Wednesday 6 August

Today is designated writing Wednesday day and it’s the second one I’ve actually achieved in the last 4 weeks (yay).

I thought today that I would start typing some of the entries from the last few years from numerous journals that I have kept, to  touch base with who I have been over the last  3 years. It’s a journey back into some very dark times – my journey through burn out and depression.

Stumbling down memory lane

I have to say – it’s interesting to read those intimate thoughts through my most anxious times. Honestly – its full of things that I don’t know if it’s safe or relevant to bare to all. HOWEVER – it’s giving me an insight into my former self – the former self who was (and still is) dealing with grief, guilt, fear and trauma.

My challenge is – to reflect on that time and not allow myself to get sucked back into a depressive vortex, and know – that I HAVE changed – and that person isn’t me today. And, this is the challenge largely for this book and any writing that I do that is going to explore aspects of my very complex (and adventurous) life. How do I keep myself safe in the process?

Is this of interest or relevance to you or potential readers? Well it will come into play in this memoir, and also lead on to other books I have planned.

My story is a BIG ONE and I feel very passionately about talking about issues like burnout, midlife crisis and transformation, loss, grief, depression and isolation.

This is me – introducing you to that dimension of my story.

intense painting (640x480)

AND – I do this intense writing thing right now at my desk, with a Korean man painting my balcony…… you have to laugh!

Sue x

 

 

 

Just putting it out there – I’m looking for an Editor.

I need the help of someone to help me craft and weave this first book  and do the stories and the people in them justice. I say FIRST book – because I have ideas and inspiration for about 3 more titles if I do well with this first one.

I’m thinking big people! Dreaming large! I know I’m capable of achieving it, I just need to find the right person or people to work with me on the crafting and fine tuning.

If you know someone who is a master story teller themselves, and may be interested in assisting me on this writing journey – please contact me

Sunday 3 August

I’ve kicked my cat off MY chair and am sitting in my courtyard on this unusually warm winter Sunday afternoon.  I’ve got my newish MacBook fully charged and my feet are chocked up on two overturned recycle bins, I’m ready to write this long and overdue update for Accidental aid worker blog.

Last you heard on this blog – I was gung-ho into the writing.

I tell you – it hasn’t happened. I’m sorry.

Things (life) got in the way. You know, the need to seek work, actually conduct work, earn money etc. Please don’t see this as a form of procrastination or elaborate excuse making.  It’s just that those overwhelming needs – to pay one’s mortgage and strata fees, keep the cat tin topped up with biscuits, eat and so on, have overridden the crippling stress of publicly declared self imposed deadlines.

Since returning from the reunion trip to Sri Lanka in July last year (see photos in the gallery), I came home with all sorts of grand ideas of further projects to help my friend Bruno IN Sri Lanka. All GREAT ideas  – but the problem was in part, that I don’t have the capacity to deliver any of those, at present, on my own (will detail more in the book).

It took me a while to come to terms with that.  At the same time I was busy running community building events at Our Big Kitchen and running my Christmas campaign for Candles for Community and trying to reestablish myself with work.

I spent the first month of 2014 with no voice due to flu – and I slowly regained my health in time to start working again as a consultant – which required all of my energy and focus.

At the end of June – I travelled back to Cambodia to spend time with my beloved Geraldine Cox and Sunrise Kids – and it’s here that I more or less renewed my vows to writing my memoir.

Actually, it was just before leaving on this trip that I started to feel really BAD about not having made any progress on this book. Ashamed, guilty…… embarrassed!

If I don’t prioritise and make some sacrifices along the way, I will not be ready to either pitch to a publisher or publish under my own steam.

Deal DONE (with self).

THE DEAL

The deal I have struck with myself, is to have a first draft ready by some time in October. In order to achieve this I have:

  • justified the purchase of a swanky new MacBook Air, as a necessary tool for travel and writing;
  • started to speak more widely to everybody – including people in the publishing world;
  • scaled back significantly on my professional work – to allow time to focus on not only the process of writing my story, but also all the other elements that go into self publishing;
  • scheduled in writing days;
  • planned two 4 day writing retreats – away from the distractions of my home and wifi;
  • made a promise to Geraldine that I will have a first draft for her to review, so that she can write my foreword.

Since I returned home from Cambodia in mid-July with this renewed focus – I have to say I’ve been preparing, and preparing and busy. I had birthday celebrations, tradesmen to manage and paint fumes inside, outside and throughout home, client work to do… all very legitimate and huge things that = valid excuses and distractions.

Writing spaceI did do some writing in Cambodia – here is where I set up my  new MacBook – over looking the fields at Geraldine’s house at Sunrise. It didn’t last long as a writing sanctuary – because of the 160 or so kids popping in and out of my zone and the need to trouble shoot for Geraldine.

Distractions – but worthy ones.

I’m not really dodging the writing, I just simply haven’t had the space in my mind, and the fatigue with working around all of these big tasks – means that I only achieved my writing schedule 1 week out of the last 3.

AND SO – I have now achieved the work scale back – which quite honestly will make things tight money wise and I’ll be spending the next few months very skinny on the social and spending side of things.

I have also just booked an economical cabin at a caravan park in Ettalong for a few days at the end of August for writing retreat #1.

So wish me luck everyone as I hunker down and give it a SERIOUS go these next few months.

Sue x

At the Wanderlust UK’s ceremony in London in 2012, Bruno received his greatest recognition as Tour guide of the year.

Bruno – Bronze award winner 2010

 

First – the finalist’ stories 2011

And, winning in 2011 – A PROUD MOMENT for all. Unforgetable!

9 August 2013

Sri Lanka story Part 1:Trincomalee

Just letting the dust settle on my very fast journey to Sri Lanka after a 7 year absence. I returned home 3 weeks ago with a mind swimming full of possiblities for how the future may look for me and my Sri Lankan friends.

As mentioned in the previous post about Cambodia, much of my trip to Sri Lanka forms chapters of my book.Some I have written, many factors I am still mulling over and not sure how to tell my story.

Afterall, the book starts with Sri Lanka in 2004 and my challenge is to craft and weave that story through to today. And it’s not an easy story to tell to be quite honest. The journey of writing down these stories is far harder than I expected.

Reuniting with Bruno and Fr Jeevanadas

Well it was truly a lovely few days in Trincomalee, full of heart, laughter and sharing. The three of us have certainly moved on in our lives since 2006 and it was with great respect that Fr Jeevanadas, Bruno and I shared our stories, our personal journeys that have led us to different places in our lives.

Trincomalee and the people of that town, and the Tsunami is what brought us together for that time in 2005-2006. Returning to Trinco, we are all visitors and those we worked with those years ago have moved on.

Usually behind the scenes – I’m a thrust into the limelight a little more than I am comfortable with. My hope of sneaking into town and having a few discreet meetings is not the way it’s going to pan out. We announced like royalty and greeted like family. We are special guests here, honoured guest there and extraordinary lunches are served, with tea, sweet drinks and iceream treats. This is the overwhelming kindness and generosity of Sri Lankan culture and community.

And, as serendipity would have it – we’ve timed our visit just perfectly and there are some special events and celebrations that mean that Fr Jeevanadas is also re-connecting with the commmunities he served for many years. The school’s leaving do is on and the boys who are graduating from highschool, Fr J has seen right through from the Kindergarten. The girls school where we helped the girls in the ophanage is having it’s grand exhibition day so we are lucky to see all the hardwork, creativity, heart and humour that went into their puppet shows, plays, dioramas, dress-ups and performances.

I am also taken to the tsunami settlements where people are happy to talk about their experiences during and after the tsunami. Hearing their personal stories and finding out about how desperate their lives are today is truly heartbreaking. And it shines a light on some of the reasons why Sri Lankans are taking the risk of getting on boats and leaving for Australia – from Trincomalee.

There’s more to this story than I expected.

A hearty, warm thank you to Fr Jeevanadas Fernando for coming back to Trincomalee and introducing me back into town. Another heart-felt thank you to the Sisters and Fathers who embraced (yet again) this strange girl with the unpronouncable name for a reason they didn’t really understand.

PS: Zue Lio it isn’t – yet that’s ok. You pronouce it “Sooosoooosooo” – same way you do when you are trying to hurry the chickens on. (hurry,hurry).

 

9 August 2013

I can’t believe I’ve been back for 3 weeks already. I owe AAW an update on my amazing trips to visit my communities in Cambodia and Sri Lanka.

Part of my challenge is – that much of this trip forms chapters of my book. So, whilst giving you a taster I hope you’ll forgive me if I save much of the good bits for the “main event” – the publication of Accidental aid worker. Here’s my offering to you about my trip to Cambodia with Sunrise.

CAMBODIA- coming home

This trip back to Sunrise and Cambodia is my 5th in 7 years. It is an honour to be invited back and for me it truly is like coming home. Particularly when Geraldine is home, and we are able to spend some quality time together. Geraldine is not only a dear friend, she is a mentor, gal pal, mother figure and “mother of my children”. We do mix business with pleasure – and how can you not.

It’s Saturday afternoon and I arrived to my Cambodian home, doors flung open wide, as wides as those embracing arms of welcome. Children all around – most familiar to me but bigger than last time – and many new little kids to hug, kiss and tickle.

The table is set for two for a lamb roast by Geraldine. She’s cooking for me because she knows that I’m a single woman with no mother to cook me a roast.  I could barely hold back my tears. Such welcome and care that is sorely missing in my life back at home. And there’s plenty of cooking, caring and sharing over the days as I find comfort in “sisterhood” and understanding by spending time with Geraldine and long-time supporter Tracey. We are like-souled creatures, we know it and see that we bond over our common love for these (many, many) children.

On the first day – I did a MASS cooking activity with about 15 kids in shifts in Geraldine’s kitchen. We made over 150 honey joys which involved 4 large packets of cornflakes, 1kg of butter, honey and sugar. It’s the first time the kids had an opportunity to do anything like this, and I only had to show them once and they were off and running cooking  4 batches! They were a hit! And the kids know that if they want to make them again – they just have to ask Geraldine to go get cornflakes – the BIG BOXES.

The main purpose of visiting during this time was to accompany the 3 Sunrise’s staff and children, coming together for the very first time on an annual trip to the beach at Sihanoukville. There are over 300 of us. You’d expect chaos and mayhem. That was so far from reality.

Amazing organisation, incredibly well behaved children – small to big and excitement to boot, building sand-watts,  banana boating, ducking and diving in the waves, piggy backs for the small and disabled – all under the watchful eyes of staff decked out as lifeguards with whistles – keeping watch over everyone as they swam between “the flags”. The Flags by the way – an Australian flag at one end, Cambodia’s flag at the other.

And resplendent in her signature bright orange cossie, Geraldine was able to do what we all would like to do at the beach – recline, read a book, eat some snacks and watch her brood play and have happy “free time” for these two precious days of the year. It IS a lot of work for the staff ie: it aint no restful holiday.

What I saw, was a BIG family day out Cambodian style. Smiling, relaxed and happy faces in sea and on shore enjoying different food, sights, smells, playing in the sand, getting photos taken, buying trinkets, dancing and playtime –  just as much as the kids. The bonds between children and staff were made and strengthened and everyone had a great time!

Back at Sunrise 1 on the Sunday, there’s music lessons, dance rehearsals, art classes, tennis tuition, swimming lessons, laundry to be done, sweeping and cleaning, rubbish to be collected and homework. Geraldine is busy with last minute packing for an upcoming trip in between trouble shooting issues with misbehaving teenagers, accidents and mishaps, welcoming visitors, supervising electricians and plumbers, mentoring and advising her young adults from outreach house and making decisions about this, that and everything.

It’s busy, and chaotic – “You will have 120 children living under your roof” I said to her at one point. And we just smiled at eachother because, she wouldn’t have it any other way, and I’m so proud be part of THIS family.

Thursday 4 April

THE FRIDGE OF PROCRASTINATION

Although I dodged the chocolate overwhelm bullet over Easter, I got caught by another one…. the fridge of procrastination. No one told me how real the fridge of procrastination is – or how powerful a magnet it is has become to avoiding  the task of telling a story. I excuse myself and rationalise the constant grazing by the following:

  • My metabolism has sped up – this is the way I eat now
  • I’m having soup for dinner – that’s it
  • It’s all healthy food – just lots of it
  • You are hungry or you wouldn’t feel like eating – so it’s ok

Look – I’m adapting to a new routine and headspace  and I guess my challenge is to be in control of that a little more. OtherwiseI’ll be gaining kgs and having to increase my boot camp training from 3 to 5 a week.

THE BUSINESS END OF WRITING NEEDS TO HAPPEN

The writing of a book is a business venture just as much as it is a creative one.  I worked over Easter in between visits to the fridge  to  have a  my business plan, brand and concept ready to present to a trio of trusted fellow businesswomen, who were rewarded with baked goods made by my very own hand (thanks Lynda, Kate and Catherine for giving me your Easter Monday morning). Today I address the issue of finances and funding with my accountant. I’m putting as much – if not MORE time at the moment into the planning stages of this project than that actual writing. At the end of the day there’s no use having a great story on page – if you can’t afford to produce it or take it to market and sell copies.

This is really a DREAM of mine – and it is exciting that I’m trying to make it real. There is a LOT  of wobbling that goes on and like anything in life I guess, there are really no guarantees of either success or failure – you just have to put your head down, silence the fears and get on with it.

THIS WEEK WAS MADE FOR WRITING

Oh yes it is! It’s a short, miserable and rainy week! Perfect writing weather… with scones and tea and soup.  However – the best laid plans…………

I was all set to give yesterday a good go with writing. I wanted to get 2-3 stories from the diary down on page. Then, there was a spontaneous first meeting/chat with another one of those awesome people who have JUST achieved publication ( thanks for your wisdom Johanna) and then a quick  medical appointment – and then I’d be back at it.

ALAS – NO.

A SCALPEL IN THE WORKS

2013-04-03 20.17.02I made an appointment with a Skin Cancer surgeon nearby to look at a very large lipoma ( fatty lump) that had been growing in my arm for years. So many years I can’t even remember – but it’s at least 9 years from when I  noticed it.  The lump was the size of a golf ball.

It’s a great “gross out” party trick for people who say  “WHAT is that on your arm?” I’m always making people touch it… ( shudder). I’m going to have to find a new trick……….anyway……….

This doctor had been referred for his neat and tidy work. He took a look, had a quick prod and said  “yep, lipoma – will need to cut it out.”

I had expected this. I have a few uncles who are doctors who explained it’s just a slice and pop-out situation – nothing major.

I said  “ok – where do you do that?”  He pointed to the other room.

I said “ when can you do it then?”  and  he said “ I can do it now if you like – I just have to see one patient – then I can do it.”

I said “ eeeeeeeer.. OK, no time like now – let’s do it.”

Well, we could have made a time for another day – but I didn’t see the point in waiting. My mind though wasn’t prepared – which is probably a good thing. I certainly knew that it wasn’t going to be a simple cut and pop out. This thing –this lump had been growing  in my arm for MANY years. The doctor said it was likely that there were lots of little babies around the main lump.

I told him I was a complete chicken when it comes to stuff like this – and he prepped for the procedure (but didn’t gown up or anything). I was freaking out – I don’t like needles, and when cutting occurs, I’d prefer to be “out to it”. However, this was an in-rooms procedure with anesthetic.

I have reason to be needle-phobic and wary:

  • When I was 10, I had to have 8 teeth removed in preparation for braces. They did 2 extractions each week – for 4 weeks. Arruughhhh.
  • My father was an acupuncturist – and when he occasionally “needled” me – it would hurt like hell, they would get stuck  and need to be wrenched out or make me bleed ( hmmm, this is not normal.)
  • I watched my mother have chemo for a few years, until her veins collapsed – so that whole treatment just terrifies me.
  • 10 years ago I had laser eye surgery -which is done while you’re awake. I doesn’t hurt but is so freakin’ freaky. The lesson there was – take ALL the Valium they give you – not just half!
  • I’ve had numerous needle biopsy procedures on my breasts including a very painful fibroidadenoma, which was  eventually cut out of me under general. Biopsies are not gentle. They basically stab you repeatedly with a longish needle. It certainly is not gentle.  This lipoma on my arm also had the jab.

 I am a chicken – and I tell them that up front.

He cut it open and the nurse said “OH MY – that IS impressive!” The nurse had stopped talking to me and was just watching the surgery.
I said ” Hey – you need to talk to me. You need to distract me – please talk to me!” But she was in a kind of trance.

He started to snip, snip, snip – and snip, snip, snip – and it seemed like forever! He was telling me there were a lot of little babies on the top – which he removed first. When he got to the main one –  he had to dig – down, down, down.

“ How far along are you”? I asked.

“ Almost 50%” he said. “ it’s really deep these roots – I didn’t expect it to be this deep!”

I was starting to freak out a bit  – I could feel that he was going really deep.

“WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAT – we’ve been going for 15 minutes already! This was no cut and pop-out situation. This is full-on! This is major surgery. Is this brave or stupid, BRAVE OR STUPID?”

I was lying half off the bed by now and my legs were going up and down – like I was trying to air-cycle my way off the bed and out of there. Only problem was – he had my arm open and was still snip, snip, snipping.

“When are you going to stop – when you hit bone??”  I actually asked if he could stop and if he had to get all of it/ them out.  He said he had to get it all and he was working on the “big tumor”.

Because he was so deep in my arm – the aesthetic wasn’t really working  down in the deep parts. So I could hear it, feel it and occasionally it hurt – and I was freaking out with the occasional yelp. He wanted me to look at it so he could show me why he had to go so deep and there was NO WAY I was doing that. When the big one finally came out – he showed it to me before putting it with the babies to be  sent off to Pathology.

Here’s a pic for you sickos –  don’t look at it if you are grossed out easily ( it is fascinating though) . When you consider it is coming out of my forearm – it’s SOOO MUCH!

It took 45 minutes.

I should have a 2 1/2cm scar and my arm may be concave for a while. I have the sound and sensation of digging and snipping in my head..
I chose this guy for his reputation for being neat and tidy…… I hope so.

I have drugs and will be taking it easy for the next few – and will try to get those sounds out of my head…….and I’m expecting EPIC BRUISING!

THE MORAL TO THE STORY

  • I had left this problem way too long because I was quite frankly, scared shitless. If I had have had it out years ago – it would have been a cut and pop out situation. Leaving it – I made it much worse. I take the lesson of “nipping it in the bud”.
  • Seizing the moment. Brave or stupid? Well, I had only 10 minutes of freak-out time rather than days to think about it and to change my mind. I wasn’t prepared though, on many other levels yet was able to cope with all of that after.
  • My family all love gore and gruesome detail….. so it’s genetic then.

I should be resting my arm – but I’m typing/ writing – maybe not my book – a different story – but I’m still writing and it counts.

26 March 2013

It’s the morning after the night before – the night that I ‘outed’ myself and showed my “True Character”. The night that I made this venture real and told LOTS of people on facebook and email for LIKES and VOTES. ( If you’re not on facebook – you can vote via here –http://jacobscreek.com/true-character-series) and search for Sue L. I’ve made it to 14th most popular entry overnight – thanks for voting!

Damn the ‘m

So exactly  how much sleep did I lose over that typo – that damn ” ‘m” that was coupled with my “I” and missed my edit? Embarrased? UH-HUH!

But I rationalise that if peeps can’t see through a typo, then they aren’t seeing my “True Character”. Still, that was really BAD, that typo. I need to calm my brain down to be more in synch with my fingers. I need to be  more careful before hitting the ‘publish’ or “submit’  button and also start the process of finding the right person to hold my keyboard and EDIT (with) me.

So how much sleep did I lose or get?

After an intense and sweaty 6:30pm bootcamp session, an hour of emergency trouble shooting fixes for this very blog on my website with my friend Sean in Tokyo ( Thanks Sean) and an hour on the phone with a fellow writer ( that was great Trish, thanks!)  I try to rest my weary  buzzing brain and body. Factor in the humid night, a buzzing invisible mosquito, my feline sauntering in after waking the neighbourhood with a 1am catfight and the anticipation of a 5:50am alarm for morning bootcamp – I got about 2 hours.

I do my killer back-to-back 6:15am bootcamp session and on the walk back home,  see John my Accountant in the car park as he finishes his (macho) training session. We seem to have had more business meetings and discussions in the car park  on a Tuesday morning, drenched in sweat over the last year. That’s SO “inner-west” …… and thanks for VOTING John!

And I’m conscious that I need to start the actual writing process today.

I feel like I’m being pushed along by a tide of serendipity and circumstance. I have great conversations with others further along the path to print than I, and some that have already achieved the GREATNESS of completion and are PUBLISHED.

I’ve consolidated the material I have already inputted,  before I commence for REAL. I have over  10,000 words over roughtly 88/ 210 x 135mm pages of words. I’m probably going to lose a portion of that to editing.

Still – it’s a good start and I can’t procrastinate much longer.I’ll make a start after I make a few calls and grab a coffee……….

I’ve just nominated myself in the Jacob’s Creek True Character series competition – where you have to explain why you’ve stayed true to your character for a chance to win $10,000

I didn’t mean to make this big announcement so soon, yet now I’ve unintentionally revealed what it has been like the past year of my life, an indication about the future and an ANNOUNCEMENT of my next exciting / challenging venture. I wasn’t quite ready to announce it – but seeing that’s it’s OUT THERE – and I can’t take it back…… It was all linked up to Facebook…. and I have a silly little typo right at the front end which is going to be a lesson to me to be EXTRA careful!

If I won this – the prize of $10,000 would go a LONG WAY toward writing and publishing my book and continuing to support communities, particularly in SRI LANKA. Those of you who have been in my life prior to 2006 – would know more about this chapter in my life where I did voluntary aid work after the Tsunami . If you have met me since then ….well I have a story to tell……………

JACOBS CREEK TRUE CHARACTER- SUE LIU – (click here to read and vote)

I hope this is a WORTHY read – please take the time and VOTE and SHARE! The lack of paragraph breaks in the entry makes it a bit of a slog…so here it is below.

I’m staying true to my character, by focusing on my passion for helping people whilst trying to continue to run a business and support underprivileged communities!

I’m single, self employed, with a Sydney-sized mortgage, a cat and at that classic “midlife crisis” stage. I have invested over 20 years in building a career, 12 of those years running my own business and travelling as often as possible.

Since 2004, I have also been a self funded volunteer community fundraiser and aid worker.

Because I’m self employed – I needed to work doubly hard to sustain myself in my life and business and keep up my self imposed high expectations about helping people.

But in March last year – it all got too much and I hit serious BURNOUT. My mental, emotional, spiritual and physical health took a tumble. I had to take a 12 month “time-out” from corporate work to recover from this seriously debilitating state and redefine all aspects of my life.

I still did some serious fundraising in this time as I tried to explore, deliberate and search for where I should “fit, sit, stand and walk” in the world – and how I can make a better contribution in work and life – with balance. Should I shut down the business, get a job, go overseas, volunteer………… stay self employed? Returning to my “true character” helped me gain that clarity!

Being more aligned to my values and the truth about how I want to contribute to the world was the key. My future is to remain in business, to continue to be creative, use my skills and experience to support people and communities and to inspire MORE connection, participation, innovation and giving actions.

 WRITING A BOOK ABOUT VOLUNTEER AID WORK IN SRI LANKA

I am currently writing and self publishing a book about my solo, voluntary aid work in Sri Lanka after the 2004 Tsunami. I worked for 2 years physically and fundraised, galvanising my community – to support refugees and poor people in Sri Lanka. Based on my experience of also supporting communities in Cambodia, PNG, Congo and Africa, I hope to provide insight into how to run a social business and campaigns for people like me who want to use their “powers for good”.

In 2007, I mentored a modest Sri Lankan man and helped him start a business to achieve his dream of providing social work to poor people in his community. TODAY – self funded – he provides computer training and education support to 20 poor Sri Lankans out of his salary as a tour guide. He is just about to formalise his social venture and it will carry both of our names – Bruno Sue Liu Social Venture.

 HOW I WOULD USE THE $10,000

I will return to Sri Lanka in July. The purpose of the trip is to:

1. Reconnect with communities and people I was helping back in 2005-6 after the Tsunami and research for the book.

2. Provide further assistance to Bruno to help structure, formalise and professionalise his social venture – to enable him to work with organistions outside of Sri Lanka and become “fundable” (instead of self fundable).

3. Find a printer in Sri Lanka – so that I can provide a quantity of books that can be sold in Sri Lanka. 100% of the profits from sales in country would go to fund the Bruno Sue Liu Social Venture – providing computer training and education support to poor people.

Staying true to my character and passions will help me get over that “mid-life” hump and follow  a path to being connnected, happy and contributing.

MONDAY 25th March

It has been a busy two weeks.  It was 12 March – that the book idea started to germinate, and by the Thursday, it became  a viable seedling!  By the Friday morning (15 March) this journey become reality and flights were booked to Cambodia and Sri Lanka, and people were told. THAT’s how to make the idea a REALITY – there’s no turning back now.

Ok this is really happening – I AM writing this book and this project is a definite goer. Now that I’ve had the initial rush of inspiration and excitement – I need to get down to the planning side so I can get my thoughts clear about what needs to happen.

This is now my job.

And steadily through the week – every day I’ve put in some hours of research and had at least two significant conversations about self publishing, writing, the editing process and crowd funding each day. I’ve described my plan and my project to a dozen people and discussed my upcoming trip to Sri Lanka. It’s amazing how excited and enthusiastic people are – for me.

My trusted Accountant is the first person I called. My call was transferred and there was no “hello John”. I just started with ” So, you know that every time I start some wild and crazy venture, you’re the first person I speak to.”  There was a moment of hesitation and then. ” Ok, what is it now Sue?”

After a good 20 minutes of retelling my story, John’s enthusiasm for the project was like the traffic light turning green after flashing orange with caution. ” Sue, it’s fantastic, you have to do this. Amazing.”

Getting my wobble on.

It has been a week – and I’ve already had my wobble on a few times.

I’ve visited with friends – particularly long-termers who were with my through that part of my life – and for new people, they’ve received the short version which is STILL about 15 minutes!  Consolidation is my aim for this…

Only a week has passed, I can’t believe it. I feels LONG – how is six months going to feel?

Planning thoughts last week looked something like this:

  • What time frame are you working on for writing, publishing and distribution?
  • How are you going to afford this project when you’re writing and not working?
  • What is crowd funding, what are the platforms and what are other people’s experiences with this?
  • I need support. I need an advisory board to bounce off. Who can I ask and when do I need to present this to them?
  • What about production? How am I going to get this laid out and what software should I use?
  • Talking to publishers and printes about production.
  • Where and I going to find an editor?
  • What about the marketing and communications side of things? Blogging needs to happen, facebook, social media, local media…..
  • WHO is going to be  interested in this book and how should I make it more appealing and meaningful beyond the story?
  • What style are you going for  here?
  • What about other forms of engagement?
  • Better start with looking at your material and planning your chapters -OH remember that story? – Write that one down!
  • A budget – need one of those….

Believe it or not – I got through about 30% of all of the above. No wonder if feels like more than a week has passed.

Other actions taken included:

  • Applying for TedXSydney – which meant I had to write my story  – May 4 2013, Sydney Opera House
  • Applying for Jacobs Creek True Character – where I’ve now “outed” my project before I was actually ready.
  • Registering for a crowd funding seminar with NSW Writer’s Centre
  • Following up on helpful leads to other individuals who have taken the same writing, self publishing, self funding/crowd funding path.
  • Reading – other people’s memoirs. Yes I’ve still had a bit of brain space for that.

I know. There’s so much to do – but I must not let this detract from the actual writing of the book.