writers in the mist

Sometimes I feel a story buzzing in my mind, chasing thoughts, filling dreams. The story clouded in mist, unwilling to settle form and reveal itself. And I, the writer, find myself grasping the unknown, hoping to find solid ground to stand on. Eyes wide open, ready to snap the idea between my hands.

In the meantime I just write about the swirling colors of the mist, the smell that reminds me of a long forgotten dinner, the sense of hope and doom. I write my way around the mist, into it, underneath it. I write to find the story hidden in it’s core.

I write because that’s what writers do.

 

19 for 2019

Happy Monday!

I’m a bit late to the resolution & goal making party online, but I finally made a list ( I like lists). Inspired by the Happier Podcast of Liz Craft and Gretchen Rubin I picked 19 goals/ideas for 2019 and I picked a one word theme for the year.

My one word theme for the year is: Imagine ! Inspired of course by the question of all questions: what if? Just imagine… What if this year I …..( insert thing that makes you incredibly happy)

And, as one does, I gave it a prominent place in my shiny new bullet journal:

20190114_120243.jpg

Without further ado I give you my 19 for 2019. (Note to self and everybody like me: this list is not mandatory, it is supposed to bring joy and make you happier not miserable).

  1. Teach 8 year old to confidently ride the ‘BIG’ bike. (totally do-able)
  2. Make a new friend (scary thingy this one, but friends are fun, so I should give it a try)
  3. Get both my bikes fixed (easy one, just bring the things to the person who knows how they work, they fix them up, I’ll pay them for the effort).
  4. Add 3k to savings account and do not touch it (tricky, but worth a try).
  5. Make ALL the photo-albums
  6. Up Up social media game ( think twitter, insta, pinterest and website)
  7. Form a healthier drinking habit (maybe even not drink at all, don’t know yet.. have to figure this one out)
  8. FINISH NOVEL (type The End, imagine that)
  9. QUERY NOVEL (big ones these two)
  10. Start a tiny side hustle (because it sounds like a fun thing to do, and see goal number 3..)
  11. Able to gallop a horse (I started to learn horse riding last year, but fell a couple of times. I ride without saddle, so extra scary to gallop. But I really want to learn).
  12. Be a tourist in my home town. (the city I live in, Haarlem, is stunning and I should appreciate it more.)
  13. Go on adventures with son every other Wednesday (I’d love to have a tradition/ and who needs an excuse for adventures).
  14. Try to avoid talking ‘bad’ about people (well, because it’s not nice and I should stop it.)
  15. Tap more into love of music, go dancing, to festivals, sing, create Spotify albums.
  16. Start folding 1000 paper cranes (fascinating this one, isn’t it?)
  17. Pretty nails (my nails do not look pretty and they feel sad about it).
  18. Be confident in a bikini. (this does not mean losing weight, but just put the thing on and parade and whatever. Going to the beach should be fun, not stressful).
  19. Create a new family tradition (no clue yet, but the year’s still fresh).

I’ll check in with myself in a couple of months to see how I’m doing, but am really looking forward to these things 🙂

Now I’m going to browse the internet and look at other people’s list, because that’s fun.

Ciao!

If you pick one resolution, pick this one!

Focusing on the bad stuff, or punishing yourself for not accomplishing a goal is not going to improve your overall (mental) health or boost your happiness and creativity.

If you’re thinking along the lines of these examples:

-Restricting yourself to a 1000 calorie diet (that will get your body through half the day, what about the rest of all the hours..??)

-Read gazillion books (reading is fun, can be necessary, but should not feel like a thing that can burn you out).

– Stop being depressed (a mental illness is not something you switch on and off)

-Become a millionaire (good luck..)

Then let me give you some unsolicited advice. STOP IT.

If you’re going to make a new year’s resolution let it be this one:

Try (& Repeat).

Let 2019 be the year we all give ourselves a break.

(official goal post for 2019 will follow, but I had to get this off my chest)

🙂

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).

 

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.