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!

Hello PitchWars

Here I come!

I was procrastinating my way out of rewriting the middle of my story when a writer friend mentioned Pitchwars. I’d seen this  swoosh by on twitter before but wasn’t sure exactly what it was.

Since I was procrastinating already it seemed like a very good idea to do some research on this phenomenon. And it sounds awesome, because Pitch wars might:

Find you a mentor who can help you make your story better than before.

Might even land you an agent.

You can make new writer friends!

But most important for me: IT HAS A SOLID DEADLINE

I like deadlines. I am an idiot. But now I am an idiot with a deadline. That’s way better 🙂

Bye!

*Rushes off to get Draft That Must not be Named ready for the end of August*

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.

Two is a Club

I have a problem, because I discovered PODCASTS.

A dear friend of mine has been hooked on several shows for a while and has been trying to trick me into listening as well. Sending me suggestions, always mentioning it when we see each other, that sort of stuff. I held it off, well until, I didn’t.

So now I have a problem. I’ve binge listened to The Hilarious World of Depression with John Moe. It is a really good show, addressing serious mental health problems with a precise amount of lightness. But it caused me to be late for literally everything. I listened while driving, but if the podcast took longer I stayed in my car or drove around the place where I was supposed to be.

I also listened to some episodes of the “Happier” podcast by Gretchin Rubin and her sister and stole one of their ideas: Start a two person book club, because two is a club!

Why didn’t I think of this?

Guess who I forced to be in a book club with me? Yes, you’re right! The same person who tricked me into the time consuming but also very VERY VERY awesome world of Podcast.

Revenge is sweet.

Short life update:

Currently listening to:

Reply all

Big Brains

99% invisible

Currently reading:

The course of love

Currently writing:

A story about a blue circus

Currently Editing:

YA draft that shall not be named

Currently preoccupied with:

PODCASTS

Camp NaNoWriMO

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).

 

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.