There is nothing like dedication. You might remember, or be interested to know, that in August 2016 I started the 52 Dates for Writers – Ride A Tandem, Assume An Alias and 50 Other Ways To Improve Your Craft, a tool to help writers get on with… you know. Writing.
Before you say, ‘wow.’ and ‘it’s now January, 2017’ or ‘what dedication’ and dismiss me, let me just say:
I was busy.
Yep. And you know you can relate. You understand the small detail of putting food on a table, which should be positioned ‘just-so’ under the other small detail of a solid and reliable roof overhead, while remembering to collect people from places at certain points of each day, ordering supplies for these same people, refereeing arguments between these people, usually over the phone, sometimes during a meeting and always about the supplies, all while working on your course/degree/mental health plan, all while meeting the hair-pulling demands of a freakish job, reporting to nutty superiors, with about five minutes respite during August to December every year. Yeh. No sweat.
It actually means you have to be pretty brutal with your priorities sometimes. It’s not like I didn’t try to kill myself staying across everything and I fell asleep at my desk/writing/washing machine often enough to prove effort, so…yeh. Something had to give.
You know this feeling, too, right? How hard is it to find time to write? It’s so hard. No matter the well-developed schedule, no matter the excellent time-management, sometimes something’s got to give. It is hard when you realise you have to cut your writing time because some other thing in your finely tuned timeline melted the calendar and you had to make a cruel choice.
Well. 2017 has appeared phoenix-like in all my organisers, rising from the still-burning ashes of 2016. I swept all the ashes off my desk with my forearm (no, I did, really, we’ve talked about my housekeeping before) and revived my schedule and my goals and here I am: back to where I left off with my pursuit of all good tips and good practices for getting my writing going. This year I’m going to do it. The one thing I’ve been most desperate to get back to is the #52 dates, because let’s face it: I really want to use an alias.
The timeline had run out for the 52 dates, so I got in touch with Claire Wingfield at The Pigeonhole. Claire not only gave me some great advice on creating a realistic schedule for blog posts, including tracking and stockpiling ideas for later release – she gave me some much-needed encouragement on the 52 dates and said go for it.
So here I am. #2 of 52. ‘Daydream’.
Daydream about your first book being published, write the dedication. (For the extended version of this prompt, with solid ideas for character development, check out Claire’s book at The Pigeonhole.)
For Scott, Dave and Mike, the original superheroes.
At the age of 8, I attempted to use the word ‘flailing’ in the Introduction to First Aid procedures I wrote for the students at Sacred Heart. (I know. But I really did.) I don’t know if it was the snort, the scoff or the cringing look of embarrassment I got when I read this word out, I just know I blushed a bright red, swallowed hard, and quietly (my hot face probably a beacon and a foghorn for ships on the coast 30 kms away) tried to fade into my surroundings. Nevertheless. I might have put my writing ambitions in a cupboard for a while but it was only fleeting and it is with sincerest gratitude that I devote this book to the three superheroes of my life and all those who helped me forget the tyranny of primary school!
For your contribution to this book and anything else I will write, I thank the superheroes first and foremost. But this book can’t be published without acknowledging Anne Shirley, Alice and Prince Caspian for the early years. For an enduring love affair with the written word, I owe Scout, Scarlet, Lizzie; Helen, Jane, Cathy and Heathcliff; Yossarian, Santiago, Dina Dalal, Anna Karenina; Truman’s Holly (not Hollywood’s Holly), Jake, Saleem, Almasy and Katharine, Florentino and Fermina and Mrs Dalloway big time – you all take the cake.
I couldn’t have done it without you.
P.S. And please tell your friends I think they take the cake, too. (Except for G. If any of you know him, don’t say anything.)