24 May 2014

Choosing Your Attitude

Yesterday I witnessed a most unusual incident, actually it was more than that, it was an extraordinary incident.

I was the third car at a junction, waiting to move onto a main road. It reasonably busy, as most people were on their way to work. My attention was on the two cars in front of me, but from what happened I guess there was a slight gap in the oncoming traffic, and the driver of the second car assumed the driver in front would go. You’ve guessed it, the first driver didn’t go, so the second car smashed into it.

I can hear you asking, so what’s unusual or extraordinary about that. In itself nothing, it’s what happened next that made it extraordinary. Both drivers got out of their cars. The female driver of the second car apologised, and was so obviously upset at causing the accident that the other driver, also female, gave her a hug.

I admit to a bit of gender bias here, but as I drove away after the incident, I was so impressed with the driver of the first car. The last thing anyone wants, or needs, on their way to work is to be involved in an accident. The damage wasn’t horrendous, but both cars will need to visit a garage. It wasn't an intentional act, but unfortunately our fast–paced lives seem to predispose us to anger. We react as if the other person did it intentionally, forgetting about the times we may have been in a similar situation and only narrowly missed causing an accident, and I certainly include myself in that.

If I wore a hat, I’d take it off to the lady yesterday morning. She turned what could have been an acrimonious encounter, into one that was resolved in a far more pleasant way. It certainly made me more aware (once again), of the importance (for our own well-being), of choosing our attitude rather than letting it be chosen by other people or situations.

On a lighter note: 

A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.

19 May 2014

Getting out in the world

Writing is a solitary occupation, whether it’s your full-time job or a hobby that takes over your evenings and weekends.

That’s why I think it’s important to get together with other people, but especially other writers. They understand when you talk about the voices in your head (no, not that sort, the other voices!), the problems you’re having with plot, and they understand the lift of a great review, without thinking you’re boasting.

The past week has been a good one in respect of time with other similarly-minded people. Mid-week was our writers group meeting when we critique twenty pages of a WIP from two members of the group. These meetings are good for so many reasons: feedback, motivation, and the camaraderie and trust we’ve built up over the past four or so years.

Over the weekend I attended several sessions at the Auckland Writers Festival and met up with some writer friends. The sessions were extremely educational and inspiring. This year I attended more non-fiction sessions than fiction; hence the educational comment, but I also thoroughly enjoyed the fiction sessions and especially one with Camilla Lackberg, the ‘Scandinavian Crime Queen'.

Writing is a solitary occupation, but if we don’t get out and meet other people where will we get those ideas and snippets of conversation to use as springboards of inspiration. Meeting with other writers reminds us we're not the only ones who suffer with plot problems/unruly characters/procrastination/lack of confidence/bad reviews/not enough reviews (tick all that apply!!).

Happy Monday and happy writing.