Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Say no more!

It worked!

Blogger for Word

Ok. This is just a test.  I downloaded Blogger for Word.  Does it work?  Let’s see (or not see!!!).  What fun to make an idiot of yourself in public like this.

Is short the new long?

I am wondering if there is actually a real tendency to write short entries in blogs. A little like web page designers always talk about shorty sharp messages on the page as it opens up and people not liking to read huge diatribes ... The more blogs I read the more I think that short is in.

I'm confused. I like to blither on. My journal is a place I can do that. Can't I do that in my blog too?

A real question people .... please help out here ... is there a culture in blogging that says "short is sweeter"?

Monday, January 30, 2006

What a difference a weekend makes!

I got a notebook computer! Excuse the excitement but it was "on my list" and I certainly did not expect to be getting it - but when Stuart insisted, how could I say no to him?! But let me start at the beginning!

Clare and I went stationary shopping so she could get ready for TAFE for next week. A harmless exercise you might think? Well to those of us addicted to blank books this is never a cheap or quick exercise. And while my daughter appears to have been spared from my blank book addiction, she definately has the genetic predisposition for stationary addiction! So we make a good pair for this exercise and were happy to take orders for purchases from Stuart and Simon with us. I mean what a great reason to go up and down every isle of Office Works.

Our first "blank book" excitement came from the outrageous prices of exercise books at Office Works at the moment. While I recognise that these are at the bottom end of the blank book scale, they are still blank books. Addicts reading this page will understand that despite the fact that neither Clare or I needed an exercise book for anything right now, we had to buy 20! Why 20? Well good consumers that we are, the sign said "limit of 20 per customer". Why 20? Well the damn things were only 1c each!!!!! A bargain even if you don't need them ...

We took about eight steps I suppose when we found ourselves surrounded by some classy blank books! In Office Works no less. This was a little of a shock. You expect the run of the mill, the cool coloureds and perhaps exercise books with the latest movie characters on them .... but leather bound? Or the Lattern Paper ones? I really shouldn't advertise that Office Works has the Lattern Paper ones when they also often advertise on this site ... (sorry!) ... but it was a tad exciting.

Oh and of course I bought two ( I really did hold back ok?). And then purchased a heap of stationary (some of which was on the list and some of which was not).

I was dead happy. You know the feeling ... 'addict gets a fix' kind of happy ...

I did note that they also had their office chairs on sale for half price so I mentioned this to Stuart ... and it started again ....

Next thing I knew we had been out shopping again (leaving Clare at home happy with her stash!!) ... and he bought me a Notebook Computer. I mean of coures I am excited ... the name of the book depends on a notebook computer! My blog (which seriously could become addictive) depends on it too. And now *I* depend on having that portability. What changes will this bring?

Watch this space because I am about to become dangerous! (Aren't all addicts?)

Thursday, January 26, 2006

It comes when you relax ...

It happened! I have been struggling with a framework that will work to hang New Century Note (the book) on. I relaxed. Had a great night with Stu and I just hanging out ... and 3am with my red silk journal in my hand it came to me ... thank god for journals being on hand everywhere I go in my life to record these flashes of genius.

I just feel inspired again and secure about writing again. Whatever we struggle with as writers it does eventually come. And it does come when we relax. The more we push the harder it gets. Walking, daydreaming, driving, swimming, lying in the sun ... whatever it takes to felax to the point of inspiriation? Just do it!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Be around people who inspire you to do better and be better.

Simple as that. Even just the voice of a good friend will do sometimes. If you hang around boring people you will be bored. If you hang around clever people you will learn. If you hang around motivated people you will grow.

Make the right choice to have the life you want. And that includes the writing life.
Dedicated to my friend Elizabeth ... thank you for being that.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

What a difference a word makes ...

I struggle to find the right words too often. Every time you read articles about being a writer they tell you to write all the time. Write whenever you can. Write regularly. I do. I am addicted to writing. I remember when I was doing Julia Cameron's The Artists' Way how difficult it was to give up reading and writing for just one week. An addiction is an addiction after all. No amount of writing (or reading) prepares you to have the right word at the exact moment you need it.

Having a word 'on the tip of your pen' is so much more frustrating than having it 'on the tip of your tongue'. I make a point of doing vocabulary increasing exercises - I even read the In crease Your Word Power' section of Readers' Digest when I find a copy in a waiting room! Whenever I hear a word I don't know I look it up in the dictionary and then also read a few more. I read new authors and different texts all the time so that I am exposed to new language(it's also useful to be addicted to reading). But there are still not enough words for me to draw from and... I am not yet skilled enough to pull them together to make the most of them.

It shouldn't matter when it's in your personal journal I suppose. But I do like to get things right. Even in private and without an audience.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


Sex will do it probably. I have been wondering why people choose to have anonymous blogs. I suspect it is part of the fear factor all journallers and bloggers go through. This is usually related to someone you know reading your journal - a little theme lately. It also takes me back to the entry on The Bride Stripped Bare. Writing a whole book anonymously (though I am still skeptical about that!). Most people who write journals secretly (or not so secretly) also desire something else - fame! They want readers. So why and when don't people want readers? Or is it that people just don't want readers that they know because the personal is too hard to deal with ... I am going in circles, but there are some real questions around this ... all to be had.

An anonymous blog. Would it change things? Is there personal power in it?

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Setting goals and standards for journal writing

I find I cheat a lot. First of all I have learnt over the years not to set goals that I can't achieve with a little effort - so it isn't like I set unrealistic standards. Usually I am following someone's advice: like write THREE (3) pages every morning in your morning pages (Julia Cameron ... The Artist's Way) or write FIVE (5) things you are grateful for daily before retiring (Sarah Ban Breathnach ... Simple Abundance).

Sometimes I set my own goals on top of these two I see as the absolute basic commitment I will make to journaling ... And I do pretty well. But then sometimes I just get stubborn (god knows with whom I am getting stubborn because no one knows or cares!) and I won't write anything in the Gratitude Journal. Just because. (You can hear the two year old tantrum can't you?). Or I will 'be really naughty' and write an extra morning page when I am on a roll. Just because. There is no purpose to this, as it really doesn't matter how you use the habit once the habit is formed.

I think that is the key. Once the habit is formed. It is hard to be a new journaller or be getting back in to it, and I believe that until the habit is well and truly part of your daily life it works better to set these goals ...

Then once the habit is set ... it gives you a place to be stubborn and break rules. What fun!

Sunday, January 15, 2006

It's a whole new world!

I feel like I have entered a whole new world. Of course I could have just started a little blog and left it at that. But in my usual obsessive style I have to get in to the whole experience. I have my ads (just for fun) and now I have registered the blogs on other sites and am madly encouraging other keen writers and techno friends in to this virtual world as well.

It really reminds of me of the days when I was totally addicted to Geocities. Back in the 'old' days when it had just started up, I was one of the early members there and also had an ICQ number that was only four digits long!!! This was an important distinction in that community! I was a keen member of Bourban St (and visited a couple of others for fun) and the whole community that was set up there. I met so many people and got so many ideas about worlds outside my own because of those interactions. I still wonder sometimes about Playful Jack, Teddy, Horns, Misty, Dionysus, and others I have lost contact with. I also got seriously addicted to the experience and tried all sorts of new and wonderful experiences because of it ... and I feel like that is happening again with web logs.

The 'whole new world' feeling comes from the fact that it feels like an adventure (if you define adventure as taking part in something you aren't quite sure how it will turn out). It is unknown territory with its own set of languages and many different tracks and ways to experience the new world. It is as personal as your own experience, yet it allows you to communicate with others and learn from their experiences if you wish as well. As a community development practitioner and academic it appeals to the community building side of me. Yet I know people who don't embark in this virtual world have trouble imagining that.

That is the crux of it I think. Imagination. You need imagination to embark fully in the virtual world. A certain kind of imagination. The kind that supports you to explore a whole new brave world ... and throw yourself into it with all your preconceptions willingly suspended.

Friday, January 13, 2006

The Community Nature of Blogs

I didn't stop to think about the impact of having a blog on relationships around me. For example:

* My mother and many of my family and friends overseas and living in different towns and states can have a daily insight into my life and thoughts.
* My kids are getting tired of me talking about it all the time (but that is no different to any of my projects. I get obsessed about things all the time when I am excited).
* Friends are getting into it and either emailing or asking me about the things I write.
* People start talking to me about the blog and what it is about, or about setting one up for themselves) Get on to it Brad!
My poor partner sees parts of our life in the internet for all to read! (See kitten story in www.theblogoflists.blogspot.com )
* People who don't know me that well interact and see me in a different light because of the blog or its content.
* I am meeting people on the internet who have an interest in the blog or topics.

When you start a blog you do think about things like ... how you might (or might not) edit what you write. You set it up thinking about the audience and your own needs for writing it and how to balance that. My brother actually asked me if it feels strange to have my life on the web ... and I was thinking that what I write isn't too personal at all - especially when compared to my red silk notebook. I am not sure it really lets anyone in at all ... it is no different to the things I would talk to people about (if they cared to listen), but perhaps some conversations I would choose which people in my life to have them with ... and this way I just don't control who 'listens' in ... But that shouldn't matter anyway if you are living an authentic kinda life ...

I am thinking way too much about it at the moment ... .my head is having real trouble getting order in to the book ... and it isn't getting any easier ... I get scared .... But that's a topic for another time ...

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


Friends have always been part of the journal experience for me. I was writing about this in the current version of the introduction on the weekend and began to think about the influence different people have had on my journal writing experience. Right from the start really. I also remember some really close friendships where we actually 'babysat' each other's journals when we were going away and didn't want housemates or family members to read them. All kinds of pacts have been in place over the years. From promising to NOT let people read things if we ended up in a coma to holding each other's journals for months on end. I had a 'summer fun' journal with one close friend and we kept it as a joint journal of "what we did this summer". Neither of us would want that in 'enemy' hands!!!

A friend who recently moved across the country just wrote to me today about rediscovering journal writing, and mentioned the fear about people reading your journal. It is such a difficult aspect to journal writing. It is actually one of the fears we all face that does change what people write. I have talked to some journallers who write certain things because they know a spouse or sibling is reading it. I am ok with the issue now - I figure if people read it then they deserve how they might feel. I know I use my journal to vent, and I also write total fiction in it sometimes.

My bigger fear is what happens to my collection after I die ... not sure how to deal with that one. Conversely though I have dealt with this a little as I have got a notebook each of my kids specifically written for them for when they are older - or when I am not around... maybe I am weird?

Anyway - the main thing today was remembering that for the whole life and journal journey, friends make life the experience richer. Thanks TW.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Tristine Rainer

I am so excited by the littlest of things. I was doing some online research for the introduction to New Century Notebook, looking to see if there was a new edition of The New Diary, the book which changed my entire relationship with diary writing as a young teenage girl. My current book sits above me as I type and is falling to bits. It was quoted in my thesis when I was 'brave' enough to insist sections of my personal journal were included in my academic these (Long story!). It was my strength when I thought there was such a thing as the "right way to write a diary" (how far I have come!). It was on the reading list for many units I taught at University.

Instead I found Tristine Rainer and her Centre for Autobiographical Studies (http://www.storyhelp.com/). I can't describe how it feels to know that she has continued the journey and didn't stop after The New Diary. Another book to read, another edition of The New Diary for me to peruse, and a whole new theoretical framework to digest looking at the web site and seeing a not for profit centre set up for autobiographical literature INCLUDING JOURNALS.

It makes me feel connected in a way I haven't since I was researching as a profession.

Commercialising the blog experience

Ads on blogs is obviously a complex debate for bloggers and non bloggers. I wasn't sure whether to apply for ads on this site or not but in the end decided I would to go through the experience and also out of interest to see if it actually does create any income for the orindary blogger (which it claims it can!). It was interesting to watch my reactions through the process. Google actually 'approve' your site for ads and it was actully something I got excited about when it happened. Like what does it really matter if they approve it or not? a) I didn't really care either way as it was just an experiential thing to do and b) who are the 'google police' to approve or not approve? :-) (Aha ... see that? An email based emoticon in my blog!!!). It is a strange little world the blogging world. I do wonder how we get more people to interact with the blog and whether a straight web sight would do this more. I suspect though that perhaps having google ads might put the blog 'up' in the heirarchy of coming up when someone does a search. Who knows ....? I certainly don't want to begin to sound like a conspiracy theorist here!!!! Anyway - if you have a serious interest in journalling and you are reading this, then I sincerely hope the ads are things of interest to you that help you with your journey. (Aha ... see that? I am writing for an audience again ... oh dear ... this is all so different!).

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Mystery Solved

If I ever doubted that work uses up a lot of my creative energy, I doubt no longer. Returning to work after an effective 10 day break (no matter how much you love the work), makes it really difficult to stay in that creative mode that you enter when you are relaxed and have the freedom of no time tables.

Four days back into the new year at work and I feel emotionally and creatively tired and hungry. I have written in my new red silk journal each day ... but some days only just enough to say I have not broken the writing habit. This is difficult to maintain - I much prefer being able to immerse myself in my imagination and own thoughts for days on end. Even going to the movies to see Narnia didn't whet my appetite (though I did love the movie).

For now I will act "as if". And maintain the habits ... and perhaps the rest will just follow if I believe ...

Monday, January 02, 2006

Back to Blank Books

I did it. I started in the red silk journal I had been keeping 'for special'. After all, what is more special than enjoying the moment? And yes, it is integrated. And no that isn't why today's blog is short. It is short because I also have my Blog of Lists (which I had some good content for today) and I have to go back to work tomorrow ..... and I don't feel like doing anything much.

Except smile.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Melancholy Musings

What is it about the New Year that reminds me of a blank journal page? It is a strange phenomenon when there is a blank slate, a blank canvas, a blank page, or a blank year and it mixes inside you a mixture of fear, anticipation, excitement and today, melancholy. After a fun New Year's eve in Fremantle with the Clipper Boat race activities, too much food and too much Moet, January 1st is actually more of me musing about the people I love and what I wish for them for the year ahead. It is also about me looking at my life through the lens that removes all the physical and emotional clutter and allows me to be selective about what gets put back on the radar that guides me through my days.

Moving on with that metaphor, Stuart and I actually had a New Year's conversation about the physical clutter being gone, but there is still emotional and activity clutter in our lives that we are going to work on this year ( i.e. a full radar blipping at me constantly) ... so I start with the issue of all my blank books! Which is really funny when I think about it. Book for morning pages, book for end of day gratitudes (which I forgot to write in last night dammit) and all this followed by a series of books for a series of blank book events, occassions and activities. I thinkI seriously need to consider actually collapsing some of these in together.

I have the most beautiful hand made journal of red silk and handmade pages that I have been saving. 'Saving'. That makes me smile. I have literally hundreds of blank books I am saving - but this one has a special tone and feel to it that really appeals to me. I am feeling like the whole blog thing is a little electronic for me and I need that balance of the aesthetic to work with too. If I use this art piece starting today I have the opportunity for that 'new book on Januray 1st' feeling ... both sacry (Like will I continue it or stuff it up?) and exciting (I finally get to write in it). It takes me back to the little 'girl's diaries' with the lock that you could easily break into if you were a sibling with an interest. I am thinking I could at least use this artefact to get me started this year with gratitudes, morning pages and extraneous miscellaneous musings.

What I can't seem to consider is collapsing some of my writing and other practical journals. Currently there are journals for everything from: story and article ideas, one for NCN (Aha ... you see I had THAT before the blog!), one for Foot in the Door (nearly out of use really), my Charisma Question book, general writing exercises, thoughts and notes, Beach Dreamings, general writing inspirations from other writers, to the more practical internet logs, finances recording and planning, Stuart and my life planning, and a book that I am recoring parental thoughts in for both Clare and Simon for when I am no longer around. Add to this my filing cabinet and beautiful boxes (an adventure I had with Elizabeth in the days we were postgrads together at Murdoch).

See why I need to declutter how I work?

I think I can amalgamate the gratitude, morning pages and general musings into one. When it comes to the practical and writing books? I am not up to that yet. At least having a plethora gives me an excuse to keep buying more.

Now there's a thought that makes me smile ... melanchology disipates ... a new year begins ...

Clare's first 'White Chritsmas' in Canada. (I miss her!) Posted by Picasa