Eat Dessert First

I started writing my Draft That Must Not Be Named with this quote by Ernestine Ulmer in mind.

“Life’s uncertain …

eat dessert first.”

It hits the core of my story because:

  1. My MC has an uncertain life
  2. Her family has a restaurant that only serves desserts
  3. It tells me what I need to hear (over and over again)

I’ve always known I was a writer. I have been writing stories since I was four and never really stopped. I strayed away sometimes but always returned to putting words on paper.

So Irene (yes talking to myself here) why am I waiting to really pursue this goal?

To be honest: a part of me is afraid to fail. More honest: I’m trying to trick myself to not be me.

Which is stupid and crazy, but true. Maybe I’m trying to protect myself, or others, but I’ve come to the conclusion that I can’t outrun myself.

So where am I?

I’m at a point in my life where I can face myself and no longer pursue time-consuming things that prevent me from writing. I have a job I like, a job that gives me the freedom to balance my life. Writing is going well. Editing is going well, my draft is turning into a story, it’s fast paced, surprises me at times and is really NOT BAD.

I guess it’s time to stand still, examine my surroundings with a fresh eye and eat dessert.

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My Blog is a Toddler

Time swirls by and before you realise it you’re  the owner of a two year old blog.

And like most two year olds my blog has reached its toddler state. It has random fears like: No One Is EVER Going To Read Me and WHAT AM I DOING HERE.

I think it’s also a little afraid of the dark.

Sometimes my blog glares at me for no specific reason or has a tantrum about wanting more attention. It stands on its own for weeks but then suddenly it’s all clingy again.

I adore my two year old.

It helps me face my own insecurities, helps me focus on things I find important.

Yes I know I am talking about a blog. Yes. I know I am weird.

No. You do not need to tell me.

🙂

Try, Try & Try Again

Because it’s probably boring if I type an entire post about the word “try” I livened it up with pictures of The Avocado Project. Here goes:

Step one ->

Buy an Avocado

 

Step two ->

Eat an Avocado

(sorry no pictures of this event)

 

Step three->

Dry for a couple of days

Step four ->

Put sticks into it so it can dip in water

Step five –eight

Wait, wait and wait some more. (think of ridiculous names for your plant to be/settle for Mister Q)

Step nine

Start over again (because kitten thought Avocado Project was in fact a ball)

Side note: I did not overestimate my avocado growing skills and had a plan B, appropriately named Misses Bee. But Misses Bee is not growing, maybe heartbroken for the loss of Mister Q.

What have I learned up to this point? Well, for one thing that I’m not a supertalented avocado grower (is that even a word?) . Also that it’s not wise to put my avocado-in-process pots within the reach of my cats. But most important: if you want something (finish a book/grow an avocado/buy a vacuum cleaner with a name) you have to keep trying. And trying. And try again.

Like the green froglike person said: there is no try, only do.

(something like that anyway, sorry Yoda)

So Do Try. And grow your own luck!

 

( Homegrown Luck ..)

 

 

Car Conversations

Yesterday, I was in the car with two of my kids, when Jonah (boy, 7 years old), proclaimed he was going to be a writer. I smiled and told them I also have that dream since I was five.

Baukje (girl, 10 yrs old) was surprised and curious. So I reluctantly told them about stories I’ve written when I was their age (a never ending fairy tale about a magical flower and a series about a flying teabag. I know, I was a brilliant kid, haha).

I admitted it was still my dream and they were very interested in what I was writing now.

The conversation went something like this

Me: ‘It’s a story for teens about a girl that is half devil/half human. Her father is the devil (who’s retired for the time being) and her mother, well she’s a bit of a criminal. ‘

Jonah: ‘Cool’.

Me: (surprised they were still interested) ‘The girl protects the gate to hell which is in Paris and only has to do this for a couple of days, because she has done it for years. But then a terrorist starts bombing sites in the city.

Baukje: ‘Really?’ Does this really happen?”

Me: “No love, it’s just a story.’

Baukje: ‘Isn’t it too scary to write?’

Two things happened:

  1. Summarizing your story can do wonders for your understanding of it
  2. I realized children are the best. And I love them so much

 

bauk jo

(Jonah and Baukje being cute, standing on the Eiffel Tower).

 

I am a Long Drink Writer

­­Yesterday I had a whole afternoon to edit, edit, edit. And my process made me wonder if I am a normal person. Let me show you:

# 1 Circle around laptop like a curious bird eying a piece of glittering tinfoil for an hour or two

# 2 Open laptop

# 3 Check news, check weather, read ALL the twitter feed, stalk Instagram, pin things on Pinterest

# 4 Make tea. Rummage through cupboards for things to chew on

# 5 Finally sit down to write. Wondering if I should take a nap

# 6 Resist nap urge

# 7 Open document. Stare at all the words. Feel scared. Wonder why I want to finish/edit this draft in the first place.

# 8 Decide to work on story structure

# 9 Don’t know where to begin

# 10 Decide to begin at beginning (I am so smart)

# 11 Halfway through novel. Realize I don’t have an overview of the things that happen -> I am lost.

# 12 Mild panic

# 13 Grab myself together. Decide to make a story structure sheet with chapters

# 14 Make drawing instead.

And then time was up.

I’m really jealous of people who are super organised and GET THINGS DONE because they want to. They sit down, they write. I know I can get things done (I have a 60000 word zero draft to proof it, and other finished stories crying till the end of days in drawers) but I have not yet learned how to take this writing thing in small sips.

But maybe I don’t have to. Maybe I just have to learn what works for me and make the most of it. Maybe I’m a long drink writer.

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor long drink

(so pretty, I like pretty drinks)

I promised myself the YA urban fantasy I’m writing (aka draft that shall not be named) is going to be done November 1st . Really done. Ready to be send to agents done. That leaves me 7 months to make my process slightly more efficient.

I can do that.

North

I was going to name this post The Avocado Project part 2, but decided against it because nobody is interested in knowing how I killed my first attempt at growing an avocado plant by water depravation. Apparently they don’t last very long without it. And besides, I never got around posting part one, because I forgot (so part 2 is actually a stand alone and could be named part one, hmm..).

Since you’ve come this far, it probably means you are interested in my avocado project and I want to reassure you, there will be pictures if I succeed.

For those not interested in the avocado project : I’ll probably won’t.

For those who don’t like avocados: go away. I don’t like you. (kidding, please stay, pretty please)

Anyway, I was thinking about motivation, and how I can make myself do things. And by things I mean WRITING things.

It was triggered by this spot-on post by Alikay Wood. Like her I have the tendency to be lazy. In my defence: in previous lives I most definitely was a very fat cat.

How am I going to trick myself to do more of this writing thing. The first step is to pinpoint what has worked for me in the past. And I can think of one thing: grades. I like getting good grades. But I mostly like them when I didn’t work hard for them. You see?

I have a serious problem.

So what would help me achieve my I-want-to-write- for- a–living- dream ? It seems I need to be accountable and proclaim my goals to the world (or to anyone who wants to listen). Blogging also helps. It helps me focus on the path I want to take. It’s very super-easy to get distracted with life, but I have so much fun writing posts and reading those of others. It gets me in the mood for writing.

And that’s important. Because writing is my North.

Sometimes I’ll stray to the West or South on a different path, pursuing other life-things, but my inner compass always gets me back on track. Pointing in the direction I feel most comfortable and happy.

North, where the writing lives.

 

Sidenote: the word ‘very’ is like vermin but I’m on to it now. No more sneaking in between words. If you spot one I missed. YOU NEED TO TELL ME.