to you!  If you read my blog and you'd like to join in, please leave a comment and I'll add your link to this post.


  1. Lucy, we have so much in common! Loved reading this - I have added you to my favourite blogs list, by the way. Just thought you'd like to know.

    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it and interesting to know it struck a chord! Big compliment to be added to your list - I've updated mine tonight with yours too so I can keep track! Just emailed you re the writing meme in case you're interested in joining in.

  2. Wow, 75K words is so wonderful, Lucy. Part of me always thinks that a 'real' writer is working on a something non-fiction, but that's just me not standing up for me! x

    1. I know! I'm the same about very literary writing, which isn't my style, but somehow seems more 'real' when you're thinking of the quintessential writer!

  3. Wow Lucy, that's so fabulous about your manuscript! I've loved reading about your process :)

    1. Thanks Lisa! I really feel like I'm getting somewhere, but also know I have a long way to go!!