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).

 

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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.

Atlantis

WP_20170805_15_47_45_Pro (2).jpgBonjour from Bretagne!

A short post to inform you that I’ve found the stairway to Atlantis (picture above). The entrance fee is a seagull feather, your first memory of the sea and a starfish, in case you ever found yourself knocking on the doors of this underwater world. A small price to pay, trust me.

 

 

 

The Ultimate of Lists

I’m talking of course about the famous bucket list.

Everyone seems to have one, everyone seems to want one.

Including me (the wanting part, still haven’t made one).

There are about a gazillion places I want to visit, at least six languages I want to speak fluently, three instruments I want to play like a pro and I can think of endless other things ranging from having the perfect bikini body to writing bestseller novels.

But..

If I want to do all those things I need to work more so I can travel more.

I need to delete all useless time devouring things from my schedule.

(Which is hard. I find Breaking Bad very appealing. Same goes for useless internet browsing).

I don’t want that. I guess the trick would be to make the List of Lists achievable and specific.

One of the things that would definitely be on my list is to experience the 24 hours of Midnight Sun in the Artic Circle during the June Solstice. (Because thinking about it alone generated three solid novel ideas and it would be all kinds of awesome).

Ticking this one of the list would mean I need:

-a plane ticket to Honningsvag, (North Cape, Norway). From Amsterdam that costs about 700 euro.

-free days in June

-Accommodation (around 300-400 euro)

-Rental car (200)

So basically I would need 1200 euro and time off.

Another example: I don’t want to make the time to learn six languages fluently, but three or four would be a doable goal. Since I already am fluent in two (Dutch and English), have limited proficiency in two others (Italian and French), this is something that could be accomplished.

Anyway what I’m saying is that if I finally get around to actually making the list I would make two versions.

One with every cool thing I can think of. The other with the things I really want, the things I’m willing to work and sacrifice for.

(And yes: experiencing the 24 hour Midnight Sun in the Artic Circle would definitely be on the latter).

I’m very curious about your top three!

Dear Tomorrow & All Other Days Yet to Come

November came and went. December has made its entry with its splendid ways to make my money disappear while simultaneously making my heart feel lighter.

Last month I’ve drafted a novel, and it’s a complete mess. And I love it. Not the actual words I produced but the fact that I took the time putting words on paper. It turned out my schedule wasn’t so full, there was plenty of time for the taking. Binge watching series can wait. So can a lot of chores. And people. And work. Time was scattered across my life, I just had to sweep it together.

I’ve got a strange relationship with time. Sometimes I try to outrun it, at other times I try to stretch it as far as I can. I ignore it, or watch every minute of the hour tick away. One thing is always true. I spent way to much time (hah!) worrying about it.

The funny thing I realised is that it is never ever going to be tomorrow. It’s ALWAYS going to be a day away. So Dear Tomorrow and all other days yet to come, I will worry about you when you have arrived, because then you’re called today and today I can work with.

So no more resolution making for the future. I’m going to shape my future by taking choices today.

Small steps. Big dreams.

Start today.

The Perks of Having a Day Job

I always had the idea I was going to be a writer. When daydreaming instead of writing I still picture myself sitting at a wooden table, with a window overseeing a secret garden, cat near the laptop, dog at my feet, words coming from everywhere.

This, however, is not reality (not mine anyway).

I have a day job and a ton of other obligations (a relationship, a house, kids, friends and so on) and I used to believe this was the reason I wasn’t writing. But waiting for the perfect circumstances is giving yourself an excuse for not doing what you want to do. And this was exactly what I was doing: making excuses.

The real reason I wasn’t writing is fear. I’m afraid that if I try, I fail.

This is kind of stupid. Because if I don’t try, I’ve failed already. Fear shows me what I’m most passionate about. I don’t fear my day job, because I don’t care about it enough. Fear is showing me exactly which path I’m supposed to take. Not the obvious one with zero obstacles, but the one with the looming shadows and whispers in the dark.

I know which one will make a better story.

The conclusion is that if I want to be a writer I’ll have to:

A. Write

B. Survive day job

Point A speaks for itself but the second might need some explanation. I don’t like my job, I won’t go as far as to say I hate it, but still. The point is that I need to stop wasting time and energy worrying about it and I’ll have to put it in a more positive light.

So I listed the perks of having a day job. Here goes:

  • A monthly pay-check, for basic life needs but also for doing fun things, eating good stuff and going places (I’m a big fan of having fun/eating/travel).
  • A work schedule which forces me to create more of a schedule to write.
  • An answer to the most common of questions without having to mumble something about wanting to write novels. The dreaded“So wat do you do for a living?”.
  • Seeing people in everyday life (better known as: stealing parts of their life for fictional use).

The best thing about my day job?

It reminds me of what I should be doing instead.