Friday, 18 December 2015

What's Under My Hat

I've been keeping Things under my hat. For a while now, too. Figured it was the best place to keep them. Always within reach, but invisible to others. But either my hat's shrinking, or my cup of ideas runneth over, 'cause I'm having a hard time keeping it all to myself. Or, rather, I've read somewhere that if you set yourself a goal (or a dream, or a wish), it might actually help to tell others about it. The revelation - if not the people you reveal it to - might help you focus on actually getting it done.

Of course I'm talking about a book. And since this is me, when I say 'book' I mean 'books'. The thing is, however, that if I'd written this post a year ago and listed the ideas-in-limbo (as opposed to works-in-progress) it wouldn't have looked the same as the one I'm writing now. Not all of the ideas have vanished, but some have either thinned out, shelved themselves for the time being, or simply lost the competition to some others.

I did yet one short story officially published this year, plus a fragment that made the top ten in a finish-this-excerpt-with-a-fragment-of-your-choice competition. And it felt extremely good. It was fantastic, and I'm committed to writing a new Sinterklaas story for next year's publication as well. And maybe more...

That's one of the things on the back burner. There's also the Big Book for Mums (that isn't going to be called the Big Book for Mums) I'm toying with. Something that, I think (and hope) isn't out there yet, or not enough. I've found out over the last year that this is something I really want to write, but apart from finding the time I'm struggling with how on earth to structure it. (It's a great excuse, especially since there's absolutely nothing on paper yet that could possibly be structured.)

Then there are some stories bouncing around in my head. A few were there last year, a few are brand new, but most are only slippery bits without a real... structure. I know, if I get behind the computer and just start typing already, something might shape up all by itself, but I'd prefer it if I had some sort of guiding line and plot idea to go by before I start - before I delete more than I keep.

Still, this all sounds like I've got it together extremely well, and I don't. My weeks are mostly taken up by the combination of kids and deadlines for translations. The school routine structures my days, and the youngest's sleeping pattern structures the time I have to get to work. I still find it hard (and I actually mean impossible) to make time to write more than a blog post, and even that I can only manage every now and then.

Resolutions for 2016 aren't hard to come by. Most have to do with writing my own thing - and feeling confident enough that once I do, I might be able to submit it to publishers. But in reality it'll still be the paid translations that fill up my planner, because I don't dare say no, and I'm not that confident that I'll be the next big publishing success. So we'll see, and try, and keep up the good work.

To you and yours, a wonderful holiday season and may the new year see at least some of your cherished dreams come true.

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