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At The Edge of the World

Last weekend I made a decision to remove from my world the procrastination of social media and the internet. I read a quote once that said “As a writer I’m just like everyone else, I sit down, get ready to write and then read everything on the internet.”

I spend a lot of time on social media. On twitter, on Facebook, on various websites, forums and chat rooms. I write rarely if ever. In spurts of up to twenty minutes each. After last weekend I decided I just couldn’t keep going the way I was. I was filling my commute time – 2 hours each way – to work each morning with Twitter and Facebook. Comments and tweets of a 140 characters or less. It’s become too much of an outlet.

I wanted to see what would happen if I limited the time on social media to about twenty minutes a day. Except of course for when The Voice is on. The tweets about The Voice are sometimes more entertaining than the show itself.

So I deleted Facebook from my phone, along with Instagram and left only Twitter. Same with the iPad. On the commute too work on Monday I wrote two blog posts in the Notes app on the iPad. I uploaded them on Monday night. It’s been a long time since I wrote anything during the week, so I take that as a win.

Tuesday morning during my twenty minutes twitter time I came across a tweet about a Temple. It didn’t seem out of the ordinary. It was just there. I ended up reading the blog post and thinking how good it was. The rest of the trip I people watched and read a book.

During work on Tuesday in the middle of total chaos, I had an image pop into my head of a young woman with long black hair, approaching a Golden Throne. By the side of the throne stood two Priests. An acolyte held a Golden robe open, waiting to wrap it around the young woman.

As the image widened I realised the woman stood in a large chamber, on their feet around her were thousands of people watching, a mixture of joy and uncertainty on their faces. The vision took about 3 seconds if that. It was actually pretty instant. In the instant I saw the woman and thought “cool story bro”.

I send out a random tweet that night saying something along the lines of “I got a snippet of a new story idea today” and that was that. My mind went to a city around a temple, prosperous and successful. Envied by others. But that was all.

Wednesday nothing much happened except I started to get a cold. No sneaky extra social media. I read on the train or watched the other commuters and made up stories for them in my head. Just looking at how they held themselves I decided if they were happy, loved, lonely about to discover an unforseen love of Line Dancing and Crotchet. It was a bit of fun and something I haven’t done in a long time.

Thursday night as I stood on the Platform waiting for train and thinking how hot the station was, I felt a cold breeze of air from a train coming in and in that instant a partial phrase went through my head “The Temple of the Wave Riders stood in the bleakness of the Edge of the World, Guardians against the darkness of both man and myth.”

I actually started repeating it in my head over and over again. I didn’t want to forget it before my train turned up. I got on the train and it was typically overcrowded, both physically and sensory. People jammed shoulder to shoulder and smells of perfume, stale cigarette smoke, wet clothes and other less savoury odours mixing and mingling, all over laid with the smell of popcorn from one hungry commuter.

When the person beside me got off the train and there was some room I’d totally forgotten all about my lonely temple in the heart of a city. I was too busy making somewhat witty comments on twitter. I glanced out the window of the train and standing on the platform, wreathed by night and spotlighted by a light on the station was a woman with Ginger hair, sort of faded. She seemed like she was worn out.

I turned off Twitter and opened the notes app again, with the thought of writing down the sentence I had been given at Wynyard. I wrote, and as I wrote, one paragraph led to the next, which led to another. Not a story but an outline. Back story and foreshadowing mingling together in a dance I found to be quite exciting.

By the time I looked up again – what seemed like a minute later – I had a large amount of words on the screen and the train was pulling into Woy Woy. As I waited for my connecting train I read what I’d written and emailed it home. It turned out to be 3 and half pages in Word of bullet points, paragraphs, characters and messages.

All from an image of a young woman and Temple at the Edge of the World.

I’m not saying this story will be completed or will ever move beyond what I’ve written. I am saying that I asked for a story that would be one I could write. I asked for the chance to fulfil my one desire of being an author, of writing a fantasy novel and to find the courage to run with it.

I asked that on the weekend when I got the nudge to stop wasting time on social media.

Whether this is the story or not it showed me that one word leads to the next. To write, takes nothing but the ability to simple let go and let the words flow. To be a author takes editing, blood, sweat and tears and possibly a decision to chuck it all in and be a Garbage Collector, but to actually write just takes the faith to turn up at the page and the words will appear.

I guess the point to this post is to remain open to inspiration and then find the necessary strength to write even when the inspiration seems a bit thin on the ground. I have to learn not to over analyse what I write or where it will go. That’s a big issues for me. Getting an idea and designing the cover in my head before I’ve put word to paper. Sometimes I’m surprised I haven’t created a fan page yet. I like the end result.

When you ask for inspiration, or you hope for an opportunity, I’ve found the world around me usually brings it to me in a matter of weeks. This one came in a matter of days. When you ask, you need to be on the look out for opportunities to find what you’re looking for.

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43 year old Australian writer currently working on the first of a planned three book Epic Fantasy series. When he's not writing policy discussions, or tales of swords, Gods, and magic, he can be found making a mess in the kitchen, and turning perfectly good ingredients into crimes against humanity.

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