The Writing Newbie

Writing is an adventure. Enjoy the journey and write the way you love!

Monday, March 26, 2012


Thank you so much Debbie for this award! <3
Be sure to visit her here at here blog, Bookworm Bites Back! :) 

Now for the rules:

1. Give to a blogger with less than 200 followers
2. That blogger will pass it on to 5 followers
3. According to Babelfish (and I can comfirm this), Liebster means Dearest.

These are some wonderful blogs that I enjoy reading! Made by some wonderful writers! :)
In no particular order:

1. Kerry's blog at  (Not sure how many followers she has but she deserves it!)
2. MyThoughtsOnLife
3. My big brother at Gabelafastoe
4. M.R. Jordan over at Mr-Jordan

And sorry that's all! Can't think of a fifth at the moment and need to hurry off to Amsterdam! You'll be hearing less from me this week because it's Midterm week!

*runs to the train*

Keep writing!

Xx Noortje 


Monday, March 19, 2012

Some Thoughts on Writing

A few days ago I realized something important about writing. Several things actually.

First of all, writing; it needs to come naturally.  No that doesn’t mean that you can only write when the stars align and the muses are singing behind you and there’s an angel of inspiration of your shoulder. But it does mean that if you try and it doesn’t work—now’s not the time.

Second, your story doesn’t need to be planned … but you need a plan. If not for the first draft then for the rewrites. Trust me if you don’t have a clear idea of your story and where it is heading at least in the editing stage—then your story isn’t going to make much sense. Write down the key moments of your story—the “big” things. Then see if it makes sense, if it flows and if it’s interesting enough (and not like this blog post which is basically just a quick jotted down version of my own thoughts – edit).

There is almost NEVER time for writing. You have got to make time. As you might know, the last couple of week’s I’ve been doing this nanowrimo imitation with some friends on twitter called insanonano. Write 50.000 words in one month. So far it looks like none of us is going to make it (I’m not 100% certain though. I might be surprised). Let’s just say I’m not going to make it. Why? Well as we say on twitter “life gets in the way”.

And that’s alright. Sometimes you need to make time for your friends or family. Sometimes you have to put aside writing to study or go visit your grandparents. Or you just feel too tired and need a nice long evening doing absolutely nothing.
But still we are writers. And writing is what some of us are born to do and most of us love and inspire to do. That means you need to make some time, even though you’d much rather go to the movies or read a book.

A friend told me that’s it all about regularity. That you need to get a schedule and get used to writing at least 5 days a week. Set some goals. Strife to write a certain amount of time or a certain amount of words. Make it become a habit of writing every day. You’ll start to crave for it.

And last but not least—writing should be fun. Don’t let publishers, agents, marketing and a possible audience get in your way. Don’t let the big chance of failure stand in your way. Focus on the writing and have fun. You can always decide to worry about all that other stuff later.

In the words of Confucius “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

Keep Writing!

Xx Noortje

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Writing with Haircuts

This morning I was reminded of something I had read in Write to be Published  by Nicola Morgan  I had waited at the hair dressers for fifteen minutes (even though I had an appointment), had my hair washed for nearly as long (WHY? It was clean when I got in!) and then had to wait some more before a seat opened up.

The hairdresser had finally come to cut my hair and I was subjected to the horrible but socially demanded small talk. I never seem to have anything in common with my hairdressers and they never seem to understand what I’m talking about. Usually after about ten minutes of small talk we spend the rest of the time in awkward silence while I can see her looks of “you’re weird” in the mirror.

Which is sort of true and besides the point.

What reminded me of Morgan‘s book was when I told the hairdresser I wanted to be a writer after I finished my studies (I didn’t bother to explain that I already was a writer, didn’t need to finish my studies to be published and did, in fact, strive to be published). After she exclaimed how great that was she asked a question I always dread: “So what is your story about?”

I haltingly and awkwardly told me some of the basic plot lines without giving to much away and lamely ended in the “…but it’s kinda hard to explain like this” excuse. (To my defense my story is in English and I had to say all this in Dutch. Had not prepared for that).

This resulted in some funny looks, a disappointed “Oh” and the observation that I probably found it very easy to write my thoughts down on paper. I agreed (wondering why she asked) and she nodded and said “It’s probably easier for you to write your thoughts down than to say it like this right?”

…. She’s good.

Sufficient to say the rest of my haircut was very awkward, even more so when she asked if I had published anything yet, like it was the easiest thing in the world.

The point of this deliciously embarrassing story is something that Morgan calls a hook. As she says in her book (which you HAVE to read. Seriously. Buy it. Now!) “A hook is a way of describing your book in a concise and enticing way.”

It has to persuade people that your book is awesome and worth buying/reading. And it has to be short. Like one maybe two sentences short.

It’s not only handy to know if your story is working (if you can’t think of a hook at all, maybe there is something wrong with your plot. Maybe there is no plot) and handy in getting an agent/publisher. But it is incredibly handy in avoiding embarrassing and horrifying events like the one I had this morning with my hairdresser.

I had read this book by and by and did think about a hook for a while, but when faces with the task of quickly translating it within Dutch, I was lost.

My lesson in this is to create a Dutch version of my hook and learn it by heart. And rewrite my first hook to begin with. I felt the need to explain more to her, like my original hook wasn’t enough because I could see she wasn’t “wowed” by what I was saying.

Do you have a hook for your story? Do you think you need one?
Leave it in a comment below!

We were celebrating my dad’s (60 yesterday) and brother’s (22 tomorrow!) birthdays today! And for the record, everybody loved my new haircut (and they thought short-ish hair looked really good on me, when I had just decided to let it grow long again… sigh…).

I hope that everyone is happily writing away at their stories! My #insanonano update: ca. 23.000 words at this moment. Should have around 30.000 by now…. O.o…. If you want to know more please follow me on twitter! @Lordkiwii

With that said I am going back to my writing!

If you still haven’t had enough of my ramblings here’s an interview I did recently with writer M.R. Jordan on her blog:

Keep Writing!

Xx Noortje 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Memories on a Train

 The most astonishing thing happened to me today. I took the train to Amsterdam to meet with a friend for a study session. What happened that morning was quite thought provocative as well and I might talk about it later. But what I am still thinking about now is what happened a few hours ago:

I was sitting at the station, on my way home, waiting for my train to come. I sat down on one of the few benches next to this old couple. At first I hardly noticed them and only listened with half an ear as they talked about the trains and they complained about something. (I'm not sure what but complaints at a train station aren't uncommon). 

They seemed ordinary to me. I didn't wonder what they had been doing or where they were going. I didn't wander anything. Somehow, to a lot of people, older men and women don't really seem to count anymore. By the time I had boarded the train and sat a few chairs away from them, they no longer existed in my mind as I focused on some poems due this week. 

But this woman, whose daughter and her friends were reading their Anne Frank books (having just been to the house in A'dam) started a conversation with the couple, after they had asked about the children's unusual reading choice (they were pretty young). 

I didn't really listen at first until I realized what they were talking about.

The couple was telling the mother about the Netherlands and the war. About all they remembered from the time after the war and what their parents had told them. Even the few fleeting memories they had as small children.  They patiently answered all the questions the girls had about that time and Anna Frank (which they both knew a lot about somehow). 

They started talking about themselves some more and their lives--making me completely abandon my poems. I listened to them intensely, amazed by what I heard.

The old man was relating--with great longing and fondness in his voice--about how he and his wife used to travel. He had gone to Indonesia because he got a good job offer there and his wife had gone with. 

While in Indonesia he and his wife longed to travel more. He laughingly told the mother that their first biggest travel was Thailand (refusing to count Indonesia because it was for work). From then on they travelled all over the world: China, Malaysia, North-America, Mexico, Egypt, all around Europe, and many more countries. 

He explained how most of the times they just took their bags with them everywhere. Most mornings they had no idea where they would sleep at night. They talked about seeing the Incan temples and how they could get close and even climb up to the top. He sighed explaining that now you couldn't get as close anymore. 

I marveled as I heard them both express how much they would love to see those countries again and travel to others such as Japan. They still wished to see more. 

The old man started talking about a museum he had visited in Mexico City. He sounded incredibly exited as he recalled how it was one of the most amazing museums he had ever been too. And how they would tell stories about the artifacts and cultures, so gripping, that he could almost see it for himself, almost believed he was there to see it.

They made notes every day on every journal and still read them together sometimes to remember. The man said "Because it's still there. You just have to remember." The notes help them relive their adventures.

Before they got up to leave at their stop, the woman smiled and exclaimed "You have really lived your lives... Isn't that wonderful?"

... And then to imagine that I sat next them at the station, without giving them a second thought at all.

I'm not sure if this post is making sense, but I just couldn't stop thinking about what I had learned about these people who I'll probably never see again. And how I realized that somehow I always seem to forget that old people were young ones. Still dream and have many amazing memories and have had incredible experiences.

And I wanted to remind you all that inspiration can come from anywhere. I could write a book about this couple. Or add them as characters in my novel. Or write about a girl overhearing them talk about their travels and deciding to go off on her own adventures. Or.... you get the point.

Hope you are all alright and that the muses have smiled upon your writing :) (excuse the cheesiness it is very late)

Keep Writing!

Xx Noortje