Wings Big Year: A Corella

Wings Big Year

I’ve been noodling away at the subject matter for this Big Year, namely what is birding and why do I care and what might I need to know in order to write about it. But my internal debate has stultified. Yesterday, in Docklands of all places, I spied some Little Corellas, waddling on grass, with other species, pecking away, and I stopped to admire their handsome features and purposefulness. I realized this project needs a restart. I’ll go back to square one: much has changed in my life recently, is birding still so important?

Author Big Year: Day 139

Author Big Year

Last Thursday I wrote: I’m still trying to shed a five-week-old, minor, yet annoying, cold, so I rose an hour late. First-thing tasks meant I got to my Finders Keepers table as late as 10 AM but then I settled in, better than I have for ages. What’s changed? Well, for one thing, the next five weeks are quiet ones at home. For another, some of the acute mental anxiety over the plots of a couple of chapters seems to have abated, seemingly subconsciously. And soon Gentle & Tusk #2 will be out in the world and I can stop fretting over that. In any case, I worked really well for four hours on Chapter 11, the economics story. 673 words, rather pleasing. Eight hours in all. Good.

Author Big Year: One hour will do

Author Big Year

Katoomba up in the Blue Mountains. Three days of more or less remote hiking, three days of short day hikes and touristing. A brief haven period before our final group dinner and I get a leave pass to True To The Bean, a lovely “espresso and waffle” cafe. Sorting out my “stuff” on tablet and online takes a little while but now I get an hour to write. Golden!

Creativity as stabs of light

Creativity and sleeplessness

Marina Benjamin writes, in her memoir “Insomnia,” that sleeplessness can be regarded as a blessing. I endorse her elegant view:


This is what I wish to effect in my own life, the better to discern the flicks and flecks of pink so casually strewn across my fields of vision and experience. I want to flip disruption and affliction into opportunity, and puncture the darkness with stabs of light.

Author Big Year: Days 74 to 105

author Big Year

I haven’t reported for a while for the simple reason that it’s been a tough period, which by now has amounted to 32 days. Remember the goal is 6½ hours of writing work a day, making due allowance for downtime. Well, I had 9 days off during this period, and the overall average achieved was 5½ daily hours. But the disappointing aspect was that I only spent 2 hours/day on the only thing that really counts: drafting words. I’ve been swamped by book production and marketing strategy and setup.

I can’t do much about the future. I’ll do better and report more often.

Author Big Year: Pronunciation pleasures

Author Big Year

What startles me is how much genuine joy I get out of minuscule word/phrase education. In a podcast, I heard a wonderful writer pronounce “segue” as “seeg.” Surely that’s wrong, I thought, so I looked it up, betting on the pronunciation I’ve been using ever since when, namely “segway,” like the powered two-wheeled “personal transporter.” Yes, “segway” is the go, but you can also use “saygway.” Who would have thought?