March in hindsight

2018_March

Dutch Comic Con

I went to Dutch Comic Con and I had a blast! I can really recommend it to anyone, it’s a fun day out especially if you look at different things you can do and experience on DCC. Whether you’re into games, books, movies, television show or comics there is certainly something for everyone out there.

Reading and writing

March was the month in which I’ve finished reading the second book in the Monkeewrench series – Live Bait. I really enjoyed reading it. From the moment I started reading it I was wondering what was going on and I really couldn’t figure it out. Which makes it a good crime novel in my opinion.

Music and songs

I decided to add a new part to my monthly posts. One thing I can say for certain is that I’ve been loving Beth Hart latest album, her collaboration with Joe Bonamassa ‘Black Coffee’! It’s been one of the full albums which has been in my favorite Spotify list ever since the album came out back in January.

However my absolute favorite songs of the past month has been ‘This is me’ both versions of the song are on my Spotify list – the original movie version from The Greatest Showman’ as well as Kesha’s version. Both are beautiful, however I think that the the movie version is much stronger. Keala Settle has a powerful voice and she delivers the song with so much passion. I haven’t seen the movie yet – I really want to see it but I haven’t had the chance – however it is definitely on my to watch list.

Fitness

For a while I have been thinking about changing things around. Part of me was thinking about getting back to running, something which I did a couple of years ago however I the problem was that I had shin splints. A very painful injury which is really hard to get rid off. It comes back and that was what was happening to me. I know that my pain level is pretty high but this was so painful that in the end it made me give up. That was part of the reason why I started doing yoga, I wanted to do a sport and it helped with stress relief of course.

But lately I was feeling restless,  wanted to so something more active. So I decided to sign myself up for the gym. And so far so good, I’ve been going for a couple of weeks now about two or three times a week and things are going really well.

Looking ahead:

  • Pinkpop of course!
  • My birthday is coming up – thirty-six! Ouch!
  • Vacation planning!
  • Camp Nanowrimo has started, I’m not participating but I do love going to those weekly meetings in the Library, it’s so good to see everyone. Even if it is just to talk and have a laugh.
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January in hindsight

2018_January

The first month of the year is over.
It all happened so fast! Of course there was New Years Eve which I spend with a couple of friends from my writer group. We had of course way too much food, since every one brought something with them. And we played ‘Cards Against Humanity’ which is really cool. We had a lot of fun. In fact we had to keep our eye on the time because chances were that we would miss the celebrating New Year and the fireworks since we were so immersed in our game.

It was fun celebrating it with our writers group through the years we’ve become a wonderful group of friends so much more than just a group that meets up because we have a passion for writing or because we all participate in Nanowrimo. In fact without these friends my life would be pretty empty, we meet up for writing appointments, we go to the movies and sometimes we meet up at each others homes or we go to a convention or fair together.

New car

Okay, so my old Mint Green Opel Corsa 1.2 is twenty three years old! That is very old for a car! In fact I think that a car is called a classic when it reaches twenty five years! Nah, I’m just kidding with a color like that a car never becomes a classic if you ask me. And it was getting noticeable, every time it’s harder to get the car through the annual car safety test. And I was paying a lot of money to keep the car on the road. It’s not really surprising – and while it wasn’t anything bad it’s was just typical car stuff – that’s just the way it is.

I kind of made up my mind about it and I knew that I had to get a new car before September since that is the month when I had to renew my old car safety test. However I was not really doing anything about it – not yet anyway I figured I had some time. But my parents apparently had the same conversation amongst each other and they even started looking for a different car for me. I mean, that is so sweet, let’s face it the only way I can look at a different car is by looking at the aesthetics of it. Does it look good? Does it have the right color? I honestly don’t know anything about cars, I have my dad for that. He’s been working with cars since he was a mere sixteen years old in a garage, he worked on cars in the army and ever since he’s been working he’s done different jobs at a car factory for the last forty or forty five years. So I don’t need to know my way around cars unless it is to drive them or tell my dad something is wrong. But anyway on a Sunday afternoon I was minding my own business, reading a book – when I received a phone call from my mom. She and my dad had been looking around the internet and they had seen a car for sale which according to them had my name on it. I really liked the car it’s bright red! And it drives like a dream! And from twenty three years old I made an upgrade to a car which is only eight years old! So that is a huge step forward!

Reading and writing

I’ve not really done any writing during January except for my book reviews for Nevermore and Monkeewrench. And that brings me to the next part of my January post, reading. I finally read Monkeewrench, a book which I had on my to read list for a while but I never really got around to it. I started reading it a couple of times but for some reason it didn’t continue. I can’t really explain why that is, especially not now that I’ve actually read the book because I really enjoyed reading it. I’m currently reading the next part in the Monkeewrench series, really curious where this is going.

Looking ahead:

  • Pinkpop press conference and the sale of the tickets.
  • I’m going to see The Lion King Musical with my mom. I have a huge weak spot when it comes to musicals I love them and I’m finally going to see this one!

December in hindsight

December_2017

December, the conclusion to another year! The year has been good, all in all very positive year but you can read more about that in a ‘Year in hindsight’ post which will be posted on my blog right before midnight tonight.

December is always a busy month, effectively you have only three weeks of work but you are expected to do the same amount of work you need to do when you work every workday of the month. Intertwined in between those workdays we had Sinterklaas which was really fun. I celebrated it with my friends, we had a blast. I got a gorgeous present made by my best friends son and his dad.

And we had Christmas of course, which I celebrated with my family. For the first time in years my sister and brother in law were with us as well. So that was fun! And we also celebrated it with my grandmother and the extended family.

This past week has been a week off and I took some well deserved rest. I chilled at home with my parents. I went to the movies, I had to go see that last Pitch Perfect movie, I loved it! And there was time to read some books, watch some Netflix shows.

And tonight we’re going to celebrate New Years Eve with a couple of people from our writing group, how cool is that! Who could have guessed that we would now be a group of close friends who celebrate days like this together? Honestly when I started the group I was simply looking for some people who understood what Nanowrimo was about. Today however they’ve become true friends who I can count on when I need them.

Reading and writing

I read a couple of books this month, I finished reading The Circle. A book which gets you thinking about privacy and about what we do in the internet. But the book isn’t all that interesting unfortunately. And to be honest coincidentally a friend of mine borrowed me her blu-ray disk containing the movie. Honestly with a cast that includes Tom Hanks and Emma Watson I had high hopes that they could have made it worth my time. But the movie is definitely wasn’t worth my time. It could have been so much more. A true shame!

The other books I read are Everafter and Nevermore, a supernatural love story about vampires and wereshifters including two awesome women. I really enjoyed reading these books. They are easy to read, not too long and there is a really cool story intertwined. I really want to recommend these books.

Looking ahead:

  • 2018 is about to start, let’s take a look ahead.
  • I want to take another trip, right now I would say Croatia is high on the list but it might also be somewhere else. We’ll see what happens.
  • Pinkpop has some awesome names for this coming edition, though with those awesome names also comes a smaller chance of actually getting tickets. I have to try to get them though – Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters are among them.
  • There are many books which need to read – I want to make sure that the all of those unread books in my apartment get read.
  • I would also like to go to Disneyland Paris, I have been there once before when I was about twelve years old and I think I’m due for another trip to Disneyland. It’s been something that has been on my mind for a while.
  • We’re planning another reunion with the vacation group, Groningen is the plan – like it was in November the one we unfortunately had to cancel at the last minute.

 

The Post-Nano blues

Nanowrimo-2017

I originally started writing this post this past week but somehow it got deleted – lost, whatever somehow it didn’t get saved. So I’m rewriting it.

I certainly don’t have the post-nano blues. In fact I wanted to write but time just simply slipped away from me the first week of December. Work was busy and my personal life was jam-packed with all different appointments as well.

On Thursday (the official last day of Nano) and on this past Monday I worked overtime at work. We had a really big assignment, one that yearly returns and is for a huge charity event. So on Thursday I arrived at work around 7.30 in the morning and I was back home at 11 in the evening and on Monday I was home around 10 in the evening.  So there was no time to writ on those days.

On Saturday we had our yearly TGIO (Thank God It’s Over) party, we always have it on the first or second Saturday of December to celebrate that we made it through another November filled with writing. Despite the fact that I didn’t make it, I am content with what I did during November. In fact I’m super happy with it! So how could I not go to the TGIO. We talked, had fun and shared a perfect meal – I love that Florin Burger!

Sunday was the day I had planned for purchasing presents and making my surprise gift for our yearly Sinterklaas Surprise (which is kind of like Secret Santa). On Tuesday we actually celebrated Sinterklaas. It was such a fun thing! I got a great gift, the first part of The Mockingjay on a blue ray disk and a powerbank! And the packaging was simply amazing! My best friend’s son had me, so with help from his dad they made a complete stage out of cardboard boxes and they put Beth Hart and her complete band on the stage! So cool! It’s the best Surprise I ever got.

Surprise

The present was hidden underneath the stage. It’s really a beautiful present to receive and so perfectly catered to me! I love it!

Anyway the rest of the week was busy, busy, busy and the weekend I spend at my parents place. I hadn’t been there in a long time, and I also visited my grandmother. She’s such a sweet lady, I called her up in the morning and I went by we had a meal together.  It had been a long time since my grandmother and I had a meal together at her place. I should really do that more often.

And now it’s Friday again! How the hell did that happen? One more week until the Christmas break, wow the year is almost over! It’s almost unbelievable how fast the year flew by. And it is even more incredible how fast these past couple of weeks have flown by since November ended and not much writing has happened. Hopefully I can change that this weekend, but seeing how much I still have to do before Christmas I’m not sure if that will happen. We’ll see!

 

Nanowrimo – the last weekend

Nanowrimo-2017

So, the last weekend of the month is upon us. It’s unbelievable that we’re already at this point! It really flew by, even faster than other years if you ask me. Originally I had planned a weekend away for this weekend so there would be no writing for me. But that unfortunately had to be postponed most likely to February or March of next year.

So I’m home instead of away, I also asked an extra day of on Monday because I wouldn’t be home. Of course since my original plan didn’t go through I made other plans, but it also means that I have time to write at least something during this weekend. Which would have been next to impossible if it all came down to my weekend away. But still I have a lot of writing to do and not nearly enough time to do it. And of course there are other things I need to do. We have a huge time pressured assignment at work which needs to be done so this following week is probably going to be full of work as well and probably overtime. We’ll see what happens, I can’t predict the future. But I know that it will be a busy month ahead. In fact I’m actually surprised that I got Monday off. When I asked it, I hoped I would get it but I didn’t actually believe that I would.

Anyway, lets get back to the writing that is still ahead of me. I’m so pumped right now, I’ve gotten so much further than I expected. I want to do my best, I always do. Honestly that really is all I can do. We’ll see how I get through this weekend and eventually on Thursday we’ll see what the final word count of the month is going to be. I still have a couple of blog posts in the making for this month. They will be up in the next couple of days. And I’m working on a couple of different short stories. That is going really well at the moment. Something which I’m really proud off. It has been such a long time since I have been able to express myself in a creative writing manner. It feels so good to do so.

Dialog?

For me this month has been all about dialog? I already talked about my love for dialog in the post about the 300th episode of Grey’s Anatomy. To me it’s what makes a story good. I want to read or hear earnest talks between people. It doesn’t have to be cheesy but it has to be genuine at least. And that is what I have been focusing on. Most of the short stories I have been working on have a large portion of dialog in them. One of them I even wrote 95 % of the dialog on one day and then I rewrote the piece the next day by adding in all of the details. The story is called ‘The argument’ and the first version is 500 words long, the rewrite is about 1300 words long. I only made small changes to the dialog in the second version – added or left some words out. But the added details fleshed the story out, made it stronger. I really liked the exercise and it helped me out a lot. I think that putting the focus on the dialog first made it a stronger story in the end. The story I wanted to tell was clear from the dialog alone – and I could have left it like that. Besides that if you don’t have to think of the dialog adding the details goes much easier as well. The second time around you can make the setting stronger by adding in details, displays of affection or any other emotion by adding touches, specific movements or actions to your characters. It’s all about action / reaction that makes it all stronger. So for now at this moment this is what works for me and I’ll continue to use it for now.

Will it work for you? Maybe it will, however it might also not work at all for you. I don’t know, I can’t tell anyone how to write. There are so many different ways to go through the process. Everyone has their own way of writing that story and we all need to find it for ourselves. However trying out different things might help you just like it helped me and that is the reason why I’m posting this here. Writing is not something that is easy for me. Not by a long shot, especially not these last couple of years. I’ve had my struggles and I know that I’m not the only one that has them. That is basically why I set up this blog. It is a way for me to continue writing. To push myself to do what I love and to not give up on it. And eventually to become a better writer.

Next to finding what works for me I have also tried to change the scenery. Whenever I’m home, alone. I noticed that I get easily distracted and sometimes it just doesn’t feel right. Whenever that happens I try to go somewhere else, often I go to the Library. It is one of my favorite places to write. I like the hustle and bustle of it all. They call it the ‘living room of the city’ and that really is what it feels like. Even though it is a big and industrial building they have managed the give it a really small and comfortable vibe. And that is why I spend a lot of my time off there. Just this Friday (all the Friday’s in November) I was there and now on Saturday the clock has barely past two in the afternoon and I’m here again. This time alone, yesterday with the Epic Blue Unicorns I managed to write less than 200 words. That didn’t really help my word count at all. I was just really tired and we had some conversations which required my attention. And by the time I got home it was already nine thirty and after spending some time on my phone with my mom I was too tired to make any type of coherent sentences or accumulate a word count. So I’m hoping that at least today I can do some catching up.

By the end of Saturday upped my word count to 30 203 words. On Sunday I didn’t have a whole lot of time to do some writing because my parents came over and we had a day out planned. My parents stayed the night and during Monday we had some plans to go shopping – early Christmas shopping. Not really that early … but you know what I mean. And now it’s Monday evening, the 27th and I have three days left and my total word count is 31 809.

Did you reach the 50K?

Did you reach the 50K already, congrats to you. That is a huge amount of words and you should be proud. However there is also something I want to say if you haven’t reached the 50k and if you might not even make it there. One thing I want to say and I have said this before but I’m going to say it once again and I hope that every participant in Nanowrimo takes this to heart. Nanowrimo is a commitment to write 50 000 in a months time to get that novel started. And while we pledge to get those 50 000 words written there is no shame at all if you don’t reach that goal. In fact you should be damn proud because no matter what happens you sat down and started writing. Whether you wrote 5000, 10 000, 50 000 or even a 100 000 words. No matter how many words you’ve written or whether you reached the goal of 50k be proud. Be damn proud of yourself! And whatever you do keep writing and feel blessed that you have this creativity. It’s quite something, remember that and don’t allow anyone to tell you something different! Writing is heard enough and until you sit down and do it you have no idea.

Just remember that, 50 000 is a number – something to reach for – but writing a story is what it really is about. And a story can be short or it can be long, it all depends on the type of stories your writing.

Celebrating every milestone!

Celebrate every milestone small or big. It is one step closer to your goal. I’m currently celebrating that I reached the 30 000 words during this past weekend. It’s nowhere near the 50k but that is no reason not to celebrate.

November 23th – One week left

Nanowrimo-2017

There is only one more week left in November, one more week of Nanowrimo. And well I think it’s not really going that well. At least according to the numbers it isn’t going too well. Like I said before I didn’t really believe that I would get anywhere near the word count. However I must admit that I’ve gotten a whole lot further than I had expected before the month started. There is no way to make an accurate estimate when you have no idea what you’ll be writing. The only thing I was sure of was that I would be writing blog posts but even those I hadn’t thought of before the month started. I could have done that prepared myself in some way, but I honestly didn’t know what to do. It was as if I had literally no inspiration at all.

I knew I would be doing a ‘Oktober in Hindsight’ post and I hoped that there would be a book review before the end of the month – which I’m still working on, there is a little bit more I to read to finish the book and the review. And I was going to write some updates on Nano of course, because I wanted to log the progress I’m making and I just have to tell you all about our wonderful meetings with our writers group at the Library or the Ikea or whatever other place we can come up with. But other than that I had no real ideas. I was just hoping that I would get some inspiration for other posts as the month continued on.

And I obviously did because I managed to write quite a lot of words, 27 500 words so far. Which is certainly a number that I didn’t expect to reach. And I’m happy with what I did so far and I’m not done. I am never giving up, but the end is still very far away.

Stats_nov23th

November 17 – 19th the weekend update

Nanowrimo-2017

This past weekend was going really well, when it comes to writing. I am so happy, one of the other Epic Blue Unicorns gave me a superb idea for one of my shorts stories. Last Sunday we had our Ikea meet and one the way back to the city I brought one of the new EBU with me to drop her off at the Station. And we were talking about our stories. She’s writing a science fiction story which is completely different from anything I’m writing. Since I’ve been writing short stories – most of them really short – I only really had one story to talk about the one I was struggling with, the longest of the short stories. The basic concept of the story is that a young girl becomes the guardian angel of her best friend and not a very good one at that!

I wanted the story to get a sort of build-up – because there were some things I wanted to explain without jumping right into it. I felt like it should have been a 5000 word story, when I started. But I was stuck at about a thousand words and that was more or less the introduction of what happened and how the young girl becomes the guardian angel to her best friend.

So we were talking about this and apparently it was still playing on her mind because she send me a PM on the Nanowrimo website. However I’d been so busy with work and writing that I didn’t check the messages. I mean I noticed the number of messages at the top of the page but I figured it was just the regular Nanomails – I don’t really read them, I have to admit. I continued writing more blog posts and short stories and this particular story was still on the back-burner. I knew I wanted to write more because it’s a fun story to write, I just didn’t find the right way to do so yet and I was still thinking of a way to achieve that goal.

Friday at the end of our Nanomeet at the Library she asked me whether I had read her mail and if I could do something with it. I honestly had no idea what she was talking about and I apologized profusely because I simply didn’t see the mail. She only asked me this as we were walking outside so I couldn’t check at that moment so I promised I would read it as soon as I got home. When I read the mail, the pieces of the puzzle started to fall together. What she wrote me was a perfect fit for the story. I can surely implement it and I will, I’ll of course cater it to my story but to my fellow Epic Blue Unicorn it will still be obvious where the idea comes from. I send her a message back, thanking her for what she wrote me and that I’m going to use it because it simply is perfect for this story.

Right now I managed to get the short story from about a 1000 words to 3500 words and I am still not finished with it. In fact I haven’t even started on the part that she gave me. At this point I’m working on the build-up to the moment where I can add the idea into the story. Right now I’m thinking the actual story might eventually be about 7000 or 8000 words before I’m done with it. We’ll see, I’m just really glad that I found the prompt that inspired the story. I’ve really missed this, just getting everything out on paper or well Scrivener in this case. It feels good.

So the writing at this point is going really well. Much better than I have been doing the rest of the month. It still remains to be seen whether I can actually make it to 50 000 but for now I’m doing good. And I’m happy with the progress I’m making on my writing just this weekend I managed to write about 3800 words and the weekend is still a long way from over.

I’ve reached 24 000 words this weekend, and I’m glad I did. According to the stats I should have been at or around 31 666 so I’m about 7000 words behind. That is still a pretty large gap, I’ve said it before and I am going to say it again I will most likely not make it 50 000 words but that’s okay. I feel good about my writing and that is so much more important to me than winning at this point. In fact I already feel like a winner just for the simple fact that I’m writing creative stories. I finished this weekend with a total of almost 5000 words.

Music and writing

I’ve been thinking about my blog a lot lately, I want to write more and I have been trying to find ways to do so. I want to write about things that I like and I’ve always liked music but I write maybe three concert reviews a year and that is not a lot. So I decided that I wanted to do something else with my love for music. And I’m going to do that by reviewing the music I’ve been listening to it might be a good way to get some more attention for certain artists who could use some exposure. My first review was of The Corrs’ new album ‘Jupiter Calling’ and the second is a singer/songwriter who really doesn’t need my help in that department but someone who I really like.

This is something new I’m going to try out, we’ll see how that goes.