On happiness, parenting, and ambition

I’m six months into being a mother of three. My son is now four years old, and my twin baby girls are six months old. I won’t lie, it hasn’t been easy. Not because much of the work is double the amount (diapers, soiled clothes, spoon feeding, etc.) but because I find it difficult to put my life on hold for a year until the girls start in the nursery.Continue reading “On happiness, parenting, and ambition”

Writing only 15 minutes a day

A while ago, I had a conversation with a friend of mine about time management. Like so many others, she too was struggling to carve out time for her creative work. She was wondering if she would make any progress with her novel if she only had 15 minutes a day to write.

This made me think back to the time when I had just had my son (now 4 years ago) and was afflicted by a sudden change in perspective on what it meant not to have time.Continue reading “Writing only 15 minutes a day”

When it all happens at once

I’m sure I’m not the first to observe that life is sinuous like the graceful wave of the sine function. There are phases when nothing happens, and then circumstances tilt to fill our lives with more than what we thought we could handle.

The funny thing is, we usually can manage. Not that it’s easy.Continue reading “When it all happens at once”

Review: Of Gallantry and Magic by Alex Hintermann

I don’t plan to often do book reviews, but an acquaintance of mine, Alex Hintermann, asked me if I would review their self-published book Of Gallantry and Magic, so here I am.

The author provided me with an advanced reader’s copy for free to review. Thank you, Alex, for the opportunity to read your work.Continue reading “Review: Of Gallantry and Magic by Alex Hintermann”

Clarity after a long break, Part 3: Structure vs pantsing it out

In my second to last and last posts, I talked about harvesting the initial spark of enthusiasm when an idea strikes and how to preserve this spark during the marathon of completing a project. Now, I want to talk about balancing the willfulness of this initial energy with the structure and discipline one needs to accomplish a goal.Continue reading “Clarity after a long break, Part 3: Structure vs pantsing it out”

Clarity after a long break, Part 2: Preserving the initial spark of motivation

In my last post, I talked about the value of harnessing the innocent, flexible type of creativity that arises when doing something for the first time. In my opinion, it’s the afterglow of this initial fiery excitement—the condensed energy before the big bang of creating something—that gets us through a long project. Just like the universe cools as it spreads out thinner and thinner, the heat of this initial creative spark too might dissipate with time if one is not careful. So being able to come back to the well of our starting motivation and joy is important for seeing to the end we set out to do.Continue reading “Clarity after a long break, Part 2: Preserving the initial spark of motivation”

Clarity after a long break, Part 1: The beginner’s mindset

The good thing about long breaks (even if involuntary) from a regular routine is that they help us see the big picture of an activity, a life choice, a goal. They bring clarity. It’s been more than three months since I last posted here or worked on writing projects, and I have come to recognize a couple of things I’ll share with you in this and the next several posts. What I want to share has to do with the creative workflow as well as a few tips here and there that I’ve picked up or arrived to along the way.Continue reading “Clarity after a long break, Part 1: The beginner’s mindset”

Owning the baggage that trips us

A few weeks ago, I met Garth Greenwell at a reading of his book WHAT BELONGS TO YOU. I was completely taken aback by his eloquence and uplifting ideas. During the discussion, he said one thing (among many other wonderful things) that stayed with me: “[I’m paraphrasing] the wrong or hurtful things we hear and are taught as children will always stay with us; we can never grow up to be as if we had never heard these things; but what we can try is to turn them into something useful.”

Now, this might not sound very uplifting at first glance. Continue reading “Owning the baggage that trips us”

Looking back on a year of full-time writing

Attending the Geneva Writers Conference (2-4 March 2018) coincided with a personal anniversary of mine: a year ago, the last day of February marked the last day at my science job before quitting to devote myself to writing. I couldn’t have celebrated this small milestone in a better way than going to Geneva: I met lovely people and encountered opportunities that might bring my writing further. I want to now take a little time to look back at what happened in the last 14 months and take stock of where I’m now.

So…Continue reading “Looking back on a year of full-time writing”

Busy dreaming or busy living?

I have had the pleasure and honor to be longlisted for Novel Fair 2018 organized by the Irish Writers Centre. This means that my entry—the first 10 000 words of my fantasy trilogy Illumination—was among the top 10 % of nearly 250 submissions. And I’ll get my work critiqued. I won’t deny it, this feels good.

I also won’t deny that I spent the two weeks after January 19th in a state of mild disenchantment despite my best efforts to rise above it. By January 19th, all finalists, who would get to attend the Novel Fair, would have been already contacted. As this fateful date approached, I came closer and closer to the realization that I was not among the selectees. This, of course, was not wholly unexpected. And yet, and yet…Continue reading “Busy dreaming or busy living?”