Monday, February 27, 2006

Hiding from the World

I have to pose the question: Is it unhealthy to hide inside my writing when I have a bad day? Gee I hope not. I find that some of the best stuff I write is when I am cranky with the world (or soemthing or someone in it) and I just hit away at the words on the PC.

"Is it any different to de-stress reading a book
than it is to de-stress writing a book?"
Hopefully not. I find that writing takes me to another world. One that isn't always perfect. But I control it. In my fiction project ( Beach Dreamings) I have a beach house ... and I sometimes "visit" the beach house in my mind when I am not writing. Then of course there are all those days where everything else is too ahrd but the writing is there ... and flowing easily.
Why would you do anything else?

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Physical Day Today - No Writing

I needed a break from writing. I could actually feel the need to do more physical things this weekend and that ended up with me sorting out all my books (and bravely putting aside a huge box of books to give away).

"I have a strange relationship with my books"
I had to sort and re sort bookcases then shelves within bookcases. I did a really poor job of the same task a few months ago when a bookcase broke on us (beyond repair believe me!). I found myself getting more and more uncomfortable about the order of my books and the status of the cases ... so there you go ... all done. Time for a walk with the dogs ...

Writing can wait (and this is not procrastination). At least I don't think this is :-)

Saturday, February 25, 2006

How Do you Write Book With Complex Concepts?

I'm not saying the the New Century Notebook will have such complexity - but the question still stands. I went to see the movie Syriana today. I went because I want to be able to view stories from many perspectives- Syriana achieves this. It's not a 'nice' film. It certainly isn't a 'feel good' film. As the by line claims so accurately "Everything is Connected". It was a reminder that every action we take (for our jobs, in our daily lives, with our families) might have an impact on a global level. And I'm not talking about the things we already understand well in the western world. Not environmental concerns - that wasn't even a part of the whole oil industry debate in the movies ... but concerns about real people and real lives. And until we all understand how our decisions (especially those of us who vote or buy shares) might impact on the lives of faceless people in countries we know little about then the world just isn't going to get better for the ordinary person. Of all the storylines in the movie ... the background storly lines about the migrant workers in the oil rich countries was the most moving. Their lives being the most fragile of all - inside this complex system.

"So how does one write a book about a complex system and a complex subject?"

I am struggling just for New Century Notebook. Sometimes I feel like there are mulitple books (tody I would write three!). Sometimes I feel like there is no book at all. I admire people who write well to get a complex message across. And I admire even more the writers who make me think - and maybe even change my own actions in order to make the world a better place.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Why do people write in journals?

Honestly. Why? What do people get out of it? I have read nearly 200 surveys now and I still don't really know the answer. I am not sure I even know why I do. I know all the practical responses around using the journal as a space to be practicing the writing craft and to be at least writing something. I know about the process often being a cathartic one. But why does it become so important in so many of our lives?

I have some really good friends - some of whom are published writers - who just don't consider a journal a tool. They (shock! horror!) don't have blank books all throughout their lives... what would that feel like I wonder?

"So some of us are turned on by journals and some of us aren't."

I wonder what difference it actually makes to be writing a journal. I can't contemplate what life would be like without my blank books. So apart from the obvious addiction solution ... what does a journal really bring to your life?

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


I told you a few blogs ago about some synchronicity happening with my writing life at the moment... it is speeding up. It feels scary sometimes. A staff member at work keeps drawing me in to events and conversations she wouldn't even be aware are having a major impact on my writing experiences at the moment ( I will tell her but we are soooooo busy at the moment it isn't funny). Then my reading - I never have a plan for what to read next. It is always just there for me when I need it. Second hand book stores, gifts or loans from friends and family, spontaneous visits to a bookstore or the library and picking up exactly what I need for that moment in time. Then people have started popping out of the woodwork. And then events, and now opportunities. The speed is really hard to cope with - so I am doing my best to at least pretend to be cruising with it all!

"Seredipity. Synchronicity. Speed. "
Then there is my second cousin. She has been around in the background to my life for as long as I remember. We don't live in the same country anymore - and never ever lived in the same town. She is my mum's age so she was more like an Aunty to me I suppose. And to be honest? I don't remember spending all that much time in her company. I may have, but we migrated from my country of birth when I was only eight years old. She just recently lost her sister - and has been in my thoughts regularly. Then my daughter went overseas and had the fantastic opportunity of spending a couple of days travelling around Dayle's home city with her and being shown the sites as Dayle lives them ...

God is the source of my writing. Dayle is the reason I am a writer. She started on me when I was young and no one in my life even knew that I had the drive or knowledge that this was my calling ...

Dayle just wrote to me from literally half way across the world. The letter took a week to reach me. A letter so full of strength and desire. I could read the absolute drive with which she wrote to me in a notebook which was actually bought for another purpose. I could smell the coffee from the coffee shop I am sure she was sitting in. And she gave me some of the most intense material I have ever had to write with. She is one of the amazing gifts of people that have been put in my life again and again and again. And I don't even think she knows it.

I am overwhelmed. And this book is about to take a new turn ...

Monday, February 20, 2006

What's the Difference Between Blogs and Journals?


Ok ok ok - I'll stop yelling. But only long enough to praise blank books and journals once again - oh and to say thanks to everyone who was so sweet as to email me in support of my little glitch. Who knows what happened? But I got a clear message this has happened to others too! It was a real pain but most of this Blog is fixed now at least. It's a shame I lost so much formatting ... but at least I didn't loose any content huh!
"I survived my first technological blog disaster - just not happily!"
I think it's important to note that the little technical glitch really got to me at an emotional level ... interesting huh! Like one of my technical staff at work reminded me "It's technology ... it's gonna happen". A saying I usually profess around the office when the server is down!

Upwards and onwards!

This Blog is Being 'Repaired'

I appear to have lost all my formatting, links and connections.
Please excuse this blog whilst it is under repair.
(Yes I am mad as h**l).

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Bloggers Make Better Lovers

Hey I have no idea if this is true or not .... but I have met some really great people in the last few weeks since I started really seriously networking through blogging. E-Community is alive and well and I feel supported, motivated and enthused by these interactions despite the fact it's been a really hard week for me in many ways. Today's quote is inspired by Mr Fabulous (check out Pointless Drivel in my Noteworthy Blog links).

"Bloggers are the cool kids on the e-block"

Thanks to all the bloggers who are pushing the blogging agenda and developing a whole new way of communicating around the globe. I know that it has really informed my book and changed my writing processes greatly. Thanks too to all the current 153 people who have filled in the survey ... I appreciate it.

How not to write a book while working full time

Writing can get really hard sometimes. I hold down a demanding full time job, have a family and a life! I keep trying so hard to make writing come first. I never seem to succeed. This week has been really hard. Even with my new addiciton to blogging I haven't probably written more than 2000 words all up. Any writer here knows that that isn't going to write a best seller!

"Never let life get in the way
of writing about the life inside your head"

There are so many things that can take us away from the writing - and I am not even trying to procrastinate. There is something about energy - not just creative energy - that makes it difficult to balance everything we face on a weekly basis. I did not even read that much this week, and I know for me that the two go hand in hand.

At least in this project, there are people out there really supporting me with writing survey responses (Thank you so much!) and I kinda feel like at least in the reading of these and corresponding with people that I am in touch with the project. The passion lives on easily for me ... it is just time and energy and time and energy and time and energy.

This has been a struggle week. Next week I am prioriting the time to write. End of story.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Launching Journal Writing Tips

Launching my new Journal Writing Tips Blog! Ok - first I have to say that I have learnt so much from actually taking up blogging. I am so happy that I didn't just research blogging without taking part.

To start with I have met some of the most amazing people through blogging - and bloggers are so friendly and helpful - it is amazing.

Then I have to admit that this experience has helped me to learn that in blogging (no matter what we all try to say and think abou this) is that we DO think about who is reading and what they find interesting or we respond to what people might say in their comments - and this 'readership' does affect what we write in a blog in a way that doesn't happen in a journal (more of this in the book!).

I have been even luckier I suppose because in the New Century Note Book project (see link to survey on your right!) I have been exposed to even more opinons by people. In response to this I have set up a tips and techniques blog at (lnik on your right!) and I hope that you enjoy it! It's partly my way of saying thanks to people who filled in the survey so you don't have to wait for the book for everything ... and partly so that I can clearly delineate bewteen my blogs - this one after all is about recording my writing of the book and what I am learning ...

So here goes ... yet another blog ... but what fun ...

Is blogging my new addiction?

Saturday, February 11, 2006

The Basic Tools

Reading and writing consistently are the basic tools to the whole writing craft. I have had some serious synchronicity in my reading and writing experiences lately. All of the events have led me to the same path.
Remember where the creativity comes from ... read regularly and widely ... write in as disciplined a way as you can ... less writing but more often is the best method in a busy life ... write in the early morning ... walk daily... and make efforts to view the world around you as the artist you are.
I have lost touch a little with where the creativity required for my art comes from. Now I have to say that I have had some really clear events, readings and conversations to remind me. I need to be more grateful for that aspect of my life. Live in abundance about writing ... not in a mood of scarcity about time or resources. The source is an endless one and is always ripe for the using ... and for that I am very grateful.

As far as reading goes ... well tell me to put a good book down and just see the reaction!

As for writing regularly - I am fine there ... just struggle with writing much in the early mornings ... like does it really have to be early in the morning :-) Someone please redefine early as any time before midnight!!!

As far as viewing the world as an artist ... always. Well I do carry my collection of blank books wherever I go, but I often miss writing down the thoughts in my head. The thoughts don't count until you can express them in black and white (or purple and white or blue and white ... whatever pen colour you prefer!). While it's all a process - the product is king.

Oh the survey responses hit 68 today .... keep them rolling in people! Thanks!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Writing can be a lonely process - but you need people!

I laugh at the stereotype that writers hide themselves away and don't interact with people. If you didn't like watching people, listening to people or interacting with people you couldn't be a writer. I suppose the other side of the argument is that when you are focussed on the writing, you get so immersed that for a period of time (or multiple periods of time) you feel like cloistering yourself away and not really having much to do with anyone that isn't part of your writing. (Hey ... the adult version of the imaginary friend is actually the fictional character.)
"Writers have the fun of living in the make believe world long after childhood is finished."
When your writing world collides with your mundane world, it can be scary too. I have a friend I absolutely adore. Elizabeth is a writer and our relationship has always been one where there is lots of space. We both cherish the friendship highly and consider each other the closest of friends. We understand of one another that we are often living inside our latest projects or inside our heads. Yet when we pop out of our little creative worlds the friendship is there as close as ever.

We had a lovely experience tonight when Stu and I were out doing our late night shopping at the local centre ... and there was Elizabeth and her James doing the same thing. It was quite strange sharing the shopping centre and doing something so 'everyday' with this friend. It was so exciting to see each other (having been living in our 'projects' lately). Our guys had the opportunity to knowingly nod at each other understanding that they both so know what it is like to live with someone who is a writer (it is not easy by any means). Elizabeth and I had an opportunity to talk quickly and release a few ideas from our heads ... and not move on down the aisle until a date was set for our next long coffee together ... It reminded me of when we were PhD students together. Our life was our work, but our relief was our friendship.
It is special to have a friendship where there is space to be in your writer's world - then when you pop out (even if just to do the weekly shopping!) - there they are: Full of understanding of where you are, who you are and smiling a really lovely warm smile that tells you they are truly a good friend. Writers need people. Especially people who provide you space and respect to do really good work.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

I want to write full time!

Ok Ok Ok I know I am not the only one out there that has this particular wish. It is so exciting when you get in the middle of your project and everything is happening at once and you just have to spend every spare second on it (possibly not great for loved ones - sorry guys!). I have been overwhelmed by the responses to the NCN Project (See below). I have another (nearly) 30 in today. And once again the quality and reflection is really staggering and all so different - yet all resound with familiar voices ... I feel the sense of the virtual community thing happening in a way I haven't since I was a major player in chat rooms about 15 years ago! This time it is very much a different sense of connection - but a community in a virtual sense is apparent. I am still facinated by the whole concept.

If I keep this up I will have to seriously watch my obsession rating with my behaviours. (Ok - those of you who are writers out there know as well as me that there is NO STOPPING this feeling - let's just have some fun).

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Survey Counts in at 30!

Can’t help but feel connected to other journal writers and bloggers. It is so cool to be in correspondence with so many people about something I feel passionate about.  Running total to date is 30 surveys.  Not bad considering its only a few days huh! I like that people choose how little or much they wish to contribute … and are happy to share. It’s got a community feel about it.  Yay for the new century type of notebook, journal and blog!

Support from other journal writers and bloggers

The world IS a small sweet place. I am feeling quite overwhelmed by the support I have had from complete strangers from the journal and blogging world. I will get some stats on here soon for those of you who wish to follow. Apart from some really reflective responses to the NCN Project Survey there have been some light and entertaining ones as well. It makes me feel like there are so many journal/blogger soul mates out there - and I don't feel so silly for having so many blank books and blogs to boot! Adrienne from the Erotica Readers and Writers group was very generous and sent the survey out to the writing group email list - and the resonse from other writers has been fantastic ...

The world is a small place. And we do find ways to connect with each other - not just blog and journal our hearts away on ourselves! Thanks to everyone who has replied thus far.

Monday, February 06, 2006

The Project is Launched!

Big thank you to everyone who has replied so far. I have had a few surveys back and some lovely replies from people wishing best of luck and some old friends popping out of the woodwork sending me regards ... It's kinda nice. I still feel really nervous about it all - but like any project it will have a life of its own. My mum has been really cool sending it out to her networks too ... doesn't matter how old you get you can always rely on your mum! (Thanks Mum). Can't wait to have a stack of surveys back so I can start recoding some of the responses on here too!

I feel like I can breathe again - part of me thought NO ONE would reply ...

Sunday, February 05, 2006

The New Century Notebook Project Survey

The New Century Notebook Project Survey

What is the New Century Notebook Project?

The New Century Notebook (NCN) Project is a research project which aims to capture a snap shot of the use of journals*, diaries, blogs, electronic diaries and personal notebooks in the 21st Century.

In the book I am writing The New Century Notebook I want to collect the broadest range of responses possible to ensure that all the different ways people keep a ‘journal’ are collected. Or even reasons why people choose not to sometimes. From paper based journals like blank books, dated diaries, travel diaries, scrapbooks and visual diaries to the electronic journal formats such as electronic diary software, word processing files kept on computer and on line diaries and Blogs

As a fellow journal keeper (or any shape, format or content) I would really love to hear from you to help me capture this picture. I have a few questions – you can answer as long or short as you like. Please also feel free to send this project survey to your family or friends who might be interested in taking part … you can check out the impact this survey is having (like how many countries get covered and how many people respond) as well as the path I am taking in writing this book by visiting my blog . Thanks for at least taking the time to look at this … you might see your ideas in print really soon!

Feel free to email me if you would like me to send you a copy of the survey to just complete and post back to me on email at: this is also my contact email address if you have any further questions about the project. If you want you can just cut and paste from the one below ...

Can’t wait to hear what you have to say … fill in as little or as much as you like as all questions are optional – add more comments if you wish – and send me your on line addresses so I can visit you too, but only if you are happy for me to recommend them in my publication when it is complete. I am just as happy to hear from people who have written journals in the past but choose not to anymore as well.

(For ease of writing the survey I have used the term journal. This might mean – visual diary, diary, notebook, on line diary, blog, audio log, video diary or scrap book as well as other formats …).

Thanks – Pamela Weatherill.

About You:
  • Male or female?

  • Age?

  • Country in which you currently reside?

  • Homepage (or Blog or on line diary address) – if you have one that you don’t mind being cited in publication. You may give me an address and note that it is NOT for publication If you wish.

  • Occupation (or area of study if you are a student).

  • If you have a preference for a fake name for me to use if I refer to you in the book please let me know! You may also include a short sentence to describe yourself!

Early experiences of journal writing:
  • What early experiences do you have of journal writing? (How old were you? What or who inspired you to give it a try?).

  • Do you have any particular stories related to these early experiences? (Perhaps a sibling reading your diary, or reasons why you stopped or continued to write? What did you write about?).

Current or recent journal experiences:

  • What forms do your journals take now? (e.g. dated diary, online blog or diary, diary software, visual diary, audio or video diary, scarp book or artists log. If you use blank books – what kind – recycled old exercise books or do you perhaps make your own?). Please note if you have more than one format.

  • Where do you usually write and how often?

  • What do you record in your ‘journal’? If you have more than one type then what do you record in each type?

  • What tools do you use for your journal recording? (Pen types, pencils, PC, notebook computer, library computer, cut out pictures, crayons etc etc).

  • Where do you keep your journal tools?

  • Do you have any special routines linked to the journal process? (Perhaps you only ever write in bed, or in a local cafĂ©).

  • Have you follow any “rules” for your journal recording? (Even if they are just rules you set for yourself).

  • What do you get from the journal process? Does it hold a purpose in your life?

  • What do you think is the most important part of the journal journey – the process or the product? Why?

  • What audience do you write for in your journal? Would you ever consider publication (if it isn’t already available to the public)?

  • Do you share your journal with anyone?

  • If you record your journal in both a digital and paper based format – how does the format change what you record?

Forms of Inspiration

  • Have you read any books, web sites or articles that have inspired different ways to journal? What were they and what impact did it have on your journal experience? Particular authors, films or events?

  • Are there people who have inspired your journal process in some way? (Perhaps a teacher, counsellor or workshop facilitator).

  • Is there any person, thing or event that inhibits what you record?

  • Have you had any “journal moments” of synchronicity?

  • How do you react when you view or read or past journal entries? Give examples.

  • Are there any workshop topics that you might attend as a journal recorder?

Inspire Others!

  • What tips or techniques have you used that others might enjoy trying?

  • What does the journal process bring to your life (or take away from your life?).

  • Do you have a journal recording story you would like to share here? Or any other comments you would like to make …

A picture is worth a thousand words …

If you have a digital picture of your journal, a journal entry, a hand made scrapbook, or an entry from a video or audio log that you would like to share – with the possibility of being published in the book please send it to my email address by a separate email.
I hate spam and use spam filters …

… I will not use your return email address except to send you an acknowledgement that I received your submission…unless you choose to correspond with me.

However if you wish to watch the progress of the book and my response to your responses … feel free to visit my blog where the whole background to the book is in place …

Thanks again

Please note that by sending me an email with data contained in it that you are consenting to the anonymous use of any responses (in whole or part) for international publication in written and digital formats, as well as use for public presentations and workshops. Please ensure that you are not breaching any previous copyright with your responses or by sending me any digital photographs of your journals.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Did I say something about making a fool of myself in public?

I might be dangerous if I had a functioning brain. Having downloaded and tested blogger for word ... do you think I used it for that last entry?

Need I say more!

So many ideas so little time!

On a night like tonight I so wish I could write full time. When it flows it flows. I had everything on demand tonight. I tried writing on the new notebook (what a luxury to choose where to sit!). I still don't have it set up for the internet so I couldn't get distracted by emails and internet searching (or the new bloggng addiction). I grabbed my red leather notebook that I had been collecting ideas in, copied a few from my whiteboard that I had just quickly written there as I was wandering around the house engaged in other activities, and sat in front of a blank screen.

And it happened. Like it always does.

With a basic framework from my ideas last week I began to write. The format and structure grows and develops in an evolutionary way as you begin to actually put pen to paper (font to screen!).

It has taken on a life of its own. Damn the fact I need to sleep so I can go to my day job.


Nothing is as exciting as writing and having it flow. Nothing matches this feeling.

There is so much to say. Now I get confused what to say here, what to put in my red leather journal and what to write in the book draft. And then I go to my bedroom and my red silk journal calls me. Wow.