Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Momentum - I've got it, do you have it?

Why do we do what we do?  Why do we show up at work each day and slave away?  What if we don’t like what we do?  Why don’t we change our direction towards something we want to do?

The answer is simple.  We gain momentum in life and changing momentum is difficult.

Momentum, scientifically, equals mass multiplied by velocity.

We can have many different momentums (can you pluralise momentum?).  For example, my children provide me with a certain momentum, metaphorically, when I reflect on the above scientific equation.  They and I are busy propelling them through school.  They have a velocity of one grade each year, and their mass is the accumulated education of previous years.  This multiplies, and the end result is the momentum to reach the end of school.  Let’s hope they pay enough attention to their education so they don’t falter before they reach the end.

Employment is another example.  Some people travel with great velocity towards the top of their career.  They’re the high flyers.  Again, let me suggest the mass equates to their capability, which can be improved through education and experience.  Neglect the mass, and the momentum can peter out.  There’s no reason you can’t restore the momentum, but the mathematics rule the equation – make sure you work on your mass...

I suspect you could derail my little metaphor here, but not inside this blog.  It’s my blog.

Getting enough momentum to write a novel has taken some serious work.  Momentum started back at primary school.  All my stories in Grade 3 were longer than everyone else’s.  Once I started writing I couldn’t stop.  My voracious appetite for reading caused me to wonder if I could do the same.  The seeds were sown.  Over the following years of education, prior to employment, I occasionally worked on my mass (no smart remarks thank you).  English literature in Year 11.  First year English literature hidden inside my Bachelor of Science.

Then a short course in creative writing.  Only eight weeks long.  More mass, but no velocity.

The breakthrough was the suggestion from my wife to do something serious.  I started at Holmesglen TAFE – a diploma of professional writing and editing.  I don’t need the diploma.  I’ve got a Bachelor of Science.  I took the course to gain some mass, but mainly velocity.  I needed something to get me travelling.

I have a pile of short stories from my first three years at Holmesglen.  Year 1: Popular Fiction.  Year 2: Short Story 1.  Year 3: Short Story 2.  Then a hiatus as I studied Editing 1 in year 4.  Finally I tackled Novel 1 in year 5, last year, and Novel 2 this year.

Another time I’ll tell you about the things I’ve learned.  But rest assured; I’ve got velocity.  Writing is a habit now.  Nearly every day, 300 or more words.  Writing every day would deliver 110,000 words in a year, which is enough for a novel.  With 80,000 words in my first novel written already I have mass too.  It’s impossible to consider not finishing.

Now I’ve got a blog with a few posts.  I have two short stories on the go.  It’s been a huge investment to get this momentum, but with a fair amount of fun along the way, and a few friends I would never have met in my normal circles.

Who knows if I’ll get published.  I have no illusions about this.  But I have changed the momentum of my life.  You can too.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

What do you want to read in my blog?

Naomi Simson spoke at an event I attended a few weeks back.  Do you know who she is?  CEO for Red Balloon, an organisation she founded, based on fun...look her up in google.

She was super polished in front of the crowd – a piece of marketing for Red Balloon – practiced and professional.  In Australian terms, perhaps verging on over-the-top.  But before you misread me, can I suggest this is what it takes to be successful.

One quote from Naomi caused me to think – What causes growth is the ability to make a difference to another human being.  How does that work?  For business transactions, let’s remember that every business consists of people.  For two businesses to grow, then each business must find a way to make a difference for the people in the other business.

The difference needs to be relevant.  There’s no point making a difference (let’s say ‘reducing costs’ when the business and the people in that business are trying to increase revenues) for something unimportant.  To understand what is relevant, you need to ask questions and listen.

But this is not a business blog.  This is a chart of my progress towards publication of my first novel.  One part of the strategy is to ‘build an on-line’ platform – essentially a group of followers that read my blogs, and when it comes time to approach a publisher, I can point to my success as a blogger.

So here is the question.  Given my objective, what do you, the occasional reader of my blog want to hear about?  Anything?  I’m going to keep writing what I’m interested in, but also curious to know what interests you.  Perhaps you’d like to know what the book is about, or what challenges I’m facing.  I can tell you how many words, and what draft number.  Or perhaps I can tell you about my efforts in short story writing.

Am I breaking a rule?  Is a blog supposed to cater to its readers?  Or am I supposed to come up with interesting stuff to you all on my own.

I go back to Naomi Simson’s quote.  The relationship between the blog and you needs to be relevant, before I can even hope to make a difference.  Go on, write something about what you hoped to read when you clicked on this blog.  Tell me...

Friday, 2 December 2011

Living the dream.

Living the dream.  A phrase I hear all the time at work.  And look at me.  Successful IT executive.  Loving wife.  Wonderful children.  Outstanding tennis player (I won a tournament in 2011!).  Talented writer.  It’s all honey and roses.  I am living the dream.

Did I mention brilliant technician?  The lady seated beside me couldn't get her headphones working, so she asked if she could use mine.  The fact I was using them seems irrelevant.  Turns out, she wanted to use the headphone socket on my arm rest, because she could not get her screen to change channels.  Go figure.  Anyway, I won’t bore you with all the details.  A couple of minutes later she acknowledged that I was right, thanked me for my assistance, and was able to watch and hear what she wanted on her screen with her headphones.

By now you will have figured out the other part of living the dream.  I travel.  ‘London, Paris, New York?’ I hear you ask.  Once upon a time, a decade ago, I visited all three locations inside of six months.  This trip?  Returning from Adelaide.  Later in the week I’m going to Sydney.  My only night in Melbourne is Wednesday to see the girls perform in their School Presentation Evening.  

The return trip to Melbourne started well.  A quick ride to the airport allowed me to catch an earlier flight, hoping to get home at a reasonable time.  But no.  Flight delayed.  So now I’ve lost my window seat near the front of the plane and my vegetarian meal, and find myself in the last row, sandwiched between two people.  Is it just this flight, or is it bumpier up the back?  My original flight is landing before me.

And the non-technical lady beside me in the window seat?  In the middle of my snack (fortunately vegetarian), she announces she needs to get up.  For a moment, I’m confused.  How can I get up with all this food and drink in front of me.  Then I scull my drink and put the empty can in the seat pocket.  The biscuits go into the rubbish bag.  Laptop goes into the bag at my feet (the same bag leaving me no foot space).  I nudge the man next to me and he goes through the same process, and then we get out.  There is no point getting comfortable in the seat again – she’ll be back soon.

Living the dream.