01.29.17

Top 10 2017 – Non-fiction books

Posted in Journal at 9:00 am by Natalie

Okay, due to the overwhelming response of one (and that was a text message) I’m going with non-fiction books. I like to always be reading one non-fiction and one fiction book, no idea why, I guess it’s just one of my loveable quirks. And just as I read all different types of fiction, my non-fiction preferences run from evolutionary theory to he’s just not that into you-type books. So this will be an eclectic mix.

To pick my non-fiction books I’ll often look to the references of previous non-fiction books I have enjoyed. Part of me would really like to write a self-help program made up entirely of reading great non-fiction books. This won’t be that list, because some of the books here won’t necessarily contribute to making you a better and more rounded person, but I hope that many will. I will credit some for great leaps forward that I have made.

Something that I really believe about the self-help type books is that you cannot just read them once to get the benefit. If you are anything like me you get super motivated while reading it, but that influence drops off exponentially as soon as you stop reading them. So for these books I’ll let you know that they have made it to my annual reader list. Don’t worry, he’s just not that into you is not on that list.

I know I’m going to miss a whole heap of great books, so I should put in a rider that these books are the ones that are front of mind for me. They are the ones I read again or remember often.

Finally, your own preferences are going to massively shape what non-fiction you read. I LOVE palaeo-zoology and evolution, but that isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, so I’m only going to include one (maybe two) in this list. You might like war planes or something that I find a bit nods-ey, so apologies for those not making the list. I guess this is my blog, so you get to find out about me 🙂

So, starting next month, the last post of the month will be my top 10 (at the moment) non-fiction books.

01.22.17

The Secret

Posted in Journal at 9:00 am by Natalie

Every now and then I worry what if “The Secret” is real? Usually this thought is sparked by a bout of coincidences that have left me feeling a little more connected to the universe than usual. Then work and bills and the minutiae of life creeps in and pulls a curtain over my budding belief. But what if it was real? What would my lack of progress say about me?

Don’t get me wrong, I know I’m crazy lucky, but imagine if my lack of success in some important fields in my life were because I didn’t really believe I should get there? I know that exact same thought is what most people use to dismiss “The Secret”, but if I’m honest, realising my biggest hopes and dreams in life also has me terrified. What if I hated being a successful, published author?

For me, something that gives validity to “The Secret” is that I expect some things which are really exceptional gifts, but I take them as if they are the norm; wildflowers to be picked by anyone passing by. My chronic superstition won’t allow me to list those things, but when I stop and think about them I am really grateful, but only when I stop and think about them. Is it my expectation that gives me those things?

The biggest argument against “The Secret” as far as I can tell is why would the universe care what I want? Unless my desire is noble and for the benefit of the world, why should I be granted my dreams? But imagine; what if this world was meant to be a place where we are all satisfied, happy, content and live at one with nature, and the only reason it isn’t is because not enough of us believed in it? That would be tragic. Maybe we all need to work on our belief?

Okay, enough D&M. This year I want my last post of the month to be a Top10 again, so let me know if you would like scriptwriters or non-fiction books. Both kept trying to sneak in last year with my Top10 authors. Or feel free to suggest something else, the more challenging the better.

01.15.17

To break or not to break?

Posted in Journal at 9:00 am by Natalie

In the middle of October I started writing a novella and I finished the heavy edit on January 11th. What do I do now? I was spending at least 20 hours a week on this thing in December and January. Should I give myself some time off now?

With both the novels that I finished recently I think I may have burned myself out a bit, and I took a month off after each, but at less than 40,000 words the novella doesn’t feel like it has taxed me to the same degree. If anything I feel like it has revved me up! Not to mention that I’m working part time now, so that’s 16 hours of “work” time I’m not wasting at work each week.

I think jumping into another novel right now would be a mistake, and even a short story so hot on the heels of so much work might be pushing it… But I do know of a flash fiction call for subs which is closing in February. Maybe it is what I need to slow me down just enough to get ready to start the next big project?

I would like to find a way to sustain my writing throughout the year instead of doing several months of intense work and then a whole month of nothing. I might try this pacing thing out and see if it works.

01.08.17

Glorious deadlines

Posted in Writing at 9:00 am by Natalie

There is a call for novellas that closes on January 12th which I found out about in mid October. Toward the end of October I got hit with an idea. Since then I’ve been dabbling with it, writing 700 words here, 1000 words there. Back in October I figured that as long as I could finish it by December, I’d be okay.

December 31st 2016 at 3:02PM I finished the novella. I was writing nearly every day leading up to this, including Christmas day, to get it done in time. I was doing blocks of over 2,500 words in a sitting. In short, I was working to the deadline.

Now I’m editing like a crazy person. The TV is off and my social life is gone. Grocery shopping has been forgotten (I’m getting creative with making meals out of what is in the fridge), and let’s not even talk about housework. I’m losing days in a world of edit and re-edit. After all, it needs to be as good as it can be by January 12th – and that could take a while.

I can’t help but wonder if the submission due date was Dec 31st would I instead have finished the novella on December 15th? Conversely, if it wasn’t due until the end of January, would I still be writing little snippets of the first draft now? Even more interestingly, would it have been the same story as the one I’m working with now?

I have long realised that I need a deadline to get me working, but it is amazing what can be achieved when you force yourself to do something. I guess I’d better start working out what the next deadline needs to be, because this one will be up soon.

But first I’ll do some grocery shopping. The housework can wait.

01.01.17

Hopes for a New Year

Posted in Journal at 9:00 am by Natalie

My roof got speared by the branch of a pine tree on Tuesday night, and my 40+ year old Golden Elm got snapped in half. We had a storm, a big storm. It was the fourth such storm in Adelaide in 2016. At least they have stopped calling them hundred-year storms, it started sounding silly after the second one.  

While the loss of internet and a few days without power is really annoying, it is also starting to feel too familiar. Yesterday I was talking about going halvsies with my parents on a generator so our food doesn’t keep spoiling after these ‘events’. The idea makes me cringe, it is just another hideous Band-Aid over the reality of climate change.  

I like to think of myself as being environmentally aware, yet I buy my milk in plastic bottles, I have multiple beauty products which promise (and fail) to deliver straight hair, and I’ve had 5 laptops which have never been passed on to anyone else after I finish with them. There is only so much that recycling can pick up the slack on. I often come in at half the rate on my water, electricity and gas use for equivalent sized households, yet I think I still use too much, far too much.  

I want the babies of today to see a live Barrier Reef when they grow up, I want them to live in a world where tigers and orang-utans and elephants are wild animals living in wild places. I want there to be trees that have grown in the same place for hundreds, if not thousands of years. A life full of plastic bottles, needless chemicals and high-turnover electricals won’t help to deliver that.  

I know it can seem overwhelming and there is a belief that we are too far gone to make a difference, but that isn’t true. There are actually a million things you can do. Something I saw this week which really inspired me was The Minimalists (see TED talk below). This is something so easy to do, you can do as much or as little as you like, and it addresses one of the big problems I see in Western society of consumerism (even if economists don’t agree with me).  Please think about it, I know not all of us can have 5 minute showers, but I’m sure you can find something to cut back on. Every little bit helps.

Happy New Year!

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