New Year, New Possibilities

I ended 2018 with a summary of my year within lighting and writing. This despite I’m not much for looking back at what has been. I now have to confess that I’m not much for making New Year’s resolutions either. Although it’s natural at the start of a new year to feel that you might want to take on new challenges etc., I believe it’s better to continually make adjustments to your life. I believe it’s better to get the consistency of making small changes regularly than to try to do a 180 degree turn once a year.

Like my last update, I will however give a little bit of a New Year’s resolution. These are the projects and challenges coming up in 2019.

Last year I decided to re-launch my short-story Let me tell you are story… as a pamphlet and update the ebook. I’m ridiculously behind schedule with that. It is therefore at the top of my list of things to get sorted in the near future.

During the autumn I was recommended to look into doing a master degree in Creative Writing. As I don’t have a Master’s and I have always been very prudent about my study subject, I feel it may be time to do a degree in something I consider to be my passion.

My biggest challenge is probably within lighting. I have felt for a long time now that the way I work with lighting today is not right for me. I don’t feel challenged or that I get to use my unique skills and strengths. It’ been a long time since I felt excited about lighting design and perhaps it’s time to explore other fields. Last year I was very inspired by one of my favourite authors, Astrid Lindgren, who also happened to be a very good Commissioning Editor. The idea appeals to me a lot.

Within writing, my next publishing project is Finn, the Farmer’s Son. A project that has also been delayed and, considering I have worked on the story for probably 10 year, it’s high time I got it published. New projects include saving Vincent van Gogh, not literally, but within fiction you can do almost anything.

Happy New 2019 to all of you. I hope 2019 will be a year filled with focus, confidence and productivity.

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My Year: 2018

This will be the last update to Liv’s Books and Light in 2018. I’m going to take a Christmas break until the second week in January when I’ll kick-off 2019 with new posts about, well mostly my writing.

I’m not much for looking backwards at what life has already served up for me. I don’t think it’s healthy to dwell too much on, either good or bad, past experiences but I guess one should try to sum up the past year.

My year as lighting designer has been very turbulent and I have almost on a daily basis asked myself if this is really what I want to spend my time doing to pay the bills. I started the year writing articles for a lighting magazine but as the year progressed I found it more and more difficult to come up with anything lighting-related to write about. With that said, there has been positives too – projects I have genuinely enjoyed working on, doing visuals in Photoshop which I love and hope to be better at and I finally got to visit Light + Building –  one of the biggest lighting fairs there is.

My writing career has had a lot of potential that never happened. I intended to relaunch my ebook as a pamphlet and to publish my poetry-novella – neither of which I have managed to accomplish. It’s still on my to-do list. I have also submitted more poetry, flash-fiction and other writing to competitions than I have done any other year combined…but still nothing has been published. The most positive writing activity has been to write articles for Equilibrium about mental health, stress related issues and how what we eat influence our general health. These are subjects close to my heart and I have been very pleased with the articles.

Apart from my two official careers I have taken baby steps towards a new career in editing. After meeting with the Society for Editors and Proofreaders I decided to become a member and will shortly begin their training courses. Where this might lead in the future time will tell, but I’m very inspired by the Swedish children’s author Astrid Lindgren who was also a children’s books commissioning editor.

What I do know is that 2019 better be a good, productive and positive year. I’m tired of half-arse years and will accept nothing less than a brilliant 2019.

Merry Christmas dear readers, and Happy New Year.

 

Almost Christmas

Almost Christmas and a time when normally my wish list, not to Santa but to my family, would contain a book, or two or, actually many. Nowadays that’s not the case. Don’t get me wrong, I still love to read and my reading list would possibly wrap around the world. I now live in London. I haven’t had my own home in a very long time. There is no space for all the lovely books I could ask for.

I can think of few other better ways to spend the remaining Christmas holiday than to cozy up with a cup of tea and the book you just received. What was once a favourite way to waste time has become a luxury. I remember how I would read for an entire weekend, finishing one book, only to start the next with as little a break in between as possible, still giving myself enough time to digest what I read. Now most of my reading is done on the train, bus or underground – on my way from one thing to the next.

In Sweden we celebrate Christmas on the 24 of December and gifts are given in the late afternoon. As a child this is agony. Waiting and waiting. I don’t know when this tradition started in my family but my sister and I were always given one gift in the morning – it was always a comic or magazine of some sort. It was clever, as first reading my own comic and then exchanging magazines with my sister, we were occupied for a good few hours. Time when my parents didn’t need to hear us ask when Santa was coming.

Whether celebrating Christmas is part of your traditions or not, I hope you take time to enjoy the season, spend time with whose you love and indulge yourself in those little luxuries – such as reading. Maybe revisit a favourite book – if Santa doesn’t bring you a literary gift.

The Importance of An Editor

I recently read a book where I lost most of the content to bad writing. It was a non-fiction book on a subject that really interests me and I had just decided that I wanted to include more non-fiction to my reading list but also learn more about this subject.

I know a lot of self-publishers don’t want to pay for editing and proofreading. Surely a few good friends with a good eye for grammar will do? No, actually, it doesn’t. If there is anything you should always pay for as a self-publisher, it’s the editing or at the very least a proofreader.

Why is this important? Because, you want your reader to take away your message – the experience of your story, as they finish reading your book. I’m sure there was a lot of good, insightful learning in the non-fiction book I read but at the end of the day, all I remember is the spelling mistakes, the sentences that read like a bad google translation and the impression that the book wasn’t actually a book but a very lengthy dissertation.

An editor/proofreader will not catch every little possible misstake there is in your writing but a professional editor/proofreader will make your book more readable, more coherent and enabling the reader to focus on the story, if it’s fiction, or the learning, if it’s non-fiction.

Don’t cut corners. If it’s worth doing – it’s worth giving it its proper attention.

We Have Always Lived in the Castle

It must be about a year ago that I went to an event where Claire Fuller (Our Endless Numbered Days) discussed this book together with another author. Fuller was also doing promo for Swimming Lessons but the talk was mostly about We have always lived in the castle by Shirley Jackson. It sounded very interesting, although not like something I normally read. Hence, I decided I would read it.

Unfortunately the book did not live up to expectations. I didn’t dislike the story but at the same time I didn’t really like it either. There were moments where I really enjoyed the writing, especially the description of the little town in the beginning of the book. It was an easy book to read as in it was easy to flip through several pages every day on the train to work.

Although I can’t put my finger on what it was about the story I didn’t like, I think part of it was that I found the behaviour of the villagers and of cousin Charles more fascinating than that of the two sisters. Narrow-minded people that hate without reason there are, unfortunately, many of in the world. People who try to dominate others for their own gain are also quite common. Merricat is more difficult to get any grip on, even taking into account that she is an unreliable narrator.

In the end, the story felt unsettling, not in a good way where you start to contemplate themes and the world around you, but as when you are being approached by a person on the street who behaves irrationally. We’ve all met people like that, where your gut instinct tells you to stay clear of them.

 

Bildresultat för we have always lived in the castle

When Disaster Strikes

I have been struggling this year but nothing has hit me over the head quite as hard as Sunday morning did. Waking up to do some research into making my published short-story into a physical book, my USB stick decided to lose ALL information saved there. It took a lot of self-discipline to prevent myself from screaming my frustration and waking the entire neighbourhood. On top of that I haven’t found the time to get my back-ups done. The last time I did, was in January. Yes, I have lost NINE months of writing.

I’m currently going through the painful phase, at it will last a long time, when I keep remembering and discovering each individual text and research that has been lost. Last night, I was talking to a friend as we were going home on the train. I was just about to tell her about the next article I’m going to send her for the mental health magazine she edits, only to realize that the article, which I was really pleased with, it now gone…

We are not in control of everything in our lives, although from now on I’m doing back-ups every time I have written anything! I’m conditioning myself that it’s just to keep writing: new stories, new poems and new articles. Perhaps this year was a bad writing-year anyway and I can do much better. But I’ll be honest, that scream of frustration is still in my throat, wanting to be let loose.

A Writer Must Read

Inspired by a blog post I read a while ago, I decided to try to read more and with more variety. I normally read on my way to work. This worked fine when I was travelling by bus and underground, most days getting a seat. Now I travel by train, always standing for most of the journey, and my reading is suffering. Too often I cannot be bothered to try to pull my book or my reader out of my bag, considering there is barely enough space to breath.

Once a week I have quite a long wait for my dance class. I decided to make this my non-fiction reading time. Although I prefer physical books, I intend to try to read e-books as these are often cheaper and unless there are a lot of images, it works just as well to read on my reader as holding a book.

I thought I should give audiobooks a try. I find it quite hard to concentrate when listening instead of reading off a page but I also want to read more poetry which I find difficult to read and prefer hearing. Lunch walk and audiobook has proved to be a pretty good combination and I relish getting a proper break from the office even on days when I can’t go for a walk.

So what am I reading at the moment?  Fiction: We have always lived in the castle by Shirley Jackson – e-book. Non-fiction: Taoism: a friendly beginners guide to Taoism and Taoist beliefs  by Jordan Jacobs – e-book. Listening to: Self-Esteem: your fundamental power by Caroline Myss – audiobook. I will review the books as I finish reading them.

As a writer it’s important to read a lot. That is how you learn your craft, by reading and determining what you like and don’t like. It’s also how you expand your language and grammar, by internalizing it. It’s also how you find role models to inspire your journey. Reading is a journey that enables you to travel where you might not be able to physically and to learn about another person without ever having met them. As a writer you want a big, wide colourful world to draw inspiration from and reading is one way to achieve that.