Day trip to Copenhagen

While I can’t deny that I’m still feeling the repercussions of a very pleasant New Years Eve, today is going to be a rather active day. Oskar has taken this week off from work so we have decided to take a day trip to Copenhagen. Despite it being only 40mins away by train we only go there about once a year, which is a shame, but at the same time, it makes it all the more special. Being a history nerd, I just love to walk around the beautiful city centre and visit museums, and we’ve decided on the National Museum for this trip. Never actually been there before, as I tend to prefer visiting castles (again, history nerd). Afterwards, we will probably walk around some more, maybe even have a pint somewhere. For tonight we have a table booked at a restaurant which seems quite nice. In other words, it’s going to be a long but lovely day! The highly distinguished Niles von Fluffenstein will therefore be retreating to my grandparents’ house, where he will be spoiled with long walks and lots of cuddles until tomorrow.

A small trip like this feels like the perfect way to start the new year, as it will surely fill me up with inspiration. Although I can’t wait to tackle some of the things I have planned, I suppose we all need a little break from time to time.

Cheesy Christmas movies – a rant about A Christmas Prince, The Royal Wedding

I’ll admit it. I love cheesy Christmas movies. Not because of them being genuinely good movies, but because of their guilty pleasure-value. It’s fun to make fun of, with the occasional moment that actually gets to you and you might even shed a tear (or several, because I’m such a girl). So – I had last Friday all to myself because Oskar was away at a company Christmas party. An excellent time for guilty pleasures, in my opinion.

You know, I quite enjoyed the first movie, A Christmas Prince. It had a certain something to it which made it feel cosy and nice, and therefore it should be no surprise that I decided to watch its sequel, A Christmas Prince, The Royal Wedding.

Ok, that’s enough backstory, let’s start the rant. There will be spoilers, obviously.

The amount of ridiculous things in this movie is truly baffling, even for someone like me who actually enjoys corny movies. I’ve therefore made a list of things that I noticed whilst watching. Some of it will seem nitpicky, but I simply couldn’t resist.

  • There is a scene with four people sitting in front of a computer, each of them having a cup with a hot beverage. The funny thing here is that all four cups are different from each other in size, colour, patterns, everything. And this is a CASTLE. This just made me wonder if the royal family of Aldovia couldn’t get a set of matching cups.
  • The wedding planner is an Indian gay guy who is so over-the-top that it makes me cringe into my cushions. Also, who starts to plan a wedding only a week before it will take place?
  • Amber’s father. We all know this standard character, the one that is supposed to be very out of place in a high class/royal environment because they’re so “down to earth” and familiar. That’s him, times 10, despite him only being one person.
  • It’s always nice when the plot requires some hacking skills to solve a problem, and all of a sudden, someone on the team just happens to be really good at hacking! How lucky that someone could take care of that stuff right when they needed it.
  • What’s up with the archery? It’s thrown in so haphazardly that I’m not sure if it’s supposed to be a call back to the first movie or if an earlier draft of the script had a proper purpose for it that made sense, but was cut out later on. Also, who keeps a bow and quiver/arrow set as wall decorations in a castle? Swords and shields I get. Suits of armour I get. But archery set?
  • This is a corny detail that I actually loved because it made me laugh, and that was Amber’s notes as she was talking to a guy about the strange on-goings in Aldovia. You know it’s pristine journalism when they write “fishy” in their notes. Just in case she forgets that there’s something… well… fishy going on.
  • I haven’t been to many weddings, but isn’t the dramatic wedding fanfare supposed to play after the ceremony is concluded and the couple is exiting the church? Here it plays as the bride walks up to the altar, and it felt really weird. As if she would have to march to keep up with the music.
  • Speaking of churches. Never been to a royal wedding either, but oh my did they pick the smallest church they could find for this wedding. It just looked so sad, and the only guests were members of staff and that boy the little princess has a crush on. I have to say, I was expecting a little more royal flair!
  • Oh the shoes! Listen, if you’re the kind of person who can’t walk in heels and prefers to wear flats – specifically converse – in your everyday life, that would of course mean that you would prefer to wear converse on your wedding day, too. Because people are that one-dimensional.
  • We have to talk about the crown jewels. So – we’re at a photoshoot for Amber and the King (I’ve forgotten his name, aaaah), and Amber wants to wear a locket of sentimental value. But then, the Indian gay guy insists that she should wear the crown jewels, and takes out this very modern looking necklace. It’s a floral design on what looks like a heavy chain, and it’s gorgeous – but it doesn’t exactly say “crown jewels” as much as “fashion spread in a magazine”.
  • This might just be my foot phobia talking – but I really didn’t need the close-up of her gay friend’s foot as she painted his toenails. I mean, it’s Tuesday now and I’m still not over it.

I had so much more, believe me, this movie is full of weird decisions. Overall I had a fun time watching it, but I have to admit that I wasn’t quite prepared for what I was getting. I’d recommend seeing it with friends, though. Maybe add some drinks, that would surely make it even more enjoyable.

Summer recollections and Winter madness

Every morning when I wake up, I am immediately surprised that it’s December. Seriously, where did October and November go? Usually by this time I have already started getting tired of knitted jumpers and woollen coats (which is depressingly early in Sweden given the fact that winter lasts until May here). Not this year, though! I’ve only just started wearing them! Also, I can clearly remember the hot summer we had, and all the things that came with it. Like how difficult it was to sleep because of the heat. I remember swimming in the ocean and it not being too cold for once. I remember all the spiders on the boat during our sailing trip. Every single one of them.

My point is, summer was yesterday. Today is December and we’re already half-way to Christmas.

People around me are buying Christmas presents, decorating their homes and baking seasonal treats, and here I am, completely baffled and nowhere near the Christmas spirit that they seem to emulate. I’m just running around in circles trying to make sense of my second draft.

I suppose the reason why I’m feeling stressed by this is that I had hoped to be much further along in editing my manuscript than what I am. I had set a goal for myself to start finding beta readers in the beginning of January, and I honestly don’t think that will be possible anymore. I’m still changing things on an almost daily basis, therefore it would be impractical to let anyone read it. It’s always sad when you realise that you can’t reach a certain goal, but I’m also very much aware that when it comes to writing, patience is key. Not just any key, I mean a sneaky key that likes to play hide-and-seek.

I’m not going to beat myself up over it because that won’t make it go any faster. I’m just surprised, and a little taken aback at how fast the months fly by, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels like this! Anyway, this post was just a side note (i.e. distraction), since I’m supposed to be working on planning this week’s Youtube video. Speaking of which, I should really get back to that.

I hope everyone else is having a great week (and that you’re not panicking about the upcoming year-end)!

My unattainable satisfaction of a proper working structure

I’ve always been a big fan of the slow and steady. Being in control of every aspect of my life is my constant, ever-persistent goal. I’m just one of those people who are genuinely frightened of spontaneity, and all forms of surprises are met with reluctance, fear and excessive sweating.

I suppose it’s no surprise that I’m naturally gifted at staying home and work by myself. I’ve always been a firm believer in that, wherever we have a weakness, we are equally strong in something else. Humans are creatures of nature, and nature will always strive for balance.

(There is, however, an ugly truth for people like me. Having 100% control in all aspects of your life is close to impossible. This means that no matter how hard I try – how diligent I am in my work – in the end there will always be more left to do. It’s just one of those harsh realities that I’ve come to accept. Reluctantly, but still.)

This should give you some idea of how I go about my daily life. Simply put, I like planning.

I’ve recently come to the realisation that planning and creative work don’t go that well together. It’s like oil and milk. There is a general rule of thumb that says all writers (or rather, anyone who wants to take their writing seriously) should value routine over inspiration. Contrary to popular belief, inspiration doesn’t write books. Only routine does – and here’s where things get tricky. For some reason, I’m constantly fighting this.

Yes, I know. I’m contradicting myself.

There’s something about the creative work that makes me want to challenge everything that I stand for. I’m finding it difficult to plan my creativity, which makes me frustrated. It’s like trying to trap something abstract and delicate – it slips through my fingers like water. Don’t get me wrong, this is not some excuse for not working. I’m always working, whether it be on my manuscript, character or worldbuilding, my Youtube channel, blog/social media or concept art. Always.

It’s the lack of structure that irks me. I’ve tried so many different approaches to this and I can’t seem to find one that works in the long run. Having a good structure for the creative work as well as a suitable divide between that and marketing is my main concern. I can’t seem to get it right, and it triggers my inner (and outer) control freak. I end up running in circles for a while before going back to square one.

Well, this was a cheerful rant. How satisfying it would be if the ending paragraph involved some sort of magical solution. Not today, I’m afraid. All I can say for sure is; if anyone who’s reading this feels the same way about their work and life, you’re not alone! The only thing we can do is to keep trying and take it one day at a time, slow and steady and all that.

How a corny teen movie can change your outlook on life

So there I was, browsing through Netflix and waiting for my newest video to load into the program, and I came across some of those typically “corny” movies that families watch around Christmas. They are full of clichées and over-the-top characters. Most of them are about teens, bonus points if they’re troubled, and the plot is all about them fighting to reach their dreams. It’s usually something active, like figure skating, gymnastics or dancing. Now, I’m a big tragedy enthusiast, but my poor little heart has a real soft spot for these movies.

I kid you not. I watched a movie called Ice Princess and cried real, adult tears. (All this girl ever wanted was to be a figure skater! Why couldn’t her mum just be supportive?!)

I realise that I’m not these movies’ typical audience, they’re generally intended for teens who’re still trying to figure out what they want from life. To be fair, I figured that out less than 10 months ago and I will be 30 next year. Come to think of it, maybe more adults should watch movies like this (I do think you need to watch alone though, as I think it would be far too easy to make fun of it if you have company).

In a way it was like a time warp and a wish fulfilment – all in one. The familiar “oh to be young again” nostalgia mixed with a nauseating remembrance of what it was like actually being a teenager. No matter how nostalgic we might feel about our teen years, in the end we’re usually pretty relieved they’re in the past.

So what did I really gain from this experience? Apart from getting really sentimental, I also found it surprisingly inspirational. No matter how ridiculous these movies can be at times, the moral of the story is usually to follow your dreams and dare to fight for them. I see so many adults that dream of doing something different with their lives, but they never actually do it. They are comfortable with their normal jobs even if it isn’t exactly what they wanted. They’re afraid to risk that comfort and go into unfamiliar territory, no matter how much they dream of it.

I was that person once, but when given an opportunity to change things – I took it. The situation I’m in now is somewhat similar. I’m determined to become a published author, and I’m fully prepared to fight for this dream to become a reality. Sometimes, we need to evoke our inner teenager to awaken that obsession that makes us go for it. I guess these corny teen movies reminded me of this – that even if I feel low or unmotivated, the fight isn’t over as long as my goal is worth it.

Even bad weeks have an end

So, this week was supposed to be really productive. I had it all planned, since Oskar was in Thailand with work I wanted to get a lot of writing and filming done, as having the apartment to myself all week would be a great advantage in this regard. Then I remembered that having high expectations means that you set yourself up for disappointment from the start. I know I sound pessimistic, but hear me out.

I’m usually the kind of person who always prepares for the worst – because I prefer being pleasantly surprised rather than the opposite. Sounds reasonable, right? People around you may think you’re a bit of a bore but honestly, keeping your expectations low from the start will have you exceeding them on a regular basis.

I had a good flow these last couple of weeks, and it got me into a false sense of security. Since I had been exceeding my expectations for a while, I must have raised them subconsciously and thereby gotten myself a bit cocky in regards to my capabilities.

I suppose what I’m trying to say is that we’re all human, we all have bad days or bad weeks. Sometimes we need a break from productivity and our minds and bodies tell us this by becoming completely uncooperative. This week was like that for me. Even the smallest task felt like an Everest to climb, I had no motivation at all. But you know, even bad weeks have an end. I’m hoping that the upcoming one will be better – although this time, I’ll make sure to keep my expectations low…!

I’m off to Scotland!

My mum gave me this as a birthday present – a weekend with her in Edinburgh. Our plane leaves later this afternoon. As with all travel days, today will be a bit of a stressful day. Speaking of stress, this journey almost got canceled. Can you imagine, my mum tried to do our check-in yesterday so that we wouldn’t have to think about that today. There was an error on the site, forcing her to contact customer services, who told her that they had been unable to charge her card. Therefore – they had canceled our booking.

Seriously.

No one had even tried to notify her about this. No calls, emails or anything. The strange thing is, we booked a flight and hotel as a package deal, and they were apparently able to charge us for the hotel room – but not the flight. Not that that made any difference, as the hotel in question didn’t even get our reservation. What a nightmare.

We managed to fix it last night by panic booking the last two seats on another plane, as well as a last-minute BnB as the hotel we were supposed to stay at was now fully booked. Need I even mention that there were one or two glasses of wine at the end of that roller coaster?

I’m determined not to let this ruin our holiday, though. We plan on having lots of fun with museums, shopping, tea and scones as well as pleasant walks around Old Town. I’m sure it’s going to be magical. Speaking of which, J.K. Rowling lived in Edinburgh when she wrote the first Harry Potter books, and several places are said to have inspired her during her writing. Well, I’m ready to be inspired!

Time to start packing!

Where’s motivation when you need it?

Sometimes, you have plans. Those plans are great, and you’re looking forward to making progress. Today was just one of those days. I was planning on making and uploading a video today, but in the end, I couldn’t manage it. Not really sure why, but my mood today is just terrible, I have zero motivation and I want nothing more than to binge Netflix and take a break from everything that requires thinking.

I did film though, but it was terribly difficult to remember my script and I can’t improvise to save my life. I suppose this is the second bump on the road that I’ve encountered since I started my Youtube channel. But that’s alright. All that matters is attitude, and hopefully tomorrow will be better.

Quiet morning

I’m currently sitting o20180814_163241n my blue couch, eating breakfast and watching a Netflix documentary on the trilogy Back to the future. I love quiet weekend mornings. Just had a lovely walk with Niles in the sleepy neighbourhood, strolling about in the weak, morning sun. I find the empty streets so calming. Since we live in the city center, we rarely get that quiet calm. So I have to enjoy it while it lasts.

Today’s going to be a productive day. Oskar is away on a boat convention, so I thought I’d focus on getting some work done! I want to finish up my world map 2.0 (will be talking about the mapping process in worldbuilding in next week’s video). If I manage to finish today I’ll move on to some editing. Or just, if my hand starts to protest. Drawing is hard, guys.

So yeah. That’s about it! My productive, quiet Saturday calls.

Cheers people.

Announcement!

I’m happy to announce that I just registered my domain! Hurray!

I can’t even begin to tell you how awesome it feels to just type arnellahobler.com and have my site appear. (Small note; if you can’t see the change yet, it’s because it’s somewhat unreliable for the first 72 hrs.)

Now I can finally say that I, too, have a professional author blog. 🙂

I also played around for a bit with new themes, and decided on a change that I think is for the better (although I’m not too pleased with the menus on the top like that, I’ll see if I can get used to it).

This was a short post. I’m working on the script for tomorrow’s Youtube video, so I need to focus on that today. I will be talking about some common mistakes to avoid when writing historical fiction. If everything goes according to plan, it should be a good one!