Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Dream Dust

Writing isn’t a choice. It’s a need, an urge much similar to the need to breathe. Denied air to breathe, you suffocate. Denied means to write, an author wilts like a plant in need of water.

Many writers require certain things to be able to write.
Some write anywhere.

A story can be powerful enough to demand attention regardless of time and place. Mine are rarely like that, but it’s easy for me to imagine an author holding his wife’s hand while she’s in labor, making a funny face like he’s eaten something he desperately needs to pass, shifting restlessly from one foot to the other, glancing around the room looking for an excuse and then carefully freeing himself from the wife’s death grip saying “I’m sorry honey, but I really need to get a couple of pages done.”

The urge to write is always there, but most often our muses demand to be appeased under specific circumstances which vary from author to author. Mine isn’t a particularly easy one.
I usually write in the morning or late at night. Stories are like waking dreams, and they come more easily when I’m close to sleep. I write on a laptop, rarely seeing the actual words. When a story takes hold, this world melts away, becomes meaningless. All that exists are the people in my head, characters made up of dream dust and disturbed memories.

Writing is a solitary sport and demands no spectators. I want peace and quiet when I’m writing. Unless -
Unless I’m travelling.

Moving to an unknown destination at violent speeds lulls me to a dreamlike state. In that state it’s easy to write even with other people and noise around. When travelling, I scribble my muse’s will into a notebook, blind to everything but the imaginary realm around me.

Alcohol works the same way. It takes off the inhibitor being a part of the waking world sets in between me and my muse, and allows me to hear her will as clearly as I was still dreaming. I have a little ritual connected with this particular feature, actually.

Whenever a new story wants to start unraveling, I take a fresh notebook, go to the nearest pub in the early evening, order a pint, open my notebook, and write the first two or three scenes.

It’s been like that with every book I’ve written, and I suppose it will always be so. For some unknown reason, my muse is happiest when I take her out of the house. During those moments, it’s not peace and quiet she craves, but the life’s of the people around us.

I work from home, and rarely see people outside my small circle. When venturing outside with a fresh notebook and a story leaking out of my fingertips, I need to see people I don’t know, people whose faces might be perfect for the story, people who have secrets hidden behind their eyes.
People with bits and pieces I can, if not steal, at least borrow from. It might be the way they smile that I need to take, the way they cock their head when laughing, the way they give me the evil eye.

Little things we usually ignore.
Little things are the things that seem meaningless to the story and often go unnoticed unless I go out and immerse in them. Little things to make the story and its characters live, breathe like they were more than dream dust.

Muses are funny that way. They need and need and need, but at the end of the day, the things they need aren’t that big.
A bit of peace and quiet, surroundings changing, a few souls to suck in.

Silly little things.

Heather Wielding

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Goals and Dreams as an Author

When I was sixteen, I dreamt of being a bestselling author. I wrote and I wrote and I wrote to achieve my dream, only I made the mistake of writing fantasy in Finnish.

In Finland, fantasy as a genre is regarded fit for children under 12. I’ve spewn 16+ fantasy all my life, so my dreams were quickly decapitated. As I found the realm of self-publishing indie authors, I dared to dream again.

I started writing in English, and published my books via Smashwords. I hit the first wave of self-publishing, got lucky, and made a few sales. As numbers started going down, so did my self-esteem. My ex liked to put me down every chance he got, so I was pretty used to thinking that failure had to do with nothing but me not being good enough.

I should have seen that my biggest failure has always been me sucking at marketing. As the number of books published grew daily, mine went unnoticed because I didn’t have the courage to push them out. I thought the hard work that everyone was fussing about meant writing, writing until your fingers bled. And I did.

And all the while they were talking about marketing.

I still dream of being a bestselling author. It would be wonderful to have a proper book launching party, and to go on a book tour and meet loyal readers. It would be wonderful to just write and write and not have to do anything else. Just write, and live on it.

To achieve dreams, one needs goals. I hesitate setting goals for myself, because I lack the courage to follow through with them. I make plans, and I think “yes, this’ll work, it’s a really good plan, and it doesn’t even require that much of me!” and I follow along for three days and just quit, not because it’s hard or not rewarding, but because it might lead to something.

I’m consumed by lingering self-doubt. “What if they don’t like my books?” “What if they hate my patterns?” “What if they hate ME?”

I’m turning 40 in a few days. It may be time to face the fact that someone will hate me no matter what I do. And there’s nothing I can do but to accept it, and move on.

I can’t please everyone, no-one can. All I can do is to please me, and those around me when I can.

So my goal is to blog, if not regularly on set days, at least weekly. My goal is to write more, and to publish a book by the end of the year. My goal is to find out ways to market the upcoming book, and those that already exist.

Becoming a bestselling author isn’t easy, and maybe it will remain only a dream, but at least I can write, and meet the goals I set for myself.

Life is about over-coming obstacles, after all, even if they are the ones we set for ourselves.

Until next time.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Two Years - Recap

I’ve been absent from the blogging world for a long time, and I would like to apologize for it. The past two years have been stranger than usual. Sudden and unexpected changes in my life made me want to hide, and it had a great impact on my will to write. Now, as I feel I might be strong enough to return to blogging along with being an author, I’d like to begin by offering an explanation as to what happened.

On On March 23rd 2015, my husband told me he wanted to end our relationship. I was given an ultimatum to move out.

I never saw this coming. In my opinion, we were fine. A bit distant, yes, but that’s cool for two introverts.

As it turned out, said husband had rediscovered an old friend more than six months earlier, fallen in love, and entered a relationship with her. For some reason, this little fact was never introduced to me during the process of getting divorced.

At first, I planned to remain in the little city near where we lived. All of my friends were there, and it seemed like a safe choice. Luckily, my uncle, in his soft and steady voice, told me a story of a couple who got divorced late in life, moved to whole new cities, and made new lives for themselves, finding true happiness in the process. That got me thinking, and I made a very hasty decision to move to Tampere.

It took me 35 minutes to make the decision, two weeks to find a flat, and another two weeks to make my way there. The process involved me packing up my entire life (I ended up throwing out most of my stuff simply because I didn’t have room for it), dragging most of my belongings to my sister’s house quite far north simply because my deadline to get going was soon approaching and I didn’t realize finding a place to live would happen so fast, and then dragging said belongings all the way to my new place two weeks later.

Starting a new life wasn’t as easy as I imagined. I’m not used to fending for myself all alone. I knew people in the big city, of course, but I didn’t have any close friends until I got closer to a girl I knew from an online community. We quickly became BFFs, as hey-we’re-sixteen as it may sound. And thanks to her, I’m now feeling strong enough to write again.

She happened to introduce me to someone. For me, making new friends takes forever. I’m quiet and reserved, especially around people I think I might actually like. This one proved no exception to that rule, only he seemed to understand it. He allowed me time to come out of my shell, decided he liked me, and, after a while, rescued me from the tower I lived in.

I’ve named him Charming due to that fact, and we’ve lived together almost eight months now.

I’ve spent most of that time writing about dresses, playing video games, and healing. I know one should try to mend oneself before getting into a new relationship, but… well, it isn’t always that easy.

I haven’t taken the time to heal a broken heart. My ex didn’t manage to break it because love died long before we parted. I’ve needed time to acquaint myself to normal life again, to being happy.

I lived in a really bad relationship for more than eight years. For the best part of it, I was trapped in the countryside alone. I don’t know if you realize what that’s like, but for me it felt like a nightmare.

I started to wake from it as I moved out, but it’s taken a long time to become fully aware. Sometimes, it’s still difficult to remember that the grocery store is just around the corner, there are no monsters hanging in the corners, and I don’t need to spend my days in fear.

Fear is a powerful, crippling thing. If you let it, it will consume everything in your world. I’m only just now realizing I have nothing to be afraid of now.

I know I’ve been away for a long time, and I know I’ve let my readers and followers down. It may not be possible to return to being an author, but I will try. After all, stories are made to be told, and readers will always be there.

Until next time. I promise it won’t be, like, two years.