Kai Chronicles

Eating, exploring and enjoying life


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I’ve decided to say good-bye

sunset good bye

 

Good-bye doesn’t have to be forever.

But today, I’m saying good-bye to my expectations.

Expectations are creating drama and disharmony in my life.

Expectations that are set way too high and are a bit unrealistic.

Many people may argue that your goals, dreams and expectations have to be set high in order for you to strive to achieve them. I disagree.

The past few weeks have been challenging and I’ve realised that I can’t have it all.

I can’t be an attentive mother and wife AND a hard-working writer/photographer.

I can’t sit  in front of my computer 24/7 chasing the next publication and pay cheque AND be happy about doing laundry and making dinner for my family.

Maybe some people can get the balance right but after 3 years of ups and downs, I decided I can’t do it.

Therefore, I have to say good-bye to either my family or trying to skyrocket my career.

I have had a few moments lately where that decision was hard to make.

I thought my boys would be better off without me. I considered myself too selfish to give up some of my dreams (for now).

I thought I didn’t want to give up a career that had taken me until age 38 to say yes to.

I didn’t want to have regrets or resentment toward them for giving up my writing dreams. But, I already had resentments so what would be the difference?

And it’s a horrible place to be: regret and resentment.

But the choice was clear pretty fast.

I made a list of want I actually wanted and what I needed to do to achieve that. And that was hard. It was so much easier to figure out what I didn’t want.

I don’t want to be in front of a monitor 24/7.

I don’t want to chase editors constantly.

I don’t want to keep comparing myself to other writers.

I don’t want feel envy every time I saw the same byline several times a week .

What I do want is to be happy in my primary job, which is a stay-at -home mum. Believe me, I had forgotten that altogether.

So, yes I chose my family. I chose an easy, less stressed lifestyle.

And no, this doesn’t mean that I will stop writing.

It just means I will step back A LOT.

I will set realistic and achievable goals.

I will stop comparing myself and my abilities to other writers and photographers.

I will run my own race.

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5 ways to find writing inspiration

typewriter pic

I’m still on my writing (semi) hiatus but I am always looking for inspiration. I feel if I force it too much, I think crap. I then pitch crap then get rejections flooding my inbox. Thinking crap = writing crap. And I don’t want that.

What I do want, is passion, motivation and inspiration. Here are my top 5 ways to gain such.

1. Read books. 

Obvious choice, yes? Yes, of course it is. Can there be a decent writer in the world who does not read? I think not. I have just received my very own copy of Stephen King’s writing memoir, On Writing. This book has been mentioned and recommended at many writing sessions and I’ve finally invested in my own copy.

I’m not only reading books about how to write. I think ANY book that raises some emotion,  offers time for reflection, makes you laugh or just plain motivates you to be the best person you can be is a good book.

I read a lot of books about spirituality. I am currently reading Marianne Williamson’s bestseller, A Return to Love, a book I have owned for many months now. It’s fitting how I picked it up when I really needed to hear its message. Imagine reading a book that you feel has been written just for you. That’s how I feel about it. I love Marianne Williamson too. The day I met her, I was on cloud nine.

Me with Marianne Williamson

Me with Marianne Williamson May 2012

2. Watch movies about writers/writing

In April, I watched The Words starring Bradley Cooper. It’s a movie about a struggling writer who ends up finding a day job after his efforts go unrecognised….I’m considering that myself. But….he does return to writing and produces a bestseller. I won’t say more, and yes there is a twist. I loved this movie so much that when it was over, I got up at 11pm and  wrote 2000 words of my novel. My husband didn’t like the movie much at all. He just didn’t “get” it. Maybe I should watch it again. It may inspire me to return to my novel (which I haven’t written a word of in over 2 weeks!).

Here are some other fantastic movies about writers that I love and plan to watch again in the near future.

  1. Misery
  2. The Shining (cannot watch alone)
  3. Secret Window
  4. Miss Potter
  5. Shakespeare in love
  6. Limitless ( this one freaked me out a bit)
  7. Julie & Julia
  8. The Rum Diary
  9. Closer (not really about the writer but a FAB and sexy movie)
  10. The Help (LOVE the book more than the movie)

Want more choice? Check out this list.

220px-Secret_Window_movie

3. Study writing blogs

I will admit, I don’t do this enough. There are some very good ones that offer so much information that it really should be part of my daily routine. My intentions are good and I hope to make this part of my writing ritual soon. The more time I invest my time to these educational blogs, the more I will learn the craft of writing. I’ve recently realised that I will never learn it all. It’s a continuous journey this writing thing. Yes, I said it – JOURNEY. Why do some people get so hung up on that word? Like it’s such a cliche? It’s a word people.

Here are a few writing blogs that are great (and ones I need to study)

  1. Write to Done
  2. The Write Practice
  3. The Creative Penn
  4. The Renegade Writer
  5. Jeff Goins Writer

computer

4. Be an active member of an online writers’ group

I am a member of the very exclusive Facebook group for grads of the Australian Writers’ Centre’s Writing for Magazine and Newspapers and Travel Writing course. The information, contacts, inspiration, motivation, praise and love we share is invaluable. I am very active on this forum and I been motivated to pitch to a magazine off the back of another writer’s success many times. If you want to be a writer, I suggest getting involved in a writers group ASAP. It doesn’t have to be online but I find in today’s society where everyone is connected by technology, it’s an easy, fast and convenient way to stay in the know with your peers.

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5. Free-write

Again, this is something that is a must for writers, preferably daily. I must get back to freewriting. My career depends on it!!! If you do not know, free-writing is when you sit down, either with fingers on keyboard or pen on paper and write everything that comes to mind. NO stopping is allowed. If you get stuck, you write….I don’t know what to write but Im feeling like if I sit here long enough typing something brilliant and helpful will come out. The idea is to just keep going. Set a timer and write non-stop for your allotted time. You never know, an idea for the next best seller may pop out!!

best

 

 

Has this inspired anyone to pitch an idea, free-write or watch a movie? 

 


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Seal Wisdom Help Me Now

voice

I’ve become addicted to The Voice. I have always liked the music and dance  reality shows and have watched Australian Idol and So You Think You Can Dance before with great interest. It’s not really about the singing and dancing though. It’s about the courage these people have to take the steps needed to pursue their dreams.

The Voice is a far cry from Idol. I mean, anyone can audition for Idol and get a minute of air time even if it’s an embarrassment to him/her and everyone they know. The Voice is clearly for professional artists. Or maybe they just don’t show the really shitty performances on air. I wish my shitty performances were not out there for busy editors to see.

It’s no secret that I’ve been struggling lately. Just when I thought I was out of the danger zone, 2 back-to-back rejections pushed me back into the hole I was nearly out of; this time I was at the very bottom. It was dark, dirty and I wallowed in it for  30 hours or so. I actually stayed in bed 16 of those hours. The other 14 were spent in a zombie-like state wishing I would just disappear. I considered going to the doctor for a prescription but I detest pharmaceuticals so I treated myself with a good dose of chocolate and herbal medications. It worked for  me then. I pray I don’t need that treatment again today.

I took several days off last week. School holidays are now over and I have no excuse but to harden up and get on with things.

I worked on the weekend and filed 2 stories this morning. I got nothing but requests to do things  differently from my editor. No thanks. No compliments. I also got 2 pitch rejections from him , just to put a rotten cherry on top of my morning (not the same rejections as mentioned above – so I’m 4 for 4 in as many days).

I can feel the imbalance trying to take over my mind and body again. Anger, insecurity, pity, self-loathing…..I wish Seal was my life coach. But he suffers from depression too, doesn’t he? Don’t we all at some point in our lives?

I watch The Voice for inspiration. For motivation. I wish Seal would say inspiring words to me like,

“Let yourself be great” ~Seal

or remind me that,

“Fear of failure leads to no success” ~Seal

I’ll have to say those words to myself. And I do. But I also need someone to tell me that it will all be ok in the end.

Quote if its not ok its not the end

 

It’s sooooo not ok. I guess it’s not the end. (And thanks John Lennon)

 

 


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How much is too much?

Most of us live in a world where everything is within our reach.

There is always something new to eat, drink, buy, achieve, want, desire and so on.

But in a world that is full of “stuff” and ladders to climb, how much is too much?

How many unnecessary material “things” does one really need?

How many meals and snacks does one need to feel satisfied?

How many vices do I need to make it through each day?

How many credentials does one need to be successful?

How many goals, dreams and desires do you need to move forward?

How full does your life “plate” really need to be?

For the past few years, ok many years now, I have been over-stuffing myself with food, drink, drugs, assignments, courses, plans, to do lists,  goals…you name it.

Yesterday, I turned 42.

I also signed up for a Diploma of Photography course and I did a solo skydive (my first in over 5 months).

Now, I know this all sounds very exciting, even to me but it’s extremely overwhelming too.

The course is a full-on commitment for sure. I haven’t even looked at the 1st module yet. I have 6 more days to cancel without penalty if I choose. It’s not really an option.

The skydive was nerve-wrecking to say the least. Although I have had a skydiving license for 8.5 years, I have only completed 3 solo jumps in the past 8 years; one yesterday and 2 in October. This is not ideal.

There are many factors to consider when becoming a solo skydiver. I’m not sure I considered any of them when I did my AFF course or before doing my jump yesterday.

When you’re not a current jumper, and as inexperienced as I am (I have only ever done 38 solo jumps, including my AFF course), it’s not only hard on anxiety levels, it’s bloody time consuming.

Mr M, who is a skydiver by trade advised me to get current this week and next and maybe next. Whatever it takes over the next few weeks.

This means much more money and much more time.

Time (or money)  that I do not have, nor do I want to give to skydiving. But I’m not sure I want to give it up completely yet. I’m questioning my reasons for jumping at all.

Basically, I don’t place it as a priority. I don’t need or want to excel at skydiving. I want to excel at writing, photography, my health, motherhood and my marriage.

My life plate is over-flowing. Here is what is currently on it:

  • Full-time freelance writing (which comes with a long TO DO list alone)
  • Writing my first novel
  • Housewife with all the normal duties (cleaning, cooking, shopping, admin)
  • Mother to 7-year-old boy
  • Fitness and meditation
  • Health issues to deal with
  • School runs
  • NEW! Photography student
  • NEW! Skydiving student (kind of)

Today I woke up with the skydiving decision looming over me. Most things on the list above cannot be omitted.

It’s noon on a Tuesday and I am still in my pyjamas. I have had 2 coffees, chocolate and no food so far.  This is rare but today, I found depression trying to sneak up on me. I won’t let it in of course. The desire to perform and succeed is too strong in me. I don’t have time for the blues or pity for myself.

For today, skydiving has been knocked off my list. I just need more time to wrap my head around my priorities. I guess, it all comes down to that doesn’t it? Priorities. 

goethe

©Jennifer Morton Photos

Are you doing too much? Do you feel overwhelmed? Is there something you can give up without sacrifice? 

 

 

 

 

 


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So, you want to work from home do you?

now laterProcrastination. It’s such a dirty word. Especially to a writer or anyone who works from home.  I never thought of myself as a procrastinator but I feel like I’m turning into one. I don’t like it. I don’t like myself when I’m doing it. And I’m fully aware that I am doing it.

Working from home is a dream job to some people. Mostly, to the people who do not have the privilege and think it’s all fun and games; sleep-ins and working in your pyjamas. And it can be like that. Like now, for instance I am in my pjs. Technically, I’m not working because this blog is not part of my J-O-B but I am in my pjs. That is so  because it’s 11:50pm and I’ve been ignoring this blog for weeks now so when I had a slight, ever so slight urge to write, I thought,  DO IT NOW. Is this my mojo returning? I can only hope so.

Lately I’ve lost my desire to keep my eye on the prize. I get a rejection, even if I think it doesn’t bother me, it can change my entire day. And that day spills over to the next day, and the next, then the next week. And here I am on a Saturday night, staying up late to write and accomplish something…anything. Or silence plagues my inbox for days or weeks on end. It’s all part of the industry and I have learnt to be strong and carry on. I refuse to quit, that’s for damn sure.

I know I have to change my half-assed work habits. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not missing deadlines – I’m just not being the perfect employee and my boss can be a real bitch!!! (ummm, I’m my own boss for those who did not “get it”)

I have always had a very high work ethic so for me to be sloppy and inconsistent is uncharacteristic and damn annoying to me. Many of you will know and use these favourite ways of putting off but it might be insightful to list them…just for fun.

  • Coffee
  • Food – mostly chocolate
  • TV – I rarely watch actual TV but I do have an addiction to Sex and the City (I have all on DVD)
  • More coffee
  • FACEBOOK
  • Twitter
  • Emails
  • Laundry
  • Dishes or other housework
  • Designing new business cards (this is not a high priority for me now)
  • List making
  • Googling
  • Lorna Jane website – browsing
  • More Food

A few times in the past couple weeks, I have banned myself from Facebook. It has helped but only on the days where I was fully committed to working. And I know I must do this more often, like everyday between 9 – 3pm. I wonder if this is even possible? I do miss it when I’m on a ban. And that scares the hell outta me. I don’t want to be that person. That person who cannot go a day without being “connected”.

Sure, I need the internet to work from home but when it’s keeping me from doing the best job I can do, it has to be turned off.

It’s now 12:33am and I rarely stay up this late. I am now logging off for sleep. And tomorrow I promise to not turn on my modem (please note that I do have an iPhone that I can check emails on) before 3pm. It is Sunday after all…

What is your most  perfect procrastinating tool?

 

 

 

 


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What’s Working for me Wednesday

And what a lovely Wednesday it is. I’m being sarcastic. Below will be my final 14 entries of my top 100 travel wishes. Before I go there, I must admit that I have a love/hate relationship with travel.

Yesterday, I returned home from a whirlwind trip to Sydney. I spent 4 nights away – one night was on the plane from Perth. What was I thinking? I do not sleep well on planes, trains, cars….ANY transportation so I’m not sure why I thought I could travel overnight from coast to coast and then spend the day at a writing course – without sleep!

I’m pleading optimism.

I was certain  the flight would not be full and I would have the entire left hand side of row 29 to myself. Ha!! Didn’t happen. But I made it through day 1 and then went to see Silver Linings Playbook in the evening (I liked it, btw). My mind was telling me that I was fine, ‘it’s all good, you can do it all’, I said. But my body protested.

The next day, I woke up with a sore throat. It wasn’t too bad and again, I pushed on. I walked from Central Station to Milsons Point in North Sydney, home of the Australian Writers’ Centre for day 2 of the writing course. I stopped off to get throat lozenges and cold relief first. At least I slept well the night before and I actually felt better on day 2 even though I knew a virus was attacking me.

Fast forward to arriving back in Perth at 9am yesterday. I was sore from the waist down. It was painful to walk but I had no choice. I had to get from A to B and carry my own bags. By the time I actually got home (3 hours north of Perth!), unpacked and took a shower I couldn’t stay upright anymore. I was in bed by 5pm and stayed there until this morning. My throat is red and puffy now. I have a doctor’s appointment at 11am today. I detest anti-biotics but I also hate pain, especially when it prevents me from eating!

There is a lesson in this. I just haven’t figured out what it is yet.

It’s kinda a lie to say dreaming of travel is working for me this Wednesday but ultimately it will always be my #1 thing to do…dream and the actual doing!!

  1. Show my sister, Christine Sydney and other parts of Oz!!

  2. See penguins on Penguin Island, WA

  3. Writing course in Paris

  4. Attend the Healthivate health bloggers conference in Sydney (aim for 2014)

  5. Spend a month or more just “being” in Thailand

  6. Spend the night on Halong Bay, Vietnam

  7. Walk the Milford Track (NZ)

  8. Walk along the Bay of Fires beach in Tasmania

  9. Walk the Inca Trail, Peru

  10. Return to Morocco

  11. Teach English in Southeast Asia (someday)

  12. Spend a month alone writing in Bali

  13. See a moose on Cape Breton Island (Canada)

  14. Travel around Australia on a promo tour as a published author!! 

And there it is!!! I’m sure there could be many many more entries.

I will post the entire 100 in another post!

Have you made your top travel wishes or a “bucket” list? Feel free to share!


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Aspirations, intentions, wishes, dreams, goals for 2013

So, here it is, my last post for 2012. And based on today alone, I cannot wait for this year to end. And so I look forward to 2013 but not too much as I want to focus on the NOW. But there is always a time and place for planning and that time is NOW.

My goals are not outlandish, far-fetching, crazy, unachievable day dreams; they are within my reach.

Career

 book and pen

  • Sell at least one article to Good Health magazine in JANUARY
  • Go to Sydney for ‘How to write a chick-lit novel’ 2-day course – Feb 2nd
  • Sell one piece per month to a glossy magazine (health, wellbeing, travel, parenting)
  • Sell one piece per month to an online magazine/website
  • Continue to freelance for West Australian Newspapers (regional) with an average monthly income of $700
  • Boost yearly income to 5 digits
  • Finish novel – 1997
  • Have novel edited by a professional editor
  • Submit novel to publisher
  • Sharpen photography skills
  • Start candid photography biz
  • Afford new camera equipment

Health

 IMG_3962

  • Eat a low carb diet
  • Find a balance between “good” and “bad” foods
  • Limit alcohol
  • Limit sugar
  • Retain sense of smell and taste

Wellbeing

Ommmmm

Ommmmm

  • Meditate daily
  • Complete Tracy Anderson’s 30-day method challenge (Jan 3- Feb 1 inclusive)
  • Yoga weekly
  • Fitness class twice weekly
  • Focus on the NOW
  • Stay positive
  • Do not speak if I do not have anything good to say (sacred silence rights the Universe~Marianne Williamson)

Travel

 airplane

  • Sydney
  • Malaysia
  • Vietnam
  • Cambodia
  • Bali
  • Winter Christmas (Japan?)

Now, it’s time to bring this year to a close with a refreshing pina colada because I’m absolutely melting here (it’s 40 degrees Celsius and for all of you in the cold, THIS IS NOT FUN. And yes, I am a bit lot irritable!!!).

But please have a Happy New Year and come back here in 2013!!