Spare Time Rhymes

There was a brown bear from Peru
Who decided to eat a Gnu
He took his salt shaker
and hailed a young baker
for some bread.

But the Gnu, being smart,
lost no time to depart,
while the bear looked for coins
for the bread.

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Learn to make mosaics

TRA logo small

Railton Arts and Crafts, Mosaics Group

Six Wednesdays  1:00-4:00pm, starting 14th May.
Instructor, Judy Winchester

Beginners welcome, and others wishing to improve their mosaic-making skills. Book your place in advance or drop in to have a look.  Learn about different styles of mosaic, and how to use them in your own designs.  Tips and tricks for cutting and laying.  Learn in a relaxed and friendly group

Cost $10 per session

Venue Railton Bowls Club, Giblin St, Railton  (Goliath Park)

More information Judy Winchester,  0414 852 624,  email


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Mosaics Workshops

If you are interested in attending a mosaics group in Railton, Tasmania, send me an email or come back for more information in a few days. Details should be finalised this week.

mosaic workshop at TRAK

Mosaics workshop held at the Working Art Space, Sheffield Tas. March 2014

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Tasmanian Treechange


Two mosaics on river pebbles, Pebble Pete and
Pebble Peggy. Unfortunately, Peggy’s nose was almost invisible.

Like a seachange, but with forests. Horses over the back fence, forest walks, lots of camping grounds, excellent roads and little traffic. A wonderful sense of freedom. Have abandoned overpopulated Sydney to enjoy the peace of Northern Tasmania.

Every day I meet people from the mainland who came and fell in love with the place – they are disgustingly happy and never want to leave. We joined that group within half an hour of landing.

Tomorrow is the anniversary of 100 days here. A champagne day.

Within a few weeks I found a way to follow one of my non-writing hobbies, and now it’s ten weeks since my first market stand, making and selling mosaics.

Every Sunday I go to the market at the Axeman’s Hall of Fame in nearby Latrobe, and make mosaics from 9am until 3pm. People stop and chat, give me compliments and encouragement. Selling is almost the least important reason for being there.

I still write and keep a journal, looking for a critique group to join at present.

You can share your own lifestyle change by leaving a comment.

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From Stephen King’s memoir, “On Writing”

A friend came to visit James Joyce one day and found the
great man sprawled across his writing desk in a posture
of utter despair.

‘James, what’s wrong?’ the friend asked. ‘Is it the work?’

Joyce indicated assent without even raising his head to look at his friend. Of course it was the work; isn’t it always?

‘How many words did you get today?’ the friend pursued.

Joyce (still in despair, still sprawled face down on his desk):


‘Seven? But James… that’s good, at least for you.

‘Yes,’ Joyce said, finally looking up. ‘I suppose it is…
but I don’t know what order they go in!”

― Stephen King

~ ~ ~

This has got to be my most favourite writing quote ever! What’s your’s?
Leave a reply and let us know.

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Writing Routine to Start the Day

I remember making a goal of posting here once a week, now I see its a year since I did. I also remember being given some excellent advice a long time ago — if you set a goal and fail to stick to it, don’t beat yourself up, just get back to it and keep going. You do make progress each time, and its only a temporary setback. So, back from holidays and ready for yet another new start.

Have continued to write offline, mainly poetry, and made one submission to a literary magazine without success, so time to send out a few more. I recently vowed to eat breakfast in my writing room every weekday, starting with my first cup of coffee in the morning — and stay for two hours. Writing is the only thing I do here, having so far resisted the temptation to install games on this computer.

I generally start with a journal entry to warm up, and maybe a writing exercise, or read an author I admire. Once I make the start it’s easy to keep going for two hours or longer.

Yawn, stretch those writing muscles

One writing exercise I enjoy is “copy the masters”. Literally copy down a page or so of a story or novel, for example, the first page of a  novel — what makes it work, what questions does it raise? Does it introduce the setting or start in the middle of the action? Surprising how much you can learn from this close scrutiny. Then look for something in the passage to use as a  jumping off point for your own writing, maybe begin with a single scene or fragment of description. The act of writing generates ideas for more.

~ ~ ~

My budgie is chirping madly, she is glad to have me home. An extra motivation to be in my writing room (which is a cat-free zone) — she needs the company. Out the window I see blue sky and brilliant sunshine, and feel that anything is possible.

~ ~ ~

What is your writing routine? Leave a reply and let us know.

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Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Looking forward to 2012 with the conviction that anything is possible, even while I reprimand myself for achieving so little in 2011. Maybe I am an optimist after all.

One thing I did finish this year was my Writing for the Web course, which I am very happy about. I learned a lot and even got a certificate to put up on my wall.

In October-November there were no entries for the short story competition, to my great disappointment. Maybe next year I will enter some competitions instead of trying to run one. It seemed like a great idea at the time.

Christmas Day was turkey with “all the trimmings” on a hot Australian summer’s day, and a Magic Book (aka Sony ebook reader) for me. Have been listening to audio books on it while out walking, obtained from Librivox. Long time favourites which are out of copyright are free to download. For print versions I have been using Project Gutenberg. Both are volunteer organisations.

Looking forward to New Year’s Eve and a 9pm fireworks display at Coogee Beach with a picnic. Then Sydney Harbour fireworks at midnight — on television — without the long walk home afterwards.

Have fun and see you next year.
Love from Jude

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Writing for the Web Challenge: Get Out of your Comfort Zone


Internet Challenge, Image via Wikipedia

This past year I have done things I definitely did not want to do. Like use my real name online, and get involved in social networking. I really wanted to write fiction, and here I was wasting time on Facebook. On the fun side, I got this blog going and learned how to write specially for the internet. In the end I forgave Karen, my tutor, for nearly everything I suffered in her course, Writing for the Web at New Zealand Writers’ College.

I started with great enthusiasm and devoured the first two modules. Each of the next eight made me panic and freeze up. Luckily I thawed quicker each time and the frozen state became shorter, until by the last module it endured less than a minute.

At some point I decided it would be necessary to invent the person I wanted to be. Myself as a writer, that is. That was when the course demanded several pages of information be added to the blog. Strangely, I found I did not need to invent that person after all, just describe the real me objectively, as if I was writing about someone else. The course pushed me into it and I am very grateful to Karen for having created it that way.

Bloggers, Warm and Wise

Blogging is great. I write for the occasional person who drops by right now, and for the followers I know I will have, one day. When I visit other bloggers, I am always happily surprised by their warmth and enthusiasm. There are young people who have a lot of wisdom and older people with quirky thoughts. All individuals, each with a story, who tell it piece by piece to those of us with time to listen.

Internet Opportunities

In pre-internet days, when I did a snail mail correspondence course, a teacher said something which I have always remembered. It was the idea that I could write about anything at all, in any style, for any purpose. That really captured my imagination and the internet expands it into a great heaving mass of opportunities, topics and issues. Writing is the one occupation where nothing I have ever experienced, learned or thought about need be wasted.

Revolution for Writers

It has been a great course. Writing for the Web brought together knowledge I already had and combined it with new information to give me a whole different attitude towards social networking and online marketing. It also made me realise, with the present revolution in printing and publishing, that writers have never before been so much in control of their own careers.


Have you challenged your comfort zone recently?
Leave a comment and tell us about it.

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Short Story Competition: Earth’s Future

What If Global Temperatures Rose by 4 Degrees ...

What if global temperatures rose by four degrees? Image by klem@s via Flickr

Dream of the future and write
a short story about it.

I believe that human beings are capable of immense good, and it is within our power to change our past mistakes.

“I think we have to design or look ahead and dream of a future and then we get on with making it happen.” — David Suzuki

When I saw David Suzuki interviewed on the Australian TV show, “Can We Help” in February this year (2011), I thought about his words for a long time and came up with the idea for this competition.

Write a short story
set 100 years in the future

Enter the competition to tell the world what kind of future you want for our children’s children. See full details on the Competition page.


Any Suggestions? Leave a comment and tell us what they are.

~ ~ ~

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Writing Goals: How to Achieve them

Ladder Of Achievement

Ladder of Achievement, image by sirwiseowl via Flickr

Make yourself a promise in the form of a writing goal

Read on and learn how to define it for your best chance of success.

You might want to write three pages a day or a thousand words every weekend.  Maybe you want to join that poetry group you’ve been thinking about for six months.

Achievable Goals lead to Success

A well defined goal might be something like  “Go to poetry group every Wednesday at 6pm”.  A bad example would be “get a short story published within six months” because you don’t have full control over that. Instead you might say “submit a short story every month for the next six months”.

Where and When?

Where and when will you work on your goal? Be clear about days and times so you don’t keep putting it off, thinking  you will do it later. “I will write for two hours every Saturday and Sunday morning from 8-10am in my bedroom”.

If there’s nowhere you can be alone, go to a cafe, public library or park. You don’t want interruptions.

A trigger can help you keep the habit, like starting to write every morning when you have your first cup of coffee.

What is Success?

How will you know when you have been successful? No-one is perfect, so you can allow for that. “Success is attending three poetry groups each month”, or “success is writing three pages on 25 days every month”.

You know your real hope is to go to the poetry group every single week, or to write every day without fail, but by giving yourself some slack you are being realistic and setting yourself up for success, not failure.

Decide how long you can keep it up

Habits take time to develop. Decide up front that you are going to start out by doing the thing for a specific length of time. Will it be a week, a month, a year? But you want to do it forever, don’t you? That’s fine, you will.

A few years ago I decided to walk “every day” and set up a month of dates to tick off. I missed out most of the second week and gave up. Someone said, “if you can’t do it every day for a month, can you do it every day for a week?” Then one more week and one more. After that I was nowhere near perfect but did a lot more walking — and still do.

Record Progress

Write the dates ahead of time to give you deadlines, and tick them off so you can review what you have done. Keep it simple, the less record keeping I have do, the more I seem to get out of it.

Pin it Up

Write down your goal and date it, then pin it up somewhere with your record sheet next to it. You need to be able to see them easily.

Review Progress and Redefine Goals

Stretch yourself, but not so much that it takes all the fun out of doing the thing you want. Every week or month, see how you went.  If you keep failing your goals, redefine them to be more do-able. This week you write three days a week, next week you can decide to do more.

The Final Goal

You should now have a writing goal and know what to do, when and where you will do it and how you will measure success.

Promise Yourself and Keep it

When time is short and everyone wants some of yours, it’s easy to break a promise you’ve made “only” to yourself. Your future happiness depends upon keeping this promise, so tell everyone around you — in advance — about your commitment, which means you won’t be available on these days at these times. Be specific.


Every day, every week, every month, every year — whenever you meet your goals –celebrate.

What are Your Writing Goals?
Leave a comment and tell us about them

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