Blowing out the writer's block

I’m self isolating. 

A razor blade throat and stuffy nose sent me down to the local medical centre for a test on Wednesday. The good doctor gave me a throat swab and a PCR (up the nose to your brain) test. I’ve had a few medical procedures in my time but that one was a doozy. There’s been a lot waiting and thinking going on in this pandemic and it has to be good for us. Heaven knows, I charged around on the treadmill in Auckland and Sydney and, looking back, I wonder what it was all for sometimes. After writing, teaching, and working in online and social for so long I’m quite shocked and saddened by the virus of misinformation that has hampered public health in the pandemic. I had very rose-tinted notions of people expressing themselves creatively on self publishing tools around the free world. Turns out, the “creativity” has been used for harm and we now have to fight for every line and every stream and image that’s twisted for political purposes. But more about that in future posts.

So now we wait some more and watch online as Russia attempts to invade Ukraine and the New Zealand borders come down for Australia. What a news cycle we’ve had over the last few months. 

I haven’t been writing very much lately, mainly because I haven’t had a lot to say, but I think that’s about to change. Common wisdom is that the main way to get rid of writer’s block is to 1. Read lots.

2. Write lots. 

A print subscription to the New Yorker* has been an unexpected delight in my bubble. Not realising it was a weekly sub, I dutifully gave them my credit card details (mainly because I wanted the free tote bag gift with purchase) and then the little magazines of joy started arriving in my letterbox -all the way from New York!

The quality of the writing in the New Yorker is breathtaking and intimidating all at the same time. I’ve been “reading lots” of good quality stuff so lets hope that author Stephen King is right and it magically morphs into my writing. 

Soaking in a good long-form article is good for the mind and I’ve been reading one every night before I go to sleep for maximum effect. Try it out. 

In the true spirit of writer’s block I also ordered a new office setup that looks longingly at me every morning so today, I’ve sat down and decided to actually use it. Mostly it’s back to my roots in TextEdit and publishing on PostHaven (keep it simple) but I also splashed out for a new M1 MacBook Air, monitor and Bluetooth bits and pieces. I have a lovely, sunny office with views over the garden and reserve outside so it’s worked out better than I planned. The fact that I’m following public health orders and can’t got anywhere until my covid test comes back doesn’t seem to matter too much- it’s nice here. 

Now I have to write a follow up post and tell you if my covid test came back negative. A good friend told me that writing is like riding a bike and will all come back to you so with a few wobbles,I thank the old readers and the new ones for their eyeballs. 

*I would like to dedicate this post to my dear friend and fellow New Yorker lover, David Macgregor. Let’s hope there’s some magazines for us over the rainbow bridge. 

Time to step back in. A personal note and 'Hi' to my new followers

After a few years off running the family motel in Turangi, I've decided to return to writing and blogging. 

It's nice to have the time now to read and think. Yes, I still live in the Central Plateau and I won't be returning to Auckland or Sydney- I love it in a small town. 

My family is all here now. Yes the houses are more affordable and the people are friendly. Yes I still go to church every Sunday. No I don't miss working in a big corporate or government job. 

A lot has happened online and offline in the last five years or so and I have felt a little on the shelf as I've dealt with health challenges both of my own and of my Dad, who now has Parkinson's.  Thanks to medications, I'm very healthy now (thanks for asking) and I walk the Tongariro river trails every day. I have a cute cat called Gracie, and I'm financially secure thanks to the provincial housing boom and maybe me making some wiser decisions as I've gotten older. 

I signed up for Substack and considered going down the email newsletter route that is the fashion. The social media companies and their algorithms have made it very difficult to follow people and content that you like so I understand the logic. I just don't think newsletters will last as people are tired of intrusive email content. Blogging has been with us a long time and I think it will stand the test. Let's see. 

Anyway, it feels nice to be back on my old favourite Posthaven (formerly Posterous/ acquired by Twitter) and thanks to YCombinator for keeping the service going. I used to publish twice a week as a discipline and I might do something like that again. 

It's been nice to see and hear from some of the old online folk and, while the break was nice, I think it's time to step back in. Thanks for reading and welcoming me back. 

Courtney x