*NOW CLOSED* Free ebook!* Download Now!

Ready, set, GO!

My ebook When Colour Became Grey is available for free NOW in all Amazon stores! Download it anytime between Thursday 26th November 8am UK time // 9am CET and Saturday 28th November 7.59am UK time // 8.59am CET. Click on the country-specific links below, or head over to Amazon and add it to your cart!

*Note; the paperback is still at the standard price, but the ebook is available for free. Just click on the format type on Amazon to get the free Kindle version*

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Amazon India

Amazon France

Amazon Germany

Happy reading! 🙂 And yes, there will be a sequel!

[If you liked the book, please leave a review online. 🙂 ]

Using your emotions to write

*ebook promotion reminder!* My ebook When Colour Became Grey will be available FOR FREE to download from Thursday 26th November 8am UK time // 9am CET until Saturday 28th November 7.59am UK time // 8.59am CET. Get ready to download in just a few days! 🙂

Whatever you’re feeling, you can use your emotions to write and let yourself be inspired by them. Depending on what genre you write, there will be emotions communicated in your writing. If your book is a horror story, the emotions may be mostly sinister, but there are still a multitude of emotions you can explore within that dark setting.

Sometimes writing is used to escape your current life situation. But what if your feelings are just too present? What if you cannot dissociate from them? As they say, if you cannot beat them, join them. In that sense, if you are having trouble connecting to your book and characters, then focus on parts of the book that are similar emotionally to your current state of mind.

Right now, I’m in lockdown, it’s cold and dark outside. I’m feeling depressed, lonely, annoyed, restless, angry. So when I write I will focus on parts of the book that are centered around betrayal, heartbreak, loneliness and despair. It will be harder for me to describe a summer wedding right now, unless I can completely disconnect from my current surrounding. And while I often can disconnect, sometimes the things in my personal life are just too present. But this doesn’t mean you cannot utilize what you feel. That way you’re not limited to writing only when you’re in a particular state of mind that fits the plot line.

What are you currently feeling? How is your writing going this winter season?

[Disclaimer: I’m working on the sequel of When Colour Became Grey, but any scenes described in this blog are always just examples. There are no spoilers in my description above. 😉 ]

How to find time to write

*ebook promotion reminder!* My ebook When Colour Became Grey will be available FOR FREE to download from Thursday 26th November 8am UK time // 9am CET until Saturday 28th November 7.59am UK time // 8.59am CET. Remember to mark your calendars and tell your friends & family!

There is a difference between finding the time to write, and finding the motivation to write. Or is there?

We all have 24 hours in the day. No more and no less. Look at your average day and quantify how much time you actually spend indulging. Look at your average weekend, your work week, your month, and have a rough idea of how much time you spend relaxing, watching tv, scrolling on your phone, talking on the phone with friends/family, going out to socialize [pre-lockdown obviously…], etc. There is now a focus on how much time we spend endlessly scrolling through feeds without really doing anything productive. And I’m guilty of it too. I often catch myself doing something completely mindlessly and wasting my time doodling around.

You will realize you have lots of time, but you do other things. If you really want to dedicate time to your craft, be it writing, or building a boat, or whatever it may be, you have to compromise and choose to sit down and work on your craft instead of doing something else.

Look into if you can save time by organizing yourself. Don’t go shopping and wander through the aisles looking for inspiration for dinner. Have a plan, have a shopping list, make it your goal to reduce your time. Look at utilizing the time that is basically “lost” in your daily life, like commuting/driving while doing errands. Maybe you can’t write when you’re standing in a crowded train, but you can read. You can read books in your genre, or read educational books on whatever it is you want to learn or improve in. If you’re in a car, there are audible books, podcasts and many more tools to not let that time go to waste.

The answer to both finding the time to write, and finding the motivation to write, is the same (in my opinion). Because the “magic” trick is to simply take the decision to carve that time out of your daily or weekly time and sit down and do it. How do you motivate yourself to write? Sit down and don’t let yourself get distracted and remind yourself what your goal is. Do you want to write a book? Master a new skill? Learn a new language? Then take it one day at a time and work on it little by little. And keep at it.

Lockdown Repeat – let’s get creative

*ebook promotion announcement!* My ebook When Colour Became Grey will be available FOR FREE to download from Thursday 26th November 8am UK time // 9am CET until Saturday 28th November 7.59am UK time // 8.59am CET. Tell your friends, mark your calendars and get ready to download! 🙂

We’re now in a second lockdown, and I’m remembering my blog post about the first lockdown and my creative goals. This lockdown isn’t as strict as the first one, and not as long (for now) as the first one, but this time it’s a different season. It’s cold and often rainy outside, so the desire to go outside is certainly not as strong as during the first lockdown. So I would like to try to be more creative this time around. After all, might as well use this time to do something productive (if I can…).

As you can see from the first paragraph, I’m planning an ebook promotion. This will take up a fair bit of time planning and organizing over the next few weeks. I hope to still be able to work on the sequel to When Colour Became Grey in between work and the ebook promotion. In any case, we’re approaching Christmas and this time of the year I feel more creative. You’re indoors, with a cup of tea or coco, curled up on the sofa, a candle or two shimmering on the table. Add to that a bit of calm background music and you’re golden. It doesn’t get much cozier than that! And winter is just beginning, the darkness and long rainy days will continue until March usually so I hope to advance in the sequel even after the second lockdown is lifted.

There is also something about it being cold and wet outside, that creates this atmosphere of mystery and wonder. You can look outside and imagine the darkness weighing on your character as he/she hurries out of danger and into the safety of a tavern. Maybe there’s a sword fight in the rain, or a magic ritual performed that goes wrong…

What are you planning during this lockdown? Do you also have a creative goal?

Using Word features to organize your thoughts

It’s sometimes difficult to keep track of what is happening when, especially if you write a longer book, or to remember if you’ve explained something already or if it’s just in your head.

When I write, I often let my mind wonder and let the fingers type away on my keyboard. I don’t worry too much about how it works in the overall story. I have the outline of the story in the back of my mind, but I don’t interfere or direct my thoughts in any one way or another.

In draft one, I have lots of scenes and patches written. Next step is about connecting and changing them so they make sense and fit together. I don’t write the whole story in the first draft.

Often I will have many open questions that remain unanswered for months on end, until I figure out what to do with them and how they fit in the story. It can range from a character I haven’t introduced or assigned a role yet, or a scene I don’t know where to place, but it can also be insiders that hint towards something, but I haven’t yet written the corresponding part to it. I need to remember to finish that thought somewhere. For this I use footnotes in Word a lot. I use them to remind myself of plot holes or things that don’t work at the moment. Often I will forget about them until I read the footnote (hence why I always write it down). And reading them repeatedly helps me remind myself of what I still need to figure out. These footnotes accumulate in the back of my mind so when I write new parts, or rewrite parts, I will remember them and incorporate them.

I also use colours when I want to highlight something that is currently written a certain way, but needs to be rewritten, but I can’t figure out how yet.

I also highlight important things that I know will be key moments in the story, so that when I look for them or want to double-check what I wrote previously, I can quickly find it. I use this for example when I introduce a character for the first time.

How do you organize your thoughts when you write?

How many people should read your book before publication?

*My dear readers, I’m very sorry I didn’t post last week. I was away and didn’t manage to write and schedule a post to publish automatically on Sunday beforehand. I’m very sorry about this!*

This is a question I’ve asked myself quite a bit before publishing. I read somewhere that it’s a good idea to send your book out to a group of “test readers” that represent your target audience and see what they think of your book. Ideally you should also be building an audience ahead of the launch and pick out your “test readers” from that audience.

When I first looked into publishing When Colour Became Grey I didn’t have a blog. I had written blogs before but they had nothing to do with writing. And because I had already started working with a professional editor, I didn’t really see how I could get a group of “test readers” to review my book on time before the editor finalized his review. And to be honest I was also very impatient and wanted to publish the book sooner rather than later.

In hindsight I think it could have been beneficial to have early feedback on the book, but I’m still unsure at what stage it would make most sense to gather reader feedback. It’s something I have in the back of my mind for the sequel, but I’m not yet sure how I want to incorporate that into the publishing process. And I have also a lot of questions still to figure out, for example how big the test group should be, which draft version the test readers should get to read, and how to pick the group of test readers.

I have an idea of my target audience, but those that have read When Colour Became Grey have identified a much wider target audience. And how to incorporate early reader feedback also touches on a more philosophical question on how you approach your work; are you writing something and then searching for the audience, or do you get an audience first and then deliver what the audience wants. There is no right or wrong answer, it’s a question of how you see your books.

Was it easier or harder to write during lockdown?

Currently, I’m based in the UK. And we were under lockdown roughly between March and June. Some people have taken that opportunity to write books or music, or even produce a movie.

For me lockdown was not as productive creatively as I would have liked it to be. I was working full-time but I didn’t have to commute and with everything closed, I had a lot more time on my hands. However, especially in the beginning of lockdown it was hard for me to motivate myself to write. Once I was done working, I needed to get some fresh air and movement. Everyone was anxious and I found myself unable to concentrate on writing. I needed more human interaction, not less. Writing is very isolating, because I can’t really write when I’m around people. For me to write well I need to be in a room by myself, with music drowning out any other noise, and no one interrupting me. So this was incompatible with the need for social interactions.

Therefore, unfortunately, I didn’t take advantage of lockdown and write more. I’m very envious of those that used that time to be productive. But I’m also not too hard on myself for not having written more. It was an exceptionally stressful time and while I could have forced myself to stare at a screen and try to come up with words, I knew I would have trouble concentrating and immersing myself into my fantasy worlds. I would have been even more frustrated with myself for not being able to write pages upon pages.

So I took it easy and focused on writing in this blog regularly, write down any new ideas I had, and every now and again work on the sequel to When Colour Became Grey. It’s important to not be too hard on yourself and to allow yourself to also focus on other things. Forcing myself to write can sometimes trigger new ideas, but more often than not it has the opposite effect.

I took advantage of lockdown in other ways by seeing my family for a prolonged time [I was still following guidelines!], by connecting with people through social media, home-gyming and focusing on yoga and mental well-being.
How was lockdown for you? Have you been able to write or pursue your art?

How much is your book based on your own life?

I sometimes get asked if certain characters are a reflection of people around me, or if this or that scene is a direct reflection of my life due to some apparent similarities.

While I do get inspiration from my life, people around me, everyday situations, entertainment (movies, etc.), I don’t transpose “real” things directly into my books. I mostly get inspired by things you cannot really grasp, like a feeling, a look on someone’s face, a dynamic between two people. These are often also not things I’ve lived myself, but rather something I’ve observed.

If you look at the feeling of love as an example, there are different variations of it and different degrees of intensity, so you can explore it in different forms in a fictional setting. Some feelings are also nowadays very neglected such as loyalty, that can be interesting to investigate. If you’re finding it hard to get inspired by your own life, I’ve found that travelling and exploring other cultures can greatly inspire you. Obviously this is not really possible at the moment, but you can try things outside of your normal realm such as watch a movie that is absolutely not your genre, try out different cuisines, learn about a subject you’ve never thought of before.

You can also take something that happened in a real life, and flip it completely around into something creatively more interesting. For example you break up with your partner because he/she cheated. That’s (unfortunately) quite common in real life. But what if you take this and transpose it into a fictional setting; your two characters break up, but instead of being able to go their separate ways, they’re suddenly forced to work together because of… well whatever, you can make it up. And then you observe the character dynamics. Will they be able to put the cheating aside to work together? Are they going to talk about it or are they just going to pretend it didn’t happen and move on? Throw in an old boyfriend or girlfriend in some capacity or another, and see how that changes the dynamic.

Most of my inspiration is not directly linked to my personal life. I like to escape into my fantasy worlds and I don’t need too many reminders of my own life in there. So if there are similarities to my real life, these are purely coincidental. 🙂

Does great writing only come from pain?

There is a theory that all art is best when it’s fueled by pain. While I agree that some art created from pain is great, it can’t only be about pain, and it shouldn’t keep you from writing from a place of happiness.

When you’re in pain, you’re more in need of an outlet where you can share your pain, but “hide” behind the creative aspect of it. When you use a creative way to express your pain, you can direct your pain and manipulate it in a way that’s the most freeing for you. You’re in control of what happens; if you’re writing about a break-up, you can end it differently than it ended in real life. You can share your deepest darkest thoughts, live out a fantasy, and free yourself that way from your pain.

You can seek to be understood, but at the same time you’re separating yourself from your pain by turning it into art. That art is a piece of you, but only a piece and doesn’t reflect your true self (not always at least). And once you write out your pain, you can leave it and find peace.

There is also something interesting about exploring other people’s pains through their art (explore as in live, feel and share). Someone might be able to capture and express through their art what you feel, and it can liberate you as well. Art is a form of communication and a way to link people from across the globe together. Maybe it’s because we all struggle in some form or another in our lives, and it’s easier to connect to art that speaks to some aspect of our life. It gives us an escape, but at the same time it’s a way to be inspired, feel comforted and share our own experiences.

I said at the very top that it can’t only be about pain though. If a story is only about struggling, it can become very heavy and dark. So I think it’s about finding the right balance between pain and happiness. Writing (to me) is a reflection of the ups and downs of life, so it can’t be all good or all bad. It’s a mix between highs and lows. I also think it’s limiting to say that you can only write from a place of pain; I think writing is about exploring all your feelings, and expressing them whether they are happy or sad, angry or nostalgic.

What is the easiest part of the writing process?

Last week I explained the hardest part of the writing process for me, I thought this week I’d delve into what I found was the easiest.

Instinctively, I would say the easiest part was the character creation. I had a very clear image of the main characters and their motivation, partly because I base them on people I know, partly because whenever I experienced writer’s block I would spend time with my characters. This would often trigger ideas for the plot line. This also meant that when I then came up with ideas for the plot line, I knew if it would fit with the personalities of my characters, or if the plot line would need to be tweaked to make it work, or if my characters needed to be “strong-armed” into reacting the way I needed them to.

Character development along the plot line was a bit harder, but because I knew my characters pretty well, I knew what kind of catalysts I would need to make them evolve along the story. By extension, I also didn’t have too much trouble finding character names. Only the main character changed names several times.

Another easy part which I had alluded to in my previous post, was the editing process. It took a long time, but once you’ve written the story all the way through, you know where you want to go and you can more easily cut scenes that are not really advancing the plot. I’m basing this on working with an editor. He made this part infinitely easier. When he made suggestions, I knew if I liked his suggestions, or if I disagreed with them. This gives you perspective and makes it easier to trim your story and perfect the pacing.

In writing the sequel, I found it easier to start writing the beginning because I already have a base I can use. I would say I’ve written the first quarter easily, but then it slowed down. I have the ending figured out (more or less) and parts of the middle, but it’s connecting the parts and making it all flow that seems to be trickier. What do you find easy when writing? What is harder?