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Final Day (of Fall Trimester)

Today is officially the last day of my fall trimester (September October November) and tomorrow signals the star of s my one month break!

Just a quick look back. Over the last three months I:

1. Finished and printed out first draft (approx 65,000 words) of The Lizard’s Tail, A Sophia Blackmore Mystery. I’m still not happy with it. In fact as soon as I printed it out I started thinking of things to add/ change/ delete/ research and felt rotten about what I put on paper. But… it’s a first rough draft and it’s down and that’s enough to make me happy for now.

2. Finished and mailed out first rough (approx 20,000 words) of the novella, Orchid Chan: The Chinese New Year Murders. We’ll see what happens with this… it was more an experiment than anything else.

3. Signed The Mudskipper contract with Scholastic Asia

4. Accepted invitation to Shanghai Literary Festival (Yay!!! And keeping fingers crossed for NAC travel grant now… but if I don’t get it I’ll find the money and go somehow, it will be my first time visiting Shanghai! My mother was Shanghainese,ย  she always said Shanghai was ‘Paris of the East’.

5. Applied for a residency (won’t talk about it now, so as not to jinx it but keeping fingers and toes crossed)

6. Took part in a Singapore Writer’s Festival panel “Where Do Ideas Come From?” (with Fredrik Haren and Chris Mooney-Singh, chaired by Goh Eck Kheng–it was great fun!)

7. Spoke to Dr KK Seet’s ย Theatre Studies students (with Eleanor Wong–who IS great fun!)

8. Judged the Golden Point Short Story Competition (along with Dave Chua and Meira Chand. I learned so much from them as well as from the writing that came in!)

AND–

9. Epigram published 8 Plays!ย Thank you Epigram!! The first collection of my plays! Which–

10. Was sold out at the SWF. I know they were because Dr Leong Liew Geok (bless her sweet soul!) asked for more copies and they didn’t have any! ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ I don’t know how many copies they sent to the festival but it’s the first time I’ve been sold out anywhere and I’m going to enjoy it!!! ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

11. And took part in a reading at Books Actually, officially my favourite book shop, with Tarn How and Tze Chien who are the other playwrights featured in this Epigram series (with 4 Plays and 6 Plays). I guess if they continue the series the next book is going to be 10 Plays… or 2 Plays?

I know written out here it doesn’t look like much but living through it was exhausting. I thought I was going to run out of time for a while and cut down from weekends off to Sundays off, daily dog walks got cut from 90 minutes to an hour, no more Daily Mile swims / jogs… not much I know but the bits of time add up.

And then I actually finished a few days early!

And once I had the printouts bound (superstitiously I have to have a hard copy of each draft) I didn’t want to do anything except play Anthill Strategy and CastleVille. It’s like my brain shut down. I didn’t even want to exercise, just vegetate. ย And my regular meditation / yoga routine that kept me going over the last three months just fell apart.

But the good thing is my month long break starts tomorrow!

I’m going off on a Plum Village Asia retreat from tomorrow to Sunday. The timing was so perfect for me I knew I had to go though I’ve never been on a ‘Smiling and Breathing’ retreat before! The monkey mind in me is already worrying whether I can get up at 5am (official start of the day) when at home the alarm doesn’t go off till 6am and what are the toilets going to be like.

 

I just want to get away from words for a bit so the silent side of things is appealing too.

 

And now tonight I’m going to sleep early and see what tomorrow brings.

 

 

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Day 43: Focus On The Writing

Very glad I’m excited about the writing I’m doing now… have decided what’s over is over or rather what’s been published is out of my hands. It’s all a learning process right? At least the writing part is still fun and I can’t think of anything else I could love to do as much.

Though I must say the book looks good!

Especially in the hands of the doyen of Local Theatre…

Singapore's most glamorous academic, Dr KK Seet

 

Though it seems to have shocked Step-Brother and friends…

 

Casey Lim and Chien-Seen Chiu

 

Nothing throws my sweet Robin--sorry, the respected Dr Robin Loon--off balance!

 

Getting over a bit of a health blip but all’s stabilising now. Have sketched in the ending for the Orchid Chan novella and during practice this morning was thinking of all kinds of little things to add in but will wait and see. It’s supposed to be a Short novella and I’m already at 12,500 words without developing my motives and red herrings!

I should be able to take The Lizard’s Tail to 30,000 words by this weekend. Just received some information about the French nuns who were working in Singapore and Malaya at the time–wonderfully relevant. Actually Singapore during the period between the wars was a fascinating place. I have to keep reminding myself I’m not writing a history though now I’m thinking of classifying the ACF book as a mystery-documentary!

 

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Day 22: Chia Seeds!

I’m still on track writing wise… nothing much else has changed though I suppose that’s good.

I really need to get back to regular practice but I realise it’s been so long I’ll have to start right from the beginning, as though forming a new habit so…

Baby steps.

I was reading about forming new habits. There are so many different guides/plans/motivational aids but distilling down what I think I can work with I ended up with:

1) Start small- 5 minutes of Sitting and 15 minutes of Practice. Can’t step any smaller than that!

2) Pick a time- first thing in the morning, before doing my morning pages. The Morning Pages are fairly established as a routine and I’m getting used to the ‘writing 1000 words 5 days a week’ so I can afford to shift those around a bit.

3) Accountability- which is why I’m writing about that here!

Writing wise all is good. Just posted my royalty sheet this morning at Clementi Hub ๐Ÿ™‚ Some day all this may become so routine that I take it in my stride but for now it’s still exciting.

Oh and Chia Seeds! I’ve been reading about them for some time, how they are full of protein and omega 3 and anti-oxidants and I was looking up where to get them (no reply from online sources about shipping to Singapore) when I found ‘Chia Shots’ at Clementi Fairprice this morning! So today I had chia gel in soy milk, in green tea and in lemon water!

And the writing is going, going… the difficulty is keeping myself on the track I’ve worked out and that ‘works’ ie ties everything together in the requisite number of words. As I write I keep getting new ideas, new possibilities, new twists that would be so much fun but I’m afraid if I allow myself to play I’m going to end up with a 80, 000 word manuscript even Jacaranda can’t sell!

So (for now at least) all the new ideas are getting tucked into a separate folder and told to keep quiet until I have time for them. Like the dogs they don’t always accept that. At least I’m done for the week so the dogs get their walk now!

 

 

 
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Posted by on September 22, 2011 in Health/Fitness/Balance, Life Happens, Writing Life

 

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Day 14: Para Writing Activities

Spent all morning writing out a new bio (keeping fingers crossed, toes crossed… by now my eyes are crossed too!!!) because of something that may just be coming up for me–but I’m not going to say anything to jinx it right now. Besides have been told not to but I’m HOPING!!!

Was sitting down at the computer staring, writing, staring writing, from morning dogwalk non-stop till I went to meet my lovely power lady agent Jay to go to Books Actually to talk about my idea for a mystery novella…

And Yes, they’re interested (love those people. Well would love them even if they said no to me but I love them more now!)

I’m giving them 15,000 words by end December. I can probably do that in a month if I start thinking about it and structuring it now, so I can safely finish my first draft of Lizard’s Tail before starting on that.

Then off to post a sample to China (hee hee YES! Another round of crossed fingers) Please please please let at least some of these balls I’m tossing up into the air land…

And then finally, just after 3pm… lunch.

Found a very nice new vegetarian stall next to the Clementi Hub and ate there. Was really too tired to think of going into the supermarket for fresh veggies as I’d planned so someone to cook long beans, brinjal and bitter gourd for me was a life saver–and it was good too!

Back to explain to dogs that I still love them and hand out a chew stick each… problem is every time I leave the apartment they think I’m never coming back. Think it’s the result of having been abandoned before, my poor little rescue doglets.

And then did a 15 minute ‘sit’ to centre myself and then and only then sat down to meet today’s writing quota on The History Mystery. And yes, I’ve (finally) hit the target.

Now we’ll all go out for a nice walkies and I’ll try to feed them before falling asleep!

 

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