Archive for April, 2007

Taking a short break from writing

I have had an enforced break from writing over the last two weeks. I sometimes do some relief driving for a friend who runs a courier business in our city. Whenever he needs a short holiday or he needs to attend a meeting (as a member of the local council) he asks me to fill in for him. This work has several benefits for me, including:

  • plenty of extra exercise – it’s demanding physically
  • it gives me plenty of fresh air
  • it forces me away from the computer to rest the eyes
  • it gives a modest amount of extra income.


Two weeks ago my friend rang me early one morning to say he’d injured his back and could hardly walk, let alone lift parcels. Within twenty minutes I was ready to take over for the rest of the day. I ended up doing the rest of that week and all of the next week. He is now on the road to recovery, taking each day carefully. He is so pleased that does not need a repeat of an operation he had twenty years ago. So am I – I’m not sure I could have coped with running his business for 2-3 months while he recovered.

Emergency articles on my blog

I didn’t have much of a gap in the posts that appeared on this blog during my enforced absence from the computer. This was because I usually work ahead with my articles, setting them to appear one a day over the coming week or weeks. On occasions I have worked up to four weeks ahead, especially when I know I will be busy on other matters or away from home for a period.

ANZAC Day in Australia

On April 25th Australians and New Zealanders all over the world celebrate ANZAC Day. This is a very special day on the calendar of both nations.

ANZAC is an acronym for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. It is regarded by many in Australia as the day our nation took its place on the world stage. Soldiers from both countries landed on the beach of what was later called Anzac Cove at Gallipoli in Turkey on 25th April, 1915. It was at a terrible cost; many thousands of soldiers on both sides died in a protracted battle lasting many months.

ANZAC Day is celebrated throughout Australia and New Zealand and in many other parts of the world to commemorate this special event. Most communities – from small townships through the largest cities – hold Dawn Services to remember the fallen soldiers. Parades are a feature of our larger cities. As the soldiers who survived pass away with the passage of time, their places are proudly taken by their children and grandchildren, most wearing their badges and decorations with great respect and pride.

In the early 1980s the numbers observing this great event in our history dwindled as the numbers of survivors declined. In the last decade however, this trend has been reversed. As the last of the survivors of the attack in Gallipoli died several years ago, many of the younger generation – those in their twenties and thirties – suddenly realised the passing of history. Every year since the parades and observances have seen ever increasing numbers of participants, all eager to remember this significant turning point in our history. Of particular interest is the increasing number of people – again, mostly younger people – who make the long pilgrimage to Gallipoli itself. The emotionally moving Dawn Service on ANZAC Day is often attended by over twenty thousand people.

For more information click here.

Just a thought – about transmitting data

I’ve discovered a wonderful way to transmit data from mind to mind: it’s called talking. Ashleigh Brilliant

Ashleigh is only half right.

Data can also be transmitted by writing.

A list of my writing tools

It is pointless trying to write with a broken pencil.

In a recent post I wrote about the writer’s toolbox, the skills needed to be an effective writer. There are many skills one could regard as the “tools of trade.” There are also several essential actual tools that are useful to the writer; some could be considered essential. Here is a list of tools I use regularly.

Writing Tools I Use:

  1. Pencil: I have always loved the feel of holding a pencil and using it to write with. It’s almost a sensual thing. I always have a selection of pencils near me when I write. These are used for making lists of tasks to achieve today, taking notes from phone calls, making notes and plans about writing ideas and a whole host of other tasks. Outlining an article or story is often done in pencil. Writing poetry is almost always done in pencil. It my preferred writing tool.
  2. Ball Point Pen: I still use a ball point pen daily but nowhere near as often as a pencil. I have my favourite brand of pen and get very annoyed when it leaves the room – usually in the hands of my significant other half. There are occasions when said pen mysteriously migrates from my desk to her desk.
  3. Paper: Writers use paper. Lots of it. Any paper printed on only one side gets recycled as scrap paper via a box under my desk. Scrap paper is used for notes, plans, jottings, reminders, phone messages, story ideas and many other miscellaneous tasks.
  4. Dictionary: I have collection of dictionaries in easy reach of my writing desk. These are my trusted friends, consulted regularly. Sure, I use on-line dictionaries too but find it quicker to consult a hard copy. Holding a dictionary in my hands is tactile too, and that’s important to me.
  5. Typewriter: Somewhere in the bowels of the garage, lonely and discarded, is my old typewriter. It is probably dust covered, rusting and with a very dried out ribbon. This faithful friend deserves a place of honour in the house, but there is no room. R.I.P. my old friend.
  6. Computer: I actually have two computers on my writing desk. The old desktop, which is rarely fired up these days, and a lap top which is now the work horse. We are still in the process of moving into a new office; when it comes time to move my desk, the old computer will officially “retire”.
  7. Printer: An essential assistant to the computer, and the reason I have so much scrap paper. I have managed to cut down quite significantly on my paper use since beginning to blog regularly. I keep electronic copies of most of my posts which is a big saving on paper.
  8. Modem and router: Without these two items I would not have a highway leading to the wonders of the internet. I would not be able to post articles on my blogs. I would not be able to research ideas for my writing.
  9. Reference Books: Despite doing much of my research on line, I still rely on a range of reference books to help me with my writing. This is particularly so with my Birding Blog because much of the information I need is not yet on the internet.
  10. Health Items: Also on my desk is a water bottle, a container of nuts and a container of dried fruit. These are essential for my health and well being.

What items do you have on your writing desk? Tell me about them in the comments section.

23 Ways to Become a Better Writer

Over the life of this blog I have written many writing hints and given plenty of ideas for writing stories. They have been well received and commented upon.

Scott Ginsberg has written a light-hearted article called 23 Ways to Become a Better Writer. It may read lighthearted and appear to be simple and easy to follow, but his suggestions are seriously great. Even if you only follow several of his suggestions your writing will improve. Why not even implement one each day for a few weeks?

It can’t do any harm. Taking a risk like this is certain to help you with your writing.