Writer’s Digest – Saturday October 9, 2021

I was in the post office the other day sending some parcels, skimming through my Instagram as I waited in the short queue. (When did I become so impatient that I can’t even wait a couple of minutes without checking Instagram? Or have I always been this impatient?) Anyways, when the woman in line before me reached the counter, what she said had me almost dropping my phone in shock.

‘Um,’ she said with an embarrassed giggle. ‘This is probably really a stupid question, but it’s the first time I’ve done one of these and I want to make sure I’ve filled it out correctly.’

What, I wondered, could be the document that was so confusing? A passport application perhaps? One can, after all, dream of a day when we are allowed to leave the country and, more importantly, return without it costing the price of another overseas holiday (but with worse food) in mandatory hotel quarantine. Perhaps, like me, she had a customs form that required completion?

No, her answer was far more shocking that that.

The document she’d never completed before and was concerned about getting right was…wait for it… a postcard.

Remember those days when one of the first things you’d do in any new place was buy postcards? We used to have a list of who they’d be sent to – parents and grandparents mainly – and we’d choose each card so carefully. I’d be given the task of writing them – the challenge always to write more than having a good time, wish you were here but being aware that I had to somehow fit everything we’d been doing into half of a card.

We still giggle about when we stayed in a B&B near Warwick Castle back in 1995. The clock on the castle walls sounded like it was outside our bedroom window when it chimed on the hour every hour. I’d sat up in bed writing postcards home and drinking sloe gin that we’d bought from somewhere or another while Grant paced up and down the wonky floor hitting his head periodically on the beams and saying things like, ‘the floor’s crooked darlin’. The ceiling is definitely lower right here.’

Usually we arrived home before the cards reached their recipient. I still send postcards to Mum and Dad – and they still arrive after us.

The woman in the post office looked to be in her early twenties; while her parents might have once sent postcards, it’s easy to believe that she would never have done so. Facebook and Instagram (as much as I love their immediacy) have made postcards obsolete.

Or have they? There’s a new kind of postcard on the rise – the thinking of you sort of postcard. One arrived in the mail the other day and it gave me such a happy rush to receive it. 

Maybe, just like the polaroid camera, postcards in all their retro glory might just be making a comeback. I hope so.

Writing Update

I’ve committed to my editor to get the first (overdue) draft of It’s In The Stars to her by the end of the month. I have it booked in for copy editing early next year so really do need to get a move along.

Since I began writing this novel, I’ve written another two – Escape To Curlew Cottage and The Little Café By The Lake. I’m not sure what the blockage is on this one. I’ve written a tad over 40,000 words but I’m at this point in the middle where I’m stuck.

Normally if I’m stuck it’s because I don’t know my character (and her motivations) well enough – and that’s not the case here. Nor is it because I don’t yet know how it will end – because I do. 

Then I thought it could be because I’d intended it to be the last book in this chick lit series but I’m no longer sure it will be the last.

Last Friday I actually received no work calls (very unusual for my day off) so I caught up on chores and made an apple pie…but I didn’t do any writing.

I intended to write last Saturday in Hervey Bay while Sarah and Grant were out shopping for white goods. Instead, I sat down with the dog and read.

Then on Sunday the sky was blue so I contemplated writing from my position beside the pool. 

When my boss asked me on Thursday afternoon if I’d be around on Friday (my scheduled day off) I told him I was scheduled to write. I even announced it on my Instagram post yesterday morning.

So, I’m sure you’re dying to know, how much did I write?

Well, before I answer that question, you need to know that I cleaned the house from top to bottom and vacuumed and mopped the floors. I even dusted the bottom of the TV stand that I always forget needs dusting but that I noticed when I was on the floor doing bird-dogs the other day (don’t worry, it’s an exercise).

Then I mixed up a batch of no-knead bread and made vanilla ice-cream for the guests we’re having tonight.

Vanilla ice cream ready for the freezer

And that’s when the missing piece came to me and I powered through 1500 words.

I haven’t been entirely idle though – all of my previous novels are now available on most platforms, and that includes print. Head over to my book page for handy little buttons.

Finally, I’m participating in Becky’s October square challenge – and here’s today’s entry. This fabulously bright flowering tree is a Flame Tree and this one is in our nature strip and in bloom right now.

Author: Jo

Author, baker, sunrise chaser

34 thoughts

  1. But you didn’t tell us the ending of the postcard/post office saga? lol I like a happy ending.
    I love your post today, had me glued to my computer. If your books are anything like your posts, I may just have to buy one!

    1. Somehow the shop assistant kept a straight face and told her she’d done it correctly. I had to hide my giggle. Thanks for dropping by – I hope your week is being kind to you.

      1. Last week for me was pretty full on and my brain was not able to compose as it normally does. So receiving your reply today has sealed in that happy ending and also that it made you giggle brings a smile to my face. Thank you for that.

  2. Fabulous update Jo! Well done on finding the missing piece too. I love getting postcards in the mail and often send them home to myself when I’m travelling, just for some fun. #weekendcoffeeshare

  3. I’ve never actually sent a postcard in the mail. I’ve always founds it odd that anyone can read them. However, I have bought postcards during my travels to have as keepsakes. I’m sure I could have figured out where to put the address if I did decide to mail one.

  4. Oh yes, I remember sending out postcards! Sounds like you had a very productive week (I was so nervous you were going to admit you hadn’t added any words to the story).

  5. I love your story about the young woman and the – very confusing – postcard. I imagine there are quite a few things that we have taken for granted throughout our lives that are no longer “common knowledge.” Of course, if I’m being fair, I bet that young woman knows a ton more about some new-fangled tech, digital payment methods, or social media platforms than I ever will. I’m glad you were able to find that missing piece… was it hiding on the bottom of the TV stand or in the ice cream maker 🙂 ?

    1. I think the missing piece was hiding in plain sight lol…it’s always the way though – it comes to you when you’re doing something else.

  6. I used to write and send postcards frequently. I now can’t remember the last time I did this (and sadly, this is not only because of COVID).
    Congratulations on powering through your word count…and cleaning your house from top to bottom at the same time. Ah, the incredible power of bird dogs!

  7. The flame tree and beach photos are beautiful. I’m glad you made time to read and write. Thank you for linking up with #weekendcoffeeshare.

  8. The flame tree is beautiful especially with perfect blue sky as a back drop, Jo. I love your updates and I remember sending postcards and arriving home before they did! The vanilla ice cream sounds yum, I do a nice Chocolate Mocha one but I don’t have an ice cream machine so it takes about 6 hours to make! I must look up your no knead bread recipe and give it a go. Great job to get the 1500 words written.I look forward to your next update. #lifethisweek

    1. The no knead bread is a winner – and you get a small loaf which is perfect for us on a weekend. Give it a go!

  9. I think it’s kind of sad that people don’t send postcards anymore! I loved doing it, and I loved receiving them. But even if young people of today may not have done it, it’s not really rocket science… writing an address and a greeting, how hard can it be? 😂
    That flame tree looks absolutely fantastic!

    1. You’re right – it isn’t rocket science. You have no idea how I had to hide my giggle. I have no idea how the girl on the counter kept a straight face.

  10. aah yes, postcards – such a bit part of previous travel life. Actually I sent one from Noosa to the grandkids in Canberra only last year as we were away from them for so long and I thought they’d like something in the post. You’re right – how long we’d spend choosing the right card and looking at all the pictures. I admire your speed with writing – I’m doing an 800 word commission at the moment and it’s taking me days. Just 800 words! And I can’t be anywhere without checking my phone. Years ago perhaps we just thought or planned while standing in queues.

    1. Sometimes writing less can be harder because every word has to count. The hardest part of every novel is the 100-200 word blurb!

  11. I work for a postal annex (kind of like a glorified post office…we have mail boxes plus we ship postal, UPS and FED Ex, we fax, do notaries, etc…anyways, we often have young people come in who have no idea how to address an envelope or where to put the stamp. Good job on the writing. And the house cleaning. I need to do a deep clean. Your apple pie looks so pretty!

  12. I always sent postcards when I was on holidays and it was a way of staying connected with the family but often I would be home before they reached the recipients. Goodness knows how long it would take these days with all the go slows and parcels being the BIG business of Aust Post. Hey, good on you for setting your boundaries when speaking to your boss.
    Thank you for linking up for #LifeThisWeek. Your post is a welcomed contribution to the community. Next week, the optional prompt is Self Care Stories. Instead, for me, I am doing a Wrap Part One of Women of Courage stories. I hope to see you next week too. Denyse.

  13. Jo, as I have mentioned previously I am in awe of your writing abilities as it takes me longer enough to put a blog post up let alone manage a book. Baking/cooking must be a relaxing diversion between work and writing for you. Yes, I was one of those people who used to send postcards and loved doing so.

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