As I might have mentioned once or twice, I am (hopefully) getting close to finishing my first novel, Storytellers, historical suspense with fantasy elements set in Iceland between 1885-1920. Here’s an honest confession about my delusions…
Having read approximately 15823098 articles on writing, I was under the impression that a book is written in three drafts. The first is for the writer. The second is for beta-readers. The third is when everything gets fixed, becomes perfect, and I get my first Pulitzer Prize.
Things didn’t turn out that way.
On January 1, 2017, I started working on the first draft of the story I’ve been carrying in my head ever since I dreamt it years earlier. I vomited rather than wrote that first draft. It took me two weeks to produce roughly a hundred thousand words. At this point, I didn’t know yet where the book would be set, so I went for generic “village” and “ocean” terms. But of course, I was already starting to get obsessed with Iceland. When I read Independent People and Wasteland With Words, I realised it was the perfect setting. In fact, it seemed as if Gods created Iceland with the sole purpose of helping me write the novel.
Rachel Thompson on her blog, “The Reasons Social Media Breaks Can Help Our Mental Health”:
The camaraderie which drew me to Twitter, Facebook, other channels, and even blogging is now full of blowhards teeming with rage and vitriol about well, everything. From books to politics to #MeToo to even cats (always a safe choice), sharing our lived truths has now become filled with denials, gaslighting, and people thrusting their absolute right to judge with aggressive opinions on what others have lived and experienced — and I’m just super fucking over it.
[…] For visibility sake, I strongly recommend it [social media]. For your mental health sake? If it’s too much, take a break or hire someone to handle it all for you. An aside: I have one client who simply cannot focus on writing if she checks into social media, so she only handles Instagram (because she’s a photographer and she loves the photog community there). She has never once logged into her Twitter, Facebook, G+, LinkedIn, or Pinterest, and says she never will (and she’s got many, many bestsellers). She simply finds it too overwhelming and stressful.
I’ve been tweaking my own social media, because of how it’s been affecting me mentally. It used to drain me, make me feel bad about myself… and then it got better.
I just returned from my retreat to Germany, but I wish I didn’t have to. I’ve been here a few times before, but every time I discover something new, and this trip wasn’t an exception.
Part 1 here
A nice, soothing sound
The place was never completely silent. Not just because of insects buzzing or wood cracking in the fire. For the first time, I noticed some sort of constant white noise somewhere in the background. Sea, a thought flashed in my mind. But there was no sea nearby as far as I knew. Wind? And then I went for a long walk, choosing a different direction than I have before, only to discover it was…a motorway.
The whole place is located in a nature reserve, so I was quite taken aback. In fact, I almost felt personally offended. You can’t place motorways in my private paradise! And then, as one of my friends phrased it, I realised that my glass wasn’t only half-full instead of half-empty. It was completely filled. The motorway’s soothing, constant noise…calmed me down. The thing was located just near enough to be convenient and just far enough for me to not really know it was there.
No pictures of the motorway, because I am almost certain you know what motorways look like.
Alone, but not lonely
I walked on. I saw cows and bulls. Horses. Dogs. More horses. In fact, during my entire stay, I’ve seen more horses than people. It’s been a long time since I felt so upset by my back injuries because there is nothing I would have loved to do more than to ride on horseback again. That desire became stronger even than my dream of returning to forging, and it also brought a realisation: I now prefer animals to people. Our apartment in Amsterdam is located on top of a bar, and our neighbours regularly arrange shouting matches, sometimes in the middle of the night. The nearest park is ten minutes away by bike. The Fairytale Garden in the middle of not-so-much-nowhere gives me everything I could possibly need.