Buskers, Daily SF, and a 2012 Challenge

Yesterday evening I was walking from work to the train-station, taking the long-cut through Southbank so I could enjoy the afternoon breeze and the Brisbane river, and I came across a pair of buskers playing a version of the Beatle’s Norwegian Wood as a duet on violin and banjo. They were kind of phenomenal, I think, considering they were utilizing a banjo, but the best part of it was the surprise of finding them there, just doing their thing, while the rest of us ambled to and fro, getting away from our dayjobs and heading into the evening.

Had it been a different kind of evening I would have stopped and listened for a bit longer. I probably should have, but my mind kept drifting to other things, and I was hurrying home to pack and clean and get some writing done. And somewhere amid all that, it occurred to me that I should blog, and here we are, trying to figure out how to begin. And it occurred to me that, yes, the buskers were probably the right starting point, and here we are, writing a blog post.


My story The Girl in the Next Room is Crying Again is scheduled to be mailed to Daily SF subscribers on the 2nd of December, so this is an opportune time to remind everyone that you can subscribe to Daily SF for free and they will mail stories directly to your in-box every weekday. Unfortunately I’m doing this too late for the bulk of you to get today’s story, The Bicycle Rebellion, but my friend Laura Goodin, but I’ll rectify this by posting a link when it comes up on the Daily SF website in a few weeks.


My challenge for 2012 is this: figure out how to write while working a full-time job. 

A wiser man would have figured this out in 2011, what with it being a year where he had a regular deadline *every damn month*, but for various reasons I spent 2011 just drifting along with the current (or paddling manically when deadlines got too close). In a lot of ways, having regular deadlines is a refuge. You write. Things come out. You’re being *productive*, even if it’s only for a handful of days every month.

And yet, the thing that sticks in your gut is the knowledge that you could have done better. That you’re coasting because you can, these days, what with that shiny dayjob taking care of the rent and the food and the bills.

And because not-coasting means learning to do things differently, learning new skills, and that shit is hard.

Don’t get me wrong, I freakin’ love my dayjob at the moment, but I’ll be utterly bummed if it means I stop writing altogether. So 2012 is the year I buckle down and learn to do shit the hard way, ’cause the old ways of writing aren’t working no more. Which means learning how to plan, and figuring out how to be more disciplined, and learning to say no to people even though I totally have the cash to go out into the world and do things these days.


  2 comments for “Buskers, Daily SF, and a 2012 Challenge

  1. Melinda
    30/11/2011 at 12:40 AM

    You can write and have a day job. I am sure you can make it happen. What I did in 2011 was choose three nights and one day on the weekend where I wrote. I told the people who vied for my time the schedule and for the most part it worked. I got a novel written twice (the same one two times from beginning to end with very little copy paste the second go around). Now my prose are not nearly as thoughtful and elegant as yours, but even so, it was quite a bit of work, especially on the days I was dead tired from my job. So if I can do it, I am sure you can 🙂

  2. 03/12/2011 at 3:38 PM

    Peter – I just read The Girl in the Next Room and loved it, so thought I'd check out your blog. I'm a three-time published novelist who made a huge change in writing rhythm in 2011. Knowing that my 3rd novel was due out in September, I undertook a writing project to increase my visibility among potential readers. Not sure if that happened, but the Story 365 Project (writing a short story every day for a year) has had the effect of teaching me to write in any busy circumstance instead of hiding away, trusting my subconscious to finish a story when I take the plunge and start writing without knowing where the hell I'm going, making me feel like a real writer. My day job is owner-manager of a family business, a guest ranch near the Canadian Rocky Mountains, which means I could work 14 – 16 hours every day and never get done, summers are ridiculously busy, but I can carve out chunks of time to go away on retreat and write many pages on my novels. I'll probably still do that, as the plot thread of a novel needs mental stillness, but I'm loving this daily story writing too.

Leave a Reply