Monthly Archives: May 2013

A dead bird and a rebirth of the writer’s soul

Before I could start writing on my laptop this morning, I had to put away the various papers like printed out parts of my book, character drawings etc., I had lying around, covering everything. Unfortunately, I do not have much space as I live on a farm as a worker and only have a little corner downstairs to myself. It’s just enough space for a single bed, a tiny old school table (just enough space for a laptop and a mousepad with a mouse next to it), a drawer and a little seat under which I can hide things like my backpack and suitcase. But then: you don’t need much to write. I can always go outside if I feel things are too restricted in here.

Yesterday, the owner of the farm caught one of the cats with a still living little bird, a wax-eye, in her mouth. I took it downstairs with me, hoping it was only shocked and would survive but unfortunately it died in my hands. Blood came out of its beak, so it must have had serious internal bleeding even though there were no marking on the bird’s outside. I was devastated even though I knew that the cats would be able to catch little birds every now and then – after all, they have no problem with catching mice and rats. It’s a different story to have a bird dying in your hand, though. It’s not the first bird whose death I witnessed. We have lots of birds and sometimes they get sick, sometimes they get injured and maybe once or twice a year there’s a native, wild bird that needs help. I do not succeed in saving every single bird. Esp. the wild birds are hard to save. Every time, a bird dies, I feel very sad and that poor little thing must have died with terror in its little heart. After all, the cat would be about 50 times its size. If there were dragons, then it would be comparable to a human being carried around in a dragon’s mouth.

The death of that beautiful little bird made me think that I need to do something positive. I started reading a book about writing and about feeding your writer soul so you can keep on living and writing (Live To Write Another Day: A Survival Guide for Screenwriters and Creative Storytellers). This and the bird made a change in my life. So last night, I got out my old writing, the first 100 pages of my fantasy book and decided to start typing it, making changes and improvements along the way. I also added a prologue, feeling like the ideas have always been buried deep inside of me. I had started that book when I was 17 or 18 years old and fortunately, I had printed the chapters out ages ago. The computer I wrote them on died many years ago (in another country), but I still carry the 100 pages, maps and character portrays with me wherever I go.

I am 30 years old now. I think it’s about time that I make my dream come true. I’ve wanted to be a published author since I was young. I never dared to really follow that dream. No one supported me. Now I know that even if there’s no one to support me but myself, I simply need to do it. Other authors always have someone to dedicate their book to. I was waiting for such people as well. But they did not come. I will simply dedicate my book to the people who inspire me even if I have never met them.

Yesterday was a day of death, but also a day of rebirth.

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Filed under About writing, Morning hours

Day off

Today is my day “off” which means that I don’t have to do the usual work on the farm (which includes a lot of cleaning of lofts and coops), however, I still have to do the chickens as no one in the house would be willing to take over those duties for just a day. Yes, someone “graciously” offered to collect the eggs (which should be done 4-5 times a day) and then ends up doing it only once a day and I have to jump in and collect all the other eggs anyway. And no one but me makes sure they get fresh water all day long. The morning and evening shifts (getting them out and feeding them and then getting them back in again) are also nothing that people want to do.

I’ll also have to write two press releases and one longer SEO text today – so my day off isn’t really that much of a day off but at least I don’t have to scrape poo today! I still sometimes feel like I need a bit of a proper break (haven’t had a break from the farm since the Hobbit came out) because my energy levels constantly feel rather low.

What is your day off usually like? How many do you have each week (I have only one and not even a proper one)? Do you feel like your day off really is a day off or do you feel obliged to catch up on things you weren’t able to do during the rest of the week? How do you recharge your batteries if you constantly keep going without much of a break?

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Negative and positive feedback – why is it easier to be negative?

Yesterday, I was browsing the internet to get some information about various products. This included visits to companies Facebook pages and what I’ve read there made me wonder: why is it so much easier for people to leave negative feedback on a company’s site than to actually write something positive? When you visit the Facebook pages of companies, you will often find people who use the FB page to vent their frustration. Why do people only rarely go to FB pages to praise the companies they like? Shouldn’t the ones who do things “right” in our opinion get to hear something positive?

I also noticed negativity prevailing in the official forum of the only MMORPG I play. I don’t participate much in the forum and usually only use it if I have a question (I check whether someone else had the same question and then see what the replies were). Sometimes I browse it to see what other people have to say but at the moment I am not very tempted to read the forum because it’s all so negative. I love the game, I have heaps to do even though I’ve been playing it (on and off) for over five years.  I even used the forum in the past and put up a very positive post to praise the game and the developers – but no one took part in the discussion. Negative threads, however, get a lot of replies? Why is that the case? The people in the game seem to be happy enough with it. If the game really was so bad, no one would play it.

Is it just that negative people feel like they need to let everyone know how bad things are from their point of view? Would they like to make other people feel the same way? Of course, there are companies I do not like much. There are products I do not use and things I cannot understand. But do I go on Facebook to write hateful comments on the site of those companies? No, I didn’t even cross my mind.

What I did once was to get in touch with a company I usually like. But they did something I found rather silly. So I told them (yes, in a Facebook comment) that I am a regular customer and that I had noticed something that doesn’t fit in with my image of the company. In a polite way, I asked whether there was something they could do about this. I also recommended what they could do. And behold! The problem was taken care of and never happened again.

Is it only a recent development that people use the internet more often to vent their frustration and direct their anger at the companies/people they do not like? It seems to me like there has been a huge increase of this in the last couple of years. Maybe this is because more and more people have easy access to the internet. It might just be my perception but the internet used to have a friendlier and more helpful community 10 years ago!

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Dark but positive morning

Today I decided that I need to change my schedule in the mornings a bit. It’s becoming winter here in New Zealand which means that it’s getting darker in the mornings. When I let the chickens out and fed them yesterday morning, one coop gave me a look that said “Hey, even we chickens don’t like the dark”. And one of our roosters is clearly not a morning “person”. So from today on, I will wait another half an hour before I let them out, so it will be light outside.

Today is even darker than usual because the weather is quite bad. It has been raining in the night and in the morning it even sounded like a few minutes of hail! Of course the cloud cover makes it harder for the sun to come through – so yes, it makes sense to adjust my schedule which will also give me half an hour of time to write in the mornings. And if I motivated myself to get up a bit earlier, I might even get in a whole hour of writing. I would not use all of this on the blog, I guess, but also try to get started on one of my books again.

After all, if I don’t write those books, nobody will. And if they aren’t finished, they will never be published. The stories would remain untold and that would be quite sad. Maybe I will tell you what my different books are about in one of my future books (ha ha, so you can decide whether I’m an author worth following). Most of the books are fiction but I’m also writing one a non-fiction book about being a freelancer (which would be the easiest to finish!).

It starts to look a bit better outside now, the chickens sound active. Their coops are all over the property but more or less within hearing range because I want to be able to react quickly if there was something wrong with them. I will start my work day now but I am quite sure, I’ll see you again tomorrow!

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Busy mornings

Today I find that there is not much time left to write on the blog. I might have to start and set an alarm, so I would get up earlier. Then I could write the blog before I have to let the chickens out. Who knows, maybe writing would help me to have better starts in the mornings. This morning I woke up before the chickens woke me up (they are usually my alarm clock) and was tempted to get up early and write, however, the bed was so nice and warm and outside was so dark. I also heard that someone else was already up and in the kitchen so I didn’t feel like going to get my coffee. I can’t stand people in the morning, esp. not people I don’t get along with even when I’m in a reasonably good mood! 

Speaking of chickens – for some reason they are making a lot of noise right now – so I better go and see what’s up. Probably just one of the cats sleeping in the wrong place (i.e. in sight of the chickens).

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Dreams and dream journals – do they help?

I don’t remember what I dreamed last night but I know that I woke up in the middle of the night wondering why I would dream such a thing because it had no connection to my life, thoughts, ideas or fantasies at all. I used to keep dream journals in the past and they usually filled up very quickly. Some of the dreams were so colourful and fantastic that I thought I could use them in my books. However, none of my old journals (be it morning pages, dream journals or diaries) still exist. I burned them all.

I wonder whether it would make sense to start up a dream journal again. Do you keep track of your dreams? If yes, does it help you? Do you ever get inspirations from your dreams or even advice on how to deal with a problem in your waking life?

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Filed under Random thoughts

Waking up

So far, I have managed to write on the blog every day – but then it’s only day 3. I’ve just come back in after feeding the chickens and letting them out of their coops, that’s always the first thing I do. This morning, I have to drink a cold coffee that I made the night before and have to go without breakfast until about 10am because I can’t go into the kitchen upstairs for a while. At least I was able to prepare a coffee even though it’s not the same like a nice, fresh, hot coffee. This is the problem of not having your own home, of not living in a place where you can move around freely at any time of the day, any day of the week.

This morning, yesterday’s headache is gone, however, there’s a feeling of sadness. I know what the day will be like – just like any other day. I could leave here but where would I go? Moving around is expensive, flatting is expensive and I do not have a home. I am in a country I did not grow up in and I don’t even know yet whether I am allowed to stay. That’s why I am in a state of uncertainty. I would like to start a new life but at the moment, I can’t. And if I’d leave here, the poor chickens would be very neglected. The people here don’t care much about the animals and their needs. Animals mean work and work is something not liked very much here. That’s why they have someone like me – if only they’d treat me a bit better, at least with more respect.

Maybe I need to organize a taxi to come here and pick me up, so I can be away for a few hours. It will be expensive because I live in a rural area (and I do not have a driver’s licence even though people think that’s odd for someone my age). But I don’t want to go with the farmer’s wife anywhere again after I overheard her talking about what a hassle it is to take me to town with her. It made me angry because I always ever went to town with her when she went anyway. She often needs to go shopping or go to meetings. That’s the times I went with her, she dropped me off on the way and picked me up on the way back. She didn’t even have to make any detours. Yet, she was complaining behind my back, saying I’m not grateful enough. I thanked her often enough, plus transport is actually part of my contract with them. I do extra hours so often, get nothing in return but the knowledge that the animals with be happier, and yet, I’m the one called ungrateful! So I’d rather pay a taxi than having to drive with her ever again.

I’ve been living here for a bit over a year and I wonder where the kindness of people has gone?

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