Writing Resolutions (and some thoughts on white noise)

Rabbit - lookIt’s the beginning of another year and I’ve been thinking a lot about my writing. 2012 was my first year as a full time writer with a book out (and then two). It was an amazing year but it certainly brought a bunch of new challenges, pressures, and the need to juggle more balls. My time has changed. It’s not that I don’t have time, it’s that time is precious and I want to use it wisely.

With that in mind I have three writing resolutions for 2013:

Enjoy Blogging Again

I began blogging because words were just busting out of me and I needed somewhere to put them. Plus I loved thinking about writing / illustration, and if I didn’t put my thoughts somewhere I was going to drive my family crazy speaking about it constantly. This hasn’t changed – I’m still overflowing with words and love speaking about the industry (and still drive my family nuts). BUT nowadays I funnel most of my words into my manuscripts (deadlines!) and spend much time speaking about craft at festivals and schools. Weeks go by without me blogging and I feel guilty about it. And a guilty blogger is not a happy blogger. So: I’ve given myself permission to blog only when I feel like it, and about whatever writing stuff I want (rather than what I think I should blog about).

This means there might be spans of time where I don’t blog. If you want to keep up with me I’d recommend you:

Reduce White Noise

A big part of writing for me – in fact, probably the biggest – is the thinking. And I need lots of time to think: time where my mind wanders around and about and back again, allowing ideas to swirl and come together. I’ve been practising this skill my whole life. I started daydreaming as a kid (my grade 3 teacher wrote it on my report card as a negative but I knew otherwise). I think deeply about things. I’ve never been able to hear a story or anecdote without taking it a hundred steps further in my mind. And as a writer I rely on this trait.

That’s where white noise comes in. In the last few years we’ve gotten pretty good at eliminating ‘wasted time’ with the invention of the smart phone. We no longer sit on buses and stare out the window, or wait for a friend to arrive at a cafe by watching people go by. Because we pull out our phone. We’ve filled our heads with white noise – Facebook and twitter and blogs and always being accessible by email. For most this may not be an issue. But for me I’ve removed my mind’s chance to wander, daydream and ask ‘what if?’. I’ve filled it with other people’s status updates, blog posts and (often) inane chatter. Why this is a problem: I don’t think about my stories as much. I have less new ideas.

My plan is to cut back the white noise. Severely. It’s not easy, as my iPhone habits are quite ingrained, but it’s getting easier. And guess what? The ideas are already flowing better. I also like myself better when I spend less time on my phone. I smile more and have more to say about the world.

PS. My thoughts on this became more concrete after reading this awesome blog post on Nathan Bransford’s site (make sure you read right through).

Year of Writing

People assume that being a full time writer mostly involves a lot of … well … writing. Sadly, this isn’t so, which I discovered all too well this year. Most of my time has been consumed by business type stuff, promotion, travel and speaking work. This year has been a real eye opener. I’m still learning how to manage it all, and to be honest I’ve hardly created any new work. I miss writing. So I’m officially naming this my Year of Writing. I’ve resolved to put it first again.

Come hell, high water or the zombie apocalypse, there will be writing.

And on that note, I’m sneaking back to the first draft of my YA novel. 25,000 words and counting…


10 Responses to “Writing Resolutions (and some thoughts on white noise)”

  1. 1 Anonymous January 22, 2013 at 10:04 am

    Thank you for sharing your words………I too am going to commit more to my writing this year (and hopefully land a publishing deal). As a published author, are you interested in reading emerging writers work? I would love to share some of my stories with you.

    • 2 Katherine Battersby January 28, 2013 at 1:58 pm

      As you may imagine, I get a lot of such requests, so it’s not really something I can do. I do mentor writers and offer feedback on their work in a paid capacity through the Queensland Writers Centre – you can read more about the process and the other mentors available here if you like: http://www.qwc.asn.au/help-for-writers/the-writers’-surgery/

      Otherwise the best way to get feedback on your work is to join or start a writers’ group. I met my writing partner through a workshop we both attended about 6 years ago and we’ve been sending each other work ever since.

      Best of luck with it! And feel free to keep in touch (or e-mail me if you have any questions I can help out with).

  2. 3 Tony Single January 22, 2013 at 10:36 am

    I’m glad I’m following your blog, Katherine. These are the kinds of things I’ve been thinking about for a while. I’m really trying to cut back on everything that gets in the way of writing and drawing. Time and brain space are certainly precious commodities for us creatives.

    • 4 Katherine Battersby January 28, 2013 at 2:01 pm

      Thanks Tony. I think it’s likely something creatives have always faced, but it certainly seems more challenging with the way things are at the moment. It’s nice knowing others are thinking about the same things – I’m sure we can all figure it out together!

  3. 5 Dimity Powell January 22, 2013 at 7:06 pm

    Brava Brava young kitten! (just trying to sound clever there re; rabbits) but I hear you Katherine. In fact am wondering if you have somehow tapped into my very own brain thoughts. Admirable aspirations for the new year. I’m applying myself to lists and instructions taped to the wall to remind myself to commit, focus and yes, daydream, in order to create more flow. ‘Year of the Write On’ for me I hope but as Peter Taylor put at SCBWI meeting on the weekend, Year of the Finish It! too. (must use empasis here-sorry) I like this creedo even more. Good luck.

    • 6 Katherine Battersby January 28, 2013 at 2:05 pm

      You don’t have to try to sound clever Dim, you just do.

      Sometimes I think we’re all a bit connected. I often stumble across a conversation where someone is speaking my exact thoughts/worries/ponderings.

      I like the idea of making it the Year of Finish It too. That’s another of my quiet goals. I have several things I’d like to finish. The best thing about putting it out there is that I will now be held to account by those that have read this. You can bet I’ll be checking in with you too… :)

    • 7 Dimity Powell January 28, 2013 at 7:15 pm

      :-) best I get hopping along then. Goodness and great things with your writing. xx

  4. 8 holygoatboy January 28, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    best post yet.

  1. 1 I’m No Poet (but here are some haiku anyway) « the Well Read Rabbit || Katherine Battersby Trackback on February 11, 2013 at 3:56 pm

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About this Blog…

A blog of ramblings about the world of writing and illustrating for children, by an author / illustrator who might just have a thing for rabbits.

Katherine's picture books, 'Squish Rabbit' and 'Brave Squish Rabbit', are out with Viking (Penguin, US) and UQP (Australia). Please e-mail if you would like her to blog about something in particular.

All text & images  Katherine Battersby

Released Sept 2012:


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