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.

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).

 

 

 

 

Signed, Sealed, Delivered. You’re dead.

I’m having a rough writing day.

Even though I know I don’t write linear I struggle to acknowledge that fact when writing. Stubborn as I am I start at chapter one, moving on to chapter two and almost always into what I call “ stuckness”.

This ugly non-existing word means I’m stuck in the story, whilst I know I have to write something further down the line to figure out how the story works, but can’t make myself do it, because I want to follow THE RULES, and go from A to Z in a straight line.

Why do I do this? I’m scared I won’t finish the story. I’m scared it will suck no matter how many rewrites I throw at it. Mostly I’m afraid I can’t do it. I’m also scared the story is too big for my brain to handle, and yet too simple to ever appeal to a reader. I’m scared I’m wasting time. The fear of writing also includes the following fears:

  • Not being original enough
  • Not knowing enough words
  • I write too much Dialogue
  • I’m terrible at Dialogue
  • I don’t write enough Dialogue (you see what I’m doing here right?)
  • My settings/descriptions suck
  • Big time
  • Every word I write is boring
  • I am so slooooooow, by the time I reach “the End” a century will have passed and all words are irrelevant

Conclusion: Writing is scary sometimes

My remedy for this looming feeling of dread near a keyboard is not writing on the story.

I tinker on a blurb, twitter pitch lines or the query letter instead. The fear will shrink and slowly I will add words to paper. (some days I just end up with a handful of blurb lines or sixteen different queries). The plus side is it helps me understand the story better.

My favorite pitch of today so far:

YA THE BLACKLIST with magic. 17 year old Jenya Olivier is the Messenger of Crime. Signed, sealed, delivered. You’re dead. (needs to be said Stevie Wonder Style of course).

Tweeting that one.

A Way In Versus A Way Out

Day two of campnano

I’ve plunged back into a YA story for a complete rewrite. There’s distance between the world on the page and myself. So much distance that I’ve no trouble cutting and slicing through it. Unfortunately it didn’t take long for the HOORAY FOR REWRITING-Bubble to burst. Rewriting this story is going to be hard work, it’s going to take more than 30 hours to fix/recreate it into something else. And by something else I mean a far better story. But I’m going to take it one hour at the time and remind myself that small steps can lead to great change.

When driving to work today I realized I’ve changed too. When I was a kid, I wrote to escape. Not only from my not so easy childhood into my imagination, but I also already felt that WRITER could be a job and if it would make me famous and rich I could get away form my circumstances.

As a teenager I wrote partly for the same reasons, but also to handle all the things I was feeling and thinking. But honestly I still had dreams of MAKING it BIG. When I was a famous and rich writer everything would be better.

Now I know it doesn’t work like that.  I no longer write for a way out. My life is exactly where it needs to be at this point in time, and that’s okay. I write because it’s fun and it’s as close to magic as I can get. I can magically turn old and new feelings into a world on a page.

Of course I would like to be published and reward myself with a Henry.

Of course I sometimes worry if it’s a waste of time.

Of course I worry if my writing is any good.

But I also don’t care.

I write because it’s a way inside.

 

 

 

 

 

The Month of Story

Inspired by the Happier podcast hosted by Gretchen Rubin and Liz Craft I decided to design my Summer. My Summer consists of July, August and September, and I’m going to pick a theme and design a do-able project or some goals for each of those months.

July will be the month of STORY. August the month of FAMILY and September the month of HOME.

For The Month of Story I’m doing Campnanowrimo. This time I’ve picked the random cabin assignments- option and let myself be surprised 🙂

Goals for July:

1-1,5 hours of editing or writing every day.

4 blog posts

8 photos (posted on Instagram)

4 twitter posts

Woop Woop!

 

 

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.