Back to Reality

I’ve been back home for about one and a half week now after my vacation in Florida and it’s not really until now that I’m starting to get back into the rhythm of things. I miss Florida and my very good friend there, and I hope that I can go back some time soon (thinking maybe first two weeks in March or so). I’m now back at work and after some initial panic (I’m not enjoying myself very much in my current position) I’m mellowing down a bit and feel somewhat resigned to my current situation. I was actually sick for two days last week, I brought back a nasty cold from Florida (don’t ask me how I managed to get a cold in a hot place like Florida, I’ve not quite figured that one out myself) and ended up lying in bed feeling bad and having a terrible headache.

About work, well… To make a long story short I’m not comfortable there. I’m having some problems with some less-than-friendly colleagues, but I also don’t really like the work itself. If at least one of the things was something I enjoyed, then it’d be better, but failing in both regards… Well, let’s just say that I don’t enjoy my working days.

My contract ends in May next year, and I’m thinking I might just leave at that point, unless something drastically changes, which I doubt. It would be nice to go back to Sweden for some time. I’ll have a little bit of money saved at that point, so I could move back and stay at my mom’s house while looking for a job. Maybe I could go on an extended trip to Florida at that point too, would be nice. I’d love to move there for a bit, just to do something different for a while, but America isn’t a country that allows for easy access, so that’s not something I can just do. We’ll see what the future holds though.

Tonight I’m going to see a movie with my sister in the cinema. Brothers Grimm. I have no idea what to expect, but it’s about fairy tales and directed by Terry Gilliam, so it can’t be completely without merit.

I have Friday off, which is very nice. I’m taking the opportunity to have lunch with some ex-colleagues and then I thought I’d try and do some cleaning in my apartment. Then as a general plan I have a bunch of things that I need to get started on:

1. Write a synopsis for my manuscript.
2. Edit chapter 3 according to some suggestions I got.
3. Send manuscript off to Golden Heart contest. (there’s a deadline here, it has to reach the Houston office by 2 December)
4. Get back to working on manuscript #2 which needs some extensive work on the first 10 chapters before I go ahead and write the rest.

Well, it looks like I’ve got my next few weekends planned already. 🙂

Holiday

I forgot to mention! I’ve just returned home from a two week holiday in Florida visiting my friend. It was great to be over there again, and the weather was simply so much better than the dusky, rainy and gray Netherlands.

It’s quite sad to be back home really. I’m already panicking about going back to work on Tuesday. I feel like I wanna have a tantrum like a four year old and throw myself down on the floor yelling and kicking, screaming ‘I don’t wanna! I don’t wanna!’

That’s exactly how you should feel, right?

Anyway, had a really good time in Florida. It was over much too quick though. I’ll have to go back soon since my friend was busy with work a lot though, so I didn’t get so see her as much as I would have liked to.

Some thoughts after my holiday:

1. I prefer manual transmission on my cars. (I’ve never managed to smash someone’s head against the dashboard in a manual one.)

2. Automatics do have the advantage of freeing up one hand. Drinking Coke in the car is a whole lot easier when you don’t have a gear-stick to maneuver.

3. The weather is much better in Florida. (Why do I live in NL?)

4. Some dogs don’t know when to stop.

5. There are people who I don’t mind giving a back-rub.

6. My sister can be really quiet when she doesn’t know people. Who would’ve known? I thought I was the shy one…

7. America has drive-thru EVERYTHING. Is there any other country which has a drive-thru ATM?

8. I cannot shoot pool to save the life of me.

9. Mudslides are the best drinks ever. How could I NOT have one this time?

10. I want to go back.

Direction

… Or lack thereof. Sometimes I wonder what I want to do with myself, and I always seem to come up short of an answer. Well, that’s not entirely true. I know that I want to have a family at some point in my life, and I want to be a published author and hopefully be able to live off my writing. However, the odds of that aren’t that great, so I need a back-up plan, and that’s where I’m coming up short.

I’m currently working at a company where I’m not very comfortable, and I don’t know how much longer I can do it. I just don’t know what to do if I’m not working there. I’m kind of tired of living in The Netherlands. I love my friends and my apartment, but it just kind of feels like it’s time to do something different. (Been here for more than 5 years now.)

I have a very good friend – one of my best – in Florida, and I’d love to go there for some time. Living so far away naturally means we don’t meet so often, so it’d be great to live there for a while. Also, it’d give me something else to do for a while. Something I feel I need.

But getting to go to America isn’t easy. Greencards, work permits and all that.

I just don’t know. And I hate not knowing. Maybe I should go back to school, but not really sure what I’d like to study. I guess I do know what I’d like to do, it’s just not possible. I’d like to move to Florida for a while and work there, but for aforementioned reasons, that’s not possible.

I’m rambling. I’m good at that. There should be an award for the most rambling achieved in the shortest amount of time…

To summarise: I wish I knew what to do.

Move back to Sweden? Move to Florida (if it was possible)? Stay where I am?
A possibility, though not the best one, would be to move all my stuff back to Sweden and then go on an extended trip to Florida (I’m allowed 90 days). But then I wouldn’t know what to do when I came back after those 90 days. So it’d just be postponing the inevitable.

Ok, will stop rambling now. I need to write a synopsis for the Golden Heart contest (I’m very good at procrastinating if you haven’t realised).

Birthdays and Blocks

Yesterday I turned quarter of a century old. Well, I supposed it had to happen at some point. On the whole it was a rather uneventful day though, and I’m not complaining.

At 10 o’clock the phone rang and I was treated to my mom and sister singing Happy Birthday on the speakerphone (accompanied by my sister’s piano playing). It was a nice start to the day, I admit.

The rest of the day went smoothly, punctuated by phone calls from family and friends wishing me a happy birthday. I did some shopping, baked a cake and then went to Ikea to eat Swedish meatballs for dinner with a friend. Living abroad it’s a treat to get Swedish food for your birthday *lol*

When we returned home I finished the cake (chocolate topping, yummy!) and we rented a movie. Spent the rest of the evening on the couch. Perfect day =)

Of course I missed my family though, and I wish I could have been home to celebrate with them, but alas…

Right now, I’m having writer’s block and feel about ready to start biting things or banging my head against the wall. I know what should happen, but I don’t know how to write it. Oh, not to mention that I feel like something is missing from the previous seven chapters. In short, I’m freaking out. (Admittedly this always seems to happen at some point, but I hate it as much every time.)

Well, I will go back to staring at my half finished chapter now… Don’t mind the bite marks…

Procrastinating

Well, that’s what I’ve been doing really. I’m delaying in sending out my query letters because I don’t want to start receiving my rejection letters. I know it’s inevitable, but you know… It still won’t be a pleasant experience.

The book has been ready for some time, and I’ve just been polishing it really, probably to have an excuse not to get that query done. But I think I’ve done more or less I can at this point.
I do have a critique partner who gives some good thoughts, but with our speed in critiquing (being on separate continents) I can’t really wait until she’s read the entire book. So I should just get going. My deadline is coming up anyway. (I said when I began writing the book that I should have it done by my birthday, which is in just over a week.)

Otherwise I’m just enjoying life, almost. I’m working mainly, and at the moment I spend my evenings writing (on manuscript #2). I’m listening a lot to Within Temptation and a bunch of other songs. Has anyone else realised what a good, old song Poison (Alice Cooper) is?

Also fell in love with a song called Be Mine by Robyn. Oh, and Bimbo by Lambretta. I don’t like all of it, but the chorus is great.

Well, I will go back to fretting about that q u e r y now.

I just realised…

That today it’s 6 months since my boyfriend and I broke up. It’s already evening, and I didn’t realise until now. Surely that must mean that I’m finally starting to get over him? Or one could argue that the fact that I remembered at all is a clear sign that I’m not over him at all. I have to admit that I prefer the first possibility.

I’m having another quiet weekend at home, but I quite like them that way. Been thinking about starting that next novel, but since I’m still slightly working on my first one (synopsis still not written and not a single query letter sent out yet) it might be too soon. I have to make some kind of action plan I guess.

Lately I’ve been listening a lot to the soundtrack to Moulin Rouge. I really love the El Tango de Roxanne and Your Song. Very good… Keep listening to them over and over. (Poor neighbours…)

I got hold of Phantom of the Opera (on DVD) last week and watched it again, and I’m sorry, but it has to be said (again) the Phantom is SEXY.
Ok there… It’s done.

Now I only need to find out how to write a synopsis… (Yes… It’s been an entire week and I still don’t have a clue…)

Synopsis? WHY??

Ok, so I managed to read through the entire thing again (my manuscript if anyone is wondering) and although I still fear that it’s all lard I think it’s time that it went out the door to actually glimpse the light of day. (Ie. someone else is going to have to read it and comment.)

A few people have read it of course, but since they’re either related to me or want to stay on my good side since they’re my friends (and supposedly want to remain that) I don’t necessarily trust their objectiveness. Hence my need for someone to read it and let me know what they really think.

Actually, I just got my very first critique partner and I just sent her the first chapter (and will be getting one from her soon). I’m quite excited about it, albeit nervous. I’ve never had a critique partner before.

Now… I have a few problems… Hence the antagonistic title of today’s blog entry.

1. No matter how I format my manuscript it WILL NOT fit into 400 pages! If I keep it at Times New Roman font is 385, which is fair. But when I make it any kind of Courier font (which is what you’re supposed to submit it with) all of a sudden my page count is up at 490!!! HELP!

2. How strict is the 100,000 word rule? I currently have 102,000 words. Time to start cutting? How can I cut my baby? *starts fretting*

3. I happened to see a contest for completed manuscripts and thought I’d enter. They need a synopsis. Que? I don’t have a clue how to write a synopsis, and the deadline is quite soon so I don’t have a whole lot of time to do it either. Why do we have to use synopsises? *cries* Can’t I just send the first chapter? *sniffles* It’s not fair… Is there a Synopsis Crash Course out there somewhere?

Ok, so I’m panicking slightly here. Here I thought I was almost done, and then these things happen… *grumbles*

Will crawl back into my hole now and try to figure out how to write a synopsis…

Guilt

Yes, I’m feeling rather guilt ridden right now. No, I haven’t murdered someone… It’s just that I’ve done absolutely nothing for my book for over a week and it makes me feel really guilty. I think I’m getting nervous since it’s getting close to finished, and it feels like it’s not good enough and I have no idea what to do about it.

A critique partner would probably be a very good idea, but I’m not entirely sure how to go about finding one. It’s got to be someone who knows what they’re talking about of course, and someone you trust.

I have a friend who reads it and comments, but she comments more on if I make a typo or grammar mistake than anything else. She’s going to read it again now though that it’s almost finished to see how it flows. I’m reading it myself as well but I keep feeling that it’s lacking and it terrifies me. I’ll ask her to be really cruel and brutal after she reads it this gime… since I really want this book to be good.

Then I also want to just get it done and over with as well… It’s a bit of a split feeling. Because I really want to start writing the next manuscript… I’ve got two characters in my head and their story is just nagging to be written. When I will find the time though I don’t know. With a new job and everything I find myself rather short of time. I admire all these authors who manage a family, job and writing all at once. I can barely manage a job and a life.

I guess I should get back to proofreading… But I keep procrastinating since when I’m reading it I keep thinking ‘It’s crap. It’s crap. It’s crap.’ And I don’t know how to stop…

The End is Near…

And when I’m talking about the end I’m of course speaking of the near end of my current job. After more than 3 years in my current company it just feels like it’s time to move on, and now that I have a new job waiting I can’t wait to get out of here. Tomorrow is my final day and it feels really great.

Then I have a little bit of time off before I start my new job. I will travel to Sweden to see my dad and that part of the family and then down to see my mom and the other part of the family. Apparently it’s the village fair the weekend I’m in my mom’s town which is really nice since I’ve not been there for it for 5 years now. Ah, childhood memories…

I kept postponing the bloodtest I had to take last week, but I finally got around to doing it on Thursday morning and I managed to do so without bawling like a baby so I’m feeling pretty pleased with myself *lol*
Today I had a medical check up at the office of my new job and I always feel a bit awkward when I have to do these things. Especially when you have to take your top off and the doctor is kinda handsome. I know he’s a doctor and he sees these things all the time, but still. It’s new to me and it makes me feel really self-conscious.

Tonight I’m off to IKEA to buy some Swedish cakes that I’ll be bringing into the office tomorrow for a small fare well-do with the colleagues (and then I’ll meet some of them for a drink in the evening). Going to have a look for a few things I’d like for my appartment as well, but not sure if they have them. (If there is anyone who doesn’t know what IKEA is – which admittedly is difficult for me to believe – it’s a Swedish furniture store with things you have to put together yourself, making the prices quite decent.. I love IKEA because they also sell some Swedish goodies so that I can get hold of some Swedish meatballs and cheese etc. even when in the Netherlands. Thank you Ingvar! – that’d be the man who started IKEA – )

This weekend I think I’m just going to take it easy. Run a few errands maybe. I bought something in a store which I later realised was not what I needed at all (the guy in the store didn’t go into details.. grr) so I’m going to see if they’ll take it back. It was rather expensive so I really hope that they will.

Otherwise I’ve not really done much. I lead a very boring life, what can I say?

I’ve finished the first round of edits of my book and I now need to re-read it again to check if I need to make some more changes. (Most likely I do.)

Well, I’m off to IKEA now… Going to eat some Swedish meatballs there for dinner I think. Yummy!

Here comes the sun

And it’s about time too! With the weekend the spring and the sun finally seems to have arrived and my mood has perked up quite a bit. Life is so much nicer when the sun is shining and the trees are starting to sprout small, green leaves.

This weekend I mainly took it easy. I did a lot of editing of my book (still have quite a bit left, but it’s definitely progressing nicely) and on Saturday I went out for dinner with my friend to celebrate my new job. We went to an Italian restaurant and true to my habit I ended up eating pizza. It was a pleasant evening.

I also went to the hairdresser (hair is now shorter and lighter) and did some shopping. I bought two small weights so that I can do a little bit (emphasis on little, I admit) of exercising at home.

Hmm, and that’s pretty much it. Doesn’t sound very exciting, does it? But it was a nice weekend and I quite enjoyed taking it easy. Tomorrow I need to go for a bloodtest and to be honest I’m terrified. I’ve got some kind of phobia for needles and the thought of them poking me with one and actually having to keep it there long enough to extract some blood, well it’s got me in near panic. I don’t know how I’m going to manage.

Well, wish me luck. I hope I don’t break down and start crying like a baby at the hospital. There’s a rather large risk that I will though, wimp that I am.