As you can read in my review of Joanna Penn’s The Successful Author Mindset: A Handbook for Surviving the Writer’s Journey, one of the practices the book made me want to pick up was that of setting intentions and reflecting on the results on a monthly basis. I’m officially starting tomorrow, but now I’ve caught the intention bug, I wanted to take a moment to consider the past month, and reflect on what November has brought me. So here goes.
One of the projects I worked on last month was to reread a sci-fi novel that I edited last August. It was the first time I went over a novel again to check on how the writer had incorporated my comments and it was such a good experience in that it made it very tangible just how much my reading of a work helps writers to tell better stories. It was also quite flattering to see how much of my advice was taken into account. If you’re interested in this particular book, you can get it for free by joining the writer’s email list here.
I also worked on the outline of the second book in the fantasy series I’m writing. Instead of doing a full NaNoWriMo, I went with ‘I want my outline done so I can start writing in December’. With one day left, I think I am going to make it! It might not sound like much, having an outline done when loads of writers are doing proper NaNo projects, but as a former pantser, I have to admit I’m quite proud I got myself a good, solid outline that will make the writing go much more smoothly.
Last month, I finished Shadow of Night, the second book in the All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness. It’s a bit too descriptive for my taste, but I absolutely enjoyed the way Harkness weaves history and fantasy together, which is something I do in my writing as well, albeit to a much lesser extent. I also let one of my best friends borrow the books and she’s devouring them with such speed I wonder whether she’s been eating at all over the past few days.
Obviously, I also read Joanna Penn’s The Successful Author Mindset: A Handbook for Surviving the Writer’s Journey, which made me realise I have to get my priorities straight. I truly recommend this one to any writer, as you can read here.
I finally started reading David Duchovny’s Holy Cow, which I bought months ago at Paagman, an impressive bookshop in The Hague. I’m halfway through the book, and I’m not sure yet what I think of it. It’s different, that it is.
I also bought the recently published The One With All the Writing Advice by two of my favourite podcast hosts, Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant. It’s a very enjoying read, and I intend (intentions!) to write a review once I’m done, so stay tuned for that.
For me, holidays aren’t complete without a visit to one or more local bookshops. The Gutter Bookshop in Dublin is such a bookshop, and this one has a particular place in my heart since it was opened when I was living in Dublin back in 2009. I had a few books on my mind, and the bookshops I’d been visiting in the past few months never had these in stock, but The Gutter did, of course. I finally got my hands on The Girl With All The Gifts by M.R. Carey and Patrick Rothfuss’s The Name of the Wind.
I also bought a tiny book called Things That Can and Cannot Be Said by Arundhati Roy and John Cusack—and this is why I truly love The Gutter, they always have a book you’ve never heard of but need to get your hands on. I haven’t read it yet, despite it being so very small, but I was intrigued instantly by the idea that Arundhati Roy, whose work I know through my academic background, and John Cusack, who’s one of my favourite actors, sat together with Edward Snowden to talk about the world. I still have no idea what it is about exactly, I just grabbed it and bought it and brought it home. If anything, this is why we need to honour our local bookshops whenever we can.
That’s it for now, I think. I’m not the best in keeping good habits, so let’s see how long I will be able to keep posts like this up. I wish you all a good, productive December!
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