On Creating and Consuming Content

So this is something I have been thinking about quite a lot lately. Growing up, I have always loved reading books. But deep in the back of my mind, has also always been the thought that I wanted to write books. As a way to somehow repay all the authors whose books I have read. And as a way to maybe become a more “valid” member of the book community. (Keep in mind that I have considered writing books since I was in, like, second grade. I was already writing poems in the first grade. So this is a feeling that has been on my mind pretty much since forever.)

And lately I have come to notice this: no matter how much I say that I want to create content, all I do is consume it. I haven’t have a single WIP since I gave up on my 2018 NaNoWriMo project because it stopped making sense to me. All I do is consume, and consume, whether it’s books or movies or TV Shows. Whether it’s on Netflix, or on YouTube, or anything really. It’s also fanart on Tumblr and Instagram. Sometimes it’s fanfiction. And sometimes it’s booktube or other blogs? All I ever do is consume content.

My attempts at the whole matching book covers with your outfits trend thing is actually the only creative thing I seem to have done lately. Along with baking cakes which I can’t seem to stop doing as well. But no big project, sadly.

I’ve seen many people talk about all the opportunities they had to develop their crafts and their WIPs during the confinement. To those people, and if you’re one of them, I want to say: congratulations. I really admire you. I on the other hand have been reading and watching Netflix. I watched a bunch of kdrama which happens every once in a while. (Crash Landing on You was really good!) I’ve been listening to musicals which I also like to do from time to time (my new obsession is Hadestown). And yes, I love the fact that I finally have time to catch up with my TBR. I’ve read more than 15 books since the beginning of the confinement, some which had been on my TBR for years, and it is really satisfying. It makes me really happy. But it’s been a month, and we still have one month to go… I also downloaded Animal Crossing on my phone, but that’s a whole other topic…

To put in perspective the whole creating/consuming content dilemma I’ve had, let me also tell you that this article has been waiting in my drafts for almost a month, unfinished. It’s an idea that I had at the very beginning of the confinement, and look at me now: my fifth week without work is starting. And I’m actually beginning to miss it. So I’ve been procrastinating on this blog post while consuming more content. To be fair, I’ve actually been posting quite a few articles, but you see my point. Nothing too complicated, and nothing much compared to the amount of books I’ve read, and in general, the amount of content that I have consumed. And what I’m asking myself is simple: WHY?

I have ideas. Tons of them. They come and they go, some stick around, but none so far have taken the definitive shape of a book. I’ve never managed to write more than 15k on a project. And I have come to terms with it. But the ideas keep coming in. And I know, deep inside, that I still want to write books. I feel like I am not ready yet. Maybe I am not yet in a good mindset when it comes to my mental health. But paradoxically, my depression has in many occasions fed my creativity. And now that I’m feeling better, I’m not so creative anymore. I don’t know what to make of it. What I do know is that having a bad mental health is not the key to creativity and enforcing that it is is just a terrible thing to do to artists. But I don’t know where that leaves me.

There was a time when I wanted to be a young writer. I wanted to write a book at 16 and then at 18. It didn’t happen and now I’m 24. No books written. I have some poetry sitting somewhere. And a book blog that has been running for almost 5 years despite all odds. (Thanks for being 700 of you by the way!) But where is my big break out? Where is the critically acclamed novel I was supposed to write? And why am I not writing it right now? I don’t know. And I don’t have an answer for all my questions. And that’s okay. I guess I will keep consuming media until I feel like I’m ready to write. I will teach myself how to do better, and solve the mystery of how to create a plot that works from beginning to end. I know that I still have a lot to learn, and I’m excited about it.

Until then, happy reading!

Things I Want To Do Because Of Books

A more accurate title would be “things I want to do because of books and movies and TV shows and fiction in general” but I figured that would be slightly too long so I decided otherwise. Anyway, I was procrastinating last night and thinking about all of the things that I wanted to do with my life, and how I did not want to miss out on things I could possibly enjoy, which is how I came up with today’s topic. In addition to that, I realised that I hadn’t posted in a while so I figured it was time that I did!

So anyway, while I mostly know what I want to do with my life — I know that I love books and I always will, and I’m going to learn how to be a corrector — there are also a humongous amount of places I want to visit, and awesome things that I want to do, and hope I will eventually get around to doing, so here’s a glimpse at that list of things, inspired by all the fictional worlds that I like to visit!

I want to move to a small island in Greece and start over my life. (Mamma Mia).

I want to move to Roma and finally start learning Italian for good while eating lots of ice cream and delicious pizza (Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert).

I want to travel half way across the globe to open my own second hand bookshop in a small town, where I would sell my own books: those I have read because I loved them & can recommend them, and those I haven’t read because they deserve to be read (The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald).

I want to get lost in Prague and discover small art galleries (Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor).

I want to go on a spontaneous trip to Brighton or Scotland (A Quiet Kind of Thunder, and Sara Barnard’s books in general).

I want to go on a crazy insane road trip with my friends (Paper Towns by John Green).

I want to go to a café in the middle of the night and write melodramatic thoughts in a very personal notebook (Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen).

I want to get my act together and commit to a writing project (Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell).

I want to climb up Arthur’s Seat (One Day by David Nicholls) — I actually got to do that when I was in Edinburgh, but now I want to go back to visit some more historical and haunted places (City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab).

And sometimes I wish I were as badass as Rosa Diaz (Brooklyn Nine Nine).

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Or I want to give up on everything and start over, go live in an Ashram for a few months and focus on myself and my mental health (Eat, Pray, Love — again).

I want to be transported to a magical land (Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige) or maybe one day wake up and find out that I have a parent who is an actual Greek God (Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan). And OF COURSE I want to go to Hogwarts.

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I want to live on a ship, and travel through time and space (Passenger by Alexandra Bracken). The Tardis is also acceptable. I would love to become The Doctor’s companion.

I want to go to the Exposition Universelle (The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi) or simply live in the fascinating city that was Paris in the 19th century (The House I Loved by Tatiana de Rosnay).

I want to be the first human to set foot on the Earth after more than a century (The 100).

we back bitches

And thanks to books, I can do all of that. But most importantly I want to travel the world, and I swear I’ll get to do this one day. Basically, I love those two quotes and want to live by them both:

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads only lives one.” — George R. R. Martin

“The world is a book and those who do not travel only read one page.” — St Augustine

And that’s it for today folks! Feel free to share in the comments some things that you have been dying to try, and places you’ve been meaning to visit because of books. And of course, have a wonderful day!

NaNoWriMo (Non) Update

When I was in 3rd grade, my teacher invited one of his friends who was a writer to come and talk to us, and sign some of her books. In my copy, she wrote:

“For Clémence, who dreams of being a writer.”

The first time I did NaNoWriMo was in 2015, and I got around 13k words. I haven’t really touched that story since then.

In 2016, I gave it a try again, this time with a story that had been sitting in my mind for about five years. I was so excited to put it out in the world. Again, I wrote around 13k words (out of the 50k NaNo gives you as a goal). Again, I haven’t touched it much since then.

Last year, I decided not to do it. Instead, I went through some poems I had written through the years and kind of compiled them in a Word document, which I now don’t really know what to do with.

This year I decided to give it a go again. I had an idea, which I got in September. I had an outline, with many steps. It’s the first time I have such a clear plan of what I my story to look like. It has witches, and adventure through Europe, spells and a fluffy F/F romance. Unfortunately, it only has 6k words for now. My biggest worry is that I won’t touch it after November is over.

For now, I try to write at least a few sentences every day. It’s a very slow process, and I’m starting to wonder if I will ever write my own novel. Maybe I need to mature more? Or maybe fiction is not my thing, no matter how much I love reading it. Who knows.

I don’t want to force myself to write, and yet, I also really want to write.

Truth be told, I am really considering writing a non fiction book about my experience with mental illness. People sharing their stories have really helped me, and I just want to do the same thing to others.

In the meantime, I just really want to read the last collection of feminist essays I bought over the weekend, and plan my trip to Berlin for the New Year’s. I don’t know if this year’s NaNoWriMo will be going anywhere in the future, but at least I’m glad I gave it a try. If I manage to keep writing after November ends, then maybe one day you’ll be able to read my story.

Why I’m Not Doing NaNoWriMo This Year

For the past two years, I have tried and failed at NaNoWriMo, though I love writing and I know it. Both times, I wrote about 13K of a story I never touched again. Things got too complicated, there were some plot holes, and I lost the courage and the inspiration to finish the story and fill in the blanks. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my love for books and writing, partly through this blog which proved me that I did love books more than anything in the world, and also that I could write things even if it was not books. At least for the time being. Writing on this blog is also writing, and I love it, though I haven’t been very active lately. I still keep coming back with new ideas, and I’m not leaving any time soon.

I figured that maybe, it was just not the time yet for me to write a novel. I’m not giving up entirely. But I still have so much time ahead of me. And so many ideas. It’s just that maybe, the time hasn’t come yet, and I need to mature a little bit more. Maybe I have issues to solve first, and it would be better to take care of my mental health first. When I am better, I can start this big giant step, this huge project. The day will come. It’s just not now. And maybe it will be through NaNoWriMo, maybe it won’t. I don’t even have a novel idea this year, and I don’t have time to write.

However, there is something I want to do this November when it comes to writing. Through the past year (and more actually) I have been writing a lot of short poems so express mostly what it feels like to have depression and anxiety. Most of them are gathered together in a notebook, some are left in my phone or my diary. My plan for this month is to type and arrange all of them, because I want to publish them. So this month, I won’t be writing a novel, but I still wanted to do something that on the one hand, has to do with writing, and on the other hand, means a lot to me. I’ve had this idea on the back of my mind for a while, and I think the time finally has come. Fingers crossed!

That being said, cheers to all of you who are taking part in NaNoWriMo this month, you have no idea how much I admire you! And I wish you all the best, whether you’re taking part or not!

One thing my parents did right…

My relationship with my parents is more complicated than I ever thought it would be when I was a kid. But we are working on it. The problem is, they are more on the conservative side when it comes to politics – and everything actually – while I clearly am not. They are very religious, when I can’t see myself going to church anymore, because of all the sexist and racist things I heard the last time I went there. Not to mention the fact that they are against gay marriage. And the fact that my mother once told me she believes feminism is not necessary anymore, as equality has been achieved. My own mother. It really breaks my heart.

However, I just stumbled across this text post on tumblr, and it made me realise that at least, they did this right when they raised me.

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When I was a kid attending Halloween parties, my grandmother would make my costumes herself. And I clearly remember vividly two of the costumes I wore when I was very little: a clown costume, and a pumpkin costume. While all my friends would wear variations of princess or witch costumes, I was dressed up as a pumpkin. So here we go. My parents weren’t giving me cliché gendered costumes. And I think that’s beautiful.

I also remember vividly that while I was playing with my dolls and barbies, my little brother would get jealous, so my parents bought some for him as well.

One more memory is that of a Christmas morning, where he got an electric train, and we are both crouching on the floor playing with it. This picture is framed on the wall, in my grandmother’s house, and I really love it. In a way, it gives me hope, and I wanted to share this here.

This is important. Let your kids play with what they want. Don’t force gender roles on them. It can even create some funny, cute memories. I honestly believe that if I had been dressed as a princess for all Halloween and birthdays as a kid, I wouldn’t remember it. But I was dressed up as the most cute pumpkin ever, and I love this memory.

I just stumbled accross this post on tumblr and it brought back all these memories. I am so proud of my parents, and my childhood. Being a pumpkin (or a clown or a dinosaur or whatever) is super cool. Don’t be a cliché!

I hope you enjoyed this little story, and I hope you have a wonderful day! Feel free to share some thoughts it the comments!

NaNoWriMo Day 1!!!

Hi guys! I tried doing NaNoWriMo last year and I failed miserably, so I wasn’t planning on doing it this year, but then, everyone was talking about it on twitter, instagram and tumblr, AND some people at my dorm were saying that it was really awesome, so eventually, I decided that I would try again. I will try not to put too much pressure on myself, but at the same time, I really hope that it will really work out. I have picked up an idea that I had when I was in high school, improved it, and I think I can do something really great about it… I hope it works out! And I hope I won’t give up on this novel even if I don’t manage to finish it in November, because I really like my idea…

Unlike last year, where I tried a contemporary thing, this time it’s a fantasy, and it’s about angels, which is a subject that really fascinates me…

I have done some planning, but everything isn’t clear yet in my mind, so I hope I won’t have a crisis in the middle of my writing! Anyway, I’m so excited about this!

What about you? Have you ever tried NaNoWriMo? Will you participate this year?

You can add me as a buddy here!

Ideas for recommendations?

Hi guys! I need your help!

I’m running out of ideas for my Sunday Recommendations, and since I didn’t have time to make a proper article this week, I thought I would just make this quickly. Please comment with any suggestions you have! Here is the list of all the recommendation posts I have already made.

I’m going to make a video about poetry very soon, and I’m thinking about making a Sunday Recommendations post featuring feminist books. Aside from that, I’m talking about diverse books every Thursday, but for my Sunday posts, inspiration is running out!

Please leave a comment if you have some ideas!

Sunday Recommendations?

Hi guys! I hope you are all having a great weekend! It’s been a while since I have been posting a recommendation post every Sunday, and I actually really enjoy making those, but I am running out of ideas and themes for my posts, so I don’t really know what to post anymore.

Would you be interested in a post about TV shows?

Would you like me to talk about poetry?

How about a IF YOU LIKE… THEN YOU WILL LIKE… post?

Maybe a review of my favourite book?

Please comment with any idea/request that you have! I need ideas and inspiration!

A world of fanfictions

Hi guys! This is just a quick update because I started reading fanfictions again recently. I mostly read Bellarke stories because I’m a hardcore fan of The 100 and I’m totally biaised towards Bellarke, but I don’t know why I stopped at some point. However last week’s episode made me want to read them again, and I’m back on the track. I read them over on Archive Of Our Own, and I wanted to share my two favourite authors: LuxeLisbon and Lexilindale35.

And even more importantly (at least to me!) being back on Archive means I finally started updating my story again! Yes, I hadn’t posted a single chapter since August, I am ashamed…

Story blurb: Bellarke AU where Clarke is an art student, and has found a shitty job for Winter break, she works near the Christmas market and has to indicate the way to lost people, because the bus stop has changed, etc. It’s raining, and meanwhile, Bellamy works at the local Starbucks. He feels bad for her and brings her a drink during his break…

Here is the link if you want to know more!

I also wrote a Harry + Ron fanfiction which is completed if you want to read it was well ♥ (here)

Please let me know what you think of it if you end up reading it!

Story Time

Have I mentioned that I love writing? Because I do! I decided to create this new category called my “Writing Corner” and I don’t now how often I will post here, but I will definitely try to from time to time. I know I already ramble a lot in my Life update posts, but this is something different, and I hope it will turn out well.

This story is a bit different, because it is a real story, but I felt the need to put it down. It’s a love story. My grandpa just died on Monday after being sick and in bed for about 8 years. But this is the story of him and my grandpartents, because they’re relationship goals, and I think it’s worth sharing! My grandma is the person I admire the most in the world, and this will show a bit why.

My grandparents met many years ago, and they got married. They both grew up during WWII and have unique stories. My grandpa was in a boarding school in what was called the “Forbidden Zone” which basically means that he couldn’t get out of the zone. It was so cold in winter that they had to break ice to brush their teeth. My grandma was in Paris, but her mom died in childbirth. Her father remarried and had another daughter, but his second wife died and the child left with her grandmother. The father remarried a third time, but he was a war prisonner, so my grandma was left with her step mother during the war. So basically, this is the story of their childhood.

My grandpa grew up to be an intellectual. When I was a child, he was always reading a book or the newspaper. He also liked taking walks, and when he visited new places with my mom and his kids, he would always read them the “Green Guide Book” which bored them to death. But hey, that’s not the point of my story.

When my grandparents got married, my grandpa was still taking classes, but he couldn’t attend them all, so for a whole year, my grandma attended one of his classes instead of him, and took loads of notes for him. One of her fellow students even asked her for the notes because she was that devoted!

They wanted to have kids, but they couldn’t. So one day, their doctor told them another one of his patient wanted to have an abortion, and my grandparents said they would adopt the child if she kept it. And she did.

A few years later, they had a daughter – my mom – and then another daughter.

During my mom’s childhood they moved to Algeria for a few years, because of my grandpa’s work, and then they came back to France.

My mom always says that my grandpa always took care of everyone else before his family, and in a way it is true. He spend a lot of time devoted to help people in need, for free. And that is beautiful. My grandma also helped, when she wasn’t taking care of the kids.

And then the kids grew up. My grandpa would spend the weekend reading the newspaper or a book, as he always did. And later, my mum got married with my dad, and I was born, and then my two brothers.

We always spent July with my grandparents, in a rented house. I keep so many beautiful memories of there. And one year, we didn’t go anymore. That was eight years ago. My grandpa fell sick, and in a way, all of our lives changed. After a few months in the hospital, he got better, and he could go back home. For eight years, he was hopsitalized at home, because that’s what he wanted – and he always took the decisions. My grandparents would go in a resting house from time to time, because taking care of him got my grandma exhausted. He wanted to die in his house, and in the end he did not, but that’s not important. All that matters is that now he is at peace.

Now let me get to the cute part of the story, which is actually the reason why I’m telling you all this. My grandparents have been married for more than 50 years (I don’t remember exactly, but I believe they were close to 60…). And after all this time, after all my grandpa’s taking care of everyone but his family, after his being sick for 8 years, guess what my grandma told my mom a few days before he died? She had done basically everything for him, staying strong and all (really, she’s one of the strongest person I know, she’s amazing). Guess what she said? She told my mom he was perfect. After all this, after seeing his best and his worst, and they were both old and crippled, and clearly he was not perfect. But after all this time, she still genuinely loves him. And I find it so very beautiful that I wanted to share it. I truly hope we all get to find someone like that in our lives.

(And now, if you read all of this, I just wanted to thank you!)