One month to go and counting

posted in: All the other stuff | 0

fotoI am so excited I can hardly keep my feet from dancing. Why? Because my Six Books in Six Months project begins in exactly one month today.

I have filled my whiteboards with scribblings. I have practiced my cheap broccoli and coli flour soup recipes. I have sharpened my pen and replenished my inkwell. And I have told my banker not to think I am dead in the coming months. I am just on a long financial vacation:-)

To get inspired, I started reading Hunger Games. I thought it would be a good idea to learn a few tricks from the best of the breed, and Suzanne Collins is exactly that. More than 100 million copies sold is quite convincing.

In writing this blog post, I looked up the Hunger Games trilogy on Wikipedia and found that Suzanne Collins wrote one book in the series a year. I hope to write one book a month. I have surely given myself a challenge that will be a hard one to meet. This is OK – hence the word ‘challenge’.

The other day I did a test of how fast I could actually write something worth reading. I took a day off and wrote for six hours along the lines of what I will write in my novels. I repeated the exercise the following day resulting in 4.000 good words one day and only 2.000 good words the other. Averaging 3.000 words a day is OK, and it should be enough for me to meet my daily target of 3.000-3.500 words, even if I would have liked the average to be a little higher than 500 words an hour. Maybe I will become faster as I progress.

So, what did I learn from this exercise?

Well, the day I wrote 4.000 words I described a sea battle between two 17th century sailing ships and their crew. The words came easily, and I had great momentum from passage to passage. Cannon balls flew through the air, sailors fell into shark infested waters, and the final battle scene between the two captains was worthy of a Hollywood movie. At least in my opinion. I was actually quite optimistic after that.

Then came the second day. There I challenged myself to write the inner thoughts of a 15-year-old girl forced to marry a man she did not love. The experience was like ramming my head into a brick wall. Let me put it like this: I will need to practice a bit more in December or my heroes will be devoid of emotions.

Conclusion:

Able to write about 500 words an hour – check.

Able to write exciting battle scenes – check

Able to write about love and fears from a young girl’s perspective – work in progress.

I am counting days.

Chris

It is all about taking risks

posted in: All the other stuff, My dreams | 0

riskHi all

Today, I want to write a little about taking risks. It is one of my favorite subject to talk about so I might as well get it on text as well.

Let us start with the facts: I have a great job and a great salary, and I love both parts. I love to go out for dinner, buy nice cloth and get what I like from the supermarket, and not only what I can afford. If I want to buy something for my wife, my kids or myself or travel somewhere, I just do it. I do not need to count the pennies first, and it is nice. Really nice.

The above-mentioned is of course what I am risking, since I am giving it all up for a stab at a career as an author – an author with a guaranteed income of nil, nada, zip, rien… You probably get the point. I have a lot, and I stand to lose a lot. Financially, that is. My wife has told me, divorce is not an imminent threat for the time being.

I know that in the coming months I will probably get tired of broccoli soup and tired of looking at an ever dwindling bank account. I will probably question my decision a million times and look back at the days when money came flowing in on a daily basis, and I ordered double up on the expensive sushi because I liked to and could afford it.

So why am I still taking the risk with this foolish career change, when I seemingly have all a man could wish for and then some?

I take the risk because I mentally cannot afford to have a dream and not go for it. I do not want to live a life where my dreams are dictated by my fears of losing something as meaningless as coins and bills. Yes, they are nice to have, but I also make a damn good broccoli soup. I would rather save money on cloth, expensive sushi and travels and live my dream than sit on a Michelin star restaurant talking about how I have a dream, but I do not dare to reach out for it. To me it is not really risk taking. It is a logical choice.

My wife and I have a saying that we try to live by when we face tough decisions. It goes like this: ‘What is the worst thing that could happen?’ When you ask yourself that question, it puts things into perspective.

To me it is a good reminder that I live an over-privileged life where the worst-case scenario for the imminent future is finding out I cannot write anything worth reading, and I have to beg to get my old job back. God forbid it, I might even have to get a real job from 9 to 5. What a horrible thought!!! My kids will not starve to death, and I will not need to sell a kidney. That is not what I am risking by reaching out for my dream, which is why I am more than willing to go for it.

I will add that I am also a risk taker, and I fully acknowledge that many people need financial stability to sleep well at night. I do not. I need something nice to dream of to sleep well at night, and right now, it is of becoming an author.

Would you also be willing to risk a lot to live your dream?

Please feel free leave a comment

Chris