Category Archives: Writing

A new studio and other exciting happenings

Lots of excellent happenings have been … happening … around here. A few months back  I said yes to a shared studio space at Paper Bird Books and Arts in Fremantle. There are three of us being creative in the studio space. It’s light and bright, and since I started writing here (about twice a week) I’ve finished three picture books and I’ve written a good number of poems, too.

Don’t you love this mat?

Paper Bird studio

Speaking of poems (and not so much about mats), The School Magazine has bought two more of my poems this year. And I’ve posted new poems to the Poetry Tag site. Here they are, and if you haven’t already, you should definitely zip straight over and see them in all their glory:

SEA SECRETS

BACK TO SCHOOL BLUES

AFTER A STORM

For my birthday, my very clever musical daughter composed a choral work based on ‘Sea Secrets’, which I might post to the blog once I figure out how. *ahem*.

And I’m now on instagram. Over there I’m @rebeccanewmanbooks. I post some poetry stuff, some booky stuff, some garden-y stuff, and some day-to-day-just-sort-of-noodling-about stuff.

In other (kitchen garden) news: this season we’ve planted a new passionfruit vine to replace the old one that’s not really thriving, cucumbers (which are thriving and already have flowers on them, go little cucumber plants!), watermelon, sunflowers, and lettuce. Everyone is thrilled to know that the succulents I planted earlier this year seem to be doing OK. But I imagine even I would have trouble killing those …

Thrives on neglect

New Years’ Resolutions — I have some.

Writing
Submit manuscripts to publishers.

I need to send more of my work out on submission. Shortly after coming to this conclusion: I submitted a short story to an anthology on 5th January. Pat on the back for me.

Garden
Turn my garden into a low-maintenance garden that has actual living plants in it.

succulents

Ready to plant …

I bought pots of succulents. Lots of them. I don’t love succulents — I prefer leafier sorts of plants that rustle when the wind blows (the same sorts of plants, it turns out,  that can be burnt to death by summer sun and desiccated by scorching salty winds). But, emboldened by my new resolve to stock my garden with appropriate flora, I bought a stack of succulents — in particular the ones with labels that said:

COASTAL CONDITIONS

LOW WATER NEEDS

THRIVES ON NEGLECT

FULL SUN ONLY

They are now planted in between my roses (because I can’t give up my roses). I’m still growing some edible plants, too. This year we have cherry tomatoes (with tomatoes on), cucumber vines (with no sign of a cucumber), passionfruit vines (with two passionfruit, hang in there!) and basil, thyme, rosemary and mint.

Drawing
Draw something little every day.

I’ve always wanted to be able to draw. And so I’ll try to draw something little every day, even if it’s complete rubbish. Because I quite like drawing. Even if it’s complete rubbish.

In other news, I was very excited to find real mail in my postbox this week.

Rebecca with poem

It’s my latest poem ‘Body Beat’ in the February 2017 issue of The School Magazine (Countdown). The wonderful illustration is by Cheryl Orsini.

And I’ve had a couple more poems up at Poetry Tag (which were not written in 2017 but I thought I’d catch you up). Here they are:

2017 is looking good.

~ Rebecca

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Spring fever

Happy spring! You can tell it’s spring because this is flowering in my garden.

Hardenbergia flowering.

Term 3 is always the busiest term of the year at our house. The calendar pages stuck to our fridge (actually just A4 sheets I’ve printed out) get so full of writing that they can’t take the weight of all that activity and they drop onto the floor … and slide underneath the fridge. Calendar pages that hide underneath the fridge really don’t help much with the Term 3 Busy-ness.

(Also, on a side note: our fridge door is silver-coloured but is not magnetic. Who makes non-magnetic fridge doors, I ask you? Where am I supposed to stick up my magnetic words for fridge-door poetry-writing? And artwork by our artists-in-residence? What am I supposed to do with all the fridge magnets that inevitably accumulate in a house?!)

In poem-y news, I have new poems up at Poetry Tag: the first one is called ‘The Birth of an Idea’ (Sally gave me the words birth, and together) and the most recent poem is ‘For Sally (on her birthday)’ (my words were take, feline, and cloud). Now I’ve tagged Sally, and it’s her turn to write …

As Term 3 draws to a close  (we still have a week to go here in WA) I am back to writing as much as I can. This week I’ve been writing first drafts of poems, and working on the final drafts of my folktale-style picture book.

Garden update: No carrots, and the green stuff wasn’t a success. There are nasturtiums flowering though, as well as ranunculi, and one poppy plant. You might find that single poppy plant amusing if you follow me on Twitter:

Tweet about sowing lots and lots of poppy seeds

Oh, April Rebecca. So optimistic.

Wait! I did get some passionfruit off the vine. Three in fact. Proof:

Passionfruit photo.

8 sleeps till the school holidays. I’ve got some more writing to do.

Writing in Winter

The winter months have been busy ones. The most exciting Busy Thing was that I set off to the east coast of Australia for the SCBWI* conference in Sydney. I caught up with so many authors and illustrators I don’t get to see very often (because they live on the east coast of Australia). Mostly I forgot to take photos because I was too busy conferencing, oops. But here I am catching up with the lovely Katrina Germein when I did manage to organise a photo:

With Katrina Germein

With Katrina Germein (I’m the shiny one. Hmm.)

When I got back to Perth I was feeling inspired and started work on my long-neglected idea for a middle grade novel. (You should feel free to applaud). It doesn’t have a title yet. I’m still thinking.

Then I was feeling brave and I signed myself up to a writing course through the Australian Writers’ Centre (specifically: this one) as a sort of Personal Development because mostly I write picture books and poetry and tackling a story as long as a novel is a bit scary sometimes. (It turns out I’m a very succinct writer.)

And when I haven’t been writing I’ve been preparing my tiny garden for spring. More on that in another post soon. (Because I do get excited about my tiny garden and Growing Stuff.)

I can’t underestimate the importance of Distraction and Procrastination in the writing process. So, this morning I found myself looking longingly at this site featuring 10 Stunning Writing Studios. I can’t decide which one I covet most — possibly number 2. (I’m thinking of creating my own 10 Inordinately Unimpressive Writing Studios list. At least I’d have a faint hope of making the cut for that list … )

Lastly — What I should be doing: taking up Sally Murphy’s latest Poetry Tag challenge. She’s thrown me some new words. I’d better get to that this week …

* SCBWI is the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. If you write — or illustrate — for children you should check them out. Really.