Another week has passed

Last week, my aim was to get more editing done by cutting down some of my blogging and social media time. I have to say that it has proven most effective. Like I’ve said earlier, writing and marketing are polar opposites when it comes to the mindset of the writer, and I’ve found that I struggle a lot when toggling these different mindsets. The result was simple; I got 2 chapters done instead of one.

I’ve decided to continue with this for the upcoming week, to the point where I’m even sacrificing my weekly Youtube video to get more chapters done. You’d be surprised at how much time goes into making a video of 8-10 minutes in average length! You have to plan and structure the content, record the video and edit all the raw footage into something that feels accessible and (hopefully) fun to watch. Don’t get me wrong, I love doing it and every week is such a learning experience, but it’s impossible to deny that it’s time-consuming.

I suppose this is just another experiment where I will see how much I can manage to do without any other distractions (although, there might be the occasional blog post or IG post if I need a break from editing). The reason why I really want to get more editing done is that I only have 5 chapters left! Well, for the second draft, that is. After that, I’ll start with the third draft. But I have this goal that I want to start looking for beta readers at the beginning of January, and in order to do that, I have to have a final draft.

Anyway, I hope everyone else is making progress on whatever projects they’re working on, and I hope you have a pleasant week ahead. 🙂

AuthorTube Newbie Video

Greetings people! I uploaded a new video today, called AuthorTube Newbie Tag. The point of this tag is to answer 13 questions about you as a writer and authortuber. I know – I’ve been doing Authortube for several months, but I still feel like a newbie most of the time. (insert awkward smile here)

If you want to get to know me as a writer a little better, hear about the misfortune of my first ever novel writing attempt, or just want to stare at Niles’ fluff for 10 minutes, then be my guest and take a look.

Cheers 🙂


New week, new goals!

It’s seriously troubling how fast the weeks go by. I had planned to have my book ready for beta reads around Christmas time/end of the year, but now I’m a little worried that I won’t be able to reach that goal. I’m still working on my second draft, and I wanted to give myself a third (or even fourth) before starting to look for beta readers. Some chapters are obviously more complicated than others and would, therefore, need a little extra love before the send-off.

Like I’ve said before, I’m that kind of person who likes to worry in advance. Trust me, I am painfully aware of this flaw/quirk/issue of mine. It’s because of this that I have to try and ignore some anxiety-inducing thoughts if I want to be able to do anything at all, instead of just worrying about it in en endless loop of what-ifs.

With that in mind, here’s what I hope to be able to achieve this week:

WRITING: I want to finish editing my mid-point, meaning chapter 13 and 14. It was only one chapter at first, but as I was editing it I realised it was far too cluttered and busy so I decided to split it. I’m already about half-way through chapter 13 so, hopefully, this won’t be too much.

YOUTUBE: I want to prepare, film and edit a video on my comparison between The Ladies’ Paradise – the novel – and The Paradise – the tv series. This will complete my video review of the book that I made last week. I’ve made some really interesting observations that I would like to share. After this however, it’s back to writing vlogs.

OTHER: I will try to stay on top of Instagram updates and some blogging, but I’m not pressuring myself too hard with that this week.

So – those were my goals for this week! It feels like quite a lot, I must say, and I might have to sacrifice some evenings as well. But I know it will be worth it in the end. In my point of view, there’s no greater satisfaction that the feeling of accomplishment.

Have a great Monday everyone!

The bravery and vulnerability of being a writer

Most writers that I talk to all seem to have one thing in common: we’re all incredibly self-conscious of anything that we create. We are our own worst critics, this is a hard truth indeed.

The reason behind this isn’t that we don’t enjoy our stories. We have, after all, crafted them carefully with the intent of them being good. We pour our hearts and souls into our work, and by doing so, it makes us all the more vulnerable. The mere thought of another person reading our work and finding it bad is the most terrifying thought.

Someone once said that it is only when facing our fears that we can truly be brave. I find that this resonates well with the idea of publishing a book. All authors, no matter their level of success, have gone through this act of bravery when publishing their books. And I dare say that all of them, again – no matter their level of success – must have found it utterly terrifying.

We have this intense hope within us that our books will speak to their readers. That we will be able to connect with other people through our stories. This is why we must open ourselves up to vulnerability, because if we don’t, then how are we supposed to achieve this? It’s a great risk for sure. There is no guarantee that success will follow just because you write with your heart and soul.

I haven’t published any books yet, but in my case, making the decision to self-publish was still quite scary. I know which road to take. It’s up to me now to continue down this road, to eventually take that leap of bravery – but without the affirmation of a traditional publisher in my corner. It’s amazing how you can both look forward to something as well as dread it. I suppose only time will tell what happens at the end of it.

What writers can learn from the classics

I recently finished reading The Ladies’ Paradise, written by Émile Zola, first published in 1883. To be fair, I hadn’t heard of this book before so I’m not sure how much of a cult classic it is, but I decided to give it a shot anyway.

I found it interesting, to say the least. There were a lot of issues of course, especially regarding the characters, and I will go through this in more detail in my upcoming review/discussion vlog that I’m filming today. I also had some issues with the pacing and such, but what I’d like to talk about here is that special little je ne sais quoi that this book has.

Firstly, it gives the reader an incredible insight into the inner workings of the 19th century Parisian department store. From a business perspective, it’s very interesting indeed. In a time before computers and digital currency, a business of this scale was like a clockwork of processes all depending on human diligence to function. I was very much intrigued by this.

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I always say that I don’t like it when historical fiction portrays a romanticised picture of the past – which brings me to my next point. As this is a Naturalist work of fiction, it is rather the opposite. The harsh reality of the 1800s is ever-present in this book. Most of the side characters, if not all of them, get unhappy or even tragic endings. The main character goes through some awful circumstances as well such as poverty and starvation. Never, not even once, is this portrayed as something romantic. It’s gritty and gruelling, and I absolutely love it.

Therefore, I find it difficult to say for sure what I thought about this book. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t good either. I find that the plot and the characters are the most important elements of any good book – and in this case, it didn’t really have any of that. What it did have though was an amazing setting and some interesting prose (unless it went completely nuts, which happened quite a lot).

All in all, I would say that anyone who’s interested in learning more about the developments of business and capitalism in 1800s Paris will have a fairly nice read, whereas if you want a nice period love story, you might get disappointed. I suppose that’s where my biggest problem was; I went in expecting something entirely different than what I ended up getting.

Monday, lovely Monday

I am determined to get back on track this week. I’ve already made a light start by tackling chapter 11, and hopefully I will finish editing it either today or tomorrow. I’m slightly apprehensive though, because I know what’s waiting around the corner…

The mid-climax.

I had so much trouble here when writing the first draft, it’s the only chapter in the manuscript that still has placeholders – I simply couldn’t figure it out the first time around! That’s usually a clear sign that it needs a lot of work. Perhaps even a complete renovation. We’ll see when I get there though, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Apart from moving along with my chapters, I will also try my best to get another writing vlog out this week. I’m sad that I couldn’t manage to film last week, but I know that the end result would have been terrible, so there was no point in even trying. Goodness, that sounded really bad. What I mean is that it wouldn’t have been entertaining enough for a fruit fly, much less my small yet distinguished audience.

I suppose I should get back to it then, if I actually want to reach my goals. I wish everyone a happy and productive week!

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…!

The pressures of impactful dialogue

I had a plan for this week that I don’t think I’ll be able to follow. It was my intent to make a new map for my world – which would include more countries and areas that I’m working on – but I simply can’t find the motivation to work on it. It’s rather frustrating, to be honest. I love maps and I want the map making process to be fun and exciting, not dreary and dull.

I think the reason behind that is because I’m slightly overwhelmed by where I’m currently at in my editing.

I’m on chapter 11 at the moment, still second draft. It’s getting harder though. I’ve been having some trouble creating impactful dialogue – the kind that really shows a character’s personality, gives hints of their weaknesses and strengths. This is especially important in some scenes, where something significant happens… for example… when a character meets a love interest for the first time.

It’s interesting how an entire novel can feel too short for what you want to say. It simply can’t go on forever if you want the end product to be good and keep the readers’ interest. Therefore, moments like the one I just mentioned become exceptionally important. It needs to be impactful, every spoken line has to be there for a reason, have a purpose. It’s a lot of pressure, that’s all!

Maybe I’m asking too much of myself for trying to achieve that on my second draft. But as I’ve said before, I’m a perfectionist, and that’s a difficult habit to break. I’ll have to try my best though, my story deserves better than me not finishing it because I get stuck and over-complicate things. Sometimes, we just have to move forward even if we’re not 100% pleased with the previous step – it leaves a bit of a sour aftertaste but we can always go back to it later.

Vlog is now up!

My first writing vlog is officially up! If you are in any way interested in discussing writing, writing first drafts and editing chapters, feel free to give it a watch and let me know if you agree, or if you have different views and experiences. (And yes, it’s rather embarrassing that I just now figured out that I could just paste the link in the blog post.)

First time filming without a script

I just filmed my vlog about chapters! It’s a real mess, truthfully, but I hope to be able to make sense of it during editing. This was my very first video without a formal script – I had basically just made a list of points that I wanted to talk about, so that was an interesting experience. Not really sure if I like it though, we’ll see what the end result is before I pass my sentence on it!

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My more casual filming setup! I thought, since I’m filming myself just talking about my experience and views, I would need a more casual setup. So here it is.

I’ve always admired Youtubers who can just sit down with a camera in front of them and talk cohesively for like an hour, with minimal cutting. It might just be me being inexperienced, but I find it really difficult to talk without a script. Not when I’m with my friends, obviously, but when I’m alone with a camera my mind just goes blank for some reason. It’s probably just some kind of performance anxiety that goes away with time.

The video will be posted tomorrow, as Thursdays are my usual upload days. 🙂

I hope you all have a lovely day!