KSP cat by Ashleigh Hardcastle via KSP Writers Centre
Blog,  Writing

I hit 10,000 words! Days 5, 6 & 7 of the Inaugural 2018 KSP - Varuna Foundation Fellowship

I suppose I gave it away in the title but oh my God! 10,000 words! Here’s what happened on each day.

Day 5 was the Friday. Nothing got done on Friday.

I was really exhausted. My sleeping patterns were out of whack and I was trying to fix my ear issue. I thought I could go out to meet my union colleagues and friends for drinks and come back and write.

The drinks part happened and was fun but the writing part did not happen. So I had zero words for Friday. I had about four to five thousand words at this point to write in order to hit 10,000 words.

Usually I would beat myself up for missing a day but I actually was like “no, this is ok.” And I decided to rest and eat and medicate and sort myself out a bit first.

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Blog post will be delayed. On Day 5 I was exhausted. Not by the writing but I have not been sleeping properly in a proper pattern since I landed and so it is sort of leftover jetlag + general exhaustion from things + my stupid ear acting up. . The writing itself is fine, it is the managing to stay awake or concentrate to type or write. It is definitely easier to write by hand because I can lie on my side and still do that which helps. . . All this is also to say please don't worry. I will eat and rest and douse myself with painkillers and just focus on writing for the next couple of days. I had a great time catching up with people today and yesterday but I overstretched myself a bit energy wise I think and I am really bad at determining when I am doing that. I overestimate my energy levels. . . There were zero words managed on Friday but a lot of love from @withmeaa friends and colleagues. I hope someone recorded @paigealicetaylor on @skynews today. And we will catch up, I am not at all phased by this. Catching up will happen. The words are here, I just need enough energy to write them down. . #authorsofinstagram #authoratwork #authorsoninstagram #writerretreat #writersoninstagram #writersofig #writersofcolour #followme #writersofinstagram #australianwriters #australianauthors #writing #writinglife #writingfellowship #kspwriterscentre #srilankanauthor #srilankanwriters

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So on Day 6 I did that and I sat down to write. This time I wrote both in yWriter6 directly AND on paper.

And on Day 6 by the time evening came around I had written 3133 words which took me to 8894 words total for the KSP part of this project. That meant I only had 1,206 words to hit 10,000 words.

And there was still no #kspkitty in evidence.

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3133 words today! @ksp_writers_centre total is 8894 so am going to sit down and bash out another thousand and then I would have hit the 10,000 word goal! Overall the project has 11,578 at the moment because I wrote a bit before I got to KSP. . The story is working so far or seems to be. I fly back to #Melbourne on Wednesday and will be tired and also have meetings etc on. So what does everyone think of setting a goal of say 5,000 more words to hit by next Sunday? So say I get to overall project goal of 12,784 by adding ten thousand from KSP by tomorrow but then trying to get to 15,784 by next Sunday? . I think that is doable given that my time will be taken up with other work stuff and that I have meetings to attend and courses and panels to prep for. And also just sleeping and recovering and going to the doctor and trying to adjust to a #melbournewinter. . And you don't have to just listen to me rabbit on – let me know if you doing something similar with setting goals on a project.

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I rested a bit and said ok no, I need to add some more because I have 1,206 words to write and I don’t have much time on Sunday before I need to check out.

So I managed to put in another 444 words just after midnight. And then I packed my bag.

Day 7, I woke up late and cursed a bit. I had wanted to write the last few hundred words in the morning but I had to change and run out the door for a lunch with Jennifer Mapleson, Mardi May, Susan Braghieri and the other two KSP Fellow writers Alison Thompson and Nikki Mottram. Jennifer will be at Varuna for a writing masterclass in July and Susan will be a KSP Fellow come September. Mardi May is a lifetime member of KSP.

Alison has made progress on her poetry and Nikki has nearly finished her crime novel draft.

We came back late after lunch and I had to rush to clean my cabin, type up as much as I could and drag my bags up the very steep hill and catch an Uber to my best friend’s place.

My best friend is a girl named Jessica Wheadon. We have been friends since we met in 2005. So that’s 13 years.

Jess and I have seen each other through hospital visits, breakups, weddings, deaths, you name it. She and I miss each other terribly but we try to still have work parties via Skype whenever we can.

Jess is amazing and is an artist and a musician and she had a gig tonight at the South Street Ale House in Perth as her band My First Telescope which started at five. Cue my rush to get organised, write and leave in enough time to get to her place by four, drop bags and take her car to the venue so she could set up for the gig.


We finally made it back to her house after listening to several other musicians including two really cool bands: one called Wayne and one called Bootlegal. Bootlegal performed an awesome cover of Depeche Mode’s John The Revelator which was interesting because they seem to do blues and jazz.

Jess worked on her music while I typed the rest of what I had written into yWriter6 and ended up with 10,046 words! I made it to 10,000 words!

I still had not seen the KSP cat so Anakin, Jess’ cat made up for it by promptly claiming my bed.

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This is Anakin, aka Nannies. She lives with @mooney.jessica.rai and she is excited (in her own way) that I have hit ten thousand words during my @ksp_writers_centre stay. 10,046 to be exact. Thank you to KSP and Rashida Murphy, Shannon Coyle, Mardi, Susan, Elizabeth and Jennifer! And it was lovely to write with Alison and Nikki. . I won't have much time to write this week but I will have a few days free to do so – T/Th/F and possibly W & S. Do you think I should aim for 5,000 more by next Sunday? Is that possible? Would you care to be updated on that via Instagram Stories? Leave a comment and let me know. . #instaexperiment #instagramexperiment #instagramstories #authorsofinstagram #authorsoninstagram #authoratwork #australianwriters #anakin #australianauthor #writerretreat #writersofig #writersofinstagram #writersoninstagram #writingfellowship #kspvarunafoundationfellowship #kspwriterscentre #catsoninstagram #catsofinstagram #kittiesoninstagram #kittiesofinstagram #cats #ragdollsofinstagram #ragdoll #ragdollcat

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Thank you to Rashida Murphy for nagging me to apply. Thank you to KSP and Varuna for deciding I was good enough to win a fellowship. Thank you to Alison and Nikki for being so cool and awesome. And to Shannon, Jennifer, Mardi and Susan for keeping us company and helping out.

And thank you to all of you whether you are following along with this on email, wordpress, twitter, facebook or instagram – thank you for the likes, comments and general interest and encouragement.

But here is what is amazing: 

I am happy.

I had forgotten that being able to sit down and write makes me happy. That, that is why I do this. That people respected boundaries and let me write. That by the time I met my journo friends a couple of days into this, they were all wondering if it was Melbourne that made me seem happier and brighter.

And I thought about it and said “Look, maybe it was my visit home, seeing my family friend get married, knowing I can chat to them, spending time with my relatives, letting go of things – maybe a different life in Melbourne too but it isn’t just Melbourne. Somedays I am sad in Melbourne.”

And then realised later on that maybe it was because I was writing and getting words out and feeling like it was working and coming together. And feeling no guilt whatsoever about sitting down and working on a book that if it ever is going to give me a return for money, time and energy invested in it, is going to do so quite some time down the line.

I was writing, the words were coming, I wasn’t snatching time to do so, I didn’t feel bad about it, I had given myself permission to do so.

And now I think I can continue that. And that is important. So when I say thank you I mean it. Because now I know I can bash out the words and I know I can continue to do so. Whether it is 300 or 2000 words a day, I can get them out, day after day. And it will make me happy.

So these 10,000 words? They may end up staying. They may end up getting cut out all together. The book itself may never see the light of day. I don’t know what will happen in the future with this book. I just have to keep writing it and see.

And so, tell me in the comments: this coming week I have at best four or five days, at worst maybe two days, on which I may get a couple of hours to write – should I aim for another 5,000 words by next Sunday? Do you think it is possible? And would you want me to update you via Instagram Stories at the very least? Are there questions that you have about the book itself or the writing process?

Marisa is a globetrotting freelance writer, journalist and editor with cat for hire (her, not the cat). She is currently based in Melbourne.

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