Here I am sitting in front of my laptop, with no window behind it and wondering about the last twelve months in the Netherlands. I arrived in Utrecht just before my 30th birthday and the day before this country’s first lock down. One of many failed attempts to curb the corona rates. At first I thought to use the time to write productively. I had thoughts of 9-5 writing hours like a business and I’d kick arse. I’d write more than ever before and finish more than ever before.
But dear blog reader, it did not go that way.
I did write, however I was unsatisfied with how much I wrote. Yeah, I got out a novella and novelette from idea spark to publication but I wanted more. I was moody, irritated and unsatisfied with myself. And it was a constant. It also didn’t help that I found Utrecht to be a step down from Edinburgh. The tax rate’s higher, health care isn’t free. Food costs more and the language barrier a bit of a wall. Utrecht as a city is expensive and I don’t understand how people can live here and like it. If Covid had hit just a month or so later it might have been better for us as we would still be back in the UK. We went from living in our own flat to a share house . . . for the same price.
And the end of 2020 was terrible. I never mentioned it online before because I didn’t know how to, but my husband was attacked by a former roommate. His wrist was slashed to the bone and he almost bleed out. There was blood all over the third floor landing. However, the police got to us in under ten minutes and gave a tourniquet to him. The roommate got arrested and is in jail under a manslaughter charge. Chris says my steely resolve is what saved him because I kept calm throughout everything while he was bleeding out. (His physio is going great, and he has full use of his hand, thought a part of it has no feeling in it).
To add more unpleasantness to the situation, my husband’s contract was not renewed. This happened before the attack. But not at the fault of him. His workplace is toxic or was, if it still exists in a few years. A third of staff has left since he began and he has won two bottles of scotch from co-workers about making bets on who leaves and when.
The end of his contract also means the end of his work visa and by extension mine. As Australians we can be in the country for three months without a visa so we going to decide at the end of March if we return to the UK (we have residence) or to Australia. What makes everything difficult is that we have two cats. Chris got them years ago thinking we’d be in Europe for years to come. So we have to work out how to transport them and the only pet quarantine facility is in Melbourne and then get them to Brisbane.
Due to easing restrictions, Covid’s second wave has arrived and is more potent than before. The Netherlands has been put into a second lockdown. It’s not that surprising actually. There were never that many people wearing facemasks. People only wore them when on public transport. I’m not sure how long this one will last, but hey, at least I can do another quarantine project.
My journey to this event was both straight forward like I stated above and just as bumpy. Between each step, I had many moments of anguish and worries that I wouldn’t get this done at all. After all, I have many uncompleted manuscripts. But I finished it. This might be my second fastest publication. If I was a lesser person, I might have given up when I got my feedback on the first beta read. But I fixed it rather than throw it away.
How was my mind during this time?
Well, I arrived just on lockdown, and that might have been both a blessing and a curse. I had no distractions, but I found them. I had nobody to talk to, but I might have shied away from them under the guise of writing. I had no job and yet couldn’t make writing my job. I was harder on myself than I should have been. However, I still managed to complete it 🙂
So what happens next?
Well, I have a bunch of other stories I came up with around the same time as The Dragon’s Mate, so I might work on those 🙂
Had a notice that said it is my seventh anniversary on this blog. I can’t believe it. I set this up during a uni class back in Melbourne and it’s been going strong for all that time!
Thinking back on what’s happened since then, I went and developed a bunch of feels. I’ve self-published seven stories ranging from the short ones to a novel. I failed my goal of reaching 10 stories by 30 and I might not reach it this year. I have also been living overseas for five years now. Prior to finishing high school, I had never thought that this would be where my life would end up.
I wonder what the next seven years will be like . . .
I’m giving up on the whole ten-day blog posts now that I have petered out. I seem to have lost motivation when I’m at home. But when I go to the library and battle it out with others trying to find a seat, I get work done. I can focus for three-four hours because I can’t seem to connect to the net 🙂 I have also come up with a short story idea and I think I might be able to write it out in a few more days 🙂
I haven’t done anything related to writing or editing at all. However, I do not feel bummed out. I think that is an improvement. In the last few days, I have however thought up a third story during this pandemic. It’s a portal fantasy and I have only the bare bones of what I want to happen. But I’m going to have a fun adventure with it.
The last ten days have been unproductive. I didn’t edit or write anything. I have been looking at writing a new supernatural thriller though. I’ve got some story planned, but I don’t know how it ends. I’m not sure how long it’ll be either.
However, at the same time a YouTuber – Derek Murphy, I follow came out with this long video about novel writing basics. At the end of the video, there is a small exercise where who fill in the blanks about what your story is about. It actually helped me a bit with the story I’m working on. I have added some more things to it and it’s starting to become something more.
I’ve been in the Netherlands for six-ish weeks now. I literary arrived the day before everything shut down, so it should have been a paradise for me. I was already going to have some time off work so I had been psyching myself up to it.
And then I get here and my ability to perform fails.
I’ve made some progress editing the beginning of a novel (which I gave up on). I also started a novella that’ll I have done by the end of this week. I’ve been keeping track of what I’m doing and I feel terrible about all the days where I did nothing. All that lost potential.Why can’t I make writing and editing a 9 to 5? It’s almost like I have burnout again, but I’m not sure if I do. It doesn’t help that I’m having a lot of negative thoughts that have no relation to my life at present. They are taking up a lot of time in me. Maybe it’s because I can’t socialise in person anymore.
It’s not a good day unless I’ve written more than 1k and I hardly ever do that. It’s not a good day when I spend hours playing computer games, even if I do manage to write. That’s still time spent elsewhere. From memory, I used to be so efficient at writing. But now my body and brain says no 😦
So where do I go from here?
I’m slowly getting things done, but not to my liking. Do I just keep chipping away at it? Maybe I have to as I can’t seem to do anything else. Maybe having a day job was something that improved my writing. It gave me some eustress about my finite time and made me manage what I had. Now I have all the time in the world I have no immediate rush to do anything 😦
These last 10 days, I’ll tell you what. I’ve been all over the place with how I feel about my writing and meeting my goals. I created the ‘write 500 words a day’ goal for myself. I only failed that three times. Then I became stuck in a certain section, but that was because I didn’t know where I was going. But today, while doing laundry, I came up with the ending. I’ll have finished the first draft by tomorrow. I’ve written 2700 words in four hours today. I’ve got a scene or two left and I’ve already written an epilogue.
I didn’t expect it to end so soon and I think it’ll end up being less than 25k. And after finishing this story, I’ll let it sit for a week before editing it 🙂 Depending on how much I’ve improved, I’ll be able to get this edited sooner than I thought.