zondag 28 april 2013

Storm the Sorrow: negative criticism

Everyone has to deal with criticism in their life because it is a very important aspect of life. If we wouldn't criticise each other, how can we improve our work and ourself? Unfortunately not all criticism is constructive. Sometimes people criticise only to break down a person or his/hers work. Most of the time people who give negative criticism don't think about how they say it or they just don't care. I hate that. Because I'm not very self-confident  I am very sensitive to such criticism and I loath it that it can affect me. A couple of weeks ago a friend told me rather bluntly that my life was boring. Even though I was very sure she didn't meant to hurt me, she did. Perhaps it was so bluntly because we were chatting and you can't see the each others body langauge.
This negative criticism can go very far: you can emotionally abuse people through it. This is a very extreme example, but look at bullies! They often emotional abuse their target. I always try to be very careful with criticising. I think about how I best say it because I don't want to hurt anyone. if I cannot think of a 'nice' way to say it, I much rather don't say it at all. Though that might not always be the right option. This is a song about negative criticism and the video shows very nicely what can happen to you if you let it get to you:

 What I think can be as destructive, or even more, as people giving you negative criticism, is criticising yourself in a very negative light. Often it goes hand in hand with criticism given by others. I have to confess that I can criticise myself way too much in a negative way. I know it is wrong, but it is very hard not to do it. I know that no one is perfect but still everyone has the image of a perfect body, perfect friends, perfect life etc in their minds.
In my case I don't think people notice it when I am being very hard on myself. Sometimes I talk about it with my BF and he always manages to make me feel better but most of the time I bottle it up. Again something I shouldn't to, but I don't like to talk about how I feel and I don't have my heart on my tongue. I have a hard time opening up to people (even those I know very well) because it makes me vulnerable and I do not like that. Anyway, I try to stop myself to think negative about myself and sometimes it works, but sometimes I'm even doing it without fully realising it. I think I will not be the only one who has felt like this:

But negative criticism, no matter from where it comes, can break a person mentally. It's not a matter from growing a tick skin against it, but a matter of having respect fort each other and not try and hurt one another. Language is a  very powerful tool and words can have an enormous power, so use them wise!

maandag 22 april 2013


Dear followers I decided to keep this blog for personal things only and move everything that has to do with writing, books and literature over to another blog. If you are interested, feel free to follow me there as well!

Lost Between the Words

zondag 21 april 2013

Writing Tips

I am currently writing a book with a friend. Well, more like a series. It started out as a fun project, but we ended up with a very exciting plot and some interesting characters. Right now we are writing the something that can only bee described as a first draft, though it's probably not even that. We are writing in English with the intend to sell it as an e-book when we finish. It's not going to be a great novel since nor my friends or my English is actually good enough. I have come a very long way and have still a very long way to go before I'll be a good writer. You can always improve yourself and your skills. While I am not a professional, I like to give some writing tips:

Know the genre that you are writing.
 Before starting to write, it is important that you know the genre. Read books from the genre and see how those authors have build there story. Some genres are more difficult then others. For example you will have to put a lot of time and effort in research if you want to write a historical story. It is not only important that you know what happened around the time your story is situated, but also the details: of what fabric were clothes mostly made? What kind of food did they ate? etc.
Fantasy (or Science Fiction) can be very tricky as well, especially if you are creating a whole new world. It is the world building that will make your story believable and again the details matter as much as the big picture. If you have absolutely no clue how to start world building, you still have a lot of reading to do. One of the most renowned world builders is J. R.R Tolkien. It's amazing how he created Middle Earth. George R.R Martin did a great job as well, though he didn't go quite as far as Tolkien in my opinion.
So read what you want to write! 

Practise as much as you can
If you can, write every day! Practise can only make you better!

When I started to write a had a lot of trouble writing believable characters and that is why I start writing fanfiction. I just had to create a plot and I could start writing without having to create characters. I absolutely hate flat characters or characters who are extremely good or bad in something. Every character has flaws and holy good or holy bad characters are utterly boring in most cases. To get inspiration for a character try not to long too far; people in your immediate surrounding can be a great source of inspiration. J.K Rowling has based Snape on bad teacher she has had during her school time. A great way to get to know you character is to interview them and let them replied in their own voice. What makes a character human, are quirks. Do be careful that you don't give too many (strange) quirks to your characters.

As a discovery writer, I barely ever plot things out. I have an idea were I want to go and what is going to happen, but what comes in between I will find out while I am writing. This way of writing causes me to have to rewrite certain things, but I don't mind. I can't plan things out, it starts to bore me. A good plot does not have to be complex. Some stories get their strength out of their plot (plot driven stores) , other from their characters (character driven stories) and others use a combination.

 I get my inspiration from everywhere. Music and books are my greatest inspiration. Life itself can be a great source of inspiration as well. I have discovered that I tend to give (some of) my characters feeling I had or project a part of me on them without actually realising it at first. Most of the time I make it a little darker or lighter. Writing is for me a therapy.   

maandag 15 april 2013

School, writing and the Elf Fantasy Fair.

Today Easter break is over and it's time to go back to school. i actually have mixed feeling about it. I love school, but the summer exams are coming closer very quickly and I still have tons and tons of work to do. Due to some unforeseen circumstances I haven't managed to study a lot (well actually I barely have studied anything) and I had to make my papers in a record time. Luckily were are not being graded on them yet, since they are the first version of our exam paper, but it means that I probably still have to put a lot of work in them. But going back to school also means being social again without having to squeeze social time into my schedule and having something else to do than sitting at home worrying.I actually don't have time left beside studying,feeding the horses and going to the gym every now and then (I don't do it enough) to do anything else. I try to read a chapter a day of a book I don't have to read for school, but I fail at that most of the time.
While writing has been going very good since September, I now lost momentum and have written barely anything at all since the start of Easter break. I do have some idea I should work out, but I never really feel like working them out. Sometimes I have entire scenes in my head, but I can't write them down because I have trouble finding the right words. I'm also trying to get my writing to a new level by being not easily satisfied, but for some reason I can't make my writing any better right now. It might have to do with the stress or with the lack of time I have. If I put too much time in my writing, I start feeling guilty because I should put that time into studying.And this is the time I normally start to abandon the story I'm stuck with and start with something new. But hey, we'll see what happens.

Beside schools I have the very last day out coming up until the end of the exams: The Elf Fantasy Fair. The grounds of a castle in Haarzuilens (near Utrecht in The Netherlands) have been turned into a wonderful fantasy world. Loads of people are dressed up pretty and there are fantasy related workshops, music, presentation, fantasy related famous people (like authors, actors etc) and of course fantasy themed food and drinks!
Ever since the first time I went a couple of years ago,  I wanted to get/make a proper costume but I've never succeeded. It might have something to do with the fact that I'm everything but handy and crafty. This year I decided quite late that I wanted to go and I had no time to make anything. I still don't have a clue what I'm going to wear... you really stand out if your not dressed up or something.
Anyway this summer I'm going to start on a costume for next year. i want to do something with feathers. I have some ideas in my mind but I need to work them out a little more.
Anyway I am feverishly counting down the days until Saturday since I really am in need of some distraction and relaxation.

vrijdag 12 april 2013


Recently I realised that I've lost my way in life and that I have actually no clue what I am doing and where I am going. Right now I see the next three years for me, the time I need to get my master degree, and then nothing. I have absolutely no clue what I want to do in life. Well I want to become a writer but that is hardly a full time job and I need to become a lot better. I am trying not to plan everything out, to see what tomorrow brings. But right now I'm 22 and I still haven't got a clue what I want from life. The only thing that I know is that I want a nice job so I don't have to drag myself to work every single day but actually enjoy going.

The thing that made me realise that I am doing things wrong, is the fact that I find myself being jealous over small things that I normally do not get jealous about. I hate being jealous, it makes people bitter. Si really have to find my 'path', preferably through a beautiful forest and with bends and turns and the possibility to choose another path when I feel the need. The thing I need for this, I think, is a vacation. I can't even remember when the last time I was on vacation. I've been away for a night or two a couple of time but I need more. I want to go away for a week or something. Be a real tourist and see things and plan things to do. Normally I was supposed to go to Norway with my aunt, uncle and boyfriend but that it not happening this year and it might not happen at all. The next plan was going to London with a friend for a couple of days and see as much as possible in that timespan, but that is not happening either. My next plan is going to Helsinki. I want to go with my boyfriend, but the chances that he will be able to go with me, are slim. Maybe I should go alone, I thought. I could be quite and adventure. Downside: I have never flown before and I'm terrified to do so. So getting on a plane all on my own... not sure if I will be able to do that. And I think I will kind of feel bad going without my boyfriend. Since we've been together (5 and a half years) we wanted to go to Finland. So if he can't go, I probably won't go on a vacation. Well there still is the option of travelling abroad to see my favourite band if they come 'near' (read: Germany, UK, France, The Netherlands...)

Every relationship is like a plant; you need to water it, give it enough sunlight and if it grows, give it a bigger place to grow in. And with some people, I have the feeling only my side is green, lush and full of flowers.
 I'm going to try and do is stop saying yes to almost everyone and everything all the time. When someone has an idea and it's not crazy, and I might not like it 100%, I say okay. If they ask me to do something and I'm able to, I say I'll do it. It has to stop unless I get something in return. I'm done giving. And I'm tired of sitting around and waiting for people and of the one sided conversations. I'm going to stop trying to maintain friendships and always be there for people when they don't are there for me when I need them. Keeping in contact is so easy nowadays and still some people managed to neglect friendships. Fine. Let them die. I'm done caring. I'm done being patient and nice except to those who never ask anything of me and always take the time to listen to me whining about everything and nothing at all.

I have to stop ranting since I'm starting to feel pretty sick again and I still have loads to do before Monday. To concluded this, this song describes how I feel:

maandag 1 april 2013

Summer plans

It is perhaps a little early, but I have been making some plans for the summer! Normally I'll be done with school around the 20th of June, though I have to study throughout the whole summer since I have to take some exams again in August/September, but I won't let that ruin the fun!

- The first thing I will do is celebrate the end of the exams at Graspop! My boyfriend said he wanted to go three full days and with such an amazing line-up it is impossible to say no! I can't wait to see Within Temptation (they have such an incredible live performance), Epica, Iron Maiden and a lot of others! I just hope we have nice not too hot weather.

- The week after Graspop I will most likely go to Rock Werchter to see Thirty Seconds to Mars. Though I'm actually doubting a bit since it's 80 EUR for just one band. Okay, it will be great to see Depeche Mode, but I'm not really a fan.

- I want to get a lot of writing done in the summer. I hope to get all the background information done of the story my friend and I are writing and perhaps even start on the first chapters. The downside of writing something together is that you have to wait for one another and since I write rather fast and have a lot of inspiration, this can be a little frustrating sometimes. But if that goes too slow for me, I might start working out an old concept I have for a while and work on that.

- I'm going to try to teach myself some Finnish. I love the sound of Finnish and I hope to study in Finland for a while, so it will be very useful to know some Finnish. Finnish is, however, a very difficult language to learn. It is in not way related to Germanic languages like English, German and Dutch. It is, together with Hungarian part of a whole separate language group, namely the Fin-Ugric languages.

- I want to on vacation, preferably to another country. I planned to go to London with a friend in September, but since she has a job in September, I'm not sure what is going to happen with that.

- I'm sure if this is going to happen, since it's not entirely in my hands, but I hope to see The Rasmus/Lauri this summer/year. They are going to play in Switzerland in July (well it's not officially confirmed) and I was very tempted to go but it's so far away and it will be very expensive. But if they come a little closer, I might be able to combine them with the previous plan. It's just April so hopefully they will come to Germany, France, The Netherlands, Belgium (I doubt it) or England in the coming 8 months.

- Read Tolkien. Not much explanation needed. I'm planning to read as much Tolkien as possible this summer.

- Spend time with the horses. I haven't rode my horse for half a year; it's horrible. So I am going to pick this up again and hopefully Dancer isn't going to mind that he suddenly has to work again.

- Study. Hopefully I will pass all my exams in June and those I already have to take again in August/September. If not, well not going to stress (or try not to)

Loads of plans already and I might think of some more. I want to have a busy summer!