Tea Please

I have a tea reader in my story, no leaf reader mind you, but someone who dissects tea bags and talks about the decision you are about to make. Because you can only go to a reader of tea if you really can’t make up your mind. Before entering you need to pass the coin thrower, another barrier. He will toss for you and if your dilemma is solved with choosing heads or tails, you won’t get to see the Tea Reader.

(fiction) Should I pick this major?

(fiction) Should I kill my nephew?

(me, just now) What the hell am I suppose to do with my day job, I’m panicking over here. Quit? Switch careers? Go work in a grocery store?

Sometimes I wish my fictional characters were real and came to the rescue.

 

For the love of BRACKETS

I have a new found love. Brackets!

Brackets come in four shapes but I particularly favor the curly ones. { … }

My new draft swarms with them. I read a blogpost {forgot where} where this was given as a writing tip to gain and keep momentum.

Don’t know what to say? -> brackets

Need cool name but can’t come up with one ->

Have no clue what a rhinoceros eats? ->

The even better, additional tip was to put a not often used word in the brackets so you can find it easily when using Ctrl F.

My word is KROKODIL {Dutch for crocodile, and seeing I’m writing in English, the only KROKODILs are in between brackets}

Here are some real draft examples 😊

Elle falls into the embrace, into the smell of fire and {krokodil something ridiculously cool}.

The Emergency room of the station. { krokodil, add things that would be standing there}.

I thought it was a pretty cool writing  trick tip. { krokodil you can end a post better than this Irene}

 

Time Loop

I open my eyes. The day stretches before me like an unwritten text. I do the breakfast-thing, the taking-the-kids-to-school-thing and drive to work like I do every Monday. Once I’m there, I try to shake the feeling of dread holding my thoughts prisoner as I set out to do my work. My stomach demands food every hour because it knows my mind is bored. I do the calls, the documents, the appointments, forcing positivity and reality in my brain. (My job is okay, it pays good money and I don’t really hate it). More than once I think about writing, snippets of text fly through my brain and I wave them away. “Now, is not the time,” I say to myself. Knowing well enough, that NOW is all there is. When the day is done, I drive home to do the grocery thing- the cooking thing- the kids to bed thing and collapse on a chair to dive into Netflix or Prime, after which I go to bed.

Flash forward One week

I open my eyes. The day stretches before me like an unwritten text. I do the breakfast-thing, the taking-the-kids-to-school-thing and drive to work like I do every Monday. Once I’m there, I try

 Well, you know what’s going to happen. I do the same thing I did the week before. My writing dream hunts me, keeps fluttering in my brain but I stay away from it. Barely touching it. A line from Stephen King’s On writing is on repeat in my head. HOW MANY RERUNS OF ER CAN YOU WATCH.

The answer is (shamefully): a lot.

A lot of days flash by, turning into weeks, into months. Into a Time Loop, a prison of sorts I built for myself.

2020 is going to be the year I build myself another time loop. A time loop filled with words, color and story.

Hamster Pages & otherwise brilliant ideas

The new year is just around the corner, 2019 swooshed by in a blink. I’ve named 2020 the year of the Twin swan and I’m really looking forward to it. So when this month of saying goodbye to the old year (& other festivities) is over we’re stepping into a magic year.

And what better way to celebrate than getting yourself a new bullet journal!

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(I love Tigerrrrrs)

See: year of the Twin Swan for A Reason (first page in shiny new bullet journal).

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Pretty n’est pas? (French for “isn’t it?”)

I already formulated some goals I want to work towards, and SURPRISE, a lot of them are writing goals. Finish two stories, query novel before my birthday, get rejected, to name a few. I set aside room in my journal for agent research and otherwise brilliant ideas and marked the pages with Maki and Hamster washi tape because I need all the encouragement I can get.

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Have a happy month!

Life’s a Prompt

I was unsure what to write on my blog, but words came anyway. Hooray for words coming out of nowhere! It’s a little bit funny that I have no ideas to blog about, but have zero trouble thinking up story ideas. They are everywhere, because life’s a prompt. Just this week:

  • My friend’s cat ate a bunch of LEGO blocks which were perfectly recognizable on the X-ray. It was not a suicide attempt, we think. (picture book: Sad Cat went back to bed)
  • I was tinkering in my shiny new bullet journal for 2020 and realized a Swan-drawing is a two, so next year is the Year of the Twin-Swan, meaning double magic, of course. (Mulan meets The swan princess in this fantasy middle grade).
  • My youngest turned 9 and got a metal-detector for his birthday. We discovered a buried space ship in our tiny garden. It can also be a pipe, but that’s less cool, so it isn’t. (middle grade! Dad thinks it’s a pipe, but Simon knows it’s not)
  • I went to an art –reading and discovered a break-up letter can be a work of art. Also: there have been many women who were artists and were forgotten by history (or ignored). What if there’s a secret society they belong to and they secretly recruit new talented female artists. (Ya, contemporary mystery. Da Vinci code drenched in paint.)
  • I baked a lot of cupcakes and a drip cake which looked awesome, but transformed everyone at the party into the nine year old version of themselves. It turned out to be a cool party, but who is going to tell them the party is over? (creepy creepy MG)

See? Ideas are the easy part.

Keep moving. Stand still. And me asking myself why? this entire post

Why do I keep tricking myself into moving away from the life I want? Why do I keep making up things to do to not write? Why do I keep pulling work towards me that’s A: not suited for the introvert that I am and B: preventing me from focusing my energy on writing.

Why? An example of how this works in real life:

Me: I need to find a job that gives me a little more freedom

*does so

Also me: I need to do this grad school thing because otherwise my job is boring

*does so

Me: I have no time after work/school/family/social life (or more honest mental energy) to write

Present me: sitting in a high school trying my best to not fall apart, because I have to speak to a gazillion teenagers this year. I just want to go home and write.

Why do I keep moving when I know in my heart I need to stand still. Stand still and hold my ground.

Maybe I’m terrified.

Back to the Future

I have always wanted to be a writer. And in a way I have been a writer since forever. When I was 10, I wrote my first fairytale about a prince on a quest to find a magical flower. I remember starting with great enthusiasm, which faded when I was around the midpoint. Then things became hard. The only thing that kept me returning to it was the fact that my classmates wanted me to enter a story contest on their behalf so we could win a trip to a theme park. I finished, and dutiful delivered it to my teacher. Thoroughly unrevised of course.

We didn’t go to the theme-park.

What I did learn was that not everyone can write a story. Not everybody can make it to the end. And even fewer trod back through the mess they created and fix it until it works.

So back to the future of today. Even though almost thirty years has passed I still follow this process.  I start with great enthusiasm, to end up slacking midway. Why did it take me 36 years to realize that if I want to be a published writer I have to write stories until I reach The End. I need to go through the hard time of letting the story suck. And getting back to it, fully armed with all the guns I can carry.

This post is for everyone doubting themselves today. For those who fear they will never belong to the club of successful writers (and this can mean anything, but for me the biggest part in being successful is actually finishing the story)

You are brave to start writing.

You are successful when you finish a story.

Because not everyone is writing a book and not everyone can write a decent story. Not everyone will reach The End. But we will. Because otherwise a 10 year old version of me will come haunt you.

 

( so Nanowrimo, I’m up for the task, maybe not the 50 k, but I will protect my writing time with a shotgun).