Walking and wordage: week 1

Cygnets on Lake Wendouree

First week check-in for the September-athons, and it’s going … OK.

Steptember is encouraging me to get out and about, with mixed results as the weather and the V/Line intrudes.

Last Thursday was a beauty – I ended up accidentally walking around Lake Wendouree. I’d intended to just walk up to a marker and back again to stretch my legs on a glorious spring morning, but ended up doing the full circuit. Maybe it was the first of the cygnets and ducklings I saw wobbling around that spurred me to wobble on, too.

All up, so far, about 84,000 steps logged for Steptember, and the three others in the team have also been taking it in their stride 🙂

If you’d like to donate, you can do so here

The wordage for Writers Victoria’s #30kin30days has, as expected, not come close to the nominal 1000 words a day goal, although I am stacking up the daily writing prompts, which have been excellent, to work through as the month unrolls. Location, character and plot have featured so far, ideal for someone like me in the throes of working out a new story.

I’ve kicked around some scenes, mapped out a plot skeleton, started working out who the characters are, so some wheels are in motion.

I haven’t been counting words written for my D&D campaign (cleverly blogged by one of the players, which has been a valuable creative outlet this year as I work out the story and world and challenges for my players to encounter.

I’m hoping the walk to and from the station plus the commute will keep both mileage and wordage ticking over, even if not quite at optimum.



Walking and wordage for spring challenges

In September, I’ve got two -thons happening: one charitable, one creative.

The first is Steptember (thanks, Ellen, for inviting me to the team), raising money to help people with cerebral palsy.

It kicks off on 3 September, with a goal of taking 10,000 steps a day till the end of the month. The daily average is 3000, we’re told. A trial run yesterday revealed some disparity in our pedometers, but what the hey. It gets me out of the chair and maybe does someone else some good, too.

If you’d like to donate, you can do so here

The other distance effort for the month is Writers Victoria’s #30kin30days program, which, as the name applies, set a goal of 1000 words a day for 30 days.

I’ve written bugger all this year, just a few bits of flash fiction since the PhD was signed, sealed and delivered, so I thought this might be a good way to jar the creative synapses out of their stupor.

I’ve chosen a project that’s been hanging around for a very long indeed, and while I’m not expecting to roll 1k a day, I will be very happy to have a solid outline and some scenes drafted by the end of the month.

The program started on 1 September, with a prompt to work out WHEN the story is set. Excellent, I had that in my head, but the prompt called for a room description to conjure the era, and that led to a short scene (250 words on the V/Line; hello again, my office between offices!).

You can join in or follow along on Twitter.

2 September’s prompt was to make a list of 10 locations and then go to town fleshing out one of them. Well, I have a road map for my story, so I’m going to see how I go at selecting key locations and working up their significant details, including smells and time of year (thanks, prompt!), over the next couple of days.


100 Stories for Queensland

The list of authors appearing in 100 Stories for Queensland has been announced and it’s a great looking list drawing writers from all over the place. The anthology is to raise money for Queensland flood victims.

The book is due out on March 8.

I’m particularly interested in seeing what Alan Baxter has contributed, given the antho was looking for uplifting yarns *grin*

Writers on Rafts — help for flooded Queensland

writers on rafts by QWC

The Writers on Rafts site is now live. You can buy a ticket for books, services from writers such as story assessments, and other stuff, such as having a character named after you in a book. It’s a raffle, not an auction. The initiative is being run by the Queensland Writers Centre, who still have not been able to return to their offices since floods devastated South East Queensland earlier this month. The floods meant that, in the past month, three quarters of the state has been declared a disaster area — Queensland is more than twice the size of Texas or France.

Other initiatives by writers to help flood victims are running, too. Check them out!

Writers, and readers, to help Queensland flood victims

Please check out these sites set up by writers to raise money for charities assisting Queensland flood victims:

Ocean Hearted: poetry book, proceeds to charity

100 Stories for Queensland: send in your stories, buy the book

After the Rain: Fablecroft had already got this anthology on the drawing board, and has turned around a quick e-version for charity purposes.

An auction site, offering signed books, manuscript assessments and plenty of other stuff, is now running at Authors for Queensland.

And don’t forget, cash donations can be sent to numerous charities online. This is the State Government’s website.

Spare a thought for devastated Queensland

Queensland is my home state. It’s the second largest in Australia. You can fit France three times over into Queensland and still have room, almost, for the United Kingdom. As I write, 75 per cent of Queensland is a disaster zone.

Floods have ravaged the state for more than a week, and now have reached a frightening, calamitous new stage. Nine people are dead, more than 50 missing. Entire townships have been wiped out. Roads are cut. Industry is at a standstill. The state capital of Brisbane is in various stages of evacuation.

Two add insult to injury, many of the affected areas were hit by devastating flooding only two years ago. And it’s still raining. The worst is yet to come.

I’m living in Melbourne now, texting my friends, checking Facebook and email, watching the nightmare unfold on the TV and the news websites, watching the red dots of flood spots spread like acne across a map of Brisbane as they follow the river towards the sea.

It’s a dichotomy of nature that not long ago, Brisbane’s water situation was dire, much of the state was gripped in drought. In Western Australia, suspected arson-lit bushfires have claimed four. This is Australia, it seems: fire and flood and drought and very few easy breaks.

The comments sections of the newspaper websites are home to venal, despicable inanities, the kind of sneering and posturing that makes you want to poke the writer in the eye.

Fortunately, the majority of the country is showing its kinder colours. Charity coffers are being well supported, all tiers of government are doing what they can. There are choppers in the air and the prime minister is on the ground, sharing the hurt and helping to shoulder the burden of not just survival, but recovery.

There are several aid providers taking online donations: this is one of them — www.qld.gov.au/floods

It’s not over yet. The body count will rise, the number of houses inundated will rise, the misery and disruption will rise. The damage will take years to repair, the economy … well, the impact of all those flooded and unworkable mines is already being felt on the global market. And along with all that, hopefully the compassion will also rise. That the towns and the state will recover, I have no doubt; it’s just a question of how long. This is, after all, Australia.