Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Quirky writer's habits

I've been asked if I have any quirky writer's habits. And I have to say (chomp) that I absolutely (crunch, munch) positively (gulp, yum) don't have any.

Sorry about that. You don't mind if I eat eight Freddo Frogs while I write this post, do you?

Make that nine.

I'm sure it doesn't surprise anyone to learn that I eat chocolate while I'm writing. A lot. I eat a lot of chocolate anyway, but when you're sitting at a computer with words to write, people to please and deadlines to meet, it's easier to justify eating a few hundred more frogs. Or bars. Or blocks.

I eat chocolate, but that's far from the quirkiest of my writer's habits. So I'll let you in on what I do when I'm stuck on something. When I'm yet to decide which direction to take a piece, or when I'm simply suffering from a good old fashioned case of writer's block, I usually do one of two completely different things, depending on where I am, who's with me and what I might have already done that day to combat writer's block.

I will either get up, crank up the music to a favourite song, and belt it out at the top of my lungs. (Thorn in My Side, I Like You Better When You're Not Around and Belle are particular favourites, as are any songs from Les Miserables or The Little Mermaid.)

Or, I will sit there and write to the general theme of what I'm doing in as Seussian a way as possible. I will rhyme, make up words, invent ridiculous scenarios that haven't yet happened (and are most unlikely to), or do all three.

For example, if I'm writing a blog post about quirky writer's habits and I can't think of any to write about, I might write this:

Quirky writer's habits? Oh no, not me
I find writing as easy as can be
I don't succumb to chocky temptation
Or sing for a fake audience's admiration
Or write silly rhymes of my own creation
I have the knack
To stay on track
I'm not some hack
(Cue panic attack...)

Or if I'm writing a future best-selling dinosaur murder mystery set in Antarctica, and I'm not yet sure which dinosaur dunnit, I might write this:

The Tyrannosaurus Rex lay in wait
By the Stegosaurus's front gate
'He'll never know I'm here' thought he
'And then I'll finally get some tea!'
But T-Rex was getting very old
And his arthritis played up in the cold
When Stega found him laying there
His puny arms stuck in the air
Stega claimed T-Rex's head
And mounted it above his bed
(Next to those of Pteranodon,
Triceratops and Iguanodon)
Or if I'm writing a special Budget edition of a company's e-newsletter (unfortunately, this is the exciting sort of thing I'm much more likely to be writing), and I'm a little uninspired by the actual Budget that was handed down (surely not?!), I might write the following:

Hockey's first Budget was a real humdinger
We expected a dud, but landed a zinger
He pulled $100M out of his rear
To spend on marshmallows for MPs next year
(And of course, some new whizz-bang fire roasting gear)

(NB: If Mr Hockey announces a $100 million dollar MP marshmallow program next month, just remember that you heard it here first.)


Each month, I receive a writing prompt as part of a link-up called Writers Reveal. This post was inspired by the prompt 'Quirky Writer's Habits' from Ashley at Author Ashley Howland.

You can see what everyone else has done with the same prompt at:


Do you have any quirky writer's habits? How do you deal with writer's block?

Monday, April 14, 2014

Things it's difficult to do with your non-dominant arm/hand

  • Brush your teeth
  • Brush your hair
  • Wash your hair
  • Dry your hair
  • Tie your hair up
  • Dress yourself
  • Dress a toddler
  • Dress a baby
  • Apply make-up (especially when you're useless at it to begin with!)
  • Spread butter on toast
  • Cut toast (or any food) into kid-friendly portions
  • Pour milk
  • Carry washing
  • Hang out washing
  • Fold washing
  • Iron
  • Sweep
  • Mop
  • Punch painkiller tablets from the painkiller foil holder thingamajig
  • Think (as evidenced by above bullet point)
  • Push a pram
  • Pick up a baby
  • Put a baby on the floor/in a highchair/anywhere
  • Feed a baby
  • Change a baby's nappy
  • Put a baby to bed
  • Be at all responsible for a baby
  • Sleep
  • Text
  • Type (feel free to applaud this effort - you wouldn't believe how long this post is taking me!)
  • Take a selfie (again, especially when you're useless at it to begin with!)

And that's the just the tip of the painful, strained shoulder iceberg.

The flip side is that it's easy to feel ridiculously sorry for yourself when you only have the use of one arm. It's also far too easy to justify excessive chocolate consumption. (Not that I usually have a problem doing that anyway.)

So, how did this happen? I wish I had a fantastic tale of bravery and selflessness to tell you, but it's quite boring. In fact, it's downright dumb. So perhaps I'll save that story for another Dumb ways to get hurt rewrite.

Go me. Selflessly injuring myself for the sake of blogtainment. I'll be here all week. Try the veal.

But you'll have to cut it into kid-friendly portions yourself.

Have you ever been restricted to the use of one arm while caring for children? Any coping strategies to share? PLEASE?!!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

You had a bad day

So. Bad days. They suck, right? THEY SUCK.

I've had a few bad days lately. At least, that's what they feel like when I'm in the middle of them. Little things build until the little-thing-mountain feels like it's going to break my back.

Until later, when I realise it was really a little-thing-molehill.

Partly inspired by Emily from Have a Laugh on Me's #projectcalmdownmum, and partly inspired by the sarcasm which is a constant presence in my head, I'm rewriting another well-known song. This time around, I'm taking a crack at Daniel Powter's Bad Day.


Where is your patience when you need it the most?
Your sanity's gone, given up the ghost
Your baby's upset and starting to cry
Your toddler keeps asking "Why, why, why?"
And you don't know how you'll carry on
You're trying to get ready to face the day
But everything seems to get in the way
You missed a deadline cleaning baby spew
And a phone call wiping toddler poo
And you don't know how you'll carry on
Because you had a bad day
Your kids were a trial
You wanted to yell
And you struggled to smile
You say you don't know
How to juggle it all
You can't get work done
When you're always on call
You had a bad day
Was it really that bad?
If you went with the flow
Would you have been so sad?
You had a bad day
Did you cause the bad day?
You need a blue sky holiday
With no obstacles getting in your way
But... without your kids, could you carry on?!
You had a 'bad day'
You got nothing done
You sat with your kids
Soaking up the sun
You say you don't know
When the house will be clean
You've farewelled structure
And order and routine
You had a bad day
Was it really that bad?
Life sounds pretty sweet
Perhaps you should be glad
You had a bad day
(Ooh... holiday)
Sometimes little things go on the blink
And your whole day feels so long
They build up high 'til they're all you see
And you feel you can't be strong
But perhaps you're wrong
So how do you feel now you've figured it out?
After all
Your family is what it's all about
But you had a 'bad day'
It dragged on for hours
You sang Wiggles songs
You say you don't know
What you're cooking for tea
So what if just once
You serve KFC?
You had a 'bad day'
You yelled a few times
You're doing okay
If that's the worst of your crimes
You had a 'bad day'...
Not such a bad day
When was your last 'bad day'? How did you get through it?
And any requests/suggestions for songs to rewrite in the future?

Friday, April 4, 2014

Perseverance (or what hanging out the washing with my son has taught me)

I was hanging out the washing recently (yes, I lead an extremely glamorous life) and Mitchell was trying to help me (yes, I'm a super-fun mum who only gives the best playthings to her children).

He had a pair of his tracksuit pants (yes, I'm a fashionista who only dresses her children in Gucci and Prada, daaaahling) and was intent upon putting them on the lowest rung of the clothes airer.

He tried, and it didn't work. He tried again, and it didn't work. He tried a few more times, and it still didn't work. He grunted. He threw them on the floor and started to shuffle away. He came back and tried again. And it didn't work again. He shrieked.

He tried again. He grunted again. He flailed. He almost head-butted the floor. He swatted at the clothes airer. He dropped the pants on the floor and hit them a few times.

He was trying to hang tracky pants on the airer, but he was wearing his cranky pants.

He flung the pants around one more time with a scream. And they landed on the clothes airer.

He looked at them. He cocked his head to one side, then the other.

Then he grinned. He tilted his head back to show me his teeth (only his top eye teeth were through at this stage - yes, I'm the mother of a vampire baby, and yes, it's still adorable and only a little bit unsettling), then giggled and shuffled away.

What is the point of this story? Well, there a few.

One: keep trying. You'll get there. You may not get there the way you'd planned - you may even get there by just flinging things around in frustration - but you'll get there

Two: my boy is adorable even when he's having a little hissy fit.

And three: hanging out the washing is difficult and annoying. But entertaining if you involve your children.

You might even get a blog post out of it. So hop to it.

What have you learnt from your child(ren)?