Set It all Free

Hello Lovelies,

Recently I’ve been battling with the dark cloud that is self-doubt and what a dark cloud that is.

You see, a couple of months ago I spotted a writing competition for emerging novelists. To enter you needed to have at least started a manuscript with the intention of completing it, provide the first three chapters, plus an outline of the remaining chapters and a brief statement as to how the prize (of $10,000 and a year mentorship from a top publishing house) would help launch your writing career. 

How awesome, I thought. Even if I didn’t win, it would be an amazing experience, I thought to myself. Entries didn’t close until July, so I had plenty of time to prepare my entry.

But then the clouds began to gather and rather than face my fears and tackle the increasing self-doubt, I did what I do best… I procrastinated and then procrastinated some more. 

And now here I sit, wondering whether or not I’ve blown my chance at one of the biggest opportunities a writer can come across.

One of my children’s favourite movies of late is “Sing”. I also quite like the movie myself and don’t exactly object to listening to the soundtrack in the car, especially one song in particular sung by the angsty teen punk rock porcupine voiced by Scarlett Johansson. The song titled, “Set It All Free” tells the story of Johansson’s character not letting her ex keep her down or tell her she doesn’t have what it takes to be a star. 

Stickin’ to the plan that says I can

Do anything at all

I can do anything at all

Whilst I’m definitely not some angsty teen and I don’t have some ass of an ex holding me back, the moral of the song I think is that we shouldn’t let anyone tell us that we can’t do it, that we can’t achieve our dreams, and that “anyone” also includes ourselves.

In striving to meet our goals and dreams, sometimes we can be our own worst enemy, holding ourselves back. Perhaps out of fear, fear of rejection? Fear of accomplishing our dreams and moving on to the inevitable “now what”? Fear of the unknown?  Often it happens unconsciously, we don’t realise that it’s not the world and those in it that is holding us back, but ourselves. Whether it be through procrastination or perhaps finding excuses not to take that next step, we are the ones telling ourselves that we can’t do it, that we are not worthy and holding ourselves back.

What we need to do though, is set it all free. Let go of our fears and stop holding ourselves back.

Cos I’m here and I’m never letting go

I can finally see, it’s not just a dream

When you set it all free, all free, all free

You set it all free

I can do it, I am worth it, my dreams are not just dreams but goals. I need to let go of my self-doubt, set it all free and realise that it doesn’t matter whether I succeed on my first go, the point is to keep trying, to keep at it, because if I do that, then there’s really no such thing as failure.

Just set it all free.

Enjoy,

KK

© Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within, (2013-2017). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

**Lyrics from “Set it all Free” written by Dave Richard Bassett • Copyright © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd

I Wanted the Library

Hello Lovelies,

Yes it has been a while, I know I’ve been missing for quite some time. I hope we can move past this. I have so much I want to share with you, but first I need to know if you can ever forgive me for staying away for so long. I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me for my prolonged absence, I could give you a hundred excuses as to why (and they would be mostly true) but instead I’m just going to go with a straight apology and hope that we can move on.
So, I’m sorry. Sorry I’ve missed around six weeks of blog posts. Sorry that I’ve been absent from facebook and twitter (I’ll get around to following back I promise) and I’m sorry that some of my more recent posts have been below par, except this one, it was pretty good.

Now, let’s move on. The other day I saw a meme on Facebook that said something along the lines of, “When other girls first saw Beauty and the Beast, they wanted the prince, but I wanted the library.” This couldn’t be more true, besides the amazing songs in the original and in the new Beaty and the Beast, the one thing that always stuck in my mind was the size and beauty of that amazing library. I guess it was a bonus that the prince and the library ended up being a package deal though. 

For as long as I can remember, I have always had a love of books. The words, the smell, the covers and different styles, the ability to transport you to any place in any time. Books are truly amazing and libraries present us with endless possibilities to escape, to learn, to dream. As a child in primary school, my favourite time of the week was when our class went for our library lesson. Unfortunately in schools these days, library lessons with the teacher-librarian are virtually non-existent. Yet, it was a totally different story when I was in primary school, actually even when I first started teaching, it was different as well. These days the students usually go to the library once a week to borrow a book or two. 

However, when I was in primary school and in my early teaching career, students went to the library once a week for an actual library lesson with the teacher-librarian, while the classroom teacher had some release and planning time. The library lesson consisted of some modelled or shared reading, reminders of how to respectfully use the library, including how to replace to books on the shelves in the correct section with the spine facing outwards, how to select a book that might interest us by reading the blurb etc. and when we were older we were taught how to utilise the library for research purposes. 

Unfortunately, in today’s modern technological age, the appreciation of libraries and teacher-librarians in schools and the community is quickly diminishing. Many councils have chosen to close their local libraries all around the world and no matter how disappointing it might be, there is little that can be done. For those who wanted the library rather than the prince though, the home library is the solution. Whilst the average book lover will never enjoy the grandness (in size, furnishing or number of books) of the library in Beauty and the Beast, nor be able to match the vast catalogue of a council library, the words, the smells, the escape, the ability the transport you can all be replicated in a home library, something I am working on in my own house. 

I have quite an extensive book collection, which is constantly growing, much to my husband’s dismay. To transform this book collection into an inviting, comforting space to escape is the next step, however, I might be needing a bigger house! I have the shelves, I have the desk, yet it seems that everything gets shoved into this room on its way to being packed away as well. I’ll get there in the end though. 

So from the girl who wanted the library, get the library, build the library, be the library… Well perhaps not be the library, but find your little space to escape, because we all need to escape every now and then, even if it’s just for a little while.

Enjoy,

KK

 

© Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within, (2013-2017). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

Thoughts for Mother’s Day

Hello Lovelies,

An actual proper post will be coming next week, but until then, here’s a few thoughts in the form of a semi-humourous poem, on being a mum in honour of Mother’s Day, which is tomorrow.

Being a mum is not always fun
It can be pretty hard you know
But with the tough there are also smiles
And the love for you they show

“I want to play this, I want to play that”
But they never pack it away
You spend your time slipping on cars
And treading on Lego every night and day

When it’s time for bedtime
That’s time for the appetite to come out to play
They’re suddenly starving and thirsty all at once
Despite eating and drinking all day!

But then there’s the time when you’re feeling down
The times when you feel sad
This is the time when they tell you you’re beautiful
Despite the crappy day you’ve had

No one said being a mother would be easy
In fact it’s pretty tough work
But the love they show you every day
Makes you feel less like being a jerk

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mums, mums-to-be, grandmothers and mother-figures out there!

Enjoy,

KK

© Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within, (2013-2017). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

Inspired by Actual Events

Hello lovelies,

This week I am still at a loss as I wait for my computer to be fixed. You see my husband is a total computer nerd, but in an, “I also like body building” kind of way. So he looks good while fixing computers and playing PC games 😉
So the good news is, he can totally fix my laptop AND save my data, but the down side is him being able to find time to fix it for me. So until then, I’m limited to using the WordPress app on my phone.

I guess this has sort of been a blessing in disguise, as I found some short stories I wrote on the MS Office app on my phone.

After a little editing (on a much smaller screen, mind you), I’m ready to share one of these short stories with you all. This story was inspired by actual events, but of course, is still a work of fiction.

Enjoy,
KK

New Friends…

I pulled up next to the obnoxiously orange ford ute at the traffic lights and waved excitedly at the male occupant.

He waved back, looking a little confused, but as I began to wind down my window, he followed suit.

“Oh my gosh! Fancy seeing you here! Small world hey?! It’s so nice to see you again so soon.” I said with over-the-top excitement in my voice, my hands flapping around excitedly.

“Um yea… Fancy that hey..” He replied with uncertainty.

“You don’t remember me, do you?” I said in mock shock.

“No, I’m sorry I don’t.” He said with an apologetic shrug.

“Well I suppose I can forgive you.” I said with a silly girly giggle. “After all we only met for a moment, but I certainly remember you.” I said with a wink.

He looked at me questioningly, so I continued to enlighten him about our previous chance meeting.
“You’re the asshole that aggressively overtook me for doing the speed limit, barely missing the front of my car.” I said, still with a ridiculously sweet smile on my face. “And now we meet again, just seconds later at the next set of lights! Definitely a small world!”

I loved it when the dawn of realization formed on his face, as he suddenly figured out what was going on.

“Oh, green light!” I said as I waved and quickly pulled away from the intersection. I couldn’t help but laugh at leaving him behind looking utterly stupefied and embarrassed as I watched him struggle with the car’s gears in my rear view mirror.

Moral of the story: Driving like an asshole doesn’t get you very far, on the road or in life.

 

 

© Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within, (2013-2017). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

It’s OK not to be OK

Hello lovelies,
I’ve been quite absent the last few weeks due to some issues with technology and also because I couldn’t find anything I desperately wanted to write about so badly that I would sacrifice my thumbs and possibly even my vision in order to write a post using the WordPress app on my phone.

This past weekend we were all coming down from the excitement (and sleep deprivation) of celebrating my cousin’s wedding, when we heard that my brother lost a mate to the grips of depression.

This is not the first person my brother has lost and I’m not going to name names, out of respect for the man’s family and friends who are grieving. However, I did want to take a moment to acknowledge that it’s ok not to be ok.

The world needs to be reminded that even the roughest most “blokey of blokes” needs to know that it’s ok to talk, it’s ok to not be ok. It’s not a sign of weakness to seek help, comfort or to admit you’re not ok. No, not a sign of weakness at all. Sometimes some of us forget this though and even the “blokey bloke” himself needs to be reminded that it’s not weak to speak.

It’s not enough for us to say these things though, it’s not enough for us to say it’s ok not to be ok, we also need to act on it. Observe those around us, ask others how they are doing and really mean it. Asking, “how are you” should not just be a throwaway line, but a true question about a person’s wellbeing.

I’m not saying that we can save the world, but maybe, just maybe we can help to pull someone that little bit back away from the edge.

To all those we’ve lost, who saw no other way out of the darkness, we will always remember you. In your memory we will work together as a family, as friends and as a community, to bring mental illness out of the shadows and let everyone know that truly, it is ok not to be ok.

-KK

Beyond Blue Support Service
Support. Advice. Action
1300 224 636
It’s not weak to speak
It’s ok not to be ok
http://www.beyondblue.org.au

Raw and Real or Perfectly Polished?

typo flickr CC zapdelight
Image courtesy of Flickr CC user zapdelight

Hello Lovelies,

Everyday life has been getting in the way of my writing lately and it has been a while since I last posted, but I’m here now and hope to give you a little insight into my thoughts and views when it comes to my own writing.

You might have noticed that quite often, my blog posts are not perfectly polished, they contains typos, grammatical errors and silly spelling mistakes. There is a reason for this.

You see, my posts are meant to provide an insight into the inner workings of this writer’s mind. To give you all a glimpse of what I am thinking and feeling on the particular day/topic I am writing on. I want these posts to be real and sometimes quite raw in emotion and opinion, and I believe this is something which can be lost in the editing process. There is such a thing, in my opinion, as too much editing, especially when it comes to an opinion piece. Through the editing process we can start to censor ourselves as we strive towards the point of polished perfection.

Now, some of you might think that there’s no excuse for poor grammar or silly typos in a published piece of writing, and yes, that might be true. However this is the choice I have made in order to keep these posts as real as possible. I do, of course, read through my posts before hitting the ‘publish’ button, but I do not overly-edit them and a simple read-through is not going to catch all of those nasty little typos.

This doesn’t mean that I don’t or won’t edit my manuscript or that I fear that editing it will diminish the realness of the characters I have created, definitely not. Writing blog posts and writing a novel are two completely different things. When blogging I am trying to capture the sometimes chaotic and confused reality of a writer, who still has a day job and supports a family. The feelings, actions, thoughts etc. are already there and I am trying to provide my audience with a snapshot of my reality. However, when writing a novel, the feelings, actions and thoughts do not preexist. I, as the writer, am creating these and through a careful editing process, the world of these characters is further enhanced not diminished.

So there you have it.

My aim is that my blog posts are real and raw, with the occasional (OK, sometimes more than occasional) typo and error, but this is my preference, rather than having a perfectly polished, but void of “realness” post.

My manuscripts, on the other hand, will be getting a completely different treatment though.

So write, read, edit, whatever, but do it your way.

Enjoy,

KK

 

 

© Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within, (2013-2017). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

Ghoulish Yet Graceful

Hello Lovelies,

I don’t know if I’m noticing it more since returning to Sydney or that Sydney has seen an increase in bat numbers, but there definitely seems to be a lot of bats around lately. They’re huge too! When I went to take the bins out the other night one was flying so low that I could feel the wind from its wings and the wing span was enormous!

I know the bat wasn’t trying to hurt me (I hope), but it scared the crap out of me! Besides the fact that they are creepy-looking, bats carry disease and are the things of horror movies. Not to mention that bat crap is like acid mixed with paint-thinners and tar and is an absolute bastard to wash off any surface, even if you catch it early before the sun bakes it!

On the other hand though, have you ever watched a bat in flight? When curled up, the black flying fox doesn’t look very big, but their beady little eyes are super creepy. When in flight though, the larger ones can have a wingspan of up to 1 metre. They glide through the air with ease and land in the trees, grabbing hold with their feet with extreme accuracy. There’s something almost graceful about them in flight, you become mesmerised by them and almost forget about the ghoulish nature of them as depicted in horror.

black-flying-fox-flickr-james-niland
Image from Flickr CC user James Niland

So it seems that there’s more than one side to a bat, there’s the creepy, ghoulish nature that we’ve been conditioned to believe in fiction and society (and the fact that they can carry disease, doesn’t help), but then there’s the other side, the graceful image of a bat in flight and the startling accuracy of their landings.

Now, I haven’t decided whether bats deserve their ghoulish reputation or not, however I think that every creature, human and animal, has many different sides. This needs to be the same with the characters we create, they need to have more than one side to them, they need to be multi-faceted, they need to be real.

To do this, we need to consider who they are with their loved ones and how they are different with others. We need to figure out what drives their actions, what image do they put forth in public and so on, we need to decipher the different masks they wear.

Make your characters real, make them be seen in a different light, show your audience each of their different sides and draw your audience into their world.

Enjoy,

KK

 

© Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within, (2013-2017). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

Sunrise, Sunset

sunset
Image courtesy of Flickr CC user Matthias Bachmann

 

Hello Lovelies,

There’s two reasons for the title of this week’s post, one is discussing the meaning of the song of the same title from, “Fiddler on the Roof” and the other is discussing the quite literal meaning of the two words.

I’ll start with the reflection. This past week I’ve been working at my day job quite a bit and I have returned to a school I haven’t been at for quite some time. As a result, I’ve come across quite a number of students, that I taught in the past, and their parents. This particular group of students I taught in years two and four but I knew many of them since they were in kindergarten. Now they are practically adults at the age of sixteen and are in year ten!

In the song “Sunrise, Sunset”, the two main characters are singing about how grown up their children have become and wondering when on earth that happened. With my daughter turning nine last month and now coming across students I met more than ten years ago who are now practically adults, it is definitely reminding me that I too, have gotten older and wrinklier (and fatter!)

I’m not the young twenty-something I once was. Sometimes I think back and long for those days again, less stress, less worries, but less everything I suppose. Then I look back and think that at the time, I wasn’t as stress and worry-free as I should have been. My worries back then were nothing compared to the worries I have now, but at the time, they seemed enormous, so I guess my ability to cope has increased.

Also, back then I didn’t have my children and no matter how much they frustrate and annoy me at times, I couldn’t imagine life without them. I also wasn’t writing back then, I was a lost girl looking for my path and every day I am thankful to have found it.

Now moving on to the more literal meaning of the words in today’s title. Which do you prefer, sunrise or sunset?

I am definitely a sunset person.

There’s a few reasons I say this without hesitation. Firstly, I’ve said before that I am a night person and definitely not a morning person. Even those students I just spoke of before who are now sixteen year-olds, knew back when they were in year four, to only talk to me when necessary when they first came into class. My husband and I are both not morning people and we can get up in the morning and drive him half an hour to work without saying a word until he’s getting out the car. Nothing frustrates me more in the morning, than a disgustingly happy morning person who’s all smiles and cheery voice. Unfortunately my dad is one of those, fortunately though, I don’t live at home anymore!

Another reason I am a sunset person is this: no matter how crappy of a day I’ve had, the setting sun reminds me that it’s over and the calmness of the night will return. Then we have time to re-energize and gather ourselves to be ready to face another day, whatever it might bring… not before 9 a.m. though, preferably.

Sunrise brings daylight, and in the daylight there’s no escape from reality. Personally, I think reality is overrated and revel in the opportunity to escape whenever I can. Sunset brings the promise of night, when you can take a step back from the real world, even for just a while.

Sunset also means it’s nearly bedtime for my three kids and even though I just said that I couldn’t imagine life without them, sometimes we all just need a bit of quiet time or even simply the chance to use the bathroom without being interrupted!

So,

  1. I’m getting older and so is everyone else around me.                                                               And;
  2. I’m definitely a sunset person, sunset brings the promise of night, the end to what might have been a crappy day, with a hint of mystery and escapism.  Then, of course, the chance to get a little reading and writing done!

 

Bring on the night!

Enjoy,

KK

© Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within, (2013-2017). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Is Love All We Need?

flickr ccwww.karlocamero.com.jpg
Image courtesy of Flickr CC http://www.karlocamero.com

“Above all things I believe in love. Love is like oxygen. Love is a many-splendored thing. Love lifts us up where we belong. All you need is love!”

-Christian (Ewan McGregor), Moulin Rouge

Hello Lovelies,

Some may say that love is all you need, with love anything is possible, that lover conquers all. I wonder though, is it true? Is love really all we need?

“A girl has got to eat… She’ll end up on the street.”

-Satine (Nicole Kidman), Moulin Rouge

Satine makes a very valid point. To survive in this world we need more than love, we need a home, food, clothing and everything else. However, if you love someone and they love you, whether it be a husband, wife, partner, parent, child… whatever… wouldn’t you make sure that they are cared for in every way possible, because that’s what you do for someone you love, isn’t it?

So back to my original question, is love all we need?

Love is a lot of things, it can be expressed in many different ways but can love in itself give us everything we need?

Let’s just take a moment to define what love is. Can you define love?

It’s not easy is it. To put feelings into words, to describe exactly what love is.

Even if it were, your definition would likely be different to others. From mother to child, from child to father, even from one wife to another their definition of love would not be exactly the same.

I think love is so difficult to define in words because love is better expressed through actions, rather than just words. Of course it is nice to hear the words, “I love you” but remember what they say?

Actions speak louder than words.

So, again back to the question at hand.

Is love all we need?

I’m going to say yes, because love is not in the words, it’s in the actions.

So, yes. Love IS all we need, because when you love someone you do everything in your power to give them all that they need.

Now get out there and SHOW those you love, exactly how much you love them.

Because in the end, Love is all you need.

 

Enjoy,

KK

 

© Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within, (2013-2017). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

What’s in a Name?

Hello Lovelies,

The good news this week is that I have still been working on József and Anna’s story in “An Anguished Heart”. I may not have actually added any words to the manuscript in the last week, but I have been busy researching, it’s not procrastination this time, I swear!

Sometimes when a new character comes up in the story and I don’t yet have a name for them, I refer to them as **(character description)** in the manuscript so when I go back through, it’s obvious that I need to place a name in there, for example ***(soldier name and rank)** is one that has popped up a couple of times. This is usually done when I’m on a roll and don’t want to stop writing to go search for appropriate names for the character.

This is fine when a character first appears or is just mentioned one or two times, however it does become a bit of a problem with recurring characters. Without a name, it becomes increasingly difficult to relate to that character, no matter how minor they might be, but naming a character is often harder than naming your own children!

This is where I am now, Anna’s lady’s maid has been present in quite a number of chapters now and will be there for quite a few more, yet I’m still referring to her as **(maid’s name)**. It was fine in the beginning when she was first mentioned, but now she is about to play a more prevalent role in moving the story along, therefore she most definitely needs a name.

Some might feel that the name doesn’t matter that much, as long as it fits with the story, I don’t feel the same way. When naming a character I need to feel a connection with the name, not only does it need to be fitting for the time period, culture etc. of the story, but I also need to feel that it is the right name for the character as in my mind I already know them. Ever met someone and think that their name doesn’t really suit them? I sometimes feel that about my own name but the thing is, our parents usually chose our names before we were born, before they really knew us. They chose something they liked, something they thought would suit the child they imagined. I already know my characters and that’s why it is often harder to name a character than it is to name your own child.

Even though I claim to ‘know’ my characters, their identity is not fully formed until I give them a name, so in taking that into consideration, I also need to consider where the character will go in the story, how they will develop. If they are an outwardly strong character or have an inner strength that they don’t even know they possess, their name too needs to reflect this. Of course the names are chosen based on my own perceptions of strength etc. but at the end of the day, I need to feel the name fits in order for the character to progress. Some of you might remember a previous manuscript I was working on (which will actually be a later book in the same series as ‘An Anguished Heart’), where the main characters were originally called Thomas and Maggie. I couldn’t really connect with the character of Maggie and I realised it was because her name wasn’t right, this is when Maggie became Rose.

“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”

– ‘Juliet’ in Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”

Now I need a name, not just any name though. It has to be a traditional Austrian name in use in the late 1800s/early 1900s. Of course it must be a female name, but one that conveys youth and femininity but also a hidden strength. Not a name like Helga or Hilde, to me those names bring forth images of shield maidens, showing an outward strength not a deeply hidden one.

The right name is out there, but I haven’t found it yet and I can’t go on calling her **(maid’s name)**. For some reason, I have a feeling her name starts with ‘A’ or ‘E’, so I guess that will be my starting point.

Wish me luck!

-KK

 

© Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within, (2013-2017). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.