writing process

Busy days and 19th century gender roles

Hi darlings,

Life progresses in a steady pace for most people but for me it feels like I’m just rushing at the moment. My days are filled with “musts”, everything from work to keeping up with the household to social activities. This season is often the slowest, but I can’t help but wonder how it became the busiest I’ve had in years. Hence, I’m not at all able to spend as much time as I’d like on the final revision of Kilonova Blues. There simply is not enough hours in my day right now. While I’m focusing on trying not to spread myself too thin, I stumbled across this description of the male vs. female gender roles during the 19th century as I was studying my evening class in gender. As if my mind wasn’t spinning enough already, it got me thinking about my next project, The Heritage.

For men it was about cultivating their intensity, endurance and solid character, and in popular medicine depictions of male biology, the hardness of the muscles, the body’s rough edges and general focus on movement and activity were emphasized. The links between the man and the emerging public life were in the beginning of the 19th century perceived as given, on a biological level. For example, doctors could argue that men’s bones were more massive than women’s, and that hardness even separated men from women at a mental level. Men’s alleged ability to keep their own self intact, to maintain their independence and to fulfill their individual endeavors, in the long run, seemed to be natural enough to withstand the stress and alienating work that characterized the modern market community. Intense competition for success demanded men with strong self-interest and a rationally calculating intellect. For the middle class women, there was another regulatory framework in place. They contributed materially to the establishment of the bourgeoisie’s prosperity and political power but tended to be associated with morals and feelings. The woman was expected to nurture her fertile body with the aim of producing a healthy offspring and was perceived as opposed to the man as soft, compassionate and dependent on her surroundings. The contours of the female body, the softness of the skin and the sensitivity of the nervous system showed signs that women should be ruled by others rather than controlling their own lives. Not least the ability for pregnancy and breastfeeding seemed to indicate that women were permeated by sex life and, contrary to the constantly advancing men, were intended for reproduction, repetition and conservation. Periods, sensitive nerves, pregnancies and general fragility claimed to make women of the higher classes of society unable to gain employment, but at the same time gave them a unique role to play as mothers, guardians, and breeders within the private sphere.

Lennerhed, Lena. 2006. Från Sapfo till cyborg: idéer om kön och sexualitet i historien.
(No English title available unfortunately, but it translates to “From Sapfo to cyborg:
ideas of gender and sexuality through history”.)

Is it normal to be almost done with a manuscript yet long to start with your next idea? I’ve heard many writers have trouble parting from their manuscripts, that they become like their babies. I on the other hand feel more like dumping Kilonova Blues on you guys any day now and just get your response already!

That’s all for now,
hej så länge!

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Summer plans and what you sacrifice for your dreams

This week I’d like to talk about the cost of working for your dreams. I also want to highlight that this will be the last blogpost before I take eight weeks off the blog. To know why, continue reading.

To have gigantic goals and the drive to work for them is one thing, but what about when the going gets tough; when your savings are running short; when you struggle with how to split your time fairly between all that matters to you; when you don’t meet the expectations of others and their support weakens–what then?

Let me begin with telling you a short story. Let’s see if you can figure out who it’s about.

Once upon a time there was a young man. This man had a big dream of becoming an actor, but it just never seemed to happen for him. After struggling for some time, he moved to the city of angels and dreams–Los Angeles. Even though he was brave and did all he found necessary to succeed, there was still no luck. He was running out of money, twisting and turning every penny, finally forced to sell his best friend–his dog. It was either that, or his closest companion would have to starve. After finding inspiration in a boxing fight, he went home and wrote a movie script of ninety pages in three days. As he was leaving yet another failed audition, he told the producers about his own idea. He gained interest for the script, but since he wasn’t particularly successful himself, they wanted to give the lead role to someone else. He was offered $360,000 for the script on the condition that he wouldn’t do the main character. At this time, he had sold his dog to pay the bills and was left with $106 in his bank account. He believed in his script so much that he decided to take a leap of faith. He refused to accept the offer unless he got to play the main character himself. Eventually, he got a million dollars to make the movie, an extremely low budget for a movie even though this was some years ago. He made the movie. He played the main character. The movie was “Rocky” and it won three Oscar’s, grossing over $200 million. The man was Sylvester Stallone. The rest is history. (Forbes 2017)

My point is; no success comes easy. No success comes without putting in the work. Hard work. No success comes without dedication. No success comes from not doing what others won’t, but from DOING what others won’t. When you reach the end of the road, you have to find a way to go around the obstacle in front of you. You have to keep walking alone, on a road, path or track which you might be the first to walk. Maybe you’ll just have to walk a short distance alone, then you’ll meet someone else who’s walking alone too, and you can help carry and support each other. Eventually, you will get where you want to go. Don’t give up.

I haven’t yet been forced to sell my dog (I don’t have one), and not much else either for that matter. But I’ve had to struggle. I’ve had to make sacrifices. And I suspect more is to come before I reach my destination.

I’m a political scientist with a M.Sc. in Global Studies. I saved my money all last year to be able to take six months off and finish the manuscript of my first romance novel. Politics and romance, what a match, right? Six months have passed, and I’ve still got some money left, but I have to start thinking ahead. As I still want to use my brain for writing, I don’t want to work a job which exhausts my mind so I won’t have any energy left for my passion. Hence, I took a more practical job for a couple of months. During summer, I will work as Warehouse Co-worker at IKEA, driving orderpicker trucks.

Where is the sacrifice in this?

  • Money. I use all my savings to enable my writing, working to reach my goal of publishing Kilonova Blues.
  • Living. Since I use all savings for another purpose, I have to put aside what many others prioritize, such as travels, concerts, buying my own apartment, having a car, having pets etc.
  • Pride. I’ve got five years of studies from the university but take jobs below my competence level so I can keep my mind fresh for planning, writing and editing to reach my dream of becoming a published romance writer. Many people are impressed by the bravery to follow my heart’s desire, but many also see it as a naive waste of time which will never result in anything worthwhile, that I should be working within my field of study. It’s easy to get caught up in that way of thinking, that there’s something else one really should be doing, that one is shaped/formed/educated/whatever to do something else and therefore one cannot do what is best in that moment. No one is above anyone and as long as you don’t hurt nobody, there’s no wrong path as you work toward your goal.

I will continue to push forward. The third draft of Kilonova Blues is done, and today I’m sending it to my much appreciated beta-readers, who will get to keep it during the coming eight weeks while I’m working. By mid-August, I’ll return to the manuscript to work through their feedback, and by that time I’ll also return to writing blogposts. The next step is then to begin reaching out to agents and work to find a great partnership to approach publishers.

I wish you all a wonderful summer and you can keep up with me through Instagram for the coming weeks.

Remember–what’s worth having doesn’t come easy.

That’s all for now,
hej så länge!

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Glorious sun and deceitful word counts

The weather we’re currently blessed with in Sweden is out of this world. I’m profoundly impressed by my ability to time this with working from home, not being locked up in an office. Being able to work on my dream while enjoying cloud-free skies day in and day out surely makes for a smoooth life! (Let’s discuss financials another day.)

Last week I finished another round of editing, currently sitting with the third draft of Kilonova Blues beneath my fingertips. The manuscript’s really evolved during the past months and even though many of you surely can relate to never feeling “finished” editing, I’m still happy with where it’s at right now. Most major changes have been done, and for what grammar and language’s concerned, I’ve come as far as I can on my own and it’s definitely time to get some fresh eyes on the text.

The first draft came in on 111 390 words. Working with the second draft, I cut 3 436 words. Yay! I felt like a samurai warrior, ignoring my emotional ties, slicing the manuscript with my sword as though it was a simple cake. I wanted to cut down on some text to make it leaner and felt I was good underway.

Today I checked the current word count… 110 950! I’ve obviously added a shitload of new text and am only down 440 words from where I began. Ah! I just smashed my forehead and laughed before getting up to fetch a new cup of coffee. What to do?

I know this is not the final draft though, so I’ll just leave it as it is for now. In about two weeks I’ll send it to five competent and highly appreciated beta-readers, and I’ll await their reflections and feedback before making any other major changes to the text. Up till then, I’ll focus on formatting and minor changes, deleting an extra space here and there, maybe swap that word for this word and so on, you know the drill. AND – I’ll try to read the entire thing from a reader’s perspective without changing ANYTHING.

Dear Lord, give me strength.

That’s all for now,
hej så länge!

computer sun

workstation sun

notebooks sun

editing sun

beverages sun


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