Spring-cleaning break, then Indie Week 2!

Spring cleaning

WordMothers has published over 150 interviews since January, and I’m incredibly grateful to both the literary artists featured and our readers. Thank you all so much for your support! Now the universe is telling me I need to take a little break.

One of the first things people say when they find out I have five children is: “You must be busy!” And I am. Very busy. But that’s not a point of pride for me. When the defining characteristic of your life becomes busyness, it’s time to pause and check your priorities.

I have Graves Disease, a prevailing symptom of which is feeling amped up all the time. I’m currently in remission from the Graves, but I also have a neurological disorder, and it’s kicking my butt after a trip to show the boys their first snow in early July. Some kid on a sled knocked me flat on my back, I smacked my head on the ice, and now I’m in constant pain and back to feeling like I have a New Year’s Day hangover 24/7. It goes without saying that sitting at a desk staring at a screen for hours on end doesn’t help.


Also, my husband was recently assaulted by a motorist with a baseball bat in front of our 10YO (both are fine), then 4 days later, when the kids and I were on our way to dance / drama / singing, we saw a car race down the wrong side of the street and knock over a pedestrian. Both events were fairly traumatic, and left me feeling fragile. We’ve also just made our monthly trip to the ER, which is par for the course with five young sons but gets wearying.

So…I’m taking some time to spring-clean my life. Here’s what I have planned:

  • Re-connecting with my kids. I told my college roommate that my dream family was a gang of little boys, #5 was named before he was even conceived, and I felt like we’d won the lottery when he was born and said dream team was complete, but…boys make a lot of noise. They take up a lot of space. They get very physical. And sometimes their exuberance looks more like aggression. We’ve been dealing with some feral behaviour recently, so it’s high time we all get back to base, so to speak.
  • Toilet-training my 2YO. Woo hoo! I’m truly excited because this will be a total game-changer for the whole family. We’ve already decluttered the clothes and the stair gates and the crib, the safety latches are starting to come off the drawers, etc… Two is one of my all-time favorite ages so I’m savouring every last drop of toddlerhood but I’m also really excited about transitioning to the next stage of our lives.
  • Making New England clam chowder. This is a simple one, but it makes me so happy! I grew up on clam chowder and it never fails to remind me of home. And it’s supposed to rain for a week straight now, which is perfect chowder-chowing weather!

Clam chowder

  • Hanging out with my husband and seeing something funny. After such a heavy month, I’d love to watch a television series or movie that actually makes us laugh. Any good suggestions???
  • Catching up on correspondence. My husband and I are blessed to still have all our parents and childhood friends, but the letters home have fallen by the wayside recently. So time to check in and remind my loved ones that I love them!
  • Resubmitting my poetry manuscript. I completed a collection of poems with a development grant from the Australia Council for the Arts, and was shortlisted for publication at various presses, but it was a case of “Always the bridesmaid…” When I started working on my novel, I put the poems aside to let them breathe a bit. After completing some revisions and rejigging the overall structure of my manuscript, I’m ready to tackle submitting again!

Bridesmaid dress

When I come back, I’m looking forward to hosting another indie week. The last one was hugely successful, and to that end, I have 3 self-published authors waiting in the wings to tell you more about the advantages and challenges associated with going it alone. Stay tuned for wise words and personal stories from: Kim Cleary, Nina Miller, and Virginia King!

Wishing you a wonderful week!

Cheers, Nicole

21 thoughts on “Spring-cleaning break, then Indie Week 2!

  1. Nicole,

    Sounds like you’ve been through the wringer.

    I’ve heard “Ricki and the Flash” with Meryl Streep is funny. Let me know if you see it.

    Best of luck with your poetry manuscript, your health, and your five boys.

    Carolyn Watson

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Julie. A friend just emailed recommending the same series so I will definitely check it out. Don’t know a thing about it, which is always a nice way to go into something! x


  2. Everyone linked to your wonderful site will agree that you have earned a break – am sure you will work through all your plans as efficiently as you have run WordMothers!
    Love and thanks

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Barbara! I’ve had these things on my list for a little while now so it will feel very satisfying to start ticking them off. It is so hard to find a balance sometimes. When I interviewed Lee Kofman she talked about missing cooking, which was one of her hobbies that sadly took away too much writing time. 4th term is coming up and always chaotic here, so I want to make sure we’re in good shape to survive it! Then back to blogging. Thank you again for all your support! x


  3. Dear Nicole
    I LOVE your wordmothers blog, but so happy you are taking time to breathe and surround yourself with love and lovely pastimes to refill your well. You are destined for a fabulous writing future but we can see the moment needs to wait for life to stop testing you and I hope you know that your good karma, that you so richly deserve, is coming in the form of moments of pure joy in the coming weeks xx Fi

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Fiona. I love seeing how you weave the different elements of your life together and find your successes in such seemingly disparate careers inspiring. It’s always helpful to see how others make things work! Thanks for reading and lending your support. x


  4. More power to you, Nicole. I appreciate being one of the WordMothers interviewed by you; and I also want you to know I have bought and read books on the strength of your posts.

    Have a happy and restorative spring break — you’ve earned it. Oh, and if you have a particularly good clam chowder recipe, please share 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Angela. Thanks for your comment. I’m so happy to hear you’ve found new reading material through this blog – so have I! It’s been a great pleasure for me discovering new-to-me authors and exploring genres outside the ones I studied as a creative writing scholar. For the chowder, Legal Sea Foods is wonderful and whilst their online recipe doesn’t produce exactly the same taste, it works pretty well. The biggest issue here is sourcing the clams – I tend to have the most luck with Asian shops. Do let me know if you try it! 🙂 x


  5. I love your comment about busyness not being a matter of pride, Nicole. Absolutely — how did it become a badge of honour, especially for women? I’m so glad to hear you taking care of yourself and savouring all that is around you. Thanks for letting me be a WordMother. Go well x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Robyn. To my mind, it’s a word that’s synonymous with sadness and desperation, and there’s such a weird sense of competition around it. I mean, who would ever want to “win” at leading the most frenzied, frantic life? Productive, efficient, grounded and balanced all sound so much nicer! Anyway, thank you for your comment and still for your book, which continues to resonate with and inspire me! x


    1. Thank you, Elizabeth. That’s an honor coming from you. Your work with Australian Women Writers is such a gift to the literary community! I have learned so much and met so many wonderful writers through your blogging and tweeting. 🙂 Thanks for reading and commenting!


  6. Oh my goodness, Nicole, I started reading this thinking you certainly deserve a break after so many interviews, plus your family & the dreaded migraines (a curse for anyone but a double-whammy for writers). Now I’m just so glad you’ve made it far enough to write this post! Thank you for your amazing blog and for taking the time with self-published authors like myself. You thoroughly deserve your break and please take care 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thanks, Carolyn. Your comment actually made me laugh. I guess it really does sound as if I’m posting from death’s doorstep. 😀 I think it follows on from some of what you’ve been blogging about recently. The internet is fabulous for creating community, and the personal connections are a welcome respite from the isolation of writing, but there is no getting around the fact that computing is a mechanical process and it’s incredibly hard on the body to just sit and stare at a screen all day long. It’s an echo I hear again and again from the authors I feature, though I particularly recall Ellie Marney and Kirsty Murray talking about it either in their interviews or via email. And most of my interviewees speak to the need to get up and move regularly and “walk out” their writing. It’s probably one of the reasons I’m such a festival and conference addict – it’s so wonderful to be surrounded by other writers sharing their writerly ideas and energy without being tied to social media and therefore computers to do it! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It did sound like a horror year! Yes to all of the above, and the writing community has impressed me with the support they can show. I must get out more to festivals & such, but until then, online will have to do 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. You’re doing a wonderful job, Nicole, and I hope you get to enjoy some downtime. It sounds as if you’ve been hailed upon by horrific events, and I always find this time of year, as winter drags on and the kids tire, difficult at the best of times.

    I so enjoy reading your interviews and have ‘met’ many wonderful authors through it. Thanks for introducing us!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Louise. Everyone back home always finds February hard but even after 15 years in Oz, I still forget to anticipate August as that same end-of-winter saga and the challenges it brings always surprise me. Really need to catch my breath, then get my skates back on in time for Term 4! I’m noticing a lot of bloggers taking a breather, revamping websites etc. right now, so I’m in good company. 🙂 As always, thanks again for reading and supporting WM! x

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I love this site and the interviews you’ve done Nicole, you’ve been so prolific and it’s hardly surprising you need a breather! Sorry to hear things have been tough and distressing of late. I hope you get some much deserved time out and gentleness.

    Hubby and I have just discovered the TV show “Veep” with Julia Louis Dreyfus…it’s HILARIOUS. If you like mock-umentaries, politics, The Office and In The Thick Of It, you’ll love it.

    Thank you for your amazing work and enjoy your break x

    PS: Having just read some of the comment above, a few people have recommended Veep too, it’s a sign for you to check it out! 🙂 x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Philippa! That’s terribly kind of you. Yes, looks like Veep’s the go for viewing next! I have you on my watch list for interviewees so please get in touch closer to your release date and we’ll line something up! x


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