5 Lists to Make on a Down Day


Whether you're having a bad day or feeling like you aren't enough, you need to be able to make yourself smile again and not let little moments bring down an entire day that could've turned out awesome.

I've noticed that when I start a day off on the wrong foot and then actively try to make it better, it always turns out to be one of the best days of the month. There's something about overcoming your own brain's negativity and filling your mind with positive vibes and happy thoughts that makes an ok life into an incredible one.

So here are five short, little lists you can make to make yourself smile on a those rainy days.


1. A list of people who need you in their lives

Make this list of 5-10 names and then make an effort to remember these people somehow during the day. Write them a note, send them a cheerful message, hug them. They need you, and you need them too!


2. A list of places that make you happy

After making this list, think about how you could show these places to the important people in your life, or how you could make these places even better.

If you love your local library, be nice to the staff and thank them for organizing your favorite books every day. If there's a park you enjoy sitting in, pick up trash from the ground so that it looks better every time you visit.


3. A list of things you're good at

When we feel like we aren't good enough at things, we need to remember that we are good at so many other things.

It's impossible to be amazing at everything in the world, but sometimes it's important to remind ourselves that we're pretty awesome at singing in the shower, making the silliest jokes and baking cupcakes.

These should be things that don't make much difference to other people, but make you love spending time with yourself.



4. A list of random things that could make you happy any day

I have a page in all of my journals dedicated for random things that make me happy. It could be peanut butter ice cream, the fourth season of The Office, smelling books, walking out in nature, dipping your feet in a puddle, reading puns online.

By having this list close at all times, you never have to worry about not being able to snap from sad to happy in two seconds. It's all about the little weird things!


5. A list of the best experiences you've had

This list helps you remember those good ol' times, but its main purpose is to help you realize the best memories come from little mistakes or random ideas at the most inconvenient moments. You never know when an amazing person is around the corner, or if an unforgettable adventure is awaiting you.

It's a rule of life to keep the best things secret from us until they happen.

And that's what always makes life worth living.

So make an effort to be on the look for opportunities and have an open mind for new experiences. Stay positive, and positivity will find you. Try to be an awesome, adventurous, artistic, happy person, and those kinds of people will just magically stumble into you.

You can't decide when life surprises you, but you can decide how to react and prepare for those surprises. 💕




I sincerely hope these things make you feel better and find the positive things on the days that are tough and exhausting and just plain horrible. We all have them, but we can't let a bad day bring down an awesome week. Or even that day.

Make every day count. Make every day the best day of your life.

Last day on set and new beginnings



I feel restless not running back and forth between the camera and my apple box by the monitor, clapperboard tightly in my hand. But with the end of one adventure comes lots more.

Next week I'll be starting my summer studies and moving out of my parents' house, so there's plenty to do and lots to be thinking about. Still, I can't help but miss being on set.

The set life is the life for me. I want to be many things but one of my favorite things to be is one of the crew.





My bookself's also a mess but that's life, and one week from now it won't be standing in this room anymore anyway. Feels weird, but it's a good weird.

I do love a fresh start, and what's a better way to start anew than by filling up an empty bookshelf? 📖 

Sunsets on a bridge and the importance of mistakes



This is a gorgeous place we filmed in yesterday. It was so beautiful, and that was the thing that kept me from completely going into self-hate mode and giving up.

My job as a script supervisor is to check that all the actors have their props and look the same (think hair, clothes and so on) in every shot. I have to be constantly aware of everything around me and be making notes of all possible inconsistencies, problems and take up the director's comments for the editor.

In other words, my brain is being fried every day and I just have to endure it 😅

No, I actually love script supervising because I'm a very observant person and this gives me opportunity to use that superpower without having to talk much (because I can't talk and be observant at the same time... I just never learned basic social skills). It's great to be doing something that's of importance to others.




But after filming for like half an hour someone pointed out that our actor didn't have his backpack. So then we re-filmed everything. And it was all my fault.

And as if that wasn't enough of an annoyance to everybody already, then a car suddenly tried to drive over the bridge we filmed on. And then a tractor came. And a boat full of kids. And the stray dog. And more cars.

And I just kept thinking that none of this would be a problem if we had finished these shots already, but because of me we were having to go through all this trouble.

Obviously mistakes are normal and it could happen to anybody, but i've told you before that I have a massive fear of disappointing other people, so this hit me hard.




I tried to remind myself that it's just a part of the process and that I can't be expected to be perfect the first time I try something. I tried to remember that by this experience I'd learn to handle disappointment and be more aware next time.

Messing up is so valuable to our growth.

So yeah, I want to go hide in a cave, but I won't. I messed up, and it sucks, but it's a great thing for the future me.

Writer's block? Mindset change!




I've started writing on my novel again after a really long break, and am trying to do it like I do my art.

When I paint, I don't care about the end result at all. Painting and drawing is the thing I do to only relax and enjoy myself, and nothing else. There are no goals, no expectations and no rules.

One of my problems with writing is that I take it too seriously, put too much pressure on myself and get so anxious that I just don't do it. But I love writing this book, so I have to get past this.




So from now on I pledge to treat my novel like I treat my art journal. I'll just throw whatever paint I can find on the paper and see what happens. I'll just write whatever comes to mind and not care whether it's good or bad, because first and foremost, this story is for me, and nobody else.

Love the process, and if you don't, learn to distance yourself and return with a new mindset, more energy and new creative fuel.

WOOHOO I'M BOOK-WRITING AGAIN LET'S PARTY

Yes, I'm naive, stupid and reckless. That's how you find the miracles

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
 – Albert Einstein





We're told to be ambitious and never settle, and we're told to be grateful and let things be the way they are. We're told we can't get anywhere in life if we don't push ourselves relentlessly, but we're also told to not go too far with the pursuit of our dreams.

The world works so hard to confuse us, to stop us, to break us and make us stop believing. They tell us we shouldn't trust any stranger we meet, that we shouldn't be kind to someone who hasn't been kind to us first, that we shouldn't get our hopes up, because humanity just is what it is.

I say heck no.

If I want to see fairies where others see flowers, if I want to see dragons where others see crows, if I want to see sparks of magic where others see a page of words... Who am I hurting?




If I want to trust strangers even if there's a 1% chance they're a serial killer, if I want to give every human all I've got even if it means getting nothing in return, if I want to smile at people though they might stare back, if I want to go to places alone just to talk to new people even though people think it's weird... That's just who I want to be in this world, because we always regret the things we don't do and the times we stay in our comfort zones.

(and honestly, if somebody kills me because I trust them, go ahead and have a good time in hell, my friend. I'd still be kind to anyone any day)

We can't let other people define us just because they can't see miracles and opportunities. If it makes me happy, I'll be "naive" and "stupid" and "reckless".

I refuse to leave this world without seeing the miracles, and perhaps creating a couple more.

Quick writing inspiration prompts and story ideas to cure writers block

I get it, writing is hard. It's hard to write a 80K word novel if you haven't made writing a habit, and some days it's hard to even type ten words.

To tell a story, you need to set goals and reach them, but how are you going to do that if you have NO IDEA what to write in the first place?

Never skip a day of writing because you don't know what to write. Never ever. There's always a story waiting to be told, however short. But it's there.

Let me show you some examples that might help you get out of your rut and recover from writers block.

These are creative writing prompts that I have come across while taking courses in creative writing, just by searching the wonderful world of the internet or came up with myself.




Write somebody's story that ends with the words: "They were never mine"


What would zombies be like if they ate hearts instead of brains?
(I made a short film about this last fall, comment if you'd like to see it on the blog some day and maybe I'll find the energy to upload it to the internet, haha)


"A part of your world"?
Write about a world where humans walk below the ocean and whales are kings of the skies.


What if humans could live forever with the help of mechanical organs, but then suddenly everybody starts rusting...


If you (or someone close to you) would have a forbidden romance, who would it be with?


"He and I were like two weather fronts that collided"



What are some prompts you've used that you could add to this list?

Also, if you write any of these stories, please share so that I can read it! :)



















Self love




Sometimes I can't believe that I'm me.

Okay let me explain. 😂

I've always had a secret tendency to be very comfortable in my own skin, comfortable spending time with myself and comfortable even when things get hard. I just like being comfy. A lot.

So it was weird when I started feeling this huge anxiety as a teenager. I struggled with fitting in, couldn't be alone because I felt like something was wrong with me, looking at myself in the mirror felt like watching an alien through a window, and when life threw rocks at me I wanted to vanish off the face of the earth.

I was a freaky mess, which is normal for a teen to be. But I just kept being a mess without really getting anywhere. I was like a little fish stuck in a current forcing them into the wrong direction.

And everything around me seemed to tell me that I was going the right way. That I was being sensible, that I was a good, quiet girl and that I should be fine being sick inside because it made me easy to handle.

See, when I was a kid I was the craziest, messiest, most temperamental child ever. But I was also highly creative, positive and always ready to try again.

That all changed when I decided to not only beat the current, but to BE the current.

If life doesn't seem to go your way, you simply create a new way.

If you're a goldfish unhappy underwater, you learn to fly.

So the reason why me being me strikes so hard some days is because no matter how much I grow, that insecure, broken little teen is still in there, undoubtedly still struggling from time to time.

And it's when she sees me overcome hurdles that time freezes and I stand there amazed, like the teen in front of the mirror. But instead of an alien, there's a young woman who draws fish and makes films and does whatever because heck, SHE'S ME.

No, my life has not been easy. Yes, there's still a lot of hardships ahead. But oh am I grateful for being me and nobody else. 💪💕💕

#SELFLOVE


The Instant Magical Formula For A Great story

Here's the magical formula for an awesome story made real simple:


 
A story is...
An interesting, intriguing, realistic and relatable character lives in a interesting, intriguing world,
with a goal,
enters a new world,
faces obstacles,
fights against a destructive force or antagonist that stands in the way of their goal,
and after struggling, struggling some more and nearly failing,
succeeds.




TIPS

1. Begin with the story, not with the information.
I've stressed this in the Story Openings Worksheet, but it's too important not to include here too. Starting your novel in the right place is what makes your hook possible. Without a hook, a possible reader will put your book down and never pick it up again. Opening a novel in the wrong place is one of the most detrimental mistakes you can make and one of the best ways to bore a reader.

We don't want to hear about the creation of the world or your main character's grandparents. Start with the story, not the backstory, not with description, not with info dumps. The main rule of a good beginning is to start late, and to craft a successful ending, you leave early. Don't tell too much and leave out the unnecessary. It's just that. Unnecessary.

2. Give your protagonist an objective and a goal.
What does she or he want to accomplish over anything else? What do they need? What is the one thing they'd cry for, lie for, kill for? What makes it so important to them? Without a main character with a goal, there is no story.

3. The protagonist's objective needs to be difficult to accomplish.
Raise the stakes and place obstacles in their way. If it's easy to get to the end, the story is pointless. The harder it is, the better the story is. Create a force that works against your heroes. It has to be something that has the power to destroy all of their dreams and crash their plans, making the goal nearly impossible. The difficulties grow bigger as the story progresses until we reach the last battle, aka the story's climax. The struggle before the final win makes the it much more satisfying and creates story endings readers can't forget.

4. Keep the focus on the protagonist.
If your attention wanders, so will your reader's. You want your reader to stay focused on and interested in the main character's story. So keep yourself interested. If you don't love your protagonist, neither will anyone else.

5. Skip the parts readers skip.
This is related to number 4, but has more to do with prose and plot. Too write a good, cohesive plot that is not too tight nor too fluffy, you need to know about story structure. If you haven't already studied common story structure types (there are lots of videos on YouTube and articles on screenwriting and book blogs about it), you need to--even if you're a pantser or don't believe in story structure.

You can read about it and then decide whether to use the advice or not. The best thing I ever did for my novel Poison Fire was to study different structures and make a new outline that followed the 15 beat plot structure


Don't write dialogue, description or even action sequences that bore you. If you don't enjoy writing it, try it again later. And if you still find yourself agonizing over it, write something else. Because if you hate writing it,  it'll probably bore your reader to death too.


The rule: Write nothing your writer will skip.

6. Don't stop telling the story.
Too many beginner writers write entire chapters of back story or information about the world of their story and wonder why readers stop reading. The backstories and descriptive information they've written is so interesting to the authors themselves, that often they don't see how it could be boring.

And I get it (because I was there, and I was probably the worst of all), you've made up all this cool information about your characters and they have such interesting stories to tell about their lives and don't even get me started on fantasy worlds. I do love a intriguing, realistic fantasy world. But many pages of info dumps won't intrigue anyone (except maybe geography or history teachers). It's boring because it's not the story.

Don't ever stop telling your story in order to deliver information to the reader. We've all heard the rule "Show, don't tell", and that is because it's a life saver. No, story saver. It literally will save your story. If you show well, you won't need to info dump.

Just think about the real people in your life. We all have pasts, but we don't need to  talk about them constantly, because usually our past experiences can be seen in our present actions. 

Deliver every piece of information in a way that keeps the story going, because if you've done everything else right, there will be plenty of reasons for the reader to keep reading. Don't ruin a good story by pausing it mid-action.


I hope these tips and "rules" will help you and have given you thoughts on how to make your story into something awesome and incredible.

Read my blog post on the 10 tips every writer needs to hear and learn from!

Happy writing!
Em.

Love and hate: Animation

My relationship with animation has always been a complicated one. A rollercoaster, to say the least.

I made my first ever animation film when I was about nine years old. It was a Lego Harry Potter stop motion animation about monsters in Hogwarts and Hermione as the lead (because I was a great Hermione impersonator as a kid and that was the only role I could properly voice act 😂😂).

I loved making lego stop motion because it was just like writing a story, but so incredibly different. It was much faster and so much easier, and it made people laugh.

Turns out, however, that professional stop motion is nothing like that. It's not easy. It's not fast. And it makes you cry yourself to sleep every day after animating all day.

But then you see the end product, and you fall in love all over again. And only days later you've got a new animation idea.

Every time I set out to create animation now, whether it's stop motion with paper cut outs or toys, drawn with photoshop or computer-generated with the After Effects puppet tool, I feel like that little kid playing with legos.

So even though it takes fifty million years to make one second of animation and I want to cry whenever I make a mistake, not to even mention when my cat comes and sits on everything, I still keep animating.

Because artists are self loathing masochists.

Or we just know that our art makes people happy, and that wins any amount of pain that we may be experiencing. And therefore nothing else matters.

So please watch this and please smile.

Your reaction is the reason for my existence.





Love the process

This is a blog post from my old website, but it felt relevant today, so here it is:

I've been so unproductive these last few weeks, and wondered why. Every day I want to do stuff, but just end up procrastinating all day and not getting any revising of my novel done. And I end up hating on myself for it and wondering what the heck is wrong with me.

Before summer I was so productive and did everything on my daily to-do lists, but now I struggle with rewriting a single paragraph.

But I just figured out what my problem is: I take this thing too seriously.

I make goals, and when I end up doing other things instead and not reaching them, I tell myself how I'll never be published if I don't get this done fast. But really, what is the hurry?

I have my entire life ahead of me. I'm on summer break and can enjoy the sunshine and rain. I should be loving every second of my life, especially writing. I can't keep pressuring myself to the point that I don't like writing anymore. That's stupid.

When I was younger my goal wasn't to actually become an author. My dream was to be a singer. Writing and drawing were just hobbies--something I did when I didn't feel like singing or doing anything else. I could wake up on summer mornings and scribble down twenty pages of ideas just because i didn't have to.

It was a choice, not a duty, and I loved it. If I didn't, I just wouldn't have done it. Writing was play, not anything serious.

I feel like I need to go back to that mindset a little. Of course, now that I'm older and have decided that writing is the thing I want to pursue as a career, there are things in the process that I'll force myself to do even if I don't like them that much. But I'm going to love the overall process. I'm going to learn how to enjoy writing as much as I did when it wasn't serious.


The words I write don't always make sense. They often suck and sound like utter nonsense. But that's the reason I revise. Nobody's story is perfect the first time of telling it. It takes practice and hard work to make it the best it can be.

Life doesn't always make sense either. In writing, we strive for realism in characters and world, but it can make us forget how the real world works. In books, accidents don't often happen. Randomness is rare, because if the hero just accidentally solves the problem and wins the final battle, it's a really bad story.

Real life is weird and random and full of accidents. It doesn't make sense. It's often chaotic. And it's OK. We don't need to control everything. In our books maybe, but not in real life. So much joy can come from being able to let things go and just live life without overthinking it and pressuring ourselves constantly.


Calm down and let life be what it is. Allow yourself to be imperfect and enjoy every second. We should strive to become better, but we often take it way overboard and it's destroying us, our dreams and our creativity.

Sometimes we just need the freedom to not have a deadline--to forget the goal and write in the here and now. So today I'll write if I feel like it, revise if I want to and not take this writing thing so seriously. I want to write, but what's even more important to me is loving the process and having fun :)

Focus on the process and love every step, and don't get lost in the goal--or you're never going to get there.
Em.

The truth inside the lie

Some days I just want to jump into my story and never come back. The real world sucks so bad sometimes. But then I remember that my characters would hate me for giving up on my life when I make their lives so hard... They'd be so disappointed in me, and so would I.

How can a lie be so powerful? These people pushing me forward and helping me aren't even real. My book isn't real. But still... it is. 


Fiction is incredibly important to so many people. Storytellers and all kinds of creators will always have doubts, but we have to use our art to get past them to inspire others. Storytelling is essential to understand and maintain humanity, especially in a world that loves bringing people down, discriminating, bullying and murdering. It's not just our characters that need us, but also other people.

Stories are amazing. Don't ever stop seeing the truth inside the lie.