Back to Melbourne…Again

Between leaving Sydney and arriving in Wellington, I had close to a week in Melbourne. In case you’ve forgotten, I spent a year in Melbourne, not including the times before I started the East Coast in 2018. I might not have intended for my time in the city to go that way, but it proved that it’s more of a home to me than anywhere I’ve found in Australia so far.

That’s not to say I haven’t enjoyed other places. Sydney has been great, Brisbane was nice but small and Perth very chilled (I won’t list everywhere, it’ll take too long) but Melbourne fit. The best thing is, whether or not that’s where I choose to go back to in the future, or elsewhere in the country, it’s not hard to get back there.

Or, if I do choose Melbourne, I can still visit my friends in Sydney and other places pretty easily!

A few reunions

The whole point of coming back here was to see some old friends. I worked in a bar, in a hostel and other jobs over my time here. I met people through meetups and events, too, so I wanted to see as many as possible – and I did!

It involved a lot of drinking and eating out, but it was worth it. It was good to relax, catch up on the news and changes and talk about what’s coming next. It felt like it was over in a flash, and before I knew it, I was packing up again to get ready for another flight.

Most importantly, though, I finally tried ramen for the first time – AND I LOVED IT!

A fitting way to end my time in Australia

It actually feels kind of fitting that I got to see my favourite comedian, Dylan Moran, in one of my favourite cities with some of the best people I’ve met so far. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to end this leg of the adventure than by laughing for almost two hours constantly and enjoying a few drinks after.

Anyone on this side of the world, if you get a chance to see Moran’s Dr Cosmic tour, do it. I promise you won’t regret it. If you’ve missed it, wait for the DVD and watch it as soon as you can. I won’t describe anything to avoid spoilers.

First impressions of Wellington

So, I’ve been in Wellington, New Zealand for a couple of weeks now. I don’t have much to say yet, as there’ll be a full post in the next week or so, but I can tell you it’s a windy place! It might be the specific location (Melbourne also seems to have its own weather patterns and logic) but the scenery is stunning – even the surrounding area!

The buildings look a lot quirkier, too. There are still modern ones and towers in the CBD but even then, plenty of the buildings that give the place character. I’m looking forward to finding out more, so stay tuned!

Making Progress

I knew this would happen. After spending the last week working on my book, and just working on my book, I’ve made more progress with it than in the last three months combined. It’s great to have that opportunity but it’s not always possible. I’m glad I took the voluntary redundancy from my last job to do this. Even if it doesn’t work out, I was able to give it my all, something I’ve wanted to do for a long time.

I have realised some things along the way, however.

Editing isn’t actually that bad

I enjoy writing. Always have done – even the boring stuff like essays and articles on tyres (ugh). Stories are my passion and I’m quite happy writing away when I can.

What I’ve always said to people is that the editing sucks. It’s boring. It takes forever. It can be soul destroying when you find a section that you love and worked so hard on but have to cut it because it doesn’t fit, isn’t believable, doesn’t flow…ie it just doesn’t work.

Now, my view is different. Maybe because I’m in the latter stages of editing so I’ve done the REALLY hard parts already. Or maybe it’s because I don’t have to juggle my time as much as in the past. I can spend more than an hour a day without cutting into sleep and feeling sluggish at work. My targets, while always challenging, are met more often than not and that helps.

The circumstances around me are different and as such, I’m enjoying editing and redrafting (but it’s still not as fun as the actual writing part, just saying).

Junk food becomes a staple

Over the last fifteen months or so, I’ve been eating better and exercising more. The latter fell apart over the last couple of months with work and the move and now the book. While my eating has remained fairly consistent, this last week has seen one major change.

Junk food.

Yup, I’m eating a hell of a lot of crap right now. Crisps, cake, snack bars, chocolate, fizzy drinks have all become regular picks throughout the day. It’s partly for ease, as they’re right there, and because of the energy boost. I’m not as physically active as I’ve been previously but this editing malarkey is exhausting. I need those boosts.

This is going to be a pain when I have to cut it all out again and start exercising but I’m trying not to think about it right now. One thing at a time, eh? In the future, I need to find a different vice.

Don’t worry, I’m eating fruit too.

When is enough enough?

This is a question I’ve been grappling with for years. How do you know when to stop editing? When the changes you make aren’t improving the story at all, and you’re making them just because you can or feel like you should, you could actually be making it worse.

This last week, I realised this clearly. Maybe it’s because I’ve had no distractions; no job, no social life, no games etc to get in the way. I read the book from start to finish and early on, I noticed some of the changes I was noting didn’t make anything better. I was doing it purely because I wanted something to show for my efforts.

When I understood that, the number of edits dropped. Significantly.

I’m not sure the book is done. I don’t think I’ll consider it done until it gets published (and even then, I might not) but if I’m at the stage where I’m making changes for no other reason than because I can, it’s a good time to move on to the next stage.

If it isn’t taken, then I’ll return to it again in six months or so and take another look. In the meantime, the real hard part starts.