Should a Writer Journal or Blog?

August 23, 2011 at 10:47 am | Posted in Writing | 4 Comments
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I think that keeping a journal or blog is a very useful, indeed a valuable practice
for writers.

A writer will have times when their work is not going well. The short story
doesn’t pull together; the novel has lost its focus; the poem ends up as a
mushy, trite recitation of platitudes; everyday life with its pressures takes
precedence over writing; the writer loses focus; frustration over characters or
a story’s direction bogs down the work in progress.

It is at those times that writing about writing, or about one’s feelings about
their writing can be a very valuable exercise.

A writing journal or a blog, which can be the same thing, can help a writer to
regain focus. Going round in circles does not help, but putting one’s thoughts
on paper, or through the keyboard, can bring problems into focus, identify
roadblocks, and even provide an alternate route to take.

I must admit, that I do not do this as much as I should. Instead, I avoid writing
and, in so doing, I create even bigger blocks to my creativity. I think it is
because I fear writing sometimes. It is too personal. It forces me to look at
realities instead of wishes and hopes; at avenues for action instead of the
inaction of lassitude. It makes me face my fears, instead of running away from
them, and that is a fearful thing in itself.

But, if I want to write, especially if I want to write something of value, I must
face those fears. I must continue with the work I have set myself, bring it to
fruition and then, show it to the world.

I have done it once; I need to do it again.


Linda Visman (L.M. Visman) is the author of Ben’s Challenge, a Middle grade / YA novel, available from createspace or amazon.

Keeping Records

August 13, 2011 at 9:23 am | Posted in Making History, Nature | 5 Comments
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On the beach

My husband and I enjoyed a quiet drive to our favourite beach today. We both have health problems, but this beach is a place where we can relax and enjoy its beauty. The sun was hidden behind various banks of clouds for most of the day, but it was still a beautiful winter’s day inEastern Australia.

We had packed our lunch – cheese and pickle sandwiches and orange juice – and we sat on the sand back from the water to eat it. There were surfers out beyond the breakers and occasional walkers along the beach, but it was particularly fun to watch the waves.

As one roller came in, it met the wave going back out. Because the beach shelves steeply there and is somewhat curved, where the two lots of water meet becomes a real clash of energies. They were opposite sides of a huge zipper – two huge pieces of fabric being pulled together and joining up to become one.

The loveliest thing about that union was that, as they united, it was as if a torpedo shot along the union, sending up a jet of water that changed speed according to how quickly the zipper closed. I didn’t have my camera with me right then, so I missed getting a photo.

After lunch, with the importunate seagulls disappointed at us for leaving no scraps, we set off for a slow, meandering walk along the beach. We took lots of photos – the rock walls back from the beach; the meagre remnants of the coal rail line that ran from the old mine to the wharf; tracks and patterns in the sand; shells, waves.

I didn’t realised until I downloaded them later that I had taken seventy-nine photos! How different it is nowadays to as near in the past as twenty years. Back then, we were reluctant to take many photos because it was so expensive to have them developed and printed. You waited until just the right moment presented itself, and missed most of the good ones.

And yet, I think about how we use photographs today. We probably have fewer printed photos around us than we did then – certainly not the cherished albums that recorded, sometimes too formally, the stages in our families’ lives.

Now, our photos languish on our hard drives, or on CDs or DVDs. Some of them make an appearance on social media sites we belong to, and some are sent via email to family and friends who may be interested. But what will become of them if something happens to the electronic gear that is storing them? What if there is major solar activity that destroys our electronic communications? And what if we haven’t printed at least the good photos?

I have been intending to sort and print those that I’ve taken since I first got a digital camera in 1994. But I haven’t done many yet; usually just a few, when I want them for a particular reason. I look around and I see how much of our history, our everyday life, is recorded digitally.

I believe that this current generation could have fewer records of its existence that any generation that existed before 1800. This is simply because so much of the record is digital, and it can all be destroyed in an instant, much more easily than the printed books and records that exist all over the world.

Perhaps I had better get on with printing those photographs that I want to keep before it is too late.


© Linda Visman 13th August 2011


My novel is launched

August 9, 2011 at 10:35 am | Posted in Writing | 2 Comments
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My first novel to be published was launched last Saturday.

My writing group put on a Writing Expo, aimed at showing what we are about and how prospective members could benefit from joining us. As part of the Expo, three members, including myself, launched our books.

My book, Ben’s Challenge, is a mystery, coming of age, historical novel, aimed at kids from ten to a hundred years of age.

Set in 1950s ruralAustralia, it is the story of Ben Kellerman, a thirteen-year-old who loses his father in a hit-and-run crash. After several months, the local police have been unable to find the driver of the car that killed his father.

Ben, with his Polish immigrant mate, Joe, decides to conduct his own investigations. In the process, they suffer discrimination and bullying, and meet with danger and adventure. They also experience the trust and support of the local shop-keeper.

Ben struggles to come to terms with his father’s death, and to find his new place in his family. All the while, he wonders if he and Joe will ever find the person who killed his father.

Ben’s Challenge by L.M. Visman, has been self-published by the author.

It is available as a Print-on-Demand paperback from the printers, CreateSpace at their web-store: or from

©  Linda Visman

Entitlement or Responsibility?

August 3, 2011 at 12:11 pm | Posted in Philosophy, Social Responsibility | 2 Comments
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The choice of TV stations and free-to-air programmes, as well as of pay TV, has certainly expanded considerably in the last couple of years. Then again, this is like many other aspects of our society. We have access to so much, and for such little cost, that it is almost, if not literally, obscene.

There are so many people in the world who struggle to keep body and soul together, or to have any kind of personal freedom. And yet most of us in western society have everything we need, and more, so easily and so cheaply. And it is usually based upon the exploitation of cheap, exploited, overseas labour in third-world countries.

We have also come to expect this as our right, and that is tragic for our greedy and selfish society.

We are not learning – or indeed, teaching our younger generation, that it is a good and positive thing to work for what you get. It should not be handed out on a damask-covered platter.

How will our young ones learn responsibility if they are given whatever they want? How will they even know the satisfaction and sense of achievement that comes with doing something for themselves?

How will they learn to exercise their imaginations if they are spoon-fed with computer games and movies and wii games, with instant communications and instant gratification, with advertising and political exploitation.

How can they stretch their creativity if they cannot make something from almost nothing, to fulfil their needs, or even for their entertainment?

I fear that there is coming a time when creativity will be stifled – if it has not already arrived. The exceptions will be those few who are given the opportunity to stretch themselves by caring and discerning parents, and those who have the strength of character to go their own way, against the pressures of conformity.

These are the ones who give us hope for a future that is not robotic or constrained by the bread and circuses of those who rule by giving the masses what they want.

We should hold back on giving our children what should be earned, and on allowing what they should produce from their own creativity.


© Linda Visman, August 2011

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