Life and Writing: What Life Can Teach Us About Writing and Vice Versa

Hello Fellow Children’s Writers and Friends,

This post will be rather clinical but it is loaded with background emotion. Why clinical then? Two reasons:

1. No one wants to see someone else’s day to day emotional baggage, it’s boring! If you’re an empathetic soul, it’s also exhausting.

2. I want to and am ready to move on to a new year and bring into it only what’s good for me, my family and my creative journey.

Suffice to say, the writing journey doesn’t occur in a vacuum and the ill-health of an aging family member and the changes that necessitates sheds a stark light on the strengths and weaknesses of all those involved. That, plus navigating some of my own ongoing health issues, an uncommonly consistently busy year at work with little down time, as well as the hoped for opportunities to give Star (my debut PB) the chance it couldn’t get to sparkle and shine out in the world during Locked Down 2021, has left me very much needing this time of fallow I’d planned for at the beginning of the year.

October: One of the two books mentioned, published for my Parish Jubilee Celebrations. November: Christmas market stall and Book Fair Australia stall. Author friends at Book Fair Australia. November/ December Alfie and Noa book signing with a famous customer and fellow author (also famous) Belinda Murrell. January: StoryStorm participant’s badge

Again as with 2021, I forgot my Word of the Year partway through, but both circumstances beyond my control and self imposed time after Christmas has given me the year of fallow I felt my writing needed last year. That coupled with 12 Days and StoryStorm has meant that I’m now ready to embrace writing as an old friend, relieved of the pressure I was feeling this time last year. More on this later, but first some highlights from last year. (photo collage above) I published two books, but few if any of you will ever read them and I’m fine with that, it was never the aim, I helped out a colleague and took up the opportunity to teach some local young writers and I spent many hours over several weeks signing and selling copies of Star. A lot of these coincided, hence my need for some intense rest at this time. A time when I’d hoped and planned to do a whole lot of (what I thought was catch up) writing. See I really had forgotten my word, ‘WAIT!’ but life hadn’t.

Life; the universe, God, or whatever you chose to believe has a way of giving you just what you need at the time to ‘grow and glow,’ especially if you are attuned to it and to yourself; your body, mind and heart. I have found that just like life, writing has its ups and downs and you need to work hard and be grateful no matter which you receive at each turn, because it is likely just what you need.

No surprise then that my Words for the Year 2023 are WONDER and FUN!

After 2022’s joys and challenges I feel the need to capture these both personally and in my writing, just like a child. A fresh, joyful, open, precious gift of a child. I only hope my writing will reflect this. I guess we’ll see this time next year.

As mentioned earlier, undertaking Julie Hedlund’s The 12 Days of Christmas For Writers and StoryStorm (Tara Lazar’s January inspirational challenge) is already assisting me with this goal. After my year of fallow, ideas are flowing, lush green, plentiful and original as hoped. Let’s hope this year’s words will support and guide me to expand these ideas into awe-filled stories of fascination with life, and some silly stories simply for fun!

Farewell fellow travellers,

Savour the quest,


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Top Ten StoryArts Takeaways, Four Exciting New Events and a Giveaway!

Dear Children’s Writers and friends,

This was originally going to simply be about the brilliant StoryArts Festival in Brisbane a fortnight ago, then about that and two exciting new events, but it’s now four! And maybe even more! I’m having the delayed Star launch activities/opportunities and Book Week events which I couldn’t have last year and during my busy work time this year (Book Week clash 🤷🏽‍♀️C’est la Vie) now and I must admit it’s as exciting and draining and ‘all the feels at once’ that I’ve been told it would be.

Book Signing at Alfie and Noa, Castle Towers. Well this was a lovely surprise addition to my agenda. An author friend Julie Thorndyke was have a signing of her beautiful book of Tanka- Borrowed Riches today, so I went along to support her and she introduced me to the friendly, enthusiastic, service-oriented Nish who spoke to me between serving customers with knowledge and a smile. We planned to have a signing and sales session for Star. As it turned out he supports so many local authors that, much like the little town in Star, his calendar was full, so this Saturday was quickly organised and if you’re in the area and/or looking for a great Christmas story, exploring the true message of joy, love, peace and sacrifice, then come along to Alfie and Noa on Saturday the 12th of November and I’ll be happy to share my special little Star with you.

My next big exciting event is another local one, the Christmas Markets at St Bernadette’s Lalor Park, which will be held next Friday the 18th of November from 4-8pm. Come along and bag yourself a bargain while also supporting a great cause, close to my heart, namely children’s education. I’ll be selling Star, handmade bookmarks and a couple of other little artistic surprises (possibly to me as well 🤣) There’ll be many other lovely stores from plants to food, to photography. Check it out here at

The following week is the inaugural Book Fair Australia two day event at Sydney Olympic Park in Homebush. I’ll be there with several other wonderful children’s authors including Sandra Bennett, Jacinta Froud, Emma Hay, Karen Hendriks, Ashling Kwok and Susea Spray. We’ll be in our own section so it’s easier to find all your children’s book needs in one place, but there will be many, many other authors of all sorts of other genres if you’d prefer. Come along and I’m sure you’ll find something to please all the readers in your family.

GIVEAWAY : Two tickets to enter the fair! These will be randomly drawn. All you have to do to WIN is to like and share this post on their socials.

Finally and what may well be my favourite, I’ll visit the lovely staff and children at Nido Early Learning Centre, Seven Hills again, where I’ll be sharing Star and signing copies with a personal message for children in the Kinder 2 room and maybe even doing a little origami as a fun farewell and good luck in ‘Big School’ event.

And no, I didn’t forget. Here amongst the many gems gained while at StoryArts are my top 10!

1. Trust yourself to do something out of the box, but true to you. (Zanni Louise)

2. The five story senses are humour, justice, belonging, danger and wonder. If children find a few of these in your writing that’s great. (Sean Williams)

3. Children often have wonder drummed out of them when they’re very young [Do I hear echoes of Supertramp?] Wonder is linked to ‘why?’ You want to get a kid to ask, ‘Why?’ (Sean Williams).

4. I learned early how to use white space and blank spaces to show loss. (Freya Blackwood)

5. Creativity is a problem solving exercise. Pare back as far as you possibly can without losing the story. (Freya Blackwood)

6. Use tension and voice in a way which keeps the kids wanting to know what comes next (Clair Hume)

7. Seeing an author is serious, in it for the long term and willing to collaborate. (Rowena Beresford in answer to ‘What are Publishers looking for?’)

8. Be really sure of your manuscript, know what you’re submitting. (Clair Hume)

9. Agents are great as they’ve done a lot of the hard work already. (Kate Stevens when discussing slush pile- a very full inbox. She also said that’s one of the reasons she loves festivals like StoryArts)

10. I love it when an author has done the work and says, ‘I’ve noticed there hasn’t been a book on… so here’s my PB/ JF/YA ms on… ( 😳 cannot remember which editor said this – publisher panel)

Well I’d better go and get some rest for the weeks ahead,

Farewell fellow travellers,

Savour the quest,


Posted in Creativity, Giveaways, Networking, Organisation, Road to Publication, Submitting For Publication, Writing Conferences, Writing Events | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment