Fear

Short stories are my first love. I love the compact feel of a plot spread over a couple of pages, every word getting the story closer to the end, preferably at high speed.

Neil Gaiman and Stephen King are my short story heroes.

I, unfortunately, am not very good at writing them. But that has never stopped me from trying anyway. The funny thing is that when I’m writing a short story I tune in to a very strange part of me.

Let me explain a bit: In my humble opinion there are two kind of persons.

People who jump in the pool right away & People who walk around it, assessing the temperature of the water, dipping a toe, or use the stairs.

I’m a jumper-inner.

Except when writing short stories.

I have trouble getting in and out fast, and linger to0 long on words that are not supposed to be there in the first place. I’m also sort of afraid of the stories that end up on the page.

When writing a long story, I feed on my grown-up fears. Which are of course little fears (the fear of eating alone/ the fear of not having enough time).

When I write short stories, I feed on my childhood fears which are HUGE. (the neighbors are plotting to kill us/ pigeons are demons/ the dunes are alive and eat children in Summer).

My trick is to write a short story first and when I type ‘The End’ immediately move on to novel drafting so that the childhood fears stick a while longer.

 

Those fears are the ones that come knocking in the middle of the night.

 

 

 

Advertisements

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.