Camp April nanowrimo update: It’s not looking good

My book for camp April Nanowrimo is not looking too good. I haven’t been working on it since the first day. On the first of April, I wrote a lot of words, like, 6,000 words in two sessions. It was awesome. I was tired and I thought I’m definitely not doing this every day. And I didn’t.

Back then, I was writing a story called, “Lizarm”. But over this last week, I have been working on a different story. It’s the very first story that I tried to write 9 years ago when I decided I wanted to become a writer. I wrote a list of all the ways I had failed in the past, getting my inspiration and motivation from the wise words of Edison.

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That made me feel better. It felt more like a science experiment, using the PPDAC cycle, rather than writing an impossibly long story.

I’ve written 6,000 words in the past week but I haven’t added them to my word count on the Camp website. This is because I’m not counting my words and I’m not looking to win. I’ve been a lot more relaxed that way. I’m still doing camp and enjoying every minute of it. But this time, it’s not going to be about winning. It’s going to be about the quality of the words. -writing something I can actually go back later and edit.

So, I’ve changed course a little bit, and set a course for a different destination than the one I had in mind but it’s all worthwhile because I’m a writer. That’s all that matters.

 

Give in order to get

I go on Wattpad infrequently. For a social networking site, it can be pretty quiet. I don’t have a lot of readers or friends there but if there’s ever a story in my head, Wattpad is where I go to write and release them. It’s the safe haven for writers and readers.

On the flip side, there’s a lot more activity when I become a reader, not a writer. Through this, I learned that you’ve got to give in order to get.

My reasons for giving are pretty shallow-I want more readers and followers. I’m giving with the intention of getting something in return. I can’t change this about myself or force myself to not want these petty things.

So what’s the solution?

Stop reading because I’m doing it for the wrong reasons?

The only problem with this is as a writer, I do get something out of reading. After all, if you don’t have the time to read, you don’t have the tools to write.

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But what frustrates me about giving is feeling lonely. Everyone is looking out for themselves. Even saying “Hello” on someone’s wall is always followed by, “please read my book”. They’ll only talk to me if when replying to a comment that I write on their book. When is it my turn to feel the spotlight, the glory, the recognition.

And yet, going undetected can be a good thing. As I’m learning the hard way, I’m not ready to have beta readers. I’m still writing and that’s a long process that takes dedication and intrinsic motivation, not comments and reactions.

Another benefit to giving is that I enjoy the giving. Even as I am frustrated with waiting for my turn that may never come, with waiting for reciprocity that again, might never be realised, I enjoy reading. I’m not reading any stories for the sake of popularity. I’m reading stories that interests me. Stories that are exciting, gripping and turns their own pages.

After I write this post, I’m still going to have my frustrations, my impatience, my loneliness, but I will remind myself that I’ve got to give before I can receive. And truth be told, If I’m not reading a lot, then my writing isn’t going to be so good either.

So, I know this might be cliche, but really, who’s giving who? The reader or the writer?

 

 

 

 

Hunger (Sudanese)

Something wakes me up at night,
Something that growls,
Hurts my tummy,
Always aims for my tummy.

Yesterday’s food not enough,
Quickly gone,
Need more food,
Not enough,
Everyday need more

Hunger eats at me and the children in Uganda,
There’s not enough to go around
It hurts
Nothing makes the beast inside happy
Except for bread
Or rice
Or lots of chocolate.

The adults are hungry too,
I can see by their sunken faces
That they’ve been hungrier far longer than me
But they think of me,
Give the children food,
And I am okay for a few hours,
Until the beast inside awakens once more
To feast on food that isn’t mine,
To drink what I didn’t collect,
All because there are some good adults in the world,
Without them, I wouldn’t be here.

 

Donate here: (Link to my World Vision Fundraiser page).

 

Dedicated to:

To the child refugees of South Sudan
To all refugees
To my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ

Matariki

Finally, an easy post!

This is a short story that I wrote in 2015 around the time of the Maori new year or Matariki. My Library was doing a writing competition. This is the story tat won and amazed librarians.

 

The children laughed and played in the back yard of a tiny house, where the gathering was to be held in. The men were chatting over bottles of beer, cooking the meat on the barbeque. Inside the kitchen, the women made salads, bite sized things and coffee.

When the sun came to their area, and most of the people were there, the women called the children to come inside.

“Children! Let me fill your tummies,”

The children wanted to keep playing but they were also very hungry. They raced each other into the house. Marco, a skinny boy who always wore singlets, and was one of the bigger boys, won the race. Their aunties and uncles were already gathered.

Marco’s father, the man of the house, began the Mihi.

“Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tatou katoa,” he said “Welcome and thank you everyone for coming to our humble house to have fellowship and enjoy the Maori New Year.”

There was a ripple of cheers and shouts from the crowd. Marco looked around to see if there was a celebrity who had come in the house.

“Let’s pray to Our God,” said Marco’s father

Everyone bowed down their heads, young and old, small and big.

“Lord, bless over the food that we are about to eat. Bless the ones who made it and humble the ones who didn’t such as our lovely kids. In Jesus name,”

All the people said; “Amen” in response.

Marco’s father nodded like he approved.

“Good, now let’s eat!”

All the children cheered and whooped. One child screamed for some reason.

The children all rushed outside and helped themselves to the potato salad, the kumara, the taro. But the most anticipated thing of all, was the meat; chicken, beef, pork, lamb, roast duck, all there for the taking in big as pieces.

“I want the chicken, I want the beef, I want lamb,” said the children.

The children gathered at the very back of the back yard, near the fence. It was a nice shaded grassy area. They ate heartily and talked freely to each other. Some of the Marco’s cousins, he hadn’t seen in years, others, he just never talked to.

Marco’s cousin, the one he never talked to, touched his knee. Her name was Melissa.

“I’ve never talked to you before,” she said, smiling, showing her teeth and gums. She wore an ankle bracelet on her wrist. “How are you, whanaunga?

“I’m good, thank you. And you?”

“I’m good too,” said Mellissa. “I’m having a good year,”

She took her hand away from his knee to pick up her drumstick, and Marco could breathe again.

“The year just started today,” said a much younger kid, called Cameron, who was 3 years old, and their nephew.

“Don’t be an egg,” said Marco

But Melissa just shrugged, still with that same smile.

“I guess you’re right, Cam,”

Marco shook his head. They were both an egg.

After dinner, the younger children were tired but they tried so hard to keep awake to watch Maori television, “Wake Warriors”, they soon fell asleep, curled up in their mother’s lap like a kitten. The older children were able to stay up, sipping lemon lime and bitters, L&P or just water. Some even tried coffee which they didn’t like. But eventually, they also fell asleep. It was going to be a long day after all.

Marco swore he only closed his eyes for 5 minutes, when his Aunty Jojo, gently shook him awake.

“Aki, wake up. It’s time,”

Marco rubbed his eyes and sat up and yawned. He stretched his arms despite his sleep head protesting. He got up and stretched his legs and almost fell asleep while standing. The children were fussy. They didn’t want to wake up. The worst ones were the younger kids even though they had way more sleep than the rest. The adults didn’t sleep, they ran on coffee and apples and beer and kumara.

“I don’t want to!” A little kid began shouting and getting really loud. This was their way of being “persuasive”.

“Cameron,” said a man “be quiet”

The man was Grandpa Mathews. He was the elder, the chief and a man with a lot of years ahead and mana in his bones. Mana meant that people respected him and generally did what he said. Cameron was quiet as a mouse after Grandpa Mathews told him off.

Quietly, slowly, the family went outside where it was cold, windy but beautiful.

They laid their mats on the grass and laid down on it. Marco’s mum made him wear a warm woolly jumper and then they laid together on a matt. Marco could never find the stars and it was his mum who always knew where it was every year.

“I see it now,” said his mum already.

“Where?” Marco, as usual, was getting frustrated and flustered that he couldn’t see anything. He saw stars but not matariki, a cluster of stars which translated to “Eyes of god” and signified the new year in the Maori calendar.

“There,” said Marco’s mum “It’s there on the left. Squint your eyes,”

Marco squinted his eyes and looked slightly up a bit more. There, up in the sky, finally, Marco could see Matariki.

“I see it now,” said Marco, smiling.

Then, he settled down, and slept on his mum’s lap, just like when he was a little kid. His mum kissed his head and rubbed his hair.

“Happy Maori new year, my love,”

NZWC competition now open

Hey everyone,

One thing about me that everyone knows, is that I love writing stories. And I do my best to write good stories as well as encourage others to write and find the joys of writing themselves.

This is why I’m glad to announce that New Zealand Writer’s college competition is now open. Submissions closes 30th September and the theme is “in the unlikeliest of places”.

Although I don’t want even more competition that I already have but if you are interested int his, then i encourage you to have a go.

A few things to consider:

  1. Interested in this writing competition? Go to the website  for more information including the guidelines
  2. What do you think the theme “in the unlikeliest of places” is about. Share some ideas in the comments down below.
  3. Are you a novice writer. Don’t enter the competition if you’ve published a few books or if you have a successful blog.
  4. Read lots. Although you will definetly become busy writing the short story, but you also need to give yourself time to read. As they say “if you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time or the skills to write”.
  5. Brainstorm ideas before getting stuck into the story. Even if you already have an idea ffor your story, it’s a good idea to write it all down on paper. Develop your characters, the plot, story line and conflicts before writing.

Happy writing fellow bloggers!

 

A confused woman

I saw a confused old woman the other day. I was walking to the library from home and by the time I had seen the glorious library building, my legs were sore, I was tired and out of breath.

There were two women also walking to the library. I passed one woman but I couldn’t seem to get around the other one. This one was a white haired lady, walking slowly with her cane in her hand. At the door of the library (double door, thank goodness), I went around her  and saw her eyes.

One of them was smaller than the other and it was blind.

“Hello?” she called out

I immediately felt compassion for her and felt angry with myself for being impatient, but before I could even ask her if she needed help, a woman came behind her and tapped her on the shoulders.

“Can I help you?” it was the lady I had bypassed just a few seconds ago.

“Yes,” said the old lady. she was very much relieved. “I am lost,”

“Are you by any chance Jenny Silver?” asked the younger lady

“Yes!” said the old lady “I know you,”

“I’ve been following you to see where you were going,” said the younger lady, as she guided the old lady away from the library.

I thought; “Why can’t you let her stay here for a while and read some books? Books are amazing,”

And they turned right where form memory I knew were a few steps with no railing. So they turned left onto a ramp.

And they continued talking like old pals, one white-haired, the other, a glorious shiny brown. I watched them leave and then I turned around and sat my bottom on a chair.

It was nice and frightening what other people would do for each other.