When you lose sleep, you lose something more than just sleep

I have this thing where, if I drink anything after 8 o’clock in the evening, I will have to get up during the night to go to the bathroom. I call it my curse. Well, okay, one of my curses (we’re all a little mad here okay).

I’m also very sensitive to sleep deprivation, but I guess everyone is to some extent. So anyway. It’s really the simplest thing in the world; I had some chocolate yesterday evening, and I don’t like eating chocolate unless I have some water with it (I literally do not have a good reason for this). And so naturally, I woke up at around 4 o’clock at night because I needed to go to the bathroom. This is always quite an adventure – because, in our flat, the bathroom and the bedroom are on opposite sides of the flat. So I did a bit of googling and found out that our 96 square meters is 1033 square feet. That’s the walk I have to take in order to get to the bathroom, and I usually don’t turn on the lights, but it depends on how dark it is outside. I do have to watch my step, though, because Niles likes to place his toys/balls very strategically in the hallway so that we accidentally kick them when we walk there (because that means play time!!!) – and there’s quite a big risk of slipping and falling on them.

You see now why this is a bit of an adventure? Wow, this turned out longer than I expected. Anyway, so last night I had one of these nightly walks, and no, nothing bad happened, I didn’t slip on Niles’ toys or anything (why would anyone think that?), but I simply couldn’t fall back asleep when I got back. So there I was, and I spent a few hours with my own anxious thoughts just trying to fall asleep, until eventually I had to get up and get started with the laundry.

Why am I telling you all this? Well, I’m a complete wreck today. It’s funny how, when you lose sleep, you’re not just tired, you’re not really yourself. Kind of like being drunk. It doesn’t matter if you try to be productive, you just can’t. Today is also Tuesday, which is normally the day when I write and prepare scripts for my weekly videos. I have therefore decided that this week’s video will be a TAG video. I found one that seems really fun for both the one doing it as well as the people watching, so I hope it will turn out well. So this was a strange blog post, I have to admit. But then again, I’m not really myself today.

Thanks for stopping by. I hope everyone else is having a great day and are feeling rested!

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The beauty of nature – especially when it’s odd

We had a lovely mini-hike yesterday where we went to the nature reserve of Skrylle. There’s a certain charm about the rugged, winter landscape here in Sweden. The silhouette of naked trees against a white sky makes for a cold and dead impression, but the faint rippling of a nearby stream still breathes life into the surroundings.

Niles had a great time getting himself very muddy as he ran along the trail.

I wouldn’t go as far as calling myself an “outdoorsy” person. I’m far too comfortable at home on my couch to be able to uphold such a title – but I do appreciate nature whenever I get the chance to visit it. There are so many peculiar things about nature that really inspires me. It could be an oddly shaped tree or a cute little mushroom growing all by itself in a meadow. Contrary to what science often tells us, there are no rules in nature. It does whatever it feels like doing, even if, sometimes, that doesn’t always make sense.

Humans are so obsessed with rules, and truthfully, I’m no different. We like things to make sense. It’s satisfying to know how things work and to be able to detect a pattern. I suppose that’s why I find the strange decisions nature makes to be so interesting. They surprise me, but in a good way (because I generally don’t like surprises). The next time you visit nature, have a look around for some odd things – I’m sure you’ll find many. Take a moment to appreciate it, because, after all, lucky are those who can see beauty in their surroundings.

Why don’t we end with a lovely little quote from Jane Austen:

A mind lively and at ease, can do with seeing nothing, and sees nothing that does not answer.

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.

I finished the second draft!

Yesterday was a milestone – a pretty big one, too! Like the title says, I finished my second draft. To explain it a little further, I finished editing the first draft. I feel like I have a new understanding of novels and how they are created. The first draft is, without doubt, terrible. I don’t think there is a writer out there whose first drafts are flawless. Once you start really looking into your writing, your world, your characters, the plot oh my god, the plot… you realise you have a lot of work to do.

It would be interesting to have a specific number showing how much of the first draft I kept and how much was deleted or rewritten. Trust me, it’s not much at all. Kind of a depressing thought when you think about it: I spent six months writing the first draft, and ended up rewriting most of it. Even the outline changed as I worked. But you know, it’s still not a “waste of time” because in the end, my book will be better for it. I’ll probably do a lot of rewriting again once I start with the third draft.

However, before I start with that, I’m going to have a look at my characters and their arcs. I did this for one of my antagonists the other week, just to see how useful it would be: I wrote their backstory, from childhood and up, and then I wrote their side of the story in the book, kind of like an overview of their perspective. I had always known in my head what this character’s personal journey would be, but now I put it into words and fleshed out the details of it. It turned out great, really great. I see this character in a new light now, I know every move they make and why – that is the most important thing for a story in my opinion. Every character has to have a reason for their actions.

I have decided to do this for every important character in the manuscript before starting with the third draft. Some people might think that I’m very late to do this now, but I’m actually quite slow when it comes to building characters. I need to create them as I write my story, they come alive in the setting I’ve made up for them. I have a feeling that this exercise would also be very helpful in discovering potential plot holes and such, which is an added bonus. So that’s what I’ll be working on now!

I hope everyone else is having a pleasant Monday 🙂

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)!