I used to be a big town boy when it came to holidays. London, Berlin, Amsterdam were my favourite destinations. In the last years, however, things dramatically changed. My idea of a great holiday is being in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by trees and animals, spending evenings sitting by a bonfire ideally somewhere near the water.

Except… terms and conditions apply…

Nature Boy taking photos with his smartphone.

This is Arnarstapi, one of the most incredible places I’d ever been to. I loved it. Everything about it. The screams of birds, the basalt columns, the fury of the waves, the smell of the air, even the drizzle. The feeling of being alone with nature, being a small part of it and nothing more than that. Not checking my messages, emails, not getting phone calls (not that I do phonecalls). Unfortunately, there was a catch. When we decided we were cold and wet enough, we went to a lovely cafe and had the most delicious apple pie with caramel. Then we drove back home, warm thanks to the airco. Once we arrived, we took off our coats and leathers as the modern geothermic heating system allowed us to be as warm as we wanted to be. Of course, I had to share pictures and stories with everyone on social media. What good is being in nature if everyone doesn’t know?!

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Sara Crawford at The Creative Penn, “5 Reasons This Is The Best Time To Be A Creator”:

Before the internet, it was much more difficult to share your art—even if you were just trying to get feedback. You would have to go through the long process of traditional publishing if you were a writer. […] The internet has opened up the world for us creatives, and we should be grateful for that every single day.

With subscription services like Kindle Unlimited and Netflix, there is literally an unlimited number of books, movies, and TV shows we can have access to for a minimal monthly fee. There is an unlimited number of free songs, books, videos, photographs, and podcasts we all have access to. There are so many free books on Amazon at any given time, there’s even a Top 100 free books listed for each genre. […]

So the next time you start to feel overwhelmed by the vast amount of art out there, keep in mind that it’s also a blessing. If you are a creative person, there has never been a better time to create art and share it with the world. And that’s really something to be grateful for.

I feel the second paragraph I quoted above explains everything: this is the best time to be a creator with a day job. (I’m going to skip the topic of piracy, as I wrote about it before.)

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This post is inspired by Anne R. Allen’s post: “Create Believable ‘Troubled’ Characters by Studying Personality Disorders”:

A basic knowledge of personality disorders can help writers create more interesting heroes and supporting characters, too. One of the most memorable detectives in recent fiction was Adrian Monk of the TV show Monk, who suffered from Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder.

So what are personality disorders? They’re a constellation of behaviors that are generally problematic, but not debilitating. They do cause troubling consequences for the person dealing with them—and for those around them. Generally they don’t require hospitalization (with the exception of Borderline patients.)

This is dangerous ground to tread. Let me guide you around a bit. But first a disclaimer: my “expertise” is also quite limited despite having moderated a mental illness forum for years, so I will focus on bipolar and borderline.

Basic knowledge of personality disorders is going to cause the writer the same problems as basic knowledge of, say, racial issues. In real 3D life, people with mood and personality disorders are often reduced from human beings to their disorders, which is especially true in the case of BPD (borderline personality disorder). “She’s borderline, you know? Crazy shit, man, stay away from her.” Perhaps this will surprise you, but I feel having a character utter those words is much better than actually writing a borderline character based on DSM-V and nothing else. Someone who talks like that about a person with a mental illness gives us a very good set of clues about their personality.

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