PD Martin's Blog

January 19, 2012

Summer Downunder

Filed under: Murderati blogs — PD Martin @ 3:59 am

MeAtAussieOpenI know my readers are scattered around the globe (you’re such an eclectic bunch) but many of you are in the Northern Hemisphere and in the throes of winter. So, I thought you might like to hear about my summer holidays!

Currently my daughter is on holidays, about to transition from pre-school to her first school year, which starts Monday 6 February  (yes, our school year coincides more with the calendar). After Christmas, we headed down to the beach, specifically Mornington Peninsula. It’s a lovely spot down there, and my family has a small house in a suburban area, but it’s only a ten-minute walk to the beach. There’s a great beach-side track for walking/jogging/cycling, the beach (of course) and we spend lots of time on the deck having BBQs and drinking good wine. Aussie wine, of course!

Our days have been varied, partly because we’ve been experiencing some classic crazy Melbourne weather (Melbourne is known for its unpredictable weather, and it’s often said you can experience all four seasons in one day – and you can). Anyway, so the first week down at the beach was damn hot (30-38 Celsius or 86 to 103 for those of you who prefer Fahrenheit). Then the next week temperatures plummeted to 16-18 Celsius (60-64 Fahrenheit) and we had rain. Now we’ve had another hot few days so we’ve been lying on top of the bed clothes with a cold facewasher on hand. I know it’s weird…for a country that experiences such extreme hot weather many of our houses don’t have air conditioning. In fact, my family’s beach house doesn’t have air-con, neither does our two-bedroom unit in Melbourne (which was built in 1972). So some nights it gets hot, hot, hot! But who knows, tomorrow it might plummet again.

Margaret CourtAnother key part of our Aussie summer each year is the Australian Open. Today we headed in for a ‘day pass’, another fun day in the sun, watching the tennis heavyweights hit it out. Hopefully we applied enough sunscreen and got enough water into us to cope! So far so good. The picture on the left is a partial view of the Melbourne skyline from the Margaret Court Arena.

This summer has also been made extra special with two overseas visitors. Firstly, my  best friend (who I’ve known since I was 4yro). She’s actually an Aussie but moved to Rhode Island nearly six years ago with her American husband.  It’s been great to have her in town, visiting some of our old haunts and finding some new (more mature) haunts. We’ve also got my husband’s mother in town from Ireland. She’s here for three weeks, spurred on by wanting to be around for Grace’s first day of school.

We’ll be hitting a few more tourist destinations with her, but mostly relaxing down at the beach house.

Writing you say? What’s that? No, I have been doing a little bit of writing/editing here and there, but really only one day a week plus a couple of nights. My output is down, but I managed to finish the first draft of my new ‘mainstream fiction’ book just before Christmas and I have managed my first editorial pass. I expect my output will suddenly and significantly increase on 6 February.

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January 5, 2012

Health hazards of being a writer

Filed under: Murderati blogs,Writing — PD Martin @ 4:08 am

Okay, so maybe you’re thinking this sounds like a bizarre blog title. And I guess it is something we don’t talk about much. So here it is, the health hazards of being a writer. Brought to you by PD Martin.

First off, I should talk about all the wonderful things about being a writer. Things like: creative freedom; working from home; working from cafes; working in your pyjamas; creating magical or scary or whatever types of worlds; creating in general; bringing our work to the masses (hopefully); yada, yada, yada. Okay, time to move on to the moaning part of the blog and the ‘beware’ section.

It’s true. Being a writer involves long chunks of time at a desk, typing. And we all know that can lead to repetitive strain injury. Thankfully, so far I’ve been spared from this particular hazard. However, I do have…

Carpal tunnel syndrome
If you don’t know what that is, it’s a nerve thing (yes, very technical) and it’s generally caused by typing. The main thing for me is I wake up in the middle of the night with painful pins and needles in my hands and also get that if I try to grip something for a while (e.g. a car steering wheel). Annoying more than anything else.

Eye sight problems
Another one I can tick, I’m afraid. I used to have perfect vision. Then in my 20s I was doing lots of hard-copy editing (okay, not exactly writing, but it’s still part of the same business). After a few months I realised I couldn’t read signs…everything in the distance was a little blurry. Yup, I’m now long-sighted.

Glass red wineAlcoholism
Okay, I’m happy to say I don’t suffer from this one! At least not yet. Although, that wine does look yummy.

But it’s true, many writers like to have a drink or two before they write. Or maybe it’s our creative brains. Who knows, but many authors do like to knock a few back. You?

I do get this one from time to time. Like a few weeks ago when I woke up in the middle of the night and starting thinking of opening lines for a book. Plot points, character arcs…two hours later I was still awake.

Back and neck problems
Oh dear…I’ve got this one too. Mind you, my husband does accuse me of being a hypochondriac (better not show him this list). Mostly it’s my right shoulder running up into the neck. Ouch.

Weight gain
Can I blame this on hours at my desk? Maybe. Although if I’m honest my metabolism seemed to know the minute I hit 40 (less than 2 years ago) and stood at the front of the room waving its finger at me with an ‘Uh huh…no way you going to eat that and not put on a few pounds.’ Blast it.

Okay, everyone’s stressed. And authors are no different. What do we stress about? Usually deadlines and lack of any cold hard cash. It’s a tough life, you know?

Sometimes we stress about writer’s block (thankfully I’ve never had that problem – touch wood) or about our careers shrivelling up like over-dried dried prunes (okay, I do stress about that).

Well, I think I’m done. Phew. Although no doubt I’ve missed an ailment or two.

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