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.

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).

 

 

 

 

The Art of Fooling Thyself

I’m writing this blog post, to postpone getting to my story. Ha! The ways I fool myself, but since something is bothering me I might as well tell The Internet about it. I know your time is precious, so I’ll tell you beforehand that this short post is about me learning how to edit. The title pretty much sums it up. So if you’ve something better to do (like writing haha), then I suggest you go do that 🙂

In my first draft, I wrote my chapter one, literally to set the scene. I wanted to create a dark mood by introducing a person who had zero to do with the main story. She dies at the end of chapter one. I wrote her back in, later in the story, solely for the purpose of letting her live in that first chapter. [Hope you’re still following me on this]. Chapter one was set in Paris, because Paris is cool.

In draft two I realized this is not where the story actually starts. I ignored this for the better part of draft deux. It also started to sink in, that Paris is “used” in a lot of fiction, AND, even though I’ve been there over ten times, I don’t really know Paris. A change of scenery was needed. With an ache in my heart I cut chapter one, and moved from Paris to Amsterdam (a city I actually know). Chapter two now was chapter one, and it didn’t work. A rewrite was needed. It still didn’t feel right. I changed POV from third to first. Better, but still the first chapters didn’t work. Well written, but not enough spark, if you understand what I mean. And after I finish this post it is time, yet again, to cut chapters TO WHERE THE STORY ACTUALLY STARTS. This is way harder than it might sound. For now I’ve rearranged some of the chapters, and pasted them somewhere in the middle. I’m hoping I can still use them, but chances are I won’t. But I deal with them again, when I get there.

Conclusion:

WHAT FUN THIS WRITING THING AND NOT HARD AT ALL –is what you think when you read a finished book.

I AM DYING HERE. WHY DO I DO THIS TO MYSELF- Is how it feels writing it.

Cue Insecurity

I’m in the midst of rewriting a YA contemporary fantasy, and my inner editor is sabotaging the flow. I’ve got a rough outline to guide me through the structure of the story I’ve in mind, I have a Beginning, at least one major Turning Point and an End, so a few of the big building blocks are there. But still I’m creatively stuck. I’ve read/rewritten/read/rewritten some chapters so many times, that I’m bored with my own writing. Cue insecurity.

I should abandon this project.

I am never going to finish.

If I finish it is going to be Boring (yes capital B) and no one is going to read it.

 

Maybe this is the point where I should try to find some Beta readers. Cue insecurity.

 

I won’t find any.

I can’t possibly let anyone read this boring story.

If someone reads this, you are never going to finish.

 

Guess this writing thing means: continue writing. Even when your brain is in the way/ you are bored/ you feel insecure/ you want to abandon the Thing.

 

Send help.

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.

 

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.

An old fashioned typed up post Hmmm Maybe I should change the title into: a picture of an old fashioned typed up post. And now I wonder how many words you can fit in this title space, and will keep on typing until something says PING. Oh no wait that doesn’t happen on a computer. So what if there’s is no end to this space and I end up typing forever. AHHHH I’m going to stop. Now. Did you know someone tried to figure out how many rows you can add in an excel sheet and that it takes about a day (I forgot the exact numbers). Now I am really going to stop. For real. Stop Irene. Step away from the keys.

typewriterwith tibbe