It was a golden night for many reasons: Trinity, herself; Newcastle, itself; the COOLEST venue, which was full of EXCELLENT people; and lots of lovely moments, like when Trin’s young daughter interrupted proceedings because she needed to tell Trin a pressing secret :) (I couldn’t hear it, but, believe me, I tried). When Trin and I first started exchanging emails a couple of years ago it was patently obvious to me that Trin was a writer (I mean, before she even confirmed it as fact!). So to be there when years of hard work suddenly came to fruition, in a quiet, lovely way that left me with no doubt that everything was RIGHT with the world, was pretty special. It was like seeing something end and something get born at the same time. I knew Pieces of Sky was off to shine its light for a very long time. But, in a way, Trin was also saying goodbye to the story world where she’d been living for the last five years. That night made me curious, too, about how Trin works. Because the lady gives off this calmness, a sense that things happen at their own pace and when they’re meant to – and that’s something we’d all like to tap into before we sit down to write, no?
So, without further ado, here’s Trin to share a bit of that magic:
My writing space is a cosy loft nook in our house, where it’s too hot to write in summer and in winter it’s all brrr brrr brr, but those in-between months, oh, they are perfect! On the good days I write in the morning. After the husband and wee child are out the door I’ll make a cup of tea and plod back up the stairs. Drafting often happens at my desk where I can peer out at the neighbouring rooftops and tree line but revision, with its chaos of index cards, notebooks and folders, takes place on my grandmother’s old couch. In our last place I had a desk by the window in our lounge room, sharing the noise and sprawling nature of our house, it was still lovely but I much prefer the feeling of being tucked away I have now.
I’m a person who thrives on routine, when my day is mapped out I have power over it, whether I’m writing, cleaning or hanging with the kid, otherwise I lose my hours to the internet and the couch. I’ve also learnt the power of ritual, having certain things that trigger the brain. (Side note: I highly recommend Susan Dennard’s series on writing productivity – HERE) Tea is a ritual for me and paired with the lighting of some delicious incense my brain knows it’s time to write.
Sometimes I can’t get the words to happen at home and it helps to have a change of place. I’ll often walk to my local cafe where I can spend a few hours nursing a latte and find my way back into my work. Retreats help as well. I recently spent a week on my critique partner’s couch, where we spurred each other on and ate a lot of chocolate. I revised a huge chunk of my manuscript and she wrote an insane amount of words, like she always does.
When I’m working it’s not that my door is closed but you’d be very lucky to get anything out of me that made sense. Be prepared for lots of vague blinking and having to repeat yourself numerous times. The family often goes hungry and unwashed, and piles of washing loom menacingly. I’m trying to be better during these times, maybe plan ahead with freezer meals or something, but the world in my head is so hard to escape.
The internet is not welcome in my writing space. When I’m drafting I have maybe three or four good hours in me and I can’t risk losing them to twitter. I use Mac Freedom to ensure there’s no temptation, because honestly I’m terrible and can’t be trusted, then I switch my phone to silent and hide it.
I like to have certain books near me which, whether abstractly or obviously, inform my current project. Other people’s words that I can duck into to find a rhythm or just to remind myself there are other ways to describe a feeling and not everyone needs to smile and sigh all the time. Kirsty’s haunting Night Beach was one of those for Pieces of Sky and right now I’m clinging to Anna Galvada and Maggie Stiefvater. I also draw a lot from music and photography—anything that feels like my project is up for grabs.
Right now I’m trying to conjure up some magic. A new job, travel and releasing Pieces of Sky, while amazing, have left my routine in tatters. I’m trying to let myself be still again and to relax back into my project, find that thing that I loved about it. And if that doesn’t work I’ll just keep turning up anyway.
Thank you, Trin! Oh, and buttons! And nook! Don’t we all want nooks now??? :)
Quick side note, for those who are interested, I am also a huge fan of Freedom. If you haven’t got it already, Google it. Basically, it’s a $10 program that locks you off the net for a pre-set length of time. To disable, all you have to do is restart your PC. Doesn’t sound very prohibitive, but surprisingly it works!