No Clue

This writing thing is hard. Perfection mania lures around every corner, waiting to jump on the unsuspected writer (me) blinking in the same beat as the cursor on the white page. (crazy thing to do, and very tiring, I can tell you that).

I know from reading blogs, watching youtube, browsing twitter this is what writers go through. And in the last couple of years of me trying to become a (published) writer I’ve learned a couple of things about myself as well. Here goes:

  • I Hate what I write/love what I write/hate what I write. Continue until novel is finished.
  • I overthink everything. If you stare and ponder words long enough, they all sound wrong somehow. All of them.
  • I flinch at character charts because I don’t want to write about my characters, I just want to write them. Honestly I blackout when I write about them, because most of the time I don’t even know what they look like, until their comb gets stuck in their thick curls or they get sunburnt so bad, freckles are no longer visible. Sometimes they unknowingly change their names halfway through a story.
  • I am terrible at planning a story structure. I panic when I read things as: midpoint, where all is lost/nuggets of truth are discovered etcetera.
  • This does not mean my stories don’t have a structure of some sort.
  • The most funny one so far: I AM TERRIBLE. Why? Well considering the goal: become published, I need to put myself out there. I wrote over 5 novels and shelved them. Without querying. Because I think they aren’t good enough. I always think the next one will be better. (usually true).
  • I don’t have a linear brain, it goes back and forth, up and down.
  • I am a deadline addict. Without one I’m lost.

So considering the last line, I’m doing nano again. Spilling words on the page into a story that isn’t a story (yet), no editing. I am nowhere near the recommended daily word count but at least I’m giving myself permission to write awful descriptions, flat characters and hop from one scene to another. The best part of writing is when my brain subconsciously produces something on the paper. And I haven’t a clue how it got there.

(I am not even rereading this post whahahaha. Sorry. Yes I added that sorry on purpose just so I can count the words).

 

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The End of Summer

Sounds melodramatic, doesn’t it? 🙂

I briefly hesitated between: ‘The End of Summer’ or ‘Summer is Dead/Gone/Stolen’ but settled on the first, because I like endings.

Why, you ask?

Endings mean new beginnings, and I like those even more!

Summer came, conquered my gloomy mood and was filled with nice drinks, gorgeous landscapes and lots of swimming with the kids.

If anyone is looking for a perfect European destination I’d highly recommend Slovenia! It has everything. Endless green forests, wild rocky rivers, creeks and waterfalls. Nice people, good food, driveable roads and beautiful cities.

For me September embodies going back to work, fitting myself and my kids into a manageable routine, and Autumn. Rainy days, candlelight, cosy movies, wholesome food, and of course Autumn writing, are among the things I love best.

I have a couple of things I want to focus on this September and thought if I proclaim it to the internet void, I probably feel more accountable, so without further ado, behold my September TO DO list. Fair warning: I talk to myself.

  • Work out, at least twice a week. (You are going to be thanking yourself next month, Irene. Just GO).
  • Start a new story! (Easy one. Already started).
  • Edit A PARADISE BELOW one more time. (One means one. Make it as query ready as you can).
  • Make an effort for at least one friend and one family member
  • Do something cool with partner
  • Use your bullet journal

Well, that’s it. And because I like lists, here are some Currently-s:

Currently Reading:

The boy on the bridge

 

Currently Listening:

Hilarious World of Depression

Hidden Brain

 

Currently Writing

A story about stealing the North Sea in jars

 

Currently (over) Editing

A Paradise Below

 

Anyone else has plans for this month?

Ciao!

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.

Swing when you’re writing

Autumn is in full swing. I, however, am not.

I’ve been slacking on writing and am starting to miss it. Maybe you know the feeling? That pull on your inside, the urge to pour some of your soul into something. Might be a drawing, might be a poem.

Might be a rhyming grocerylist.

The what doesn’t really matter. What matters is that you’ve to start something, anything.

And that’s why, after a short period of absence, I’ve returned to my blog. I don’t feel obliged to post something, but I’d like to and that’s a good feeling.

November is coming and NaNoWriMo comes with it. I’m going to participate, maybe I’ll just write childish awful rhyming grocery lists but I don’t care.

hi

my oh my

off to buy apples for my pie

goodbye

🙂

 

 

Distraction 101

I discovered Twitter. And it’s the worst. Because it’s awesome. (Which means I have added another distraction to my already very big heap of distractions).

How is it possible that so many people can be funny in less than 140 characters? It’s impressive and intimidating at the same time and I like it A LOT.

Since I’m a postponing/procrastinating expert I thought it was time to provide you with a top ten things to do instead of writing 🙂

Behold a list!

  • Go to the gym (whahaha <- this is my evil laugh, but seriously: GO)
  • Make an artistic grocery list (I usually make drawings of the things to buy,  a very insufficient way to get your shopping done. Trust me).
  • Read books (this will keep you busy FOREVER and EVER).
  • Look at the blank screen and then read ALL THE THINGS the Internet has to offer. Which are many, think: Twitter, Blogs, Bored Panda.
  • Have kids, they will provide you with enough things to do for the next ten years (or more).
  • Make an Instagram account, you can look at other people’s pictures every day.
  • Pinterest! You can call it research if you like.
  • Your home is never clean enough.
  • Arrange your pencils by color.
  • Do the same with books

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!

When I think of Summer

Once upon a time, in a practically underwater country, not so very far away, a person named Irene was feeling rather bored.

And wrote a blog post about Summer, because Summer is cool.

*

June’s already halfway gone! How did that happen so fast??

The good thing is that it’s almost July and July means GOOD THINGS.

In case you’re wondering what these good things are, behold a list!

  • Summer (for details of my thoughts on things to do in Summer, see below)
  • Summer vacation part 1: Bretagne
  • (a ten day break at a wonderful piece of coast in France with four happy kids and one very handsome man, starting July 31st ).
  • Campnano is coming again!
  • (in which I intend to work on my writing goals like there is no tomorrow (Ha! As you may know I find “tomorrow “ an elusive concept).

These are some of the things that come to mind when I think of summer:

get a tan/eat a coconut/have weekly BBQ’s/swimming&beach/read books/drink champagne/have picknicks in the park/ go to a festival of sorts/ attend a wedding/buy a bikini/write an entry for a YA contest/edit Draft that Must not be Named until it’s worthy of a name/ dabble in contemporary YA because the idea won’t go away/ finally make that Polaroid branch I was supposed to make in May/make my own icecreams/figure out how to make Mango juice.

Ahh Mango Juice.

And she lived happily ever after.

(Back to work).