Continuous Improvement


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The day job that I have at the moment is working in Quality. That means that I spend all day reviewing, rewording and proof reading policies, and doing what’s referred to as continuous improvement. It’s my first job in Quality and I don’t have a strong background in it, but I think continuous improvement comes from manufacturing.

My birthday was last week, I turned 32. I don’t know how to feel about it. One of my gifts, from my family, was to pay for a writing short course. My mum was worried that I would take the course as a criticism,  that’s not a helpful way to look at learning.

So we looked at a few options and I have enrolled in a course starting tomorrow. I’m hoping to get a few things out of it.

  1. New perspectives. The feedback that I’ve been getting from one of the writing groups I’m in has started to feel like the same stuff every time.
  2. New contacts. Writing can be a solitary pursuit and it’s always good to meet people who do the same thing you do. Networking is always good. People who share that passion and can help to reignite the fire.
  3. New techniques. I’ve done a couple of short courses in creative writing before, but this new course will be five hours a week for ten weeks. That’s 50 hours at least of concentrated writing time. I’m sure there will also be homework.
  4. Renewed enthusiasm. I’m probably still coming out of the post-Fringe slump, but I’m feeling a bit lacklustre. Hopefully fresh  faces will spur me on.

The course also runs over November, NaNoWriMo time. This year I am planning to do it again. Perhaps I’ll be able to workshop the structure and plot with the class. I think my plot and character development would probably benefit from a more structured approach.

I don’t have an idea or story yet, but perhaps I’ll try to stick more closely to a genre than I have in the past. I’m also kind of obsessed with crime at the moment, in TV and podcasts, and maybe I’ll bite the bullet (if you’ll pardon the pun) and write a crime novel.

I’ve been reluctant to do crime because of the research involved, but maybe I can get most of it out without needing to get deep into research mode. Otherwise I’ll probably go back to romance, which is where most of my other stories have been. I’d also like to do young adult some time. So many possibilities!

I hope this course be an opportunity to consolidate the things I already know, and to learn some new things. I hope to meet some cool new people and get inspired by them. But I also hope that prioritising my writing, setting aside time specifically to work on it, will provide the motivation and stamina I’ll need to get through NaNoWriMo one more time!

I want this journey to be one of continuous improvement: always learning, always curious. A journey where I can learn from, and be inspired by others and where I can also teach and inspire others.

Back to Reality


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My fringe show is finished. We finished packing up the venue today. Now I have to deal with the flatness that comes with having finished a project. Something that I’ve poured so much energy and emotion and time into is all over. I don’t think we’ll revive the show, which is a little weird in itself. We have some photos coming soon, and then the whole thing will just be a memory.

I feel like I have all this space in front of me and it’s sort of overwhelming – mental space and space in my calendar for getting back into other writing projects and to get back to social obligations (and sleep) that I’ve been shirking in favour of the show.

Pre-show selfie – Fleur (r) and Alexandra (l) preparing to save the world.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who helped with the show, Alex my co-star and co-writer, Chris for production assistance, Leisa for technical assistance, Chris (the other one) for prop design, and Stuart for bump in and bump out.

I want to thank all of my friends and family who never doubted me for a moment and who never once told me it was a bad idea. I want to thank every single person who came along and made the show the success it was. Thank you for coming to see me, and for braving the wilds of Collingwood to find the venue (which was not easy, I know).

Every night we had a different challenge to overcome – whether it be black outs, or doors not locking, or my computer having a little attack right before show time. Doing a fringe festival show has been an exercise in creativity, ingenuity, abstract problem solving and treading the fine line between excitement and stress.

I certainly feel like I have the performance bug now, so I’m going to channel that into the band, and get my writing mojo back on track. Gotta keep this momentum going baby! NaNoWriMo is just around the corner, I don’t have any ideas yet, but I have time right?

We’re halfway there!


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Tonight we start the second week of my first ever Melbourne Fringe Festival show and it’s raining again. I know that Spring is supposed to be rainy, and I know that we need the rain, but it still puts me in a kinda flat mood, especially after all the sunshine yesterday.

I’ve been still struggling with the roller coaster ride of emotions that seem to come with performing. Agitation, tension, that sick feeling I get in the five minutes before show time. Then I come off the stage and I’m buzzed and bouncing, and then exhausted but can’t sleep for hours. I don’t know whether it gets better, or more likely, you get used to the crazy ride.

I question why I’m doing this in those moments, but when I’m up on the stage and people are laughing at stuff I wrote, it’s the best feeling. And afterward, when people give my amazing feedback like ‘you’re a natural performer’, ‘the chemistry between you two is great’,  ‘I can’t believe it’s taken you so long to do this!’ and ‘you have such a lovely stage presence’ I feel such pride and relief. I feel like I can dismiss all those little voices in my head telling me that I shouldn’t do this, or I’m fooling myself.

I think creative people will always have those little niggling doubts. That sick feeling will always come the moment before you go on stage. The worry that I have made something terrible, and people won’t like it.

I know that I shouldn’t be worrying about whether people like my art, I should just do it because I want to, because I need to create. But I do want people to like it. I want people to like me because they like my art.

In summary I’m having both an amazing and a terrible time doing this show. I’m so proud of it. So come see it y’all!

Fleur and Alexandra Save the World

7:30pm, Sept 21-24. $20 ($16 concession) on the door.

Collingwood Underground Car Park, 44 Harmsworth St, Collingwood, VIC 3066


The things you learn


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We’re less than three weeks away from the opening night of my first ever Melbourne Fringe Festival show: Fleur and Alexandra Save the World.

I am approximately equal parts terrified and exhilarated. We still have a lot of props, sets, and costumes to finish, but the script is solid, we have a venue and most of the other important stuff is set up and ready to go.

I’ve learned while preparing for the show that I know more of my lines than I thought I did, which is a massive relief. On the other hand the terror of performance will probably mean I forget them all. So we’ll have to wait any see.

I’ve also learned a lot about making foam puppets, which is pretty cool. I’ve also learned that they totally look like fake boobs for the first little while! Until you put eyes and mouths and stuff on them.

Fringe Poster v2 final

Someone asked Alexandra, my Fringe partner, why she did it. It seemed like such an odd question! As with a lot of creative impulses, you don’t really know why, you just know you have to. You know that if you don’t, you’ll get sad. You know that it brings you joy, and hopefully, brings joy to others too.

Come be joyful with us! Opening night is 14 September,  tickets are available on the door and through the Melbourne Fringe Festival.

Write, edit, write – now what?


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Since my last post I’ve done a fair bit of stuff you guys! It’s been great!

I’ve finished the first edit of my Choose Your Own Adventure. I’m pleased to say that. mostly, it was consistent and made sense. I’ve done small scale edits mostly, not big structural ones, and sent it out to a few people for reader feedback. There are a couple of endings that I could expand on, and possibly flesh out a couple of sections. We’ll see what the readers think.

When I get it back, I’ll look into possibly putting it up online. I know there are a couple of websites which are designed to host Choose Your Own Adventure type pieces. I’ve heard Twine is good for that. Realistically, I doubt I’ll get a big publisher interested in it, so I may as well just put it up on the internets for you lovely people to enjoy.

The Melbourne Fringe festival is now only seven weeks away! I got a little freaked out about it, so I made a spreadsheet with a timeline on it. It made me feel much better, but there’s a lot of stuff to do! We’ve finished the first draft of the script, which is pretty great if I do say so myself! The next task is to make up some marketing collateral – posters and pamphlets! That and, y’know, learn the script.

I’ve been working at a new grown-up part-time office job. It was a bit of a struggle at first because it was in an area I hadn’t really worked in before. Now, a couple of weeks in, I’m getting the hang of the routine tasks and a better understanding of the big project type tasks. It’s so much easier when you have vague idea of what you’re doing!

I know you’ll think I’m crazy, but I’ve been giving thought to my next long form prose project. I’m planning to do NaNoWriMo again in November, but I feel like that’s an awfully long way away. I’ve been enjoying writing stuff with a pretty strong structure, and I think I like writing genre fiction. I’m never going to be a high literature writer, and that’s okay.

I’m thinking of maybe trying a horror story. I would have to put at least one romance subplot, obviously, because I really like writing sexy scenes. It’s something that can sit in the back of my mind and bubble away for a little while. I may not have any time to sit and write before the Fringe show, but it will be nice to have something ready to go once that’s finished. Plus I’m pretty sure you can use NaNoWriMo to add to an existing project (you just can’t count your previously written words).

All in all I’m feeling pretty pumped! I’ve got a bunch of stuff on the go, I’m motivated to do more, and I’m feeling excited about life. And you all have to come to our Fringe Show. WOO!

Winter is here


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I left my job about a month ago and almost immediately I got really sick, because of course I did. I had a cold, then it was a chest infection, then antibiotics did nothing (clearly it was viral), then I had to take asthma medication to get the inflammation in my lungs down. I think I’m coming good now, I even ventured back to the gym. And although I lost 5kg I do not recommend the chest infection diet!

I managed to do a bit of creative work while I was sick though. I’ve finished a round of redrafting for the novel manuscript I did at the end of 2014, and I’ve sent it to a few friends for their thoughts. I hope to be able to send it off to some publishers or book agents in the next month or so. I’ll need to write up a synopsis etc, but I think I’m ready for people to see it. It depends on the feedback from the beta readers though.

I’ve also got the manuscript from the Choose Your Own Adventure from last year to go through. I’ve started an initial read for typoes and other obvious errors, and then I’ll have to go back through and check that each of the endings is logical. I think that might take a little while because even though the manuscript is only relatively short there are over twenty endings.

The script for the fringe show is coming along. I’m starting to get a little worried though as September is approaching really fast. Part of me is wondering why I would agree to do a show, but it has been on my to do list for a while, so I’m looking forward to it as well.

Over the next few months, during the hibernation period, I’m hoping to get some stuff done creatively. I want to be a bit stricter with myself about achieving goals as I feel like the first half of the year has passed by without much really happening. My writing partner assures me that it’ll all be alright on the night.

The Coordinator for my writing group has had to go overseas for several months and I have volunteered to take on that role too. It shouldn’t require too much work, but I’ll have to put my project/event management hat on for the 20th anniversary lunch in July and the getting the anthology reader for production in early September.

It’s cold and dreary in Melbourne at the moment and we’re only a month into winter. I feel like my blog has become more of a place where I sporadically post updates and less of a place for actual creative output. Maybe that’s because the creative stuff is going into other projects, but sometimes I worry that the blog is neglected. Ah well, even if it is, I guess that’s okay too.

Changes (again)


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Sometimes I think I have set myself up and I’ll be able to have a nice stable life for a little while.

I think ‘oh good, I can get on with being alive now that everything is set up’.

But that doesn’t seem to be how life works, at least not for me. I had a boss once who used to say that maybe our job isn’t being interrupted by constantly responding to and putting out fires, maybe putting out fires is our job. It sort of helps to stop you from dismissing stuff as in the way.

I know I’ve heard it before and I’m sure I’ll forget and have to remind myself. Life doesn’t start when everything is ready and settled and under control. All that stuff is life.

Things will always be unsettled. There will always be stuff that is out of your control.

Life doesn’t have a satisfying narrative arc. It’s a bunch of scribbles and chaos that we have to try to fumble our way through.

So as I head into another portion of my life without a stable income, at least for the moment, I’m trying to tell myself that it’s all good and that the opportunities that will come from being available will totally be worth it.

Plus, I have some money hidden away, I won’t starve. Adventures ahoy!

The End of the Dirty Thirty


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April is National Poetry Writing Month, or NaPoWriMo. I decided to do it this year, sort of on a whim, and then I forgot till 5 April, so I was four behind! I’ve caught up and now have only today’s and two more to finish the ‘dirty thirty’, as my friend calls it. I’ve decided that since I forgot, I’m allowed to go a couple of days over and finish on Monday.

I’ve had some fun writing every day, but some days it was a struggle. I think there are a few poems that are just terrible, and will probably never see the light of day, but there are others which work quite well.

I took day 11, which was to order the titles of books in your shelf into a found object poem, and day 12, which was about tea and being a grown up, to my writing group today. A lot of people liked the book titles one, and there was a bit of a mixed reaction to the other.

I found it interesting that one member of the group, a woman who is in her eighties if she’s a day, commented that one never really feels like a grown up. This idea that you’re bluffing your way through life apparently persists. I keep thinking it will go away, but I don’t think it does.

I’ll have to think of something for May, perhaps a music challenge. Anyway, to wrap up NaPoWriMo for the year, in a way, I present day 11 and day 12.


Book Spines

Pretty things
In My Skin
Lost Souls


Books from my shelf

The Broken Shore
The Big Sleep
The Dark Half
The Ocean at the End of the Lane

Perfect Phrases
Leaves of Grass
Crack Down
Bleak House


Tea and Anxiety

Warm and liquid and brown.
Well sort of tan I guess.
Swish you around my mouth
Feel you sliding down my throat
To warm my belly.

Ah, you’ve been such a friend.
Not as much caffeine as your cousin
Coffee, who makes me jitter and shake.
There’s no anxiety with you.

There is a bit of an aftertaste
Sometimes, when I’ve finished my sip
There’s something that lingers
Like something you’ve forgotten to do

So often I feel like I’m failing
At being an adult
At fulfilling societal expectations
Which is hard because I don’t want to
Fulfil expectations.
But you can’t help feeling that pressure can you?
Ah well, at least there’s always tea.

NaPoWriMo + MICF


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In my last post, I mentioned that I was thinking of doing NaPoWriMo, that is, National Poetry Writing Month. The idea is that you do one poem every day in April, and then you have thirty poems, and some good habits. I did it in 2014 and enjoyed the experience, even though the poems were of very mixed quality.

Only I forgot that I was going to do NaPoWriMo until Tuesday (5th). So I was like ‘Ah, crap!’. I’ve caught up a little bit but still three behind.

I forgot because I was all distracted by the Melbourne International Comedy festival. I’ve seen a lot of shows. I like seeing lots of shows. I like seeing the different stuff people do. I like having an excuse to go up to performers after they get off stage and gush at them in the hope of getting a nice hug. Sometimes it even works! WOO! Bart and Nicole, I’m looking at you!

Here’s a brief list of shows I have seen and can recommend:

Mel Buttle’s Up to Pussy’s Bow: Mel’s from Brisbane and she’s obsessed with Gumtree. Stand-up. Very good.

Luisa Omielan’s Am I Right Ladies?: Luisa is from the UK, she does stand-up with dancing and a killer soundtrack. Excellent.

Velvet: Not sure if it technically counts as comedy, it’s a cabaret/circus/variety show. It’s expensive but boy is it worth the entry price! Sexy glittery good times!

Hannah Gadsby’s Dogmatic: It’s a journey through Taylor Swift lyrics and Hannah’s no woe life. Stand-up with intellectual weight. Many lols. Loved it.

Wil Anderson Fire At Wil: The title doesn’t work in America, so get into it here. For reasons why Malcolm Turnbull is a comedians nightmare and other political stand-up hilarity.

Michelle Brasier’s Space Tortoise: What could be better than a singing, dancing tortoise who wants to be a cosmonaut? Not much. Amazing.

Bart Freebairn’s Unlimited Comedy Battle Spirit: Making the everyday absurdity funny, and making absurd hilarity everyday. Weird stand-up also featuring very tight pants. Gold.

Ali McGregor’s Late-Nite Variety-Nite Night: For those late nights when you just want a bit of a flavour of some other shows. Also featuring Ali’s glorious vocal stylings and the Omnichord.

Peter and Bambi Heaven’s The Magic Inside: It’s a magical cabaret show with so many costume changes the mind boggles. You’ll never look at fruit and veg the same way again. Brilliant.

Juan Vesuvius’s Calypso Nights: Juan, Two?: This one requires a bit more work from the audience, but if you’re concentrating you are rewarded with some high-level lols. There are also some excellent physical slapstick gags. Defies classification. Get it in ya!

Becky Lucas’s Baby: Lazy-Feminist-Lady-Stand-up extraordinaire. May or may not feature actual baby. Bloody good shit here.

Andy Matthew’s Plenty: A curling, twisting, beautifully curated narrative journey through existential dread, death, and quantum physics. Makes you think hard. Makes you laugh. Good stuff.

Nicole Henriksen is Makin’ it Rain: Ever wanted to know what it’s actually like to be a stripper? This show is Nicole getting real vulnerable with bonus nudity. Epic.

So um, yeah. I’ve been busy eating up all the art! If I come up with a poem that’s any good I’ll put it up here. Otherwise I’ll try to pack in a few more laughs before the MICF closes on 17 April. Big love!