My Writing books

I’ve written about my habit of buying writing books, which I read instead of actually writing. Buying books is not a bad habit, in fact, it is it great fun, and these are good writing books. One of my favourites is “Writing Tools – 50 essential strategies for every writer” By Roy Peter Clark.

Clark is a writing teacher on www.poynter.org which is a must read website for all writers and journalists.  As he writes, “writing is a craft yu can learn..you need tools, not rules.”

The first tool is one I often employ when trying to figure out what a story is about – begin sentences with subjects and verbs, then let weaker elements branch to the right. For example:

The Rebel Alliance destroyed the Deathstar after a pitched battle, which saw Luke Skywalker successful deploy the fatal blow through a tiny gap in the killing machine’s superstructure.

The subject is the Rebel Alliance, the verb is destroyed. Dog bites man, storms wreak havoc, politician lies, villagers rejoice are all examples.

If you can’t figure out how to start, just do simple subject verb combinations to get a structure underway, then fill in the decorative bits later.

Day 8 – short-term goals for this month

I used to be really into setting goals, but after a while I realized it was just depressing because invariably I’d never reach them. Our society seems to be pathologically goal-orientated – married by a certain age, children by this age, brilliant career, millionaire by 30 – faster, stronger, slimmer, prettier, higher. Impossibly high standards are foisted on us and then we get crushed when we don’t meet them.
Challenge is different – challenge helps us grow and gives us self-belief. It may be just an age thing, but I’ve decided I’d rather enjoy the journey than stress over the destination. It has manifested itself in strange ways; I’m no longer competitive, whereas I used to be very much so, and I’ve lost interest in competitive sports. I really don’t care who wins a rugby, netball, yachting race anymore, I just like watching them.  Once I realized the fun of life is in the doing, I started to enjoy it a whole lot more. So my one and only goal at any time, is make the most of each day and have as much fun as possible doing it!

My favourite super hero and why

Harvey Birdman – he’s here to help.
That eyepatch!

I seem to favour animal super-heroes. I’m not sure why, but they are often more witty and charming than their human counterparts. At first I was leaning towards Danger Mouse (DM to his friends). Great accent, eyepatch and Penfold, his very cute hamster side- kick, but he is really a secret agent with no powers. And of course there is Dynamo Duck, who is simply irresistible. I mean he is cute and fluffy and drives a teeny Ferrari, but he is also not a super hero as such either. So, it has to be Harvey Birdman, Attorney at law, who is human even though he has wings. He is a great super hero at so many levels. Environmentally friendly – powered by the sun – and he has wings! Who doesn’t want to have their own set of wings? He shows initiative.  When the superhero business hit a slump, he retrained as an attorney and even helps out his old cartoon friends when they get on the wrong side of the law – what’s not to admire?

Day five – a picture of somewhere I’ve been to…

When I was about 12, my family belonged to the country club out by the airport, (which is not as fancy as it sounds). I used to watch the jumbo jets take off and all I could think of was the day when I could jump on one and fly away from dumb old New Zealand. To be fair, this was way back in the 1970s and this place was dull! It has improved considerably since then but I still love to travel, and I’ve been really lucky in that I have lived in and traveled to many different places. By far, though, my favourite place in the whole world is Aitutaki in the Cook Islands. Not only is it stunningly beautiful, but the locals are lovely, and I feel connected to the place whenever I’m there. I have been there five times already, which may be too

It really is that beautiful

many as there is not a lot to do there, but fortunately not doing a lot, especially on a beach with a good book, is one of my all-time favourite past-times – and I’m very good at it too!

Day Four – a habit you wish you didn’t have

I have a problem

So many bad habits – where to begin? Judging from the other #30daysofme blogs I have been reading, procrastination is so prevalent it should be considered a normal human behaviour. I have all the usual bad eating, drinking and lazing habits that abound among humans, so the habit I’ll focus on, because it is combines with why I’m doing this challenge, is my habit of buying writing books instead of actually writing.

Now, they are all great writing books, and I love reading them, so much so that I’m always buying another. But apparently you are meant to put what they say into actual practice! Even odder is that I enjoy writing – once I start. Sadly, I’m realising it is just the sin of procrastination in another form.