Was it a Dumb Thing To Do?

We’ve just enjoyed a long weekend in Perth and I must confess that I didn’t access social media once. Not a single Facebook click, peek at Instagram, or even a tiny Twitter chirp. Not in itself a dumb thing to do, but today’s social media catchup has only compounded the lack of progress on my WIP over the weekend – the one I intend entering into the Richell Prize For Emerging Writers in a few weeks time.

I didn’t intend to go cold turkey. Social media never sleeps and becomes unwieldy if not kept in check – even over a long weekend. And I had firm plans to complete the WIP chapter I had been working on.

So what went wrong? Why did I potentially sabotage such an important deadline? And if I was given back my weekend, would I choose to lock myself in a room and stare down anyone who dared invade my writing space?

Sure, I scored top marks for ‘family time’. I took the kids to see their grandfather and indulged my daughter’s love of craft (we’re talking bring in a skip bin and hose down the craft / writing room of glitter, glue and cornflour afterwards – there are still stains in the rug…)

I know these are all excuses. Social media functions quite happily with only half an hour dedicated to it here or there. Up until 5pm on Friday I was on a roll with my WIP. It probably would have been smart to keep that momentum going. But I had underestimated the amount of creative energy it has needed over the past couple of months. Finding the right voice and fine-tuning it to ‘competition-standard’, along with drawing up a synopsis, has drained my brain.

‘Ridiculous!’, I initially told myself. Lives aren’t in the balance and the bank won’t take the house away if my sentences aren’t structured properly. What’s the problem with adding a few more words? I’m still fairly new to writing. Those who have been at it for much longer might recognise this as writer fatigue. It’s a ‘thing’. I just googled it. And as usual there are plenty of suggestions on how to beat it. But why now? When I have mere weeks to create the best impression possible.

I spent a great deal of the weekend on my all-time favourite hobby. I have recently come to realise that this hobby is very similar to writing. It requires editing, self critiquing, and most importantly, a knack for story telling. And a self-imposed deadline helps too.

For years I have recorded my family’s little events on iMovie. Every single holiday, some birthday parties, and those first steps – all captured and woven into stories with a killer soundtrack. This weekend, instead of working on my Richell entry I created another disc for our Italian holiday box-set (I say ‘box-set’ tongue-in-cheek, but there are already seven discs, each around 40 minutes, with three more to go…)

Don’t worry – they’re only for family consumption. I don’t torment friends and neighbours with them. But I have to admit, they are entertaining and well made.  And the self imposed deadline? We have begun a new tradition of closing our weekends with pizza on the couch, watching our extensive collection of home movies. Our children have an awesome sense of humour – we can follow its development over the years on the screen and enjoy seeing how much they’ve grown.

Making a movie this weekend made me realise that my writing will be fine. The movies reflect my story telling abilities. They take a lot of dedication and a long time to make. Like writing, they weave emotions, humour, knowledge, visual imagery and a sequence of events into something that can be enjoyed over and over. They are edited to within an inch of their lives – each one is an improvement on the one before. And when I have a deadline that matters to me, I know that I will meet it.

So, avoiding my WIP over the weekend wasn’t a dumb thing to do. My new writing muscles are still growing and need rest from time to time, but they’re continually getting stronger.

Story telling – in whatever form it takes – is a very powerful and rewarding thing. And now that I’ve shared this story on my blog, I can give my competition entry the last push it needs.

P1210438

The ‘dab’ craze – a moment captured in time and woven into a ‘story’ that one day they will be able to share with their own children. 

 

19 thoughts on “Was it a Dumb Thing To Do?

  1. Oh my gosh! I am so impressed with this iMovie making and movie ideas. We are *so* not a photographing family. I always forget my camera. Hubby is pretty much the same. We must be the only family who will go on a weekend away and not only ‘forget’ to pack the camera, just not even put ‘camera’ on the list. People say that’s because we take photos on our phones but we don’t! My stupid camera on my phone won’t talk to our internet/email so I can never get the pics off. Hubby is about the same. We just don’t take photographs and I know the time will come that I’ll be very sad I didn’t. On my youngest boy’s 6th birthday, hubby’s brother was staying with us and he is the opposite. He loves his camera and it’s a hobby he’s very good at. He must have taken bout 150 pictures during his 4 days with us, including some treasures of the birthday party for Mr 6. I had the normal blooper too about taking more photos of my oldest (firstborn) and then falling away dramatically for his brother. We do have a few videos hubby has captured on his phone of the boys, and love looking at those. But not enough of them, and we’re just slack at them.
    I think your movies will be wonderful for so many years ahead. I can absolutely see your family sitting down to watch them on Sunday nights too.
    Hugs – you clever woman you!
    And go the writing again when you’re in the mood 🙂

    Lily xx

    Liked by 2 people

    • Awww thanks Lily! The only reason I started videoing and turning them into dvd movies was because at the time we lived so far away from grandparents and it was a way of sharing those baby milestones with them. I didn’t think of the future benefits, it was just something I enjoyed doing.
      I have about 40,000 photos on my computer (which recently vanished during a software ‘upgrade’ the other day… Yikes! I’ll get the experts in after the Richell deadline. Thank goodness for hard drives!)
      So, at least you don’t have to worry about curating and storing and then losing them all.
      And boy, they sure can slow down the computer!
      I’m sure you’ve got more photos of your kids than you ever had of yourself growing up! Thanks for your lovely comment 😊

      Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Milly!
      I have to let you know, I had a bit of a ‘fan moment’ reading your blog earlier today, where you mentioned Louise Allan. She’s a friend of mine and it was lovely to mention your blog post to her. It was a great post.

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s amazing what a small world! I was scrolling through the writing tag just randomly when I came upon your blog! What a lovely friend to have and thanks for mentioning the blog to her! ☺

        Liked by 1 person

  2. What a lovely way to spend the long weekend—you obviously needed time away from your WIP. All creative outlets feed the same soul, and one art form seems to have side-benefits for another. I’m sure your movie-making wasn’t wasted creatively, but even more importantly, it’s not wasted for your kids. I love your Sunday evening tradition, too! Do it all while you can because, believe me, that time passes in an eye-blink. x

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Wow Marie! I am sooo impressed! I thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog post 🙂 It was so easy to read and it flowed beautifully! I too am very new to writing, and haven’t done anything close enough to what you have achieved! You write so well for a ‘newbie’. I have a lot of practice to notch up!!
    Not only that, but I could picture all of you sitting on your couch with the family at the end of a weekend and enjoying your iMovie – all your hard creative work, filled with love and embellished with nothing but an eye for the natural ‘talents’ that your wonderful family provide you with. It is such a fantastic idea to not only capture those special moments, but to also have created a family tradition which will no doubt one day be recalled by your kids as historic moments in their lives.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! What a beautiful comment. It’s funny how we start doing things without realising the future potential of them. Writing has also become one of those things – I am still new to it, but cannot imagine my life any other way!
      Best of luck with your own writing. Your blog posts are beautiful and very heart felt, and they remind me of a lot of milestones I went through with my own children. I can very much relate to them 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      • Awww…Marie, I truly appreciate your kind words n encouragement. It means alot to me. I wish I could write more, but I’m getting ready for a playdate at Hyde Park (between a 3yr old girl n my Master 4). I am literally counting down the time to when I will find myself at the swings working my biceps out for 30 mins straight! 😂
        Admittedly, I worry about how the ‘tone’ of what I write comes across. I am hoping it isn’t too ‘down’ or depressing. I hope to add more to the blog (time permitting) over the next few months n also ensure I write about the good that life has to offer; balancing the act of motherhood with or without mental health issues presenting themselves.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I look forward to more of your writing. The best tone is being honest – whether it’s an up or down, I think. Hope you enjoy the park. Oh, those days of park playdates and swings… 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Your movies sound amazing! And most definitely stories in another form.
    I’m finding that the more I learn about writing, the more storytelling devices I notice in movies … where an image recurs, or a theme develops, or how a certain line of dialogue has deeper meaning. It’s really opened my mind to how stories can take many shapes.
    Good luck with getting your manuscript ready & sending it to the Richell Prize. I’ll be looking for your name on the shortlist! x

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you Fiona. I watch movies and tv shows differently now too, and have come across interesting articles about using film techniques in writing (colour, scene angles etc).
      Thanks for your encouragement with the Richell. It would be amazing to appear on a shortlist – but I’m also realistic about the sheer amount of talent that’s out there.

      Like

  5. Not dumb at all Marie. Taking time away is so important, and like you said, your writing won;t have suffered. Especially if it was time away to be with family, doing things that enrich your life. Good luck with your entry!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You are a very talented woman. I’m glad you took the time away. Because you may have burnt out and that takes longer to recover from. Your creative juices will flow better now. I hope you enter the competition. I’m impressed xxxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Rae! I think I was a little burn out there, but receiving such positive feedback after admitting to it and sharing it helped enormously. I’m back into finishing my entry for the competition this week and enjoying the writing again.
      Thanks for your support xxx

      Like

  7. Not a dumb idea at all! Sometimes we need to take some time away from writing as the pressure we put on ourselves to meet deadlines (personal or external) can definitely lead to writer fatigue. I too am trying to get my WIP ready in time for the Richell Prize comp but that deadline is getting closer and closer! Eek!

    I also love making holiday movies! And photobooks. Otherwise you end up with so many photos and videos that just sit on your hard drive and never get enjoyed. I’ve found that more so now that i have a child… i must get my finger out and put a movie together for her!
    Love your posts Marie, keep it up x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Lauren. I’d not realised how special the movies would be when I started making them years ago – so I highly recommend making that movie for your daughter! They love watching themselves on the big screen don’t they?
      And fingers crossed for your entry! I hope you do really well 😘

      Liked by 1 person

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